Anorak

Broadsheets | Anorak - Part 20

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Top news from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Indepedent and The Guardian newspapers

Cif Watcher: Guardian Catches Anti-Semites

THE pages of Comment Is Free, the Guardian’s opinion blog, have been redesigned, and moderators will hold more sway over the often anti-semitic comments that get through.

The Telegraph is not impressed:

So our friends over at Guardian ‘Comment Is Free’ had their early June facelift, as promised. Former CIF Editor and founder Georgina Henry explained the changes to the massed ranks of Guardianistas:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/04/1

There were three announced substantive changes. First, threads will remain open for only two days (previously it was three). Second, clicking on the name of a commenter gives access to all their comments in the past. And third, the comments are now paginated in pages of 50, which does not help with the continuity of a thread since one has to keep paging backwards and forwards to see what was written and by whom.

CIF has a longstanding problem with antisemitism posted there. (It results from the unholy alliance between the unreconstructed ‘left’ and the Islamists). The pattern is that the Editors commission an article from one of their stable of one-sided anti-Israel commentators in the full knowledge that it will open the floodgates to antisemitic comments – it never fails. The Moderators have failed to even spot most of the antisemitic posts – indeed they admit that they rely on readers to do so.

A few weeks ago Matt Seaton (the new CIF Editor) was asked about the implication of the changes for the problem of antisemitism on CIF: “Will it mean that the Moderators pick up and delete more of the antisemitic  instead of relying on the readers to do it? I hope so.”

His response: “the short answer is yes. I can’t promise you that antisemitic comments and other instances of hate speech will disappear from the site overnight, but (from early June) I think you will notice a progressive improvement.”

The result?

Several non-Zionophobes (I hesitate to say pro-Israel commenters, since they simply try to confront CIF’s resident colony of Israel haters and antisemites with the truth) are having their comments pre-moderated (perhaps the new technology allows this to be done, whereas the old one did not).

Newspaper envy, or something more?

Posted: 9th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (12)


What Kind Of Adulterer Are You? Smell Yo D*ick

“WHAT kind of adulterer are you?” asks the Independent.

Readers may blush that the newspaper should consider each of them a love cheat. But Independent is as independent does.

The headline is based on the work of American therapist Mira Kirshenbaum, clinical director of the Chestnut Hill Institute, in Boston, Massachusetts. She claims affairs can be good.

The Times is also thinking of affairs, and from a pew tells readers in an article on how Big Brother is like modern day Christianity:

Then a young woman stood up and declared loudly: “I have committed adultery.” The rest of us were still recovering from the shock when she pointed dramatically across the church and announced: “With that man over there.” She was indicating a young father with a baby on his knee, who was turning a slow purple. Then she added, “In thought,” and sat down again. It struck me later that this might have been an unusually ingenious sort of come-on.

Of course there is way to check if your man is having an affair. Take it away – and, no, this is not safe for work)…

Posted: 9th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment


Big Brother 9: Bring On The Christians

BIG Brother 9 Watch: Anorak’s looks at Big Brother news in the media…

THE TIMES: “Why Big Brother represents a return to early Christianity”

Feeding the idiots to the lions?

For all its screeching abuse and sexual antics under the blanket, Big Brother really represents a return to early Christianity. In the early days of the church, confession was a public affair. Rather than whisper sheepishly through a grille to a priest who was probably asleep, or engaged in some secret sinful practice himself, people used to proclaim their sins in public.

 Thumbs up for a free bet

Posted: 9th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, TV & Radio | Comments (3)


Beyond Parody: Camilla Long Invents Davinia Taylor

davinia-taylor.JPG“KATE MOSS, SADIE, SIENNA And ME,” trails the front page of the Sunday Times.

The headline “ME” is a Sunday Times everyman, a nominal person who will place the three women in context and add historical perspective. She’s given the unlikely name Davinia Taylor, a moniker that blends the deliberately extraordinary with the plebeian

“Davinia Taylor: Secrets of the Primrose Hill set,” says the paper, in what proves to be skilful parody on modern life, and newspaper reporting.

“Davinia Taylor is at the heart of the group, which includes Sadie Frost and Kate Moss. She has never spoken, until now.”

A mute celebrity friend is surely what they all crave. No kiss and tells with a dumb person. But now Davinia is given a voice.

Davinia Taylor is in her downstairs loo. “That’s Kate and me just after we left Disneyland,” she says, pointing out photos. “And there she is in the country, washing the car with Lila. Oh, look, the Duch!” – the Duchess of York, on a night out with Princess Eugenie. Here is Davinia with her new baby, the now 11-month-old Grey, and her husband, David Gardner, the footballer turned agent and David Beckham’s best friend.

Were this not a clear parody, it would be beyond parody, and Anorak would hang up its coat and retire.

Then a snap of Jake Chapman’s daughter in a highchair, the word ‘F***’ artistically picked out in raisins in front of her. “She didn’t do that herself, obviously.”

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Posted: 8th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities | Comments (3)


Madeleine McCann: Fact Checking The Truth About Maddie McCann And Ben Affleck’s Fiction As Fact

mccanns7.jpgMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

Ben Affleck has a new panic film – Gone Baby Gone – in which the lead child is blonde enough to remind all reviewers of Madeleine McCann. The film – a work of fiction – cannot be mentioned without also making mention of missing Madeleine.

It is the 12th Rule of Journalism.

THE OBSERVER: “The cruellest crime of all -Delayed by the McCann case, Ben Affleck’s intense and gripping thriller is well worth the wait”

Crimes involving children touch on our deepest emotions and though we’ve seen numerous films about infant abduction over the past 50 years, ranging in tone from Seance on a Wet Afternoon to Murder on the Orient Express, the subject is peculiarly affecting at the moment in the light of the publicity given to the cases of Shannon Matthews in Dewsbury and Madeleine McCann in Portugal… To add to the anxiety, there is an uncanny physical resemblance between Madeleine McCann and the film’s four-year-old Amanda McCready.

It’s tabloid bingo, in the broadsheet Observer! Can anyone mention Fritzl and get the prize?

IRISH INDEPENDENT: “It’s a film that examines the media hysteria and prurience that happens when children are abducted — especially pertinent themes in our post-Madeleine post-Austrian crazies times.”

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Posted: 8th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (164)


Big Brother Watch: Freak 16 And This Summer’s News

BIG Brother 9 Watch: Anorak’s looks at Big Brother news in the media…

DAILY MIRROR (front page): “BB AFRAID.. BB VERY AFRAID.”

Is this an in-house memo to Mirror hacks, notice that their jobs are threatened by the Big Brother housemates, who write their own news?

“THE BIG BROTHER WANNABES ARE BACK”

And they’re kicking off their media career by appearing on the front page of a national newspaper. That’s not too shabby. The Mirror’s front page is usually given over to tales of Gordon Brown successes and football. So thank f*** then for Big Brother.

THE SUN: (front page): “BB FREAK S16”

The Sun has the 16 housemates in details. They are, in no special order:

ALBINO, BLIND, SEX-MAD, SWOT, TREE-HUGGER, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK, PADDY, PRODDY, TORY, HORNY, HONKY and a few more…

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Posted: 6th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comments (3)


Madeleine McCann: Holidays, Médecins Sans Frontières And Media Wars

mccanns6.jpgMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

DAILY MAIL (front page): “McCanns first holiday since Maddie vanished”

This is the first time the story has featured on a tabloid front page since May 11.

The parents of Madeleine McCann are to take their first holiday since her disappearance 13 months ago. Gerry and Kate McCann, both 40, refused to say where they were going. But they confirmed it would not be Portugal.

Any more facts in this story, now 14-months old?

The McCanns are “both doctors”. Indeed.

Says McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell: ‘It will be incredibly painful to contemplate going away without Madeleine, but this is the reality they are faced with. Nothing has been booked yet. But one thing’s certain – they won’t be going to Portugal.”

Although it might be ruse, and tabloid editors looking to detail staff to cover the McCanns’ trip should not discount any resort just yet.

DAILY TELEGRAPH (Aus): “Parents of missing Madeleine McCann to go on first holiday.”

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Posted: 5th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (547)


Madeleine McCann: Blame It On Portugal And Announcing A Holiday

safe-place-mccanns.jpgMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann 

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Madeleine McCann’s family to go on holiday a year after disappearance”

Somewhere nice?

Says the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “It will be incredibly painful to contemplate going away without Madeleine but this is the reality they are faced with.

“Nothing has been booked yet, but one thing’s certain – they won’t be going to Portugal.”

Obviously. Well, who would?

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Posted: 4th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comments (199)


UN Banquet: They Come To Eat Mugabe Not To Bury Him

pet_sweat-drink.jpgTHE 40 heads of government taking part in the UN food summit are investigating food at a table in Villa Madam, a palace on the lower slopes of Monte Mario, Rome.

The Telegraph says the menu is a secret but thought to be “rigorously Italian”.

Dinner follows a light lunch of vol au vents with sweetcorn and mozzarella, paté of crevettes and pumpkin, veal with cherry tomatoes, spinach and a fruit salad.

Not in attendance is Robert Mugabe, who is uninvited to the fact–finding eatathon hosted by Silvio Berlusconi and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general.

The Zimbabwean leader dines alone in the five-star Hotel Ambasciatori Palace, served by his cadre of loyal African chefs and waiters lest a local Roman plate wallah render unto the Zimbabwean Caesar what Caligula and Tiberius once dined their last upon.

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Posted: 4th, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comments (2)


Fan Meizhong, Runner Fan’s Earthquake Confessional

runner-fan.jpg“IN matters of life and death, it’s every man for himself,” says Chinese teacher, Fan Meizhong.

Earthquake!

“I ran towards the stairs so fast that I stumbled and fell as I went. When I reached the center of the football pitch, I found I was the first to escape. None of my pupils was with me,” said the Meizhong, known as ‘Runner Fan.’

Later, when some of his students who managed to escape asked him how he could have left them behind, he replied: “I have a very strong sense of self-preservation … I have never been a brave man and I’m only really concerned about myself.”

Notes the Telegraph: “While newspapers have largely followed instructions to concentrate on uplifting tales of rescue work since the earthquake, the internet has seen a wild variety of tales emerge.”

And the internet is where the Telegraph gets its news from.

“I didn’t cause the earthquake, so I have no reason to feel guilty,” he said in an interview. “When I got back to the classroom, the students were all fine.”

He’s in interview after the jump:

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Posted: 3rd, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Strange But True | Comments (8)


Getting High And Mighty On Global Warming

THAT Big 4×4 might have lots of space, comfort and big cup holders, but know:

What does owning a 4×4 say about your marriage? Nothing very encouraging, according to Keith Bradsher, the author of High and Mighty, the 470-page American polemic that has assumed the status of a set text for the anti-Sports Utility Vehicle lobby. Paraphrasing detailed market research, Bradsher notes how people who choose these thunderous middle-class badges of honour are “frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self- absorbed, with little interest in their neighbours and communities”.

Blimey. And you thought that they just fancied the high driving position, the extra-large cup-holders and the bigger than average boot space. Manufacturers of SUVs have clearly been missing the target here. Instead of offering a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, they should be stumping up for a course of couple counselling and sticking a copy of Raising Happy Children in the glove compartment where the owner’s manual normally goes.

Big Car versus little minds…

Posted: 3rd, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment


Big Brother 9 Contestants Revealed: Julie Birchill And Caitlin Moran:

big_brother_jade_goody1.jpgBIG Brother 9 is casting a shadow over the Club 18-30 toilet bowl and the columnists are coughing up their opinions as what lies in store.

Caitlin Moran in the Times, spends 740 words explaining why Big Brother is rubbish and she will not be watching it.

Of the show’s tabloid, and broadsheet, fodder, Moran says: “To me, in 2008, they are dead.”

“’It’s such a bloody relief,’ said my friend Mark, who gave up BB last year. ‘I felt as if I’d been released from a cellar.'” Austrians can only nod.

Over in the Sun, Julie Birchill tells readers: “REALITY TV was recently listed alongside capital punishment as one of the worst inventions of all time. Which really tells you all you need to know about the kind of airy-fairy seat-sniffers who hate it.”

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Posted: 3rd, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comments (5)


Immigrants And Poles Are Eurovision’s New Seekers

putin.jpgBAD news for Eurovision fans is that the 2.3 million immigrants the Mail says have come to the UK in the past 15 years are not all from Eastern Europe.

Or as the Express’ front-page screamer puts it: “IMMIGRATION IS OUT OF CONTROL.”

The Mail says “most migrants” have arrived from the Third World and not Eastern Europe, so reducing hopes of a naturalised Pole winning the big sing off for the UK, and of unnatural Poles voting for their former brethren.

Terry Wogan, who gives voice to Eurovision from an uneven wooden stool in a snow-blown corner of the BBC complex, is said by the Express to have blasted those “Eastern European racists”.

The paper reminds us that no eastern European country voted for Andy Abraham, who on top of singing a rubbish song suffered the double whammy of being a black man with a Jewish-sounding name. Had the finale to his act involved his admitting to eating little blonde children and shagging their mums, he might have scored big. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Like Wogan, Daily Express readers are outraged that the voting should be skewered towards the Russians. Taking time out from voting on today’s phone poll (“Should MPS have their expenses slashed” – make that “GREEDY MPs”) a “massive 98 per cent of readers” called the Express – irony of ironies – to complain of “rigged voting”.

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Posted: 2nd, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment (1)


Digital Content For Newspapers And The BBC

MARTIN Belam looks the newspapers and new media:

It also has to be said that the newspapers themselves have not been slow to move into producing video and audio content which is squeezing out smaller companies, for which the BBC required regulatory approval, and they did not. The BBC’s mp3 podcast downloads were a trial for a long time, and the protracted birth of the iPlayer was not solely down to poor management, but also included some enforced review processes. The Telegraph and The Guardian, meanwhile, can produce their podcasts and video and have them policed by, I guess, the PPC, but I don’t even know for sure if their rules of engagement cover that type of content yet.

Read on.

Spotter 

Posted: 2nd, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment


Fritzl Watch: Global Warming Is Like Child Rape

fritzl4.jpgFRITZL Watch: Anorak’s look at Josef Fritzl, Elisabeth Fritzl, Nazis and assorted Frtizls in the news

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Global warming inertia ‘as bad’ as Josef Fritzl, says Bishop of Stafford”

People who fail to act over global warming are “as guilty” as Josef Fritzl – denying our children a future, a senior Anglican bishop has warned.

The Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Rev Gordon Mursell, said a refusal to face the truth about climate change was akin to locking up future generations and “throwing away the key”.

But with global warming, won’t the cellars flood?

Writing in his local parish magazine delivered across the Diocese of Lichfield, the bishop says: “Josef Fritzl represents merely the most extreme form of a very common philosophy of life: I will do what makes me happy, and if that causes others to suffer, hard luck.

“In fact you could argue that, by our refusal to face the truth about climate change, we are as guilty as he is – we are in effect locking our children and grandchildren into a world with no future and throwing away the key.”

He tells the paper:

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Posted: 2nd, June 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Tabloids | Comments (5)


France Pulls Line Dancers Into Line

IN Fracne they panic about aline dancing:

Now country and western has become so big in France that the country’s bureaucrats have decided to bring the craze under state control.

The French administration has moved to create an official country dancing diploma as part of a drive to regulate the fad. Authorised instructors who have been on publicly funded training courses will be put in charge of line dancing lessons and balls.

The French are so uptight…

Posted: 31st, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Strange But True | Comments (2)


Madeleine McCann: Every Directors Worst Nightmare

madeleine-mccann.jpgMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE GUARDIAN: Ben Affleck has a movie out and thanks to the case of Madeleine McCann it’s getting lots and lots of press.

Breaking news broke my movie – What scuppered the chances of Ben Affleck’s latest film? This time he can’t blame the critics, says Andrea Hubert. Events in Portugal on the other hand…

It’s the twist of fate that every director fears most: you spend endless meetings fine-tuning the script, months sweating on a Hollywood lot, run it by the test screenings – and then, just as you’re ready to serve up your latest cinematic masterpiece, real life pulls the rug out from beneath your feet.

It’s every director’s worst nightmare. But Affleck’s film is a work of fiction and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is raw reality…

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Posted: 31st, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities, Madeleine McCann | Comments (668)


The Civil Partnership War: Earl Of Devon Takes On Gay Army

civil-service-war.pngTHE Earl Of Devon has yet to go on the record and say how he has squired up to 30 women, like Nick Clegg, or between 70 and 100, like Simon Cowell, or even 10,000, like Georges Simenon, but he is undoubtedly not in the least bit homosexual.

The Telegraph reports that The Earl, “whose castle was a Royalist garrison in the English Civil War, is under siege from gay rights campaigners after banning same sex civil partnerships at his stately home”.

How do gay campaigners besiege Powderham Castle, a fragment of the Civil War?

Indeed, they are just like the rest of us, and would do their besieging as men of yore, dressed in short-waisted doublet with long skirts, with slits on the chest and sleeve, allowing for movement, knee-length breeches, ribbon points at waist and knee, a lace-trimmed ruff and boots and gloves in a soft leather.

To the battle!

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Posted: 30th, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (7)


Londoners Forget 700 Items On Tube Every Day

lost-on-tube.jpgSAYS Julie Haley, manager of the London Undergound’s lost property office, Baker Street, to the Telegraph:

“The amount handed in is increasing year on year but the fact that we get around 700 items handed in every day is a real testament to the honesty of Londoners on the whole.”

No figures for how item are not handed in, or how many of the items are stolen and then when used – wallets cleaned out; Tube passes ripped from covers; umbrellas left after a gentle frotting – but it surely is testament to Londoner’s honesty, and the impact of alcopops and skunk on the short-term memory of Londoners who can’t remember what they had in their shaking hands when they got on the train…

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Posted: 29th, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Strange But True | Comments (3)


Comment Is Not Free On The Guardian

SAMIZDATA sees an attack on free speech in the Guardian:

Is the Guardian becoming increasingly illiberal? It may have a section of its website called “Comment is Free”, yet it is now attacking free speech when it disagrees with the opinions expressed.

Once a supporter of liberal values, the Guardian was the sort of paper that would have quoted Voltaire’s “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.” But just as it has dropped support for liberal ideas on economics (it was once a free trade paper), it now appears to be dropping liberal ideas about freedom of expression.

In that vein, it is getting itself worked up because one of its rivals, the Telegraph, runs a blogging platform, like Blogger or Typepad, where members of the public can start their own blogs. That blogging platform has been one of the reasons why the Telegraph, according to moaning articles in the Guardian, has recently overtaken the Guardian in online readers.

Among the 20,000 people who have signed up for a ‘MyTelegraph’ blog, one is a member of the anti-immigration British National Party. The Guardian thinks the Telegraph should ban him, but the Telegraph says that it believes in free speech – even when the views are wrong – and rightly so.

The Guardian’s lack of faith in free speech is not just restricted to BNP-type comments. It whines that: “My Telegraph is also inhabited by some very unsavoury characters, including a minority of active members of the far right, anti-abortionists, europhobes and members of an anti-feminist ‘men’s movement’.”

Anti-abortionists! Europhobes! Opponents of excessive feminism! I wonder if the Guardian would prefer a return to the old days before the decentralisation of publishing in which only the elite, who knew best, were allowed a voice.

The newspapers fighting online…

Posted: 29th, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comment (1)


John Terry’s Nuremberg Trial, By Matt Dickinson

john-terry-hoolcaust.jpgJOHN Terry is restored to greatness with a headed goal in England’s 2-0 victory over Team USA, a fine footballing nation whose legends are known to all soccerball fans: Pele, Beckham, Beckenbauer.

And he has suffered much. Matt Dickinson, the Times’ chief sports correspondent, puts that Champions’ League failure in perspective:

“Avram Grant, the Chelsea first team coach, has a perspective on life because of the traumas his family suffered in the Holocaust, but even he was struggling to find the words to ease the pain of Terry, who was white with shock.”

Terry missed a penalty – unlike those Germans who never miss, unless they are at Nuremberg…

Posted: 29th, May 2008 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets | Comment (1)


Gordon Brown Is Not Yellow, He’s Green

“DON’T be yellow Gordon, be green,” says the Independent on its front page – the Independent that supported the yellowy LibDems at the last election.

Here’s a video of Gordon going green…

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Posted: 28th, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment


Niqab, Kebab And Stab: Welcome To Dewsbury Theme Park

dewsbury.jpgWHO dares go to Dewsbury?

Don’t rush to make a decision. When Shannon Matthews was found, and her family members arrested, police handed out leaflets telling locals not to “jump to any conclusions about people who may be involved in this inquiry”.

As if anyone would do that. Don’t be hasty. Listen to the travel advice.

The Times would like to tell you in “Dewsbury: Kidnap, lynching and a suicide” that “The savage beating to death of a 17-year-old boy was merely the latest in a grim litany of incidents in this West Yorkshire town.”

Know that: “It is fast becoming the town that dare not speak its name.”

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Posted: 28th, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets | Comments (6)


Madeleine McCann: Bobby Hands, Cannes And A Hunger For Publicity

sands-mccann.pngMADDIE WATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Madeleine McCann

THE GUARDIAN: Cannes 2008: The final wordBobby Sands – The Movie. Grab the nachos and sit back:

As Leslie Felperin, the excellent reviewer for Variety magazine remarked to me: the newspaper-reading public can’t be persuaded to react in the same way: they care about Madeleine McCann in a serious mood, or in a non-serious mood, they care about Sir Alan Sugar or Simon Cowell. The idea of actually caring about a violent arthouse film investigating the life of Bobby Sands is a very tall order indeed.

Fact and fiction – the story of Madeleine McCann

Posted: 27th, May 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann | Comments (562)


We’re Not Going On An Olympic Holiday

ALL change. The No. 16 to Beijing will not be stopping at Beijing.

Proposals to send a red double-decker bus by road from London to China, to coincide with the Olympics, have been dropped after critics derided the idea as a gimmick and a waste of almost half a million pounds…

Taxpayers will still pay more than half the bill for the project, lauded by Ken Livingstone, because of the expense incurred in planning the journey and hiring bus drivers.

The move comes as Boris Johnson, the new Mayor of London, launches an Olympics cost-cutting drive and says that as few officials as possible would be attending the Games.

Mr Livingstone claimed that the Beijing trip would highlight London’s public transport system to the world, via one of its most recognisable symbols, and help to forge ties with China.

It was cancelled last week by London 2012 organisers and Transport for London (TfL), which funded the journey, in the wake of the earthquake in Sichuan province.

The trip, which was to be undertaken by eight drivers at a cost of £450,000, was considered to be unsafe and in bad taste, given the scale of the disaster. However, given that Mr Johnson had denounced it during the election campaign as a publicity stunt and a “ludicrous waste of public money”, the decision was regarded by his aides as a “happy coincidence”.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “He was already very sceptical about it and in need of persuading, but TfL and the Olympics board reflected on the earthquake and decided to pull it anyway.”

Mr Johnson scrapped another facet of Mr Livingstone’s legacy when he axed a controversial tie-up with Venezuela, and half-price bus and tram travel for some of the capital’s least well-off. Mr Livingstone signed a deal with the South American nation’s state-owned oil company last year, agreeing to provide transport advice in return for a 20 per cent cut in TfL’s bus fuel bill.

The savings were used to offer discount fares to around 250,000 people on income support.

At the launch of his successful campaign to oust the two-term Labour Mayor, Mr Johnson called the deal with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez “completely Caracas”.

No room up top – although it’s empty…

Posted: 26th, May 2008 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment