Anorak

Tabloids | Anorak - Part 3

Tabloids Category

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.

Madeleine McCann: police get more cash for another 6 months of looking

Madeleine McCann news watch – a look at reporting on the missing child. There is “new hope” in the “Maddie hunt” says the Daily Express. Is hope born of new clues? (Any clues?) New evidence? (Any evidence?) No. It’s just that police have been given an extra £154,000 to keep investigating what happened to the child who vanished on a family holiday in May 2007. This, says the paper, is a “massive boost”.

But is it, really? It keeps the investigation going, yes, but unless we know on what it will be spent and if any investment will answer to the question ‘What happened?’ it’s pretty meaningless. What value £154,000 when the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Grange has cost over £11million? It’s less a massive boost than a top-up deal.

The story continues on page 9. We see a the familiar photo of Madeleine McCann in her Everton kit. And we see a picture of her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann. We hear Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ spokesman, say his clients are “extremely thankful to the Home Office and Scotland Yard for continued funding”. The McCanns are “encouraged that there remains work to be done that requires the extra budget,” he says. What work that is, we’re not told. Perhaps wrapping up a large police operation caries its own costs?

The story is all about the money because the changing number is the only new fact. The single thread story remains just that: child vanishes.

The Star carries the same story on its page 4, sticking to that bald fact and summing up the entire case in a caption that says “Missing: Madeleine”.

But the Mirror thinks the news of “MADDIE COPS” being “GIVEN ONE LAST CHANCE” worthy of its front page. The paper reasons that if police “fail” to find “fresh leads” the probe “could be axed”. On page 5, readers learn that £154,000 is enough for fur police to work full time on the case for 6 months.

Unless they find out what happened sooner, of course…

 

 

Posted: 29th, September 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Manchester United park the bus and Chelsea never lose

Arsenal are on the up. With four wins and one draw from their past five games, and with just one goal conceded in that period, Arsene Wenger’s team have recovered from their early season defeats to Stoke (in which they were unlucky and robbed by poor refereeing) and Liverpool (where they got the thrashing their abject performance deserved). It also behoves a mention to note that following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over a spark West Bromwich Albion, the Gunners have won eight consecutive home games in the Premier League.

But in the Sun, the forecast at The Emirates remains grim. Therein they are “FALTERING Arsenal”. You “could not disguise just how far the Gunners are falling behind their major rivals. While City, United and Chelsea are brushing opponents aside with contemptuous ease, Arsene Wenger’s team are labouring to see off even the most unambitious of rivals.”

 

Arsenal table

Arsenal “far behind” at one point away from third sport

 

Arsenal drew 0-0 at Chelsea in a game they could well have won, hitting the post and missing an open goal from inside six yards. And that’s the same Chelsea who lost at home to the mighty Burnley. Manchester City were flukey away to Bournemouth, scoring a very late goal courtesy of Raheem Sterling’s boot and a massive deflection, and drew 1-1 with Everton. Manchester United have drawn 2-2 with Stoke, and last weekend beat Southampton 0-1. Of that match the Sun’s sister paper, the Times, called United’s performance “strangely lethargic”. Adding:

Given the lead by Lukaku, United went into abject retreat in the second half when Southampton had the bulk of possession and most of the chances. At the final whistle, United had six defenders on the pitch, while the home side brought on two attackers, a fair reflection of the balance of power.

Manchester United parked the bus. So much for “brushing aside opponents with contemptuous ease”. United and City have yet to play any of their title rivals.

And what of West Bromwich Albion being unambitious? The Evening Standard reports:

Pulis had employed a more ambitious West Brom lineup than might have been expected, with Hal Robson-Kanu and Rodriguez making for a mobile, high-pressing front two.

It’s hardly perfect at Arsenal, but to ignore the facts and stick to a bogus narrative is poor reporting.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Poppy monoculture: a draconian silence falls over Wembley

Without any hint of irony the Daily Telegraph hears that England – the national football side rebranded ‘The Three Lions’ – are allowed to wear pictures of poppies on their shirts and calls it a “major victory for the British game”. England might not win many meaningful football matches but when it comes to decorating our tops, decades of hurt have been undone. On November 10, England will wear poppies on their shirts as they play – get this – Germany at Wembley.

Before last year’s Armistice Day, FIFA banned England and Scotland — as well as Wales and Northern Ireland — from wearing the poppy, the symbol of remembrance, for matches on that day. FIFA says “political, religious or personal” designs should no infect the national shirts. But England and Scotland players wore them anyhow, albeit as black armbands with a poppy motif.  Odd, no? Football is about rules. It’s all about rules. Without rules there is no sport. Flouting the rules is no small deal.

Rory Smith notes that “Until 2009, it was rare for British club teams to display a poppy on their uniforms at this time of year… A campaign led by the Daily Mail that year changed all that. The intention, of course, is an admirable and honorable one: to show that football, as the slogan goes, remembers. That is not, however, necessarily the effect. Wearing a poppy is designed as an individual act; when it becomes compulsory, it loses not just much of its impact, but some of its meaning.”

An act of remembering in a minute’s contemplative silence became enforced duty. And it became political. Theresa May called it was “utterly outrageous” that FIFA should rule on poppies. The FA says “common sense” has won. The Sun calls it “VICTORY – Poppy ban KO-d as FIFA sees sense”.  “POPPY VICTORY,” declares the Express. “POPPY POWER,” hails the Mail. “Sportsmail ran a successful campaign in 2009 for all Premier League clubs to have the poppy emblem on their shirts, which is now commonplace.” No. It’s compulsory. And anyone who objects is portrayed as morally repugnant.

In 2010, Celtic fans protested a decision for their club’s shirt to feature the poppy. Their banner declared: “Your deeds they would shame all the devils in hell. Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan. No blood-stained poppy on our hoops.” Celtic vowed to ban he protestors. The Sun called them “hate mobs”. Don’t sing sectarian chants about past battles and loss, goes the top-down directive, but you must wear the poppy.

This is not about heartfelt remembrance, giving private thanks to the sacrifices of so many for our freedom (to choose) and supporting the armed forces; it’s about public displays of group think and compliance.

 

Posted: 25th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Sanchez leaves Higuain and joins Manchester United

Hard luck on Arsenal fans: Alexis Sanchez is on his way to Manchester United. The Sun has the scoop, leading with the “TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE”.

 

SAnchez arsenal manchester united

 

No word on whence the story emerged. No source quoted. Just the simple fact that Manchester United want Alexis Sanchez, and he’s on his way for a £25m signing-on fee.

Readers might be little more circumspect.  This is the Sun, after all, the paper that told us Gonzalo Higuain joined Arsenal in 2013.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

Undeterred by fact – he never joined – the Sun continues to publish the story on its website. Although it was “Updated: 5th April 2016, 7:12 am” to now read:

 

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

 

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain…Wenger believes that the capture of Higuain will convince other world-class stars to join.

This is despite Higuain telling the Times in December 2013:

“I did not speak to them [Arsenal]. They said Arsenal wanted to sign me, that they were there negotiating [with Real Madrid], but it was Napoli who came and bought me.”

As for Alexis Sanchez, well, he plays for Manchester City. We read that fact in the Sun.

 

MANCHESTER CITY will make a final £70million bid to land Alexis Sanchez with the deal now set to go through by tonight.

In another exclusive, readers learn:

MANCHESTER CITY will make a final £70million bid to land Alexis Sanchez with the deal now set to go through by tonight.

Sanchez never did join Man chester City.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chelsea balls: Gus Hiddink never did cry

The Sun enjoys the “Crying Dutchman” pun, using it to describe Dutch football managers who aren’t ever crying. In May 2016, the Sun said “Crying Dutchman Louis van Gaal” was “disappointed” at being sacked by Manchester United. But the hammer-headed Dutchman today returns to the Sun in a feature entitled “The Crying Dutchmen”.

With Ronald Koeman mired at Everton and Frank de Boer already sacked by trigger-happy Crystal Palace with a 100% record of played 4, lost 4, Dutch managers in the Premier League are an endangered species. Both men feature on the Sun’s story on Dutch managers who”‘struggle to set the English top flight alight”.

You could, of course, make a longer list of English manger who have failed to shine in the PL – an English manager has yet to win the Premier League. But it’s the Dutch in the crosshairs. And overlooking Martin Jol, who did pretty well at Spurs (2004-2007), notably becoming the first Spurs manager since Keith Burkinshaw (Spurs manger 1976-1984) to qualify for European football in successive seasons, the paper spots Guus Hiddink.

That’s the same Gus Hiddink who while still managing Russia was appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager in 2009, leading them to the FA Cup. The Sun says he “came back in 2015 after Jose Mourinho was axed but the Blues toiled to finish tenth”.

Toiled?

Hiddink rejoined Chelsea on 19 December 2015, with the club in 16th place. Under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea has lost nine out of sixteen league games. Hiddink set a new record for the longest unbeaten streak by a new manager in Premier League history with 12 games unbeaten. Under Hiddick, Chelsea lost just two more league matches.

Crying? No. Far from it. He was very good.

Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After Parsons Green, sympathy for the bombers

parsons green newspapers tabloids

 

“Is THIS the Tube bucket bomber?” (Daily Star). Or to put it another way, “ON HIS WAY TO BOMB TUBE?” (The Sun). Or “Is this the Bucket Bombed On Way To Tube?” (Daily Express). To which the answer is ‘Dunno, is it?’

All that cash once earmarked for pre-Leveson shag ‘n’ tells could to be used to investigate jihadis in our midst. But the big-budget tabloids are content with playing catch-up. So around a grainy photo of a figure dressed in a grey tracksuit carrying a Lidl shopping bag in Sunbury-on-Thames, we get to wonder if he’s the one who placed a bomb at Parsons Green station. And, of course, we don’t know what to make of the video caught on a homeowner’s CCTV. We also don’t know why a homeowner in leafy Surrey is filming the street. Is it a dangerous area?

The Express has more on the attack over pages 4 and 5. Two men have been arrested. One arrived in the UK when he was 15, having “fled” Iraq. He was fostered by Penelope Jones and Ronald Jones. The other man is 21. He’s an Iraqi refugee also once cared for by the Joneses. The couple’s neighbour says the lad “wanted to leave home”. Well, job done. Another neighbour says the 18-year-old “seemed a really nice chap”. But he “seemed to be up at unusual hours”. In the Mail, however, he’s a “tearaway” who “was held by police just two weeks ago at Parsons Green station”. The Mirror hears him called “out of control”.

In other news, the terror threat has been reduced from ‘critical’ to “severe”. Just two weeks ago, it was at ‘Armageddon’, what with North Korean threats and Hurricane Irma. We live in hyperbolic times.

Think Of The Children

In the Sun, we get to know the name of the 21-year-old suspect. He’s Yahyah Farroukhm who was pinched at Aladdins [sic] Fried Chicken in Hounslow, West London, not far from his home in Stanwell, which is within inhaling distance of Heathrow Airport. At the time of his arrest, Farroukh was carrying a Kitkat and a drink can, which he dropped. The Mail says he has posted about his passion for smoking weed and anti-Israel images. But if those interests mark your out as a jihadi, then so much the worst for snowflake students and the hard-Left, although neither of those groups would be seen dead with a high-sugar KitKat.

Only in the Mail do we see the story couched as an asylum issue. “Council struggle to cope with influx” of “thousands of troubled teenagers” says the paper. It counts them all: a “staggering 4,2010 asylum-seeking juveniles” in council care across Britain”. The Mail says this is not to say they are all nutcases, just to highlight how many “vulnerable” children could “fall prey to radicalisation”.

A few words from some loon on the internet, and the normal, caring lad morphs into a mass murderer. Well, so goes the narrative. What it misses, of course, is the bit about what draws people towards radical and violent Islam? Why do they think it’s a worthy cause?

Frank Furedi:

Policymakers and the media continually refer to young Muslims as ‘vulnerable to radicalisation’. The term ‘vulnerability’ suggests passivity, powerlessness and gullibility. It suggests, in short, that those called vulnerable lack the intellectual resources necessary to cope with challenges. No doubt there are some weak and confused individuals drawn towards the jihadist subculture. But the reality is that most people who travel to Syria, for example, do so because they are inspired by a cause they believe is worth fighting for. Often such individuals show a capacity for planning, dissimulation, inventiveness and, above all, initiative.

The idea of vulnerability invokes individual characteristics that are often the very opposite to those actually possessed by people making the risky voyage to the Middle East. Contrary to the myth of vulnerability, these young people are – albeit misguidedly – attempting to exercise a measure of agency over their life.

If the would-be killer is so vulnerable – groomed by sick adults – is he recast from perpetrator to victim? It’s not terrorism. It’s child abuse. And how can the vulnerable be protected? The Mail says we should clamp down on Google and all that easy-to-reach knowledge. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP, agrees. “The internet giants have made it much harder for people to find child abuse images online,” she says. “It’s time they showed the same commitment to tackling terrorism.” See images of child rape and become a paedophile, goes the thinking? See instructions on bomb making and blow up the London Underground. To see is to download and do.

The terrorists will never win, comes the declaration. But if their aim is to reduce our hard-won freedoms and make us distrustful of adults, then the enemy is having some success.

Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Parson’s Green bomb: Islamic State shop in Lidl and read the Daily Mail

The bomb on the London Underground is wrapped in a shopping bag. On the side you can read ‘Lidl’, the name of the German discount supermarket chain. That the bomb – believed to be a peroxide device – fails to detonate fully at Parson’s Green Tube station is blessed relief. But some of the 29 people injured are badly burnt by the explosion shortly after 8am.

 

 

One ay on the media tuck in.

In the absence of a bomber’s face to feature on the front pages, the paper opts instead for the bomb, and with the Lidl carrier bag it was contained within. Once a byword for cheap and trusty family goods, will Lidl become synonymous with terrorism? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Lidl has offered to assist a police investigation. The company states: “We are shocked and concerned to have learned of an incident at Parsons Green this morning and our thoughts are with those affected. We will, of course, support the authorities should they need our assistance in their investigations. We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops over the course of the day.”

Unenviable stuff.

Meanwhile…the Daily Mail blames another brand for an act of would-be mass murder.

ISIS Parsons green Lidl daily mail google

Got that? The Mail says that because knowledge can be accessed through Google rather than simply buying a book, say, or talking to someone on the phone, the messenger is to blame.

Like most of you, I have no idea how to build a bomb. But I did pick up a few pointers in the.. Daily Mail.

 

daily mail parson's green bomb

 

The Lidl coolbag was used to ‘keep the device stable’. Got it.

There’s more. After the Manchester bomb, the Mail captioned a photo: “Suicide bomber Salman Abedi carried the explosive in a metal container, believed to have been in a Karrimor backpack.” The paper said the bag costs £20.

Other tips came:

A 12-volt lead acid battery found at the scene suggest the makers were careful to reduce the risk of it not going off, experts say. It is more powerful than most seen in backpack bombs or suicide vests and is commonly used for emergency lighting.

If you want more, the Mail directed loons as to where more could be found:

AL-Qaeda has published detailed instructions on how to build a ‘hidden bomb’ to use to blow up a passenger jet… In the latest issue of its online magazine, Inspire, the group outlines how to make the bomb from household goods and without using metal components that would show up in airport security checks.

But hold on. The Mail has other news – bigger news:

 

How a hydrogen bomb works: North Korea's new device could yield a devastating blast thousands of times more powerful than Hiroshima or Nagasaki

 

‘Newspaper Giant Triggers Armageddon.’ What you won’t read in the Mail.

 

Posted: 16th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Blitzkrieg: Arsenal fans beyond parody as German ‘Nazis’ invade from Cologne

At last night’s Arsenal v Cologne match in the Europa League, things did not go smoothly. Fans behaved as football fans used to, arriving at the stadium without tickets and in high spirits. Around 20,000 fans of FC Koln arrived with just under 3000 tickets between them.

The sensible move would be to flog tickets on the gate, letting fans be with their mates and follow their side without need to register with clubs, load up credit card details and be processed in a way the Stasi would find a bit much. But no. Everyones needs a seat. And with a seat comes a number. And with that number comes control.

(Cologne’s 50,000 capacity: 50,000 has space for 8,175 standing fans.)

 

daily mail arsenal europa cologne

 

And so it is that 20,000 Germans football fans in London for their side’s first European match since 1992 are portrayed as an army of Nazis. “Thug urinate in street, make Nazi salutes and storm the turnstiles,” says the Mail. If pissing in the street makes you a thug, well, we’re all doomed. The definition of ‘thug’ according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “a brutal ruffian or assassin: gangster, tough.” Hold the prison tats, knives, guns and bare-knuckle fighting. You just need a full bladder and a lack of public loos to be a thug.

 

daily mail arsenal europa cologne

 

CARNGE!

And what of the Germans being Nazis? Well, for that there is but one source. “ITV political editor Robert Peston reported Nazi salutes and ‘peeing on doorsteps’.” Jim White on talkSPORT (“FANTASTIC! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU MY FRIEND THANK YOU FANTASTIC! etc…”) introduced “highly respected Arsenal fan Robert Peston”, who complained that the Germans “made a terrible mess” by dropping litter and urinating – “and I’ve got a few mates who live near the ground”.

Deary dear, eh. But Peston’s not alone is being upset. On the BBC website, the corporation has collected a narrow range of views, which were it not for any knowledge of what football now represents – moralising, family-friendly entertainment for a TV audience – we’d think the work of a parodist.

Rachel: “In the Emirates as a home fan. Ashamed of Arsenal right now. All the warnings about turning away fans away and they’ve done nothing. No stewards to be seen. Feeling so intimidated.”

Ade: “Currently inside the Emirates, thousands upon thousands of German fans everywhere around us. Horrible tense atmosphere. Tens of thousands of fans being made to feel very unsafe, including very young children.

Foz: “Got to my usual seats in Club level with my 11-year-old son. Surrounded by Cologne fans. So unsafe we have been moved to the other side of the ground. Worst feeling at football in 40 years of watching home and away.”

Chris: “Currently in the home end at Emirates – away section (corner) full and in full voice. Hundreds of people joining in the singing in the adjacent section behind the goal that should be for Arsenal supporters. Can only assume they are Cologne fans.”

Steve: “Don’t feel safe inside and won’t feel safe outside. Should be called off and the Cologne fans sent packing. Arsenal fans who sold their tickets should be banned.”

All pitiful stuff. But at least in the Sun, Dave Kidd does note:

But this did not feel like the bad old days of hooliganism…. A walk around the outside of the Emirates shortly before the original kick-off time, before the turnstiles finally opened, simply showed thousands of English and German supporters shrugging their shoulders and asking each other politely what the hell was going on.

Blitzkrieg! We march at dawn.

 

Posted: 15th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal versus Cologne balls: German ‘army invades’ London and media prays for blood

Good fun in Soho as a large contingent of Cologne fans marched along singing their songs. The police didn’t kettle them, send for the attack dogs nor smash their heads in. And so about 20,000 Cologne fans clutching 2,900 tickets between them arrived at The Emirates for the club’s match with Arsenal.

They can’t all get in. So the match has been delayed.

Has there been any bother, then? Lots of fighting and broken class? Patio furniture tossed about the place and blood on the pavement?

A Met Police spokesman tells us: “At around 15:00hrs on Thursday, 14 September a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street, W1. The group were at the location for about 30 minutes whilst they boarded public transport to travel to a football match this evening.  They did throw bottles and let off flares, but there was no significant disorder, police were on scene and there have been no arrests. The group has now left the area.”

Bit of a laugh, then. A few berks throw bottles but that’s about it. No more  (surely much less  – ed) than the high spirits you see at rugby matches.

So how does the Daily Mail report on the joyful rowdiness?

Germans invade London: Fights break out as an army of 20,000 Cologne football fans march through centre of the capital as kick-off of Europa League match with Arsenal is DELAYED for ‘crowd safety’

An invading army! The Mail’s ‘Crime Correspondent’ begins his report thus:

Violence erupted onto the streets of London after an army of German football fans marched through the centre of the capital.

Carnage! Or as the small print notes: “footage later emerged of two men being punched and kicked in a street during clashes.” Two men fighting. Call of the RAF. Stand down the nuclear submarine. The war might over as soon as the Hans and Jurgen tire.

At the Ground.

Well, a load of Cologne fans seems to be in the Arsenal end. Good-oh. Lots of atmosphere for a change.

 

And finally… get his down to forensics!

PS – Arsenal fans are flogging their tickets to Cologne fans.

PPS: Reports that Cologne fans arrived yesterday to reserve their sets with towels as yet unproven.

Posted: 14th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Crystal Palace balls: Sam Allardyce gets a call

The Sun has big news for fans of Crystal Palace, the goal-shy Premier League team. Frank de Boer has been sacked. His managerial record at Palace reads: played – 4; lost – 4; goals scored – nil.

But who will replace Mr 100%. Well, it’s Roy Hodgson, the former England manager, who yesterday joined Palace on a two-year contract. The Sun suggests that Roy got the job only after Palace had offered it to one of their former mangers, Sam Allardyce.

 

the sun sam allardyce crustal palace

 

Says the paper:

Sam Allardyce reveals he has received a phone call about taking over at Crystal Palace

He did? No. He didn’t. Click the link and readers are transported to the paper’s story, which informs them:

Allardyce took a phone call from Palace chairman Steve Parish… seeking his thoughts on what the club should do next.

The former England boss was not offered the job, but Parish was quick to seek advice from the 62-year-old when the position became vacant.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 13th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Louella Michie is dead and the Press all ask: ‘Who is John Michie?’

louella michie

 

Louella Michie is not the subject of reports on her untimely death. The 25-year-old woman’s body was found dead on her birthday at the Bestival music festival. And ever since that unhappy discovery, the Press have been telling us who did not die: her father. The Daily Mail has produced 7 stories on Louella Michie’s unexplained death. It’s hard to spot Louella as the media zoom in on John Michie, her dad.

The Evening Standard had the news first, sticking to the facts. The body of a young London woman had been found at Dorset’s Bestival. Police were investigating. Murder was one line of enquiry.

Louella Michie

 

And then the media realised that the dead woman’s father is on the telly.  The pick of the front pages being the Daily Telegraph’s, which amid talk of her alleged ‘MURDER” described Louella as a “TV detective’s daughter”. John Michie had for a while appeared in Taggart, the Scottish detective show. In the twilight zone between fact and fiction, Telegraph readers might wonder if DI Robert “Robbie” Ross would be investigating.

 

 

louella michie murder bestival paper john

 

These are the Daily Mail’s headlines. See if you can spot Louella Michie:

Holby City and Coronation Street star John Michie insists death of his daughter, 25, at Bestival was an ACCIDENT as he mourns his ‘angel’ after a man was arrested on suspicion of her murder  – September 11th 2017, 11:54:26 am

Man held after daughter of Holby City star John Michie dies at Bestival – September 11th 2017

Man arrested over actor’s daughter’s death released under investigation – September 12th 2017

Drugs quiz for man held over death of daughter of Holby City´s John Michie – September 12th 2017

Holby City star’s daughter looked ‘odd and unsteady’ in the hours before she was found dead in secluded woods in drug-related death  – September 12th 2017

But our pick of the Mail’s barrage of stories on the death of ‘John Michie’s daughter’ is this one about Louella Michie taking the ice-bucket challenge:

The daughter of TV actor John Michie, took part in the internet craze.

Today’s story in the Mail begins in customary fashion, with the victim absent:

The rapper boyfriend of Holby City star John Michie’s daughter has been released by police after being arrested over her death at Bestival, with the actor’s family saying they believe the pair had taken drugs

As the Mail thinks the “dead girl” not worthy of mention by name, the Sun (nine stories so far) knows so little about Louella Michie it’s reduced to focusing on her looks. Today’s update begins:

A festival-goer claims the forest area where the green-eyed 25-year-old died had been used by drug dealers and that she “didn’t look very well” when spotted before her death

As police investigate the death so other green-eyed women and look for a pattern, Sun readers find Louella Michie missing from the paper’s headlines:

FESTIVAL TRAGEDY – Holby City star John Michie’s daughter Louella was found dead at Bestival – 13 September 2017

Pals reveal Holby City star’s tragic girl looked ‘unsteady and odd’ in woods used by drug dealers before she died at Bestival as boyfriend is released by cops – 13 September 2017

BESTIVAL SUSPECT RELEASED Boyfriend of Holby star John Michie’s tragic daughter is released as her devastated family say ‘there was no malice’ in her death – 12 September 2017

BESTIVAL PROBE Man held on suspicion of ‘murder’ over Holby star’s daughter is also being quizzed over supply of Class A drugs – 12 September 2017

BESTIVAL DEATH DASH – Holby City star made 130 mile 1am dash to Bestival after WhatsApp map pinpointed where his daughter was found dead – 12 September 2017

DAYS BEFORE DEATH  – John Michie posted haunting photo of daughter sewing outfit for Bestival days before she was found dead – 12 September

HOLBY PAL’S HEARTACHE Strictly star’s heartbreaking message to Holby co-star after his daughter is found dead at Bestival – 11 September

But top prize goes in the John Michie news frenzy goes to the Daily Mirror, which has published no fewer than 11 stories on Louella Michie’s dad, the pick of which being:

Who is John Michie? Tragedy as ex-Coronation Street star’s daughter confirmed dead at Bestival

At a guess, we’d say he’s  man grieving for his daughter.

Posted: 13th, September 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Ozil leaves on a free having ‘signed a new deal’ in August

Time for a spot of transfer balls – our look at rubbish football reporting. The Sun says Mesut Ozil  is “set to leave Arsenal next summer on [a] free”. He “will NOT sign [a] new contract”. Well, so say “reports in Germany”. We can find only one of those reports, and it’s in Bild, the German tabloid. We’ve put the story through Google Translate and can now let you know:

The future of national player Mesut Özil is still unresolved.

So, Ozil might stay at Arsenal, then. It continues:

According to information from SPORTBILD, since February 2017 there has been no negotiations with the “Gunners” over an extension of the end of the season ending contract.

At that time they talked about a new working paper with a higher salary (estimated currently: 9 million euros), then Arsenal broke the talks off. Background: Arsène Wenger had contact with PSG at that time. The Londoners lacked the planning certainty, as it was not clear how the coach would go on.

Since then, no longer talked about an extension with Ozil. The fact that a new contract with a basic salary of 280,000 euros per week, as is reported, is not true.

Contract talks were postponed in February because Wenger had yet to commit to a new deal. And Ozil was not offered €280,000 a week to stay at Arsenal.

Which rather makes you wonder if either Bild or the Sun can be believed. After all, according to the Sun, Ozil signed a new deal in August:

 

the sun ozil

 

In fact, he signed a new Arsenal deal in 2016:

 

ozil agrees the sun

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: star fan Kim John-Un makes third visit

Huge news. Huge! The Sun has the scoop: “Kim Jong-un is a Manchester United fan who believes North Korean footballers will eventually be flooding to the Premier League.”

Of course, what hereditary despot Mr Kim believes might be lot more terrifying than his dream of cheering on North Koreans in Manchester United colours.

But there it is. If North Korea wants it badly enough, exporting footballing talent might well be its biggest source of income. But, like you, we wonder how the Sun came by this “exclusive”? Putting North Korea and Manchester United into one headline is sure to attract clicks. But is it true?

 

the sun North Korea Manchester United

 

The story continues:

A close friend of the nuclear tyrant revealed to SunSport how he loves the beautiful game and never misses a major football tournament.

Tyrant’s pal calls British tabloid to talk foot.

Italian senator Antonio Razzi confirmed the crackpot dictator had told him during private conversations of his love for the Red Devils.

But when asked if Kim compared himself to any United heroes such as Eric Cantona or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Razzi told The Sun: “No, Kim is Kim — he is the only one.”

So Ibra it is, then.

And be in no doubt that news of Kim’s love for Manchester United is an exclusive, and as such should not be confused with the Mirror’s August 2014 story: “Kim Jong-Un is Manchester United fan”.

 

 

And:

 

You heard it there first!

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Politicians, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Sanchez ‘will’ sign a new contract if you twist Wenger’s words

Was the Sun’s Neil Ashton in the room when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke to media on Thursday? Ashton has big news on the press conference:

Arsene Wenger has launched a passionate defence of his disastrous deadline-day dealings. In a remarkable outburst, the Arsenal boss claimed wantaway Alexis Sanchez is “happy” at the Emirates and will sign a new contract.

Is that what he said? Did the usually circumspect Wenger actually say Sanchez would sign a deal to remain at Arsenal? On Arsenal’s official website you can read what he said in full:

on considering selling Alexis…

I didn’t want him to leave unless you bring somebody else in with similar quality – then you can defend it. Then you have a player with a four or five-year contract in front of them who is young. But overall, I didn’t want to lose him without having any replacement. Every decision you make can be interpreted in both ways. As long as you have the quality on the pitch for the club, that’s the one thing that matters. I didn’t want him to leave, it’s true. I didn’t want him to leave and in the end he didn’t leave.

on the chance of Alexis staying beyond next summer…

Yes, there is a chance, yes. You just said he is committed and focused on Arsenal. That’s what makes me believe it. At the end of the day, he is 29 years old in December, he knows his football years are counted at that level, especially with the evolution of the game now, so you have to enjoy every minute.

You can even watch the meeting online:

 

 

So no “outburst” and no claim that Sanchez “will” sign a new deal. Other than that the story was, er, correct.

Posted: 8th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Madeleine McCann: police seek more money

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news.

Daily Express (Page 11): “Madeleine police seek funds”

To which the reply must be: don’t they always?

The story goes that Operation Grange, the Met Police’s investigation into the child’s vanishing, is running low on funds. The Express says Madeline McCann’ parents, Kate and Gerry, “are said to be encouraged” – by whom is not said – “that “there remains work to be done that requires extra funding”. Surley there always be will extra work needed until we know for certain what happened to her?

Daily Mirror (Page 4): “Madeleine hunt police ask to ‘pursue final line of inquiry'”

The McCanns have “fresh hope” their daughter will be found. Clarence Mitchell, the parents’ spokesman, says “Kate and Gerry are  extremely thankful to the Met Police for requesting extra funds”. The Mirror says that without more cash, Operation Grange could be “shelved” in three weeks.

The Sun (Page 4): “MADDIE POLICE PLEAE FOR CASH”

The sum police are seeking from the Home Office has not been disclosed. The Sun speculates that this “could mean they are closing in on the kidnapper”. It could. Or it could not. The Sun reminds readers that the hunt has “cost taxpayers £11.2m”.

 

 

Posted: 8th, September 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Prince George’s first day at school: beaming with nerves and mind control

Prince George has started school. His big moment is all over the papers. He’s “His royal Shyness” on the Mirror and Mail’s front pages, and “Heir to learn” on the Sun’s.

The Mirror says he looked nervous. The Express says he was “all smiles”.

It all depends on how you decode the look George is giving his new headmistress. Head down, eyes fixed as Miss curtsies to her new pupil, who’ll be treated the same as everyone else.

Tom Jamieson muses: “Please release me Sire…please, it’s been almost two hours now…” “Crush her, crush her George like you will all the peasants.”

 

 

Prince George school

Shy and nervous in the Mirror

 

All smiles in the Express

 

the Sun glum Prince George

‘Glum’ in the Sun

‘Wobbly’ in the Mail

 

Miss Kate-alike in the Mail

 

Best of luck, George! No pressure.

Posted: 8th, September 2017 | In: Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Everton star Wayne Rooney’s holiday romance – and Gary Neville’s advice to Coleen

Rooney laura simpson

 

For those of you wondering how Wayne Rooney and the lovely Coleen are getting along, the Daily Star has front-page news: “ROONEY GIRL TRACKED COLEEN.” The Rooney girl is his could-have-been-shag Laura Simpson, who had been “tracking Coleen for six weeks” before having what says was a “kiss and a cuddle” with the married footballer.

Laura “knew when Coleen was on holiday”. How so? Did she bug the house? Stick a tracker on her car? Hack her phone? No. The devious Laura FOLLOWED Coleen on twitter and “RETWEETED” Coleen’s message: “So basically…yes on holiday again.” Coleen also “revealed” – not boasted? – she was on holiday again in another message on August 26. Just two nights later, Wayne was on the lash and driving Laura’s car when he was pulled over by the fuzz for alleged drink driving.

It’s a no-shag ‘n’ retweet story, a far cry for the 1980s, when footballers and even snooker players were making headlines five-times-a-night.

But what about those holidays? Laura’s not the only one watching Coleen testing sun creams. The Mail says  “Already this year she has visited Amsterdam, Madrid, Mallorca, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Barbados and Portugal.” And this is relevant, apparently, because the Sun reports on its front page: “Drink-drive footie ace Wayne Rooney gives wife Coleen an ultimatum ‘You quit the holidays and I’ll quit the boozing’.”

And the chauffeur service, Wayne, let’s not forget about that.

But we’ll end with some advice from Gary Neville, Wayne’s former Manchester United teammate. “Look at Wayne Rooney there,” said Neville, spotting the striker in the tunnel before a match. “Old-school, looking forward, not hugging, kissing.” Wise words that Wayne and Coleen – but especially Wayne – can hang on to.

 

Posted: 7th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Hetty Douglas is your internet hate figure of the day

Vying with Robbie Travers for the title of Hate Figure of the Minute is Hetty Douglas, a 25-year-old artist, it says here, living in south London. On anthropological manoeuvres in the McDonald’s restaurant in London’s Piccadilly, Hetty thought it a good idea to take a photo of three men in the queue and caption the image: “These guys look like they got 1 GCSE.” The men were not jumping in the air for joy, clutching their exam results and screaming ‘YES! DONE IT!!!”. They were facing the other way and minding their own business.

Superior Hetty Douglas was making fun of them in a snide and sneaky way. It adds grist to the mill that Hetty is as the Star captions her photo, “posh”, although how it knows this we’re not told. It fits the narrative of the rich looking down on the poor, and that’s enough to bash her with.

The Sun tells Hetty to “Burger off!” The paper finds out that the three men are scaffolders with have a combined total of 8 GCSEs. It also tells reader where they can find Hetty, who works at “skate shop Supreme, in Soho, central London”. Is that fair?

The Sun is disgusted that anyone should mock another person like that. It’s not as if the scaffolders play football, like Wayne Rooney.

 

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

The Sun salutes the captain’s intellect and physique

 

In the Mail, “a close friend of the family says Hetty was actually speaking up in defence of the McDonald’s staff who were being abused by the construction crew”. The unnamed source tells the paper:

“They were being rude and swearing at those youngsters working behind the counter and Hetty thought they were out of order. I’m sure the builders would just dismiss it as banter but they were very unkind and intimidating… It was bullying to her mind. So she thought she would take these lads down a peg or two. Sadly it has backfired but she meant well. It’s typical of social media that people go off half cocked with their opinions and threats without knowing the full story. Well now the real facts are out there a lot of people will be regretting what they have said about Hetty. She’s not some posh little rich girl. She’s actually as working class as they come it’s just as a model some of the pictures of her are upmarket.”

Assumptions can be a problem.

 

 

On student website The Tab, art graduate Hetty Douglas has her entire being analysed. You can know everything about someone from a single Instagram post, apparently:

The real reason so many people have rounded on Hetty is because we all know someone exactly like her. Posh, privileged and seemingly not really aware of what’s going on in the world around them.

Johnny Long (wealth not noted) adds:

This upbringing has afforded these types of people a lot, but sometimes it appears as though they don’t have the empathy to think about anything from the point of view of people who are not like them

Bitchy stuff.

Tomorrow… some other poor sod will get it in the neck.

PS: Hetty Douglas might be auditioning for a leading role in the Labour Party. After all, Emily Thornberry is the hard Left’s choice to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Party leader. More about her empathetic attitude to workmen here.

 

Posted: 6th, September 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United balls: Lukaku and Rashford as good as Rooney and Berbatov

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United’s Lukaku/Ibrahimovic/Martial/Rashford are every bit as good as United’s 2007-2009 vintage of Rooney/Ronaldo/Tevez/Berbatov. The paper tells readers:

Rashford and Martial offer lightning pace, skill and a decent chance conversion rate, while Ibrahimovic really needs no introduction.

A decent conversion rate of shots to goals? Not really. Marcus Rashford has nine shots for Manchester United this season and one goal. As for Lukaku being equal to Rooney in his prime and Ibrahimovic, 35, being as exciting as the 23-year-old Ronaldo, well, no, they’re not.

 

Posted: 4th, September 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dear Coleen: Wayne Rooney tips and where you can find Laura Simpson

laura simpson

 

Everton’s former Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney only had a “kiss and a cuddle” with Laura Simpson, 29, whose car he was driving when police nicked him for drink driving. All the tabloids wonder what this means for his marriage to Coleen Rooney. The Mirror says she’s fearful for the couple’s three children, “worried about playground taunts” because kids can be cruel.

Coleen, we learn, is also worried about media intrusion. Which is presumably why she, as the Sun reports, uploaded photos of her boys on Instagram and wrote: “No matter where I am they always follow me, and I hope that last forever.” No, not a coded message to the paparazzi, marketeers and celebrity magazines. That was a “heavy hint that she would keep the kids with her if Wayne and she split”.

 

laura simpson

 

By now you’re itching to know more about pneumatic Laura Simpson, who “boasts” (Mirror) of having 32E breasts, which Wayne “ogled”, hair extensions, false eyelashes, Botox and lip enhancers. Unlike Wayne, she does not smoke and have a spouse, but she does have a child.

The Sun then pinpoints the single mother struggling to make a living, helping anyone who wants to bounce into and off of Laura find her. We learn that she works at a lettings agency (wages: £38,000 a year); once went on two trips to Dubai in one month; is “cash-strapped”; and lives in a “terraced house in Irlam, Greater Manchester”. If you can’t find her there, maybe you can reach her on the sugar daddy website, where the Sun says she functions under the name “Lolaura”.

 

laura simpson

 

As journalists and pornographers stampede to Laura’s door, the kindness of strangers kicks in. In “Dear Coleen”, Coleen Nolan, writes an open letter to her namesake. “Oh love, my heart ached for you yesterday,” says Coleen, to say nothing of her mouth and she dictated 300 words of to-deadline advice. “Back from holiday, piles of washing to sort, school uniforms to get ready,” says Nolan, proving she has the inside track on the life of a woman who counts her millions by the dozen. “Whenever anyone askw me for advice,” says Nolan, “my first tip is…” Call my agent? “…never, ever, make life-changing decisions when emotions are high.” Coleen’s life is far from over because as Nolan reminds her, she too has been cheated on by a wayward and well-known husband, and had her private life scrutinised in the national press. She moved on, forging a new life as the Woman Whose Famous Husband Cheated On Her And Had Her Life Scrutinised In The Press in the Mirror and on TV’s Loose Women. Hang in there, Coleen. There’s a multifaceted career in this, maybe.

More advice for Coleen in the Mail, where Bel Mooney has “inimitable advice” for the Rooney. “Dear Coleen,” begins the heartfelt advice once more, it being a well-established fact that Coleen is a dear and likes to surround herself with dear things, some very dear, some very, very dear. “Bloody men, eh,” says Bel. “At it again!” As with Nolan, Mooney presents herself as Coleen’s kindred spirit. Coleen was born in Liverpool and so too was Mooney. Wayne was boozing with Laura in Alderley Edge’s Bubble Room.”My best friend lives in Alderly Edge,” says Money, “and I’ve been to  those upmarket joints, Piccolino’s and  the Bubble Room”.

“Good luck, Bel,” says Mooney, which sounds a bit like Rooney, and a bit self-obsessed.

Good luck, Coleen!

 

Helen Wood

Picture 1 of 9

Wood is, reportedly, the other woman who shagged Wayne Rooney in a lesbian threesome with Jennifer Thompson. The Manchester United player got Wood in a package deal, allegedly. NSFW Video: Wayne Rooney’s Jennifer Thompson Sex Tape Helen is 23 and a single mum. Wayne’s own wife, Coleen Rooney, is not a single mum – yet – but she will surely take it a boost to her confidence that her husband might not only shag childless women but someone whose body has been through childbirth.

Posted: 4th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool balls: Philippe Coutinho joins Barcelona and then leaves in tears

Did Philippe Coutinho ever leave Liverpool for Barcelona? Yes, he did, says Neil Curtis in the Sun.

COUT AND DRIED Philippe Coutinho heading to Barcelona in stunning £138m deal from Liverpool with announcement set for 7pm

Adding:

The Merseyside club have finally accepted defeat in their bid to hold on to their prize asset as Coutinho heads to La Liga

 

Philippe Coutinho liverpool the sun

 

And then… Coutinho stayed at Liverpool. Was this the Sun’s desperate attempt to seduce Liverpool fans to read the newspaper they hate? Because no sooner has the scoop proven to be utter balls than the Sun has another bash:

 

Philippe Coutinho liverpool the sun

 

Facts to support that claim come there none.

And then this:

CRYING GAME Philippe Coutinho’s failed Barcelona move from Liverpool made him ‘break down in tears in front of Brazil team-mates’. Playmaker was reportedly distraught after learning that Reds would not be allowing him to make dream Nou Camp move

 

 

Such are the facts…

Posted: 2nd, September 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Princess Diana: 20 years of emotion over conviction

Where were you 20 years ago when Dodi Fayed died in a car crash whilst on holiday with Princess Diana, a divorced mum-of-two?

The marking of the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death is a therapeutic process. Just as she was presented as the vulnerable woman abused by the country’s old values as she opened up her heart and talked about her issues on the telly, we too are now in need. The Mirror, one day on from its exclusive with Diana Inc.’s Paul Burrell, leads with: “Harry: all of us lost somebody.”

Diana, a totem for all our pain and woes, in whose aftermath emotionalism replaced resolve and conviction, is the saviour of us and them. “True disbelief, then the grief hit us hard,” says Fiona Philips. “Popularity of the monarchy is down to her,” says Brian Reade. In the rush to emote, the Daily Star puts the following words into the mouths of Diana’s sons: “We wish she was here say Harry & Wills as they visit Diana memorial garden.”

She can’t be in her own memorial garden for reasons all too obvious. But we can feel her, right? Because in the age of uncertainty, feeling is everything.

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal FC is declared dead and only the parasites remain

Arsenal are dead. So says the Sun, which links the club’s pulse to Alexis Sanchez’s whims, declaring that when the Chilean quits the club today – it is “inevitable he will, says the paper’s Neil Ashton – he’ll be leaving behind a corpse where there was once a club.

Sanchez would also be leaving the leeches, footballers whose presence at Arsenal is more parasitic than proud. Granti Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Perez and Calum Chambers are rubbish on the “Arsenal scrapheap”.

 

the sun arsenal

 

But might it be that the Sun’s trash talk is a little late? It was last March 8 when the Sun’s Ashton told readers:

Arsenal Football Club, Rest In Peace. This institution, one of the most famous clubs in the world, is dead and buried. Here at the Emirates, the heart finally stopped beating.

Can you die twice? And can a thriving football club with millions in the bank die once? Because having watched Arsenal breathe its last in March, on June 1, the same Neil Ashton wrote:

Arsenal, no matter how many times they win the FA Cup, are only ever one defeat away from another meltdown among their fans..

 

To wit the obvious question: is Neil Ashton a Gooner?

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Diana and Me: Paul Burrell’s Paris pilgrimage and the day he died

Just in case you hadn’t heard, it’s 20 years since the death of Princess Diana. The Diana Industry is in full cry. In today’s instalment, former royal servant Paul Burrell is seen eying the site of the car cash that killed his boss in Paris and sharing his “troubling questions” over her death.

Paul’s thoughts are front-page news in the Mirror. And on pages 4 and 5 you get a lot more of them. Burrell, who has made a career from being Diana’s “Rock”, says, “My heart tells me it was a terrible accident.” To say nothing of the countless books, coroner’s reports, police inquiry, TV specials and a million to-deadline opinions about the car crash.

Paul then takes time out to gives us a city tour. He says he “never realised how close the Eiffel Tower was” to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, where Diana died, an underpass he “never realised” was so small. “Now I realise it [the Tower] must have been the last thing she saw before the crash,” says Paul.

Having realised much and shared her last view, Burrell then shares Diana’s demise, albeit mentally. “I dreamt last night I would crash and die in the exact same place,” says Burrell. Not all dreams come true. And Paul is alive to place a “touching” card on the bridge. It says – and it’s all written in easy-to-read capital letters:

YOU WILL BE WITH ME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE … AND ONE DAY WE WILL BE RE-UNITED AND SIT AND LAUGH AND LOVE.

YOUR ROCK.

P.

Always nice when a staff member enjoys their work, but Paul seems a tad besotted with Diana. He says it took a few hours before he realised “she had left me”. In the hospital where she died, coppers showed him the room where Diana is lying, her hair washed, her body carrying the scent of formaldehyde – “I can still smell it, like I still smell her perfume, Hermes 24 Faubourg.” The Mirror plays along, saying Burrell was “the first person to see her body” (if  so, who washed her hair and declared her dead?). He says he entered the room to “stare death in the face”. Lest you think facing the Grim Reaper something you do when faced with your own mortality, Burrell opines: “I’d lost my reason for being.”

But he found a new one, and whether it be talking about Diana in the tabloids, writing about Diana in your book, eating ‘roo gonads on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. judging would-be Dianas on Australian Princess, working out anagrams of ‘CROK’ on Countdown, singing on Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, or shopping on Celebrity Big Brother, Burrell’s soldiered on.

Posted: 30th, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fostering fear and division in Tower Hamlets: the Christian child and her Muslim carers

foster muslim london

 

The Times‘ scoop became a big talking point: a five-year-old, white, native English specking Christian girl had been placed with a Muslim foster family by London’s Tower Hamlet’s council. What problem with that? If the vulnerable child needed help and help was forthcoming, what matter respective religions? The council surely vets foster parents and made an informed choice.

Maybe not.

The girl spent four months with her substitute family. She says the family did not speak English in the home, encouraging her to speak Arabic. Her primary foster carer veiled her face in public. When placed with a second foster family, also Muslim, the girl spoke of regularly eating meals on the floor. The girl was scheduled to return to the first foster carers, but a council worker heard her complain of having had her necklace removed and not returned. The necklace featured a cross-shaped pendant. The girl claimed the family had refused to let her eat carbonara prepared by her family because it contained bacon.

The girl is now back with her family, living with her grandmother on the orders of Judge Khatan Sapnara – the Mail tells readers on its front page, the judge is a Muslim; a fact the Times repeats on page 6 in a lengthy profile on the woman who arrived in the UK as child from her native Bangladesh. Judge Sapnara told the council to seek “culturally matched placements” for children. She also made a stand for free speech. Tower Hamlets tried to block the Times story but failed when Judge Sapnara made it clear she “would not stand in the way of the freedom of the  press to report, within the law and in a responsible manner, in respect of this case.”

The Mail adds that the girl’s family had “pleaded” with the council to let her live with her grandmother. The girl “begged” not to be returned to the Muslim family. By page 17, Sarah Vine is telling readers about the value of “a granny’s love”. But taken in isolation, without us knowing why the child was in care at all, why grandma was overlooked in favour of foster parents and what the foster parents hope to gain from their role, opinion rides roughshod over fact. But Vine tells us that Tower Hamlets advertises foster carer allowances of “£313 and £253 a week”. “That’s a nice little earner,” says Vine.

Easy money? On the Tower Hamlets website we read:

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer you will need to meet with a social worker many times to talk about yourself, your family and your experiences of looking after children. Some people find the idea of this daunting, but our social workers are highly experienced and will do everything they can to help you feel reassured during this process. You will also need to have police and medical checks and will need to ask employers, friends and families to give references.

And Vine’s undersold the job: “Fostering fees and allowances up to £474 per week (per child in placement depending on age).” But, yes, the payments for a five-year-old are as she says. Fostering is a cottage industry. Why the public sector is turning child care into a job creation opportunity is not touched upon. And it costs:

In the 2013/14 financial year an estimated £2.5 billion (gross expenditure) was spent on the main looked after children’s services in England. The majority of expenditure (55%) was on foster care services (around £1.4 billion, 55%) and children’s homes (around £0.9 billion, 36%).

So much for the money.

What’s wrong is when Vine says the “real scandal” is that social services “would rather pay someone, irrespective of whether or not  he child will be miserable, than find a home where someone wants  to offer the one thing that has no price: a mother’s love.”

Eh? Surely is can be argued that the “strict Muslim” women was offering  just that: a place where the child would be treated like one of their own. Moreover, where is the child’s mother? Is she able or capable of offering the kid of love Vine seeks? Let’s not pretend a mother’s love is the ultimate nurturer of life and love.

Also troubling is that the story is presented as one of child abuse. The child was refused food. The child  was with “strict” adults. The child was upset. The child “sobbed”. Everything is presented to make readers suspicious of adults. The child’s view is pure and passes challenged. We’ve not heard from the Muslim women at the centre of the story. The overriding impression from reading this story is that when society revolves around child protection, everyone who works with children is cast as a suspect.

Posted: 30th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0