Anorak

Key Posts | Anorak - Part 18

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Reasons to love Emery: Arsenal got rid of Wilshere

Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.

Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:

“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”

Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.

Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoringinjury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Julian Cole: after five years of waiting police sacked for lying over paralysed man

julian cole

 

Julian Cole was on night out at Elements nightclub in Bedford on May 5 2013. He was 19. Things went badly wrong. Having been asked to leave the club, which he did, Julian Cole asked for a refund. He was refused. He tried to get back into the club. A bouncer ‘took him to the ground’. Police were called. He was then “taken to the ground” – that’s a police term –  by PCs Nicholas Oates, Sanjeev Kalyan and Hannah Ross. Julian Cole was handcuffed with “his face down on the ground”. The three coppers pulled him off the ground and dragged him to the police van.

At the station, Mr Cole was not breathing. Paramedics were called. Julian Cole had a broken vertebra. He is now brain damaged and paralysed.

 

 

Today an independent panel found all three officers guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed them:

The panel found that PC Ross “made up her account” of Mr Cole moving his legs in an “attempt to demonstrate she had taken Mr Cole’s report of neck pain seriously when she had not”. The hearing was also told that PC Kalyan tried to “shift responsibility” over what happened to the student.

He was found to have lied in his statement when he stated that he had heard PC Ross ask Mr Cole if he could move his legs, and that he moved them in response.

PC Oates had also said that Mr Cole had walked to the police van during his arrest, which the panel said he knew was not true.

PCs Ross, Kalyan and Oates “did not ask any basic questions concerning his welfare”. However, the panel added this was “most unlikely to have changed the outcome for [Mr Cole]”…

The panel also said that Sgt Andrew Withey failed to make “any enquiry” when PC Ross asked whether Mr Cole should go directly to hospital or custody, and failed to “react” to hearing Mr Cole say his neck hurt.

A crime? No:

None of the police officers were accused of causing Mr Cole’s injuries and The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no criminal conduct following lengthy investigations…

“Julian Cole was a young athletic man whose life was changed forever. It will never be known exactly how his neck was broken, or if swifter care could have prevented the awful consequences of the break,” Independent Office for Police Conduct Regional Director Sarah Green said.

“The panel today have concluded however that the officers failed in their duty to provide adequate welfare checks, and worse, that three of them were dishonest in how they presented their version of events.

“This dishonesty has only added to the anguish of Mr Cole’s family.”

No crime?

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Chelsea’s Ross Barkley gets rid of his tattoos

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley says he got his tattoos removed because he “got them at a young age and sometimes when you are young you do stupid things and not think about it. But I went into it too quick and over the years I felt I wanted to get them removed, so I went through the process in the last couple of years.”

 

Barkley got his first cry for help and sign of low-self esteem, sorry, tattoo, when he was 14. He just kept filling in the gaps with crosses, words, faces, stars and swirls until his armed looked as confusing and unnecessary as a Where’s Wally cartoon, only without the purpose.

But not of that lasering and scabbing off means Ross is off tatts forever. “I would never rule out getting another,” he says, “maybe when I have kids I might have something done to go with that. I don’t know.”

Whereas once we had the high-street portrait photographer to serve up awkward family photos, we now have the inkologists who can draw the face of your beloved nipper on your arms, back, chest or, well, face, leading to the full meta line, “He looks just like his dad.”

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Chelsea, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Women fight over the wonderful Ant McPartlin

Update time on the lives and loves of Ant McPartlin (dontchajustlovehim!) and his now ex-wife Lisa Armstrong (boo! hiss! move on, luv!).

 

Ant McPartlin anne -MArie Corbett

Good ol’ Ant letting the women fight as he makes a dignified retreat.

 

Ant admitted adultery. And the Star leads with the news that Lisa, who was monstered in the Press, is “gagged” from liking tweets calling Ant’s new true love and rock, one Anne-Marie Corbett, a “backstabber”. Rumours are that Anne-Marie’s lawyers “reportedly demanded” Lisa stops liking messages calling Anne-Marie things like a “husband-stealer” and “cretin”. Yeah, that’s what we thought: when did Twitter become so civilised and measured? Although the Sun does says Lisa liked a tweet calling Ant a “lying addict”.

But the really irritating thing is that the Star says Lisa is in line for loadsa cash “from Ant’s £62m fortune”. His fortune? Surely their fortune?

This soft-soaping of poor Ant continues via Simon Cowell, who harps on about Ant being “grumpy” and “depressed. “We’re living in a time now when people do get  depressed or crack up,” says Cowell, who not only has huge grasp on human history but also a vested interested in the world siding with good-old Ant, “and it was harder for him because it was in public.” His alleged affair wasn’t in public. His drug taking wasn’t in public. His crashing into car carrying a family whilst he was well over the drink-drive limit was in public.

The Press has been very much on the side of Ant McPartlin, as he was “getting over an addiction to painkillers following knee surgery”; his condition connived into a campaign we all can take heart from; turning McPartlin from a man who deserves a private life into a role model; his plight told in his own words; a “source” assuring Sun readers that divorce would be “the right thing for his health”. This is “freakishly clean” Ant who in 2013 admitted to having taken drugs.

Cowell the historian might note than whilst come thing change others remains constant: famous man leaves long-suffering wife for blonde is a story as old as the hills.

 

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


This explains Donald Trump’s tweets

It’s fairly obvious that Donald Trump has lost the journalistic classes. Something that shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise, given that the journalistic class hating such things as Donald Trump and his supporter base is why he won the damn election. However, you might think that these people who make their livings with words would at least understand what he was actually saying rather than just mocking it. But that’s to misunderstand quite how badly the 90% Democrat and only 10% Republican profession is out of step with the America they write about and for.

I myself writing from the point of view of having been a part of that industry and really rather shocked at quite how vociferously all those in flyover country are derided.

Here’s the tweet Trump made:

And here’s the reaction from HuffPo:

His bizarre brag did not go unnoticed by fellow Twitter users, however:

Then follows a list of people making fun of the President. Fair game of course. AOL runs the same piece:

Trump’s bizarre grammar boast has Twitter users scratching their heads

But it’s not bizarre grammar in the slightest. We might call it a joke – not a very good one to be sure – or a claim to an excessive patriotism but it’s a good little piece of politics.

So, what’s the difference between country and Country? Well, we capitalise proper nouns in this language. So, if we capitalise then we’re making the claim that this is a proper noun. As with the difference between polish and Polish. Here the difference is between a country. Something that anyone can claim to come from as all of us do come from one or another. The other claim being Country, the country, not a, that is, *THE* country, the very apotheosis of what a country is and is supposed to be. And there are an awful lot of Americans out there in flyover country, those derided boonies, who think exactly that way about their place.

You know, it’s only the coastal elites that the journalistic class is drawn from who actually hate their own America.

Trump’s claim, with that capitalisation, is that the US is what every other place should aspire to be. Something that will indeed be understood – they still have grammar classes in that country – and which will play well out there where Republican isn’t a swearword.

Now it’s perfectly possible to disagree with this, entirely fair to deride it – look, it’s still a free country, you can think whatever you like – but to fail to understand it? Well, guess that’s why newspaper circulation is going down and no one does trust the fake news being sent their way, eh?

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United sale to Saudi Arabia is on-ish

The sale of Manchester United is on! Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a man riding high on the news cycle for exercising an attitude to journalists that even Sir Alex Ferguson would consider a bit much, is “hoping” to meet Manchester United owners the Glazer family and buy the club for £4bn (Mirror) or £3bn (Sun). The Mirror confirms the story punched out by the trusty Daily Star last week. That scoop was based on“web football forums and Twitter”. So it’s a dead cert to be true.

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Now the no less trusty Mirror takes up the news cudgel. If it’s facts you want, the paper says Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is worth £850bn. Sorry, fact. That’s the only one, and even it’s a guess. The Mirror says the Prince is “hoping” to meet United owners Joel and Avram Glazer in the ­Middle East in the next couple of weeks. Progress, eh. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia banned Jews from entering the country. Now they let them in. If they they let then out again in one piece, we’ll see.

Indeed, as the Mirror notes: “United’s co-owners know that they will have to tread carefully as the Crown Prince is embroiled in a tense diplomatic row over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Saudis say Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi government – was killed in a fight at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It’s unlikely the row was about United’s decision to offer Luke Shaw a new contract, but nothing is being ruled out.

But will the Saudis really buy United? On the back of this rumour, which the Mirror can’t substantiate with a single quote or fact, shares in the club traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose by over 5% to $27.65. Such is the power of the red-tops that when they spread a baseless rumour, City traders go ballistic.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, local journalists deliver the scores from last weekend’s matches: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 27.

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


The Peoples’ March was futile: 700,000 demand the impossible

There’s really only one explanation for the Peoples’ March today in London – an advertising of personal virtue. For absolutely nothing else will be achieved at all, that time and money has been completely wasted.

 

people's march

Big media pretty much ignores the futile march

 

But out they came, to march through the streets of London:

No one knows where negotiations over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union will end up. (Things are not looking great.) But it’s now obvious that no one heading to the polls in 2016 could possibly have grasped the full implications of this misguided decision — and that the British people deserve another say.

That’s not an entirely ridiculous claim. I say this as a committed Leaver too – rethinks are indeed part of responsible governance and democracy. There are two good arguments against another vote though:

Organisers say more than 600,000 people rallied in central London on Saturday to call for a referendum on the final Brexit deal
People’s Vote march: ‘more than half a million’ rally for new Brexit referendum

That’s part of the battle over numbers. Don’t trust that count for a moment:

Protesters seeking a referendum on the final Brexit deal have attended a rally which organisers say was the “biggest” demonstration of its kind.

Young voters led the People’s Vote march to London’s Parliament Square, which supporters say attracted more than 600,000 people.

MPs from the main parties backed the event calling for a fresh referendum.

This is something which has already been ruled out by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The People’s Vote campaign said stewards on the route estimated 670,000 were taking part.

Scotland Yard said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd.

No, really, do not believe that number.

Still, why shouldn’t we?

The first reason is that we’re British dammit. It’s the Europeans, the continentals, who keep having referenda about the European Union until the proles vote the right way. As was done in Ireland, France, Denmark. Admittedly, that’s an argument unlikely to find favour with those who like the EU.

So, the killer one. We’re out the door on 29 March next year. The deal, whatever it is going to be, is not finished yet. Reasonable people – that is others than me – think it might actually get sealed on March 28 at 11.59 pm. But even if it were sealed today then what?

British law insists that there be a 6 month run in to a referendum. Which is, of course, what a peoples’ vote is.

Our own laws say that we cannot have a Peoples’ Vote therefore. So why were half a million people pissing away their Saturday?

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Police escape and race riots averted as Huddersfield rapists jailed

At Leeds Crown Court 20 men have been found guilty of raping and abusing 15 girls as young as 11 in and around Huddersfield between 2004 and 2011. One of their victims had the mental age of a seven-year-old. Who are the criminals? We’ll get to that, just as soon as the BBC has told us their nicknames, like “Dracula”, “Bully”, “Beastie” and “Nurse”. The ringleader was Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, a married father of two. He’s starting a life sentence. He’ll be in prison for a minimum of 18 years. The other child rapists “are all British Asians mainly of Pakistani heritage”, says the BBC.

 

 Amere Singh Dhaliwal

Amere Singh Dhaliwal

 

Deeper into the BBC story we get to the police. One victim told police: “Every time I went out something bad happened. I risked my life every time. I was a mess.” Another escaped only by moving home, saying: “It was the best thing I ever did, and that’s bad saying that burning your house down is the best thing you ever did.” How did police view the victims – as fair game? As someone once said of teenage girls: “If you think they’re doing it, they’re doing it.”

So after the stories of rapes and abuse by men mainly of Pakistani heritage in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, Derby, Banbury, Telford, Peterborough, Aylesbury, Bristol, Halifax, Keighley, Newcastle we get to Huddersfield. Is that the end of it?

 

Top row left to right: Amere Singh Dhaliwal (Pretos), Irfan Ahmed (Finny), Zahid Hassan (Little Manny), Mohammed Kammer (Kammy), Raj Singh Barsran (Raj). Bottom row left to right: Mohammed Rizwan Aslam (Big Riz), Abdul Rehman (Beastie), Nahman Mohammed (Dracula), Mansoor Akhtar, (Boy) and Mohammed Irfraz, (Faj). Photograph: West Yorkshire police/PA

Top row left to right: Amere Singh Dhaliwal (Pretos), Irfan Ahmed (Finny), Zahid Hassan (Little Manny), Mohammed Kammer (Kammy), Raj Singh Barsran (Raj). Bottom row left to right: Mohammed Rizwan Aslam (Big Riz), Abdul Rehman (Beastie), Nahman Mohammed (Dracula), Mansoor Akhtar, (Boy) and Mohammed Irfraz, (Faj).

 

And one question pervades all others: why didn’t the police and authorities act sooner? The BBC’s Home Editor Mark Easton has a theory:

The grooming gangs of provincial England tend to operate where the disinfectant of public scrutiny struggles to reach – poorer neighbourhoods on the edge of town, around the mini-cab ranks and fast food joints, the twilight zones of urban life.

Public scrutiny wasn’t needed. Local media might have got wind of something ill, but local newspapers are dying. The BBC has reach and resources but it missed the scandal as it failed to notice its in-house paedophile Jimmy Savile, preferring to focus on innocent men with higher profiles. So what then of the local child minders, councils, schools and police? Huddersfield is not hundreds of miles from civilisation. Oxford is no cultural wasteland. Easton adds:

Child abuse thrives in such dark corners, where people look the other way, not asking questions or following concerns because the subject matter is uncomfortable and scrutiny is potentially damaging. But when we look, we find.

 

Top row left to right: Nasarat Hussain (Nurse), Sajid Hussain (Fish), Faisal Nadeem (Chiller), Mohammed Azeem (Mosabella), Wiqas Mahmud (Vic). Bottom row left to right: Manzoor Hassan (Big Manny), Niaz Ahmed (Shaq), Mohammed Imran Ibrar (Bully), Asif Bashir (Junior) and Mohammed Akram (Kid).

Top row left to right: Nasarat Hussain (Nurse), Sajid Hussain (Fish), Faisal Nadeem (Chiller), Mohammed Azeem (Mosabella), Wiqas Mahmud (Vic). Bottom row left to right: Manzoor Hassan (Big Manny), Niaz Ahmed (Shaq), Mohammed Imran Ibrar (Bully), Asif Bashir (Junior) and Mohammed Akram (Kid).

 

This was child rape on a huge scale. It wasn’t behind closed doors, within the family, where child abuse can go undetected. This was on the street. People knew. Did the wives of these men suspect? If every time we look we find, as Easton says, why don’t “we” look more often? Or is it that the “we” – police, social workers and other State employees – are scared of what “we” might find? Are they less bothered about the rule of law and teenage girls being abused than they are scared of the white working class, a group the State views as a race riot-in-waiting? So crime is allowed to fester. One rape become countless rapes. One rapist tells his friends the fun he’s having, and a gang is formed. So who suspected and knew, and why was nothing done earlier?

During the trials, the court heard girls would be driven up to remote moorland late at night and abandoned if they refused the men’s sexual demands. A sheep farmer told the BBC how he found distressed girls on the doorstep of his isolated home on a number of occasions…

At house parties, girls would be plied with alcohol and drugs before being sexually abused “one by one” by the men, sometimes without contraception.

The court heard they were abused in cars, car parks, houses, a snooker centre and a takeaway, often with other defendants and fellow victims watching on.

And now the hammer blow:

Victims and their families said they repeatedly told West Yorkshire Police what was happening but no arrests were made until years later.

Who police’s the police? Drive over the speed limit, smoke a joint or fail to pay your TV licence and the law is all over you. Rape a vulnerable child and, as is alleged, the police ignore it. Why?

Detective Chief Inspecor Ian Mottershaw tells one and all:

“The investigation into this case has been extremely complex and the investigative team have worked tirelessly for the past five years to ensure that no stone has been left unturned. We welcome the convictions and sentences which have been passed down throughout the year to these depraved individuals, who subjected vulnerable young children to unthinkable sexual and physical abuse.”

But the victims’ families say the police knew. Now the police tell us how hard they worked. But did they listen?

Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield, nails it: “Let’s be honest: no-one, local authority leadership, police, many of the people that should have been taking this more seriously earlier did not. But also, what happened in Rotherham and the publicity of Rotherham galvanised the action.”

So this is huge news, right? Wrong. Only the Guardian leads with the story. It mentions the men’s ethnic heritage only once, in paragraph 18. The paper quotes Judge Geoffrey Marson QC we’re told:

“Amongst the aggravating factors are that these girls were young when the abuse started, they were targeted because of their extreme vulnerability. They were threatened and intimidated and plied with drink and drugs often to insensibility and often in order to facilitate sexual abuse. These were planned offences by a large group of Asian men.”

But as with the BBC’s report, there is space to mention the criminal actions of Tommy Robinson, former leader of the anti-Islam English Defence League. The BBC injects its report on depraved criminality to tell readers:

In May, the former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson was arrested for reporting on the case live on Facebook during the second of the trials.

He was jailed for contempt of court but his conviction was quashed because of a number of procedural errors. He faces a fresh hearing in relation to the alleged breach.

Anyone doing what Robinson did would have been arrested. As Luke Gittos notes:

The men he targeted are entitled to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Robinson was not arrested because of what he said. He was arrested because of when and how he chose to say it…

Free speech is too important for us to allow it to be consistently warped and slandered by both left and right. Free speech is about allowing a free and unhindered exchange of ideas. But, at the same time, we must recognise that the reason Robinson has a career is that we have become overly sensitive as a society to the kind of arguments he makes. He is a product not of too much free speech, but of too little. His arrest is not symbolic of a state conspiracy to shut him up. But it is at least connected to our continuing discomfort with discussing certain ideas.

Which brings us to how so many vulnerable children came to be raped by so many men over such a long period? Were certain lines of investigation taboo? Was there a cover up? In the absence of transparency and honesty, censorship grows, legitimate concerns are sidelined and damned; conspiracy theories fester, seeping to the surface.

There are no race riots. Huddersfield is not an outpost of the Fourth Reich. Trust us with the truth. We can handle it.

The Criminals:

Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, of Holly Road, Huddersfield, guilty of 54 counts, including 22 counts of rape, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years

Irfan Ahmed, 34, of Yews Hill Road, Huddersfield, guilty of one count of sexual assault and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to eight years

Zahid Hassan, 29, of Bland Street Huddersfield, guilty of six counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual assault, one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two counts of child abduction, two counts of supplying class A drugs sentenced to 18 years

Mohammed Kammer, 34, of West View, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 16 years

Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, 31, of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 15 years

Abdul Rehman, 31, of Darnely Drive, Sheffield, guilty of supplying a class C drug, one count of rape, one count of assault and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to 16 years

Raj Singh Barsran, 34, of Caldercliffe Road, Huddersfield, guilty of rape and two counts of sexual assault, sentenced to 17 years

Nahman Mohammed, 32, of West View, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to 15 years

Mansoor Akhtar, 27, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to eight years

Wiqas Mahmud, 38, of Banks Crescent, Huddersfield, guilty of three counts of rape, sentenced to 15 years

Nasarat Hussain, 30, of Upper Mount Street, Huddersfield, guilty of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, sentenced to 17 years

Sajid Hussain, of 33, of Grasmere Road, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 17 years

Mohammed Irfraz, 30, of North Road, Huddersfield, guilty of child abduction and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to six years

Faisal Nadeem, 32, of Carr Green, Huddersfield, guilty of rape and supplying class A drugs, sentenced to 12 years

Mohammed Azeem, 33, of Wrose Road, Bradford, guilty of five counts of rape, sentenced to 18 years

Manzoor Hassan, 38, of Bland Street, Huddersfield, guilty of administering a noxious substance, inciting child prostitution and supplying a class A drug, sentenced to five years

Mohammed Akram, 33, of Springdale Street, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and awaiting sentencing

Niaz Ahmed, 54, of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield, guilty of sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and awaiting sentencing

Asif Bashir, 33, of Thornton Lodge Road, Huddersfield, guilty of, rape and attempted rape and awaiting sentencing

Mohammed Imran Ibrar, 34, of Manchester Road, Huddersfield, guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation and assault and awaiting sentencing

Posted: 20th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit 1 Nick Clegg 0: Facebook seduces Mr EU to Leave for California

See ya, Nick Clegg. The man who wants a second EU referendum in the hope the great unwashed will vote for the status quo has opted to leave for the US, where he’ll work for Facebook. The former Deputy Prime Minister is now Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications.

On Facebook, natch., Clegg told us: “Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl [Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg] over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large.”

A journey…to Luxembourg to pay less taxes? Clegg continues his travels into X Factor speak:

“I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Instagram are at the heart of so many people’s everyday lives – but also at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society: the privacy of the individual, the integrity of our democratic process, the tensions between local cultures and the global internet, the balance between free speech and prohibited content, the power and concerns around artificial intelligence, and the wellbeing of our children.”

Maybe. Or you could just, you know, disable the app? Life will go on. But Clegg’s already at work, it seems, assuring us that Facebook is life itself. It’s not a company geared to make money from a leisure activity; it’s part of who we are.

 

nick clegg facebook

 

He adds: “I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions – not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organisations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.”

Or as he put it in a 2017 column: “Other critics of Silicon Valley are just plain disingenuous: traditional newspaper groups vilify social media companies for scooping up the lion’s share of advertising revenue. What do they expect? Social media companies – notwithstanding their occasionally pious New Age slogans – are profit-making companies, not charities.”

Good job he’s gone for the betterment of humankind and not the money.

Spotter: Financial Times 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Technology | Comment


I Was Big Bird: Caroll Spinney retires from Sesame Street

spinney oscar sesame street big bird

 

Oscar the Grouch and big Bird are looking for a new inside man following news that Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney has retired from the roles he’s performed since the show’s 1969 premiere.

“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”

After five decades as the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, it’s impossible to entirely separate the man from the characters he so vibrantly brought to life. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979. He’s danced with the Rockettes, and with prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He’s been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Performing Big Bird has taken Caroll to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has performed on hundreds of episodes of television, starred as his big yellow avatar in the feature film Follow That Bird, and conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. Spinney even met his wife of 45 years, Debra, on the Sesame Street set in 1973.

From now on, Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson, will be warming Oscar and Big Bird. For an inkling of what they can expect, Spinney told Jessica Gross in 2015:

There used to be an urban tale that my right arm was twice the size of my left. Although that wasn’t true, I would say it was twice as strong. The bird’s head weighs four and a half pounds, which doesn’t sound heavy until you try to hold it over your head for fifteen minutes. A guy once said, “Well, four and a half pounds, that’s nothing. I could hold a hundred pounds over my head.” I said, “I don’t think so. I bet you can’t hold your empty hand over your head for five minutes, let alone if I put a four and a half pound head in your hand at the same time.” About two and a half minutes into it, he’s going, “Geez…” He never made it to the five minutes. He said, “This is stupid, I’m not doing this.” Well, he was stupid, anyway.

You can see Spinney at work in I Am Big Bird :

 

 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


Arsenal fans lament the loss of their shares to a heartless Kroenke

When Arsenal fans watching their side thrash Fulham 5-1 began to sing “We’ve got our Arsenal back”, billionaire Stan Kroenke must have smirked. It’s not the fans who have Arsenal, it’s him. And he’s got the lot.

Not too long ago, the list of Arsenal owners with clout read like a Damon Runyon play: Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. But they cashed in. The old school stability that had defined Arsenal for decades vanished when David Dein, the hymned vice-chairman, sold his shares to Alisher Usmanov, an Usbek billionaire, in 2011 for £75m – each share valued at £11,750. Fiszman wasn’t keen on Usmanov, so sold his stake to Kroenke for £159.5m. The Bracewell-Smiths got £116m for theirs. The so-called Establishment Club was no longer a rich man’s chattel; it was a brand to exploit.

It’s Stan’s Arsenal now. He’ll let you know his plans for Arsenal when he thinks you need to know.

To take full ownership of the club, Kroenke was required to buy all the shares, including those owned by fans. He ordered those fans to relinquish their little bit of the club they loved and felt part of. Not everyone has signed the forms and taken the £29,000 per share. But they will.

Rory Smith spoke to a few of them:

“Owning a share made me feel as though Arsenal was actually my club: It was a closer, more emotional bond,” says Martha Silcott.” That sense of custodianship is very important to me; it is right that fans, the lifeblood of a team, own a part of that team… I don’t like the idea of it being owned by someone whose only interest in it is money, buying up the shares of people who bought them for reasons that had nothing to do with money.”

“I have been a member of the family called the Arsenal for 75 years,” says Jeffrey Freeman. “..It upsets me that one man can decide the destiny of the Arsenal, can accrue all the benefits of ownership himself, especially given that he does not regularly attend games. Does he have the interests of the Arsenal at heart?..  By taking them, Kroenke has bought the body of the club. The heart, though, will always evade him. The heart will always belong to the fans.”

Arsenal fans will get their Arsenal back one day – but for now it’s the property of Mr Walmart.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Fugitive Daley Smith lets Madeleine McCann do his PR

Daley Smith is getting to be quite famous. On the run from police, Daley Smith has now upped his game by comparing his escape to the police search for Madeleine McCann. On Facebook, Smith says he’s going to throw a party when he reaches the milestone of 100 days at large. It’s been 88 and counting. But this is about the media’s favourite missing child, and the Sun says, “Smith has sparked fury with his sick posts about Madeleine McCann”. Do we need to hear the man’s sickness?  Apparently, yes. He is “claiming: ‘It’s my personal opinion that her mum and dad covered the whole thing up’.” If the police don’t get him, doorstepping journalists, internet trolls or the McCanns’ lawyers might. (Just to state: the McCanns are not suspects.)

And now he’s added to the sickness with a poem:

“Cheshire police have got more chance of finding Madeleine Mcann [sic], I may as well be in Japan, they’ve even been harassing my nan, but everything hasn’t gone to plan. They’ve fucked with the wrong man, I feel like Peter Pan. So far I don’t know how far I’ve ran, but it’s been mad since this Journey began.”

Daley, who has been charged with possession with intent to supply class B cannabis and concerned with the supply of cocaine, according to police, seems fully aware of how using Madeleine McCann can further his own career, such as it is. Last night his account featured this ‘sick joke’:

 

daley smith mccann

Speech bubble ours

 

That message was posted after Smith found a message from someone claiming to represent ‘Kennedy News’. All the photos in the Sun’s story carry the ‘Kennedy News and Media’ watermark, which seems odd given that you can see the same images for free on Facebook.

 

daley james sun maddie mccann

 

Madeleine McCann is missing. Daley James Smith is in the papers, on tour and on Facebook.

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


The Civilian Action Trining Program protects Snowflake police from bad words and thoughts

Civilian Interaction Training Program

Objects in the mirror are more heavily armed and prone to ruin your life than they appear

 

When men and women are added to the every-growing list of “protected characteristics” that can make you the victim of a hate crime, we wondered if every group was now deemed special? Like the cosseted child of helicopter parents, our governments see us as victims-in-waiting, vulnerable and in constant need of their supervision, direction and protection. (How they fear us.)

And now you can add police to the list. The State’s enforcers are sensitive types who can be triggered by you thinking and saying mean things. Compliance is all. Officer Snowflake demands it.

To Texas, then, where the “Civilian Interaction Training Program”, a project of the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement, is teaching children how to be nice to police. As Boing Boing says, “Reviewing these training materials is mandatory for anyone hoping to receive a diploma from a Texas high school.” Compliance is all in the era of total control:

 

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Madeleine McCann stars in a sick Facebook quiz and audience growth campaign

Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Daily Record directs our gaze towards a Facebook Post we’re pretty sure nearly everyone missed. Lots of children whose names you will be more familiar with are mentioned in a post on a page run by the “Savage Banter Casuals”. Says the Mirror:

Paige Doherty and Milly Dowler among child murder victims mocked by ‘banter’ Facebook post.

And then more savage banter:

Madeline McCann, Kriss Donald, Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and Keith Bennett are included in the so called ‘humorous’ social media quizz.

 

madeleine mccann quiz

Best to stick with the tabloidese ‘Maddie’

 

That, of course, is Madeleine McCann and a ‘quiz’. It’s always bet to spell a missing child’s name correctly. But when you’re incandescent with rage, mistakes are easy to make. Thanks to the Record reading an obscure Facebook post, we get to know of a “sick and vile” Facebook quiz “making fun of child murder victims” that “has been revealed”. That’s “revealed” as in ‘read’. And also seen: “The face of each child was photoshopped on top of the English football team, with the caption: ‘Sunday night quiz, name the full 11’.”

The Record reproduces the photo:

 

madeleine mccann quiz

The sick quiz

 

And then the paper helps quizzers with the correct answers. Spoiler alert!

Clockwise, starting from the top left, the tragic kids being mocked in the post are: Madeleine McCann , Tia Sharp, Paige Doherty (pictured twice), Steven Lawrence, Milly Dowler, Kriss Donald, Sarah Payne, Jessica Chapman, Keith Bennett and Holly Wells.

 

maddie mccann

If you don’t want to know the answers, look away now.

 

We then get a small story of each horrific case, and hear from Disgusted of Facebook telling us it’s “disgusting using murdered children’s faces as a joke”. Adding:

The post has now been removed and page administrators have apologised for causing offence.

So the Facebook page is not all that “savage” then. It’s actually just adolescent, sad and apologetic.

In other news, the Daily Mirror’sAudience Growth Editor” hits the web with a story: “The Cry author says Madeleine McCann case DID inspire BBC drama.” 

The scene where they react to Noah no longer being in the car prompted many viewers to compare the the show to Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Madeleine McCann went missing from her bed in a real-life horror show. Noah was made up.

In 2007, four-year-old Maddie disappeared from a holiday apartment in Portugal sparking a huge media campaign to find her, that’s still ongoing to this day.

Not so much. It’s more of a police investigation than a media campaign. But, sure, the media did turn the single-thread story of an innocent missing child into ‘Our Maddie’, “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

 

the cry mccann

 

The Cry author told The Herald about the inspiration for her work in a story headlined “The Cry author Helen FitzGerald on how real-life heartache inspired BBC drama”:

THERE is a moment in the first episode of new Sunday night drama The Cry when Jenna Coleman’s character, a washed-out new mother weighed down with baby, buggy and bags, struggles up the steps of her tenement flat.

“I watched it thinking – my God, that was my life,” marvels Glasgow author Helen FitzGerald, upon whose novel the new series is based.

Yes, indeed – author bases work of fiction on own life’s experiences, ideas and thoughts. Who knew? But will that help “audience growth” as much as zooming in on the Maddie McCanna angle? As the Mirror works out which missing child gets the most clicks (who needs Facebook for “sick” stuff?), we learn that like The Cry, FitzGerald’s life was set in Australia, what with her having been born there.

Australian-born FitzGerald, author of a string of successful thrillers, is certain the roots of her novel – which has been adapted by screenwriter Jacqueline Perske – lie [sic] in her experience of new motherhood.

And Madeleine McCann, right? After 15 paragraphs of how her own life shaped her work, we finally reach the Mirror’s headline news:

FitzGerald, now 52, was a teenager in Australia in 1980 when Lindy Chamberlain was wrongfully convicted of murdering her nine-week-old daughter. She claimed she saw a dingo leave the tent where Azaria was sleeping, during a family camping holiday…

In 2007, four-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, sparking another high profile media campaign in which accusations were levelled at Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry.

Adding:

“I saw Lindy speaking on television to the McCanns, giving them support and I thought – what a terrible community this is, what an awful thing by which to be bound together.”

She adds: “I have always believed both of them. But thinking about their cases made me wonder – what kind of couple would get away with something like this? What would have to be going on behind the scenes in that relationship?”

And on motherhood:

“Does anyone remember Mr Chamberlain’s name?” she says, wryly. “Lindy was incredibly naïve and open and just had no clue, and she got slaughtered by the media. Her case was really the first example of trial by television.

“Women are always the target, especially when babies are involved. No matter how much we talk about parental or gender equality, that’s what happens.”

Actually, no. We can’t recall his name. Maybe that can be a quiz question? But he’s called Gerry McCann. But, then, he’s not the inspiration for the book and the TV drama as such as Lindy Chamberlain’s story was.

Spoiler: Lindy Chamberlain’s husband was Michael Chamberlain.

Fact: Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects. If you know what happened to her, call the police. Please don’t speculate here.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Princess Margaret’s absurd morning rituals were ‘such fun’

princess margaret daily routine

 

In 1955, Princess Margaret shared with the world her morning routine. The Queen’s chain-smoking sister’s regimented daily habits, with her “punishing schedule of drinking and smoking”, were revealed in Ma’am Darling by the satirist Craig Brown. “For a while,” writes Brown, Princess Margaret “glued matchboxes to tumblers so that she could strike matches while drinking, but it was a craze that never caught on.’ But worse than her fabled rudeness – an “unstoppable urge to say the first thing that came into her head, just so long as it was sufficiently unpleasant” – and vapid weltschmerz of her rank in life, were the sycophants. As Brown notes:

Receiving a prize from the young Princess Margaret in 1958, the 52-year-old John Betjeman was so overwhelmed by her curvaceous presence that tears came into his eyes, a reaction duly noted by his waspish friend, Maurice Bowra, the chairman of the judges, who lampooned it in a parodic verse:

“Green with lust and sick with shyness
Let me lick your lacquered toes.
Gosh, O gosh, your Royal Highness
Put your finger up my nose …”

Mingling with the obsequious is wonderful, but the morning’s were peak princess:

 

 

They really are not like the rest of us. As JG Ballard noted in Princess Margaret’s Facelift: “Somewhere in this paradoxical space our imaginations are free to range, and we find ourselves experimenting like impresarios with all the possibilities that these magnified figures seem to offer us.” As Mags would say through a tight mouth, her sarcastic eyes a small sign of life amongst the panto Munsters, “Such fun!”

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Books, Key Posts, Royal Family | Comment


Rick Stein is missing: the greatest obituary to a man of mystery

The News Journal’s obituary for Rick Stein is something to remember. Mr Stein was a cancer patient at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

rick stein obituary

 

When medics went to check on him, they discovered him gone. CCTV footage shows him leaving the hospital at 3:30pm – “but then the video feed mysteriously cuts off. Authorities say they believe Stein took an Uber to the Philadelphia airport where they assume he somehow gained access to the aircraft…

“Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018 when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach.”

“The sea was angry that day,” says NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. “We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely.”

And then it gets spellbindingly brilliant:

His daughter, Alex Walsh of Wilmington appeared shocked by the news. “My dad couldn’t even fly a plane. He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy. He did the New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa.”

Stein’s brother, Jim echoed similar confusion. “Rick and I owned Stuart Kingston Galleries together. He was a jeweler and oriental rug dealer, not a pilot.” Meanwhile, Missel Leddington of Charlottesville claimed her brother was a cartoonist and freelance television critic for the New Yorker.

David Walsh, Stein’s son-in-law, said he was certain Stein was a political satirist for the Huffington Post while grandsons Drake and Sam said they believed Stein wrote an internet sports column for ESPN covering Duke basketball, FC Barcelona soccer, the Denver Broncos and the Tour de France. Stein’s granddaughter Evangeline claims he was a YouTube sensation who had just signed a seven-figure deal with Netflix.

When told of his uncle’s disappearance, Edward Stein said he was baffled since he believed Stein worked as a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park. “He took me on a hike up the Lily Peak Trail back in the 90s. He knew every berry, bush and tree on that trail.” Nephew James Stein of Los Angeles claimed his uncle was an A&R consultant for Bad Boy records and ran a chain of legal recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado called Casablunta. Niece Courtney Stein, a former Hollywood agent, said her uncle had worked as a contributing writer for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and was currently consulting on a new series with Larry David.

People who knew Stein have reported his occupation as everything from gourmet chef and sommelier to botanist, electrician, mechanic and even spy novelist. Police say the volume of contradictory information will make it nearly impossible to pinpoint Stein’s exact location.

In fact, the only person who might be able to answer the question, who is the real Rick Stein is his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years, Susan Stein. Detectives say they were unable to interview Mrs. Stein, however neighbors say they witnessed her leaving the home the couple shared wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, loading multiple suitcases into her car. FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome which was Mr. Stein’s favorite city. An anonymous source with the airline reports the name used to book the other ticket was Juan Morefore DeRoad, which, according to the FBI, was an alias Stein used for many years.

And: “That is one story”:

Another story is that Rick never left the hospital and died peacefully with his wife and his daughter holding tightly to his hands.

You can choose which version you want to believe or share your own story about Rick with us at the Greenville Country Club on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 3:00-6:00pm.

For online condolences, please visit www.chandlerfuneralhome.com.

Posted: 13th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Gay Cake bakers rejoice: Supreme Court say bakery was right to refuse to make gay wedding cake

gay cake leaving do cake

 

Gay cake haters are cock-a-hoop, moreover Gay Cakes R Us, which can now own the market in gay cakes. The UK supreme court has sided with the bakers in a row over their right to refuse to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage – a political message – for a customer who wanted them to. Things kicked off in 2014 when Ashers, a Belfast bakery run by evangelical Christians, declined gay man Gareth Lee’s request to produce a cake carrying the order “Support Gay Marriage”.

Belfast county court and the Court of appeal had earlier ruled that Ashers discriminated against Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation. In 2016, Lee, a gay-rights activist, was supported in his case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Ashers was no longer a private business providing non-essential goods and services, a family-run store free to discriminate in its private choices, but a public cause. In the new hierarchy of ideas and morals, sexual orientation held more sway than religious conviction.

Now the five judges on the Supreme Court have decided that Asher’s were not bothered by Lee’s homosexuality. That’s not why they refused to fill his order. There was no discrimination on those grounds.

“It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics,” Judge Hale said in the judgment. “But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope.”

The court pointed to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, which says we have the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”. Hale says “nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe. The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

It’s a triumph for tolerance, then. We can reject ideas. But it might not end there because Lee is reportedly considering appealing to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. And I’m off to the kosher deli to order my ‘Holohoax’ almond ring.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Your Facebook account hasn’t been cloned

There’s an old concept called chain mail. There’s nothing actually to it at all, it’s just that a letter contains the message “pass it on.” Thus it gets passed on until everyone has had multiple copies of it. The older versions always used to die out because it cost actual, real, money to send letters. In an age when we can reach hundreds, or thousands, in moments and at zero cost there’s a greater likelihood of that sending on. This is what is happening here with this Facebook message:

A hoax message on Facebook is being spread that warns users their account has been cloned.

The fake warning is being spread due to its chain mail format with the message encouraging those who receive it to pass it on to more users.

No one’s even making anything out of this. There’s no malicious code contained, this doesn’t lead on to phishing or anything. It just makes people panic and the originators get to look and laugh as they do:

The hoax message reads: “Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…which I ignored so you may want to check your account.

“Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!”

It’s that pass it on to all your friends part which makes it replicate. But thankfully that is all it does, replicate:

A range of similar messages have spread across Facebook in recent months, including similar posts about making sure that posts appear in your feed. It’s not clear why such hoax messages begin, since there is nothing really to be gained by starting one, though they have been going on for decades in the form of chain letters.

Quite so. There’s nothing to this at all. Other than the flood of messages themselves, nowt to worry about. Just delete them – and don’t, don’t send it on. There’s just something about us humans which makes us prey to this sort of thing. It’s of no matter, merely slightly boring.

Posted: 10th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Innocence unproven in the Brett Kavanaugh witch hunt

Can you tell the difference between real life and fiction? One is messy, complex and unpredictable. The other is written to a script, an idealised version of things built to entertain and reach a satisfying climax. Slate, the online magazine, has watched the Brett Kavanaugh witch hunt and come up with the headline: “No One Could Be Further From Atticus Finch – Defenders of Brett Kavanaugh liken themselves to the hero of To Kill a Mockingbird. That’s appalling.”

To Kill a Mockingbird is a work of fiction. Atticus Finch was never an actual person. No-one made up Brett Kavanaugh, and if they did the only ponderable would be: why did they bother.

Yesterday, Kavanaugh was worn in as a Supreme Court justice. At the signing in shindig, Donald Trump said Kavanaugh was “proven innocent” of allegations of sexual assault. The Guardian calls that a “baseless claim”. Of course it is. You don’t need to prove yourself innocent, unless it really is a witch hunt in which case you die trying. Said Trump of his man:

“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process. Our country, a man or woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

And that’s it. End of. Christine Blasey Ford made for a compelling and credible accuser when she claimed Kavanaugh had at age 17 and she 15 pinned her to a bed, placed his hand over her mouth, groped her and tried to remove her clothes. He denied it all in a testimony that was no less compelling and credible. The world’s richest country became transfixed and frozen as two adults debated what they did and didn’t do as teenagers in the 1980s. What was worrying was that to question Ford’s story, to ask for evidence, to wonder why she never told the police, a friend, her family, and to look for witnesses to corroborate her story was heresy.  We were told to “believe” her. We should do this because she is a woman. But women can lie, right, forget or misremember.

To believe without evidence was to support victims of sexual violence, we were told, and say #timesup to the oppressors. To believe the anti-abortionist Kavanaugh or seek facts and evidence was to advocate rape and misogyny.

Kavanaugh wasn’t proven innocence. Trump’s a berk for saying he was. But to believe without question, to assume guilt on the strength of a single word is to undo democracy. But if you still want Kavanaugh lynched, let’s hark back to another era in American history were one group were always believed:

In 1931, a fight occurred between black and white boys on a freight train traveling through the town of Scottsboro, Alabama. The police rounded up all black boys riding on the train and ultimately arrested nine black boys, ranging in ages from 12 to 19 years old. Two white girls then came forward alleging that they were gang raped on the train. All nine defendants claimed innocence. After four separate one-day trials with all-white juries, eight of the nine were convicted and sentenced to death.

Their appeals would last over 20 years. On re-trial, one of the rape victims testified that the rape was fabricated, yet all-white juries again returned guilty verdicts. In the end, after facing multiple re-trials, all of the Scottsboro boys had their convictions dropped or were sentenced to lesser charges.

Believe without question? Check your bias at the door and consider the facts.

Posted: 9th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Daily Telegraph pay: Boris Johnson promotes gender equality to deadline

You can read Boris Johnson’s thoughts in the Daily Telegraph. The Tory MP’s column earns him around £5,000 a week. The paper marks them as ‘Premium’ stories on its website.  If you want to read them all you have to pay. Or you can read them on his Facebook page for free. This week, Johnson pitches himself on the side of girls. The article is entitled: “Put a sock in it men: It’s time to end the global injustices and bigotry towards women.” It’s the kind of article any newly single man whose been caught cheating on his long suffering wife, as Johnson allegedly has, will think a good way to pull the birds.

On Facebook, Johnson’s publishes the following for free:

When a mighty dam is about to burst it does not just collapse in one explosive roar; it first springs a leak. A jet of water shoots from the crack, and then another crack appears and another horizontal fountain of foam; and as the whole vast curtain of masonry finally begins to tremble the onlookers behold the valley beneath and wonder who and what will be in the path of the billions of pent-up gallons as they are released from their captivity.

That is roughly how it feels today as we watch these extraordinary feminist movements like #MeToo, and the frenzy surrounding the nomination of judge Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. We have a sense of the welling emotion behind these phenomena. We feel the rage at decades, centuries, millennia of complacency and injustice. We see women and men uniting to call for a change of attitudes, for a new and progressive sensibility…

What can possibly have triggered Johnson’s fire? One clue comes via Private Eye, which notes that the Telegraph’s new digital MD is one Dora Michail. Her twitter profile includes a rainbow flag. And recent retweets and tweets give a clue to her agenda, which takes in ‘tackling discrimination and promoting gender equality with an intersectional approach’:

 

dora michail

dora michail

dora michail

 

So there’s Boris Johnson’s column on his drive to tackle gender equality. Fee for the social justice warrior’s wisdom: £260,000 a year. In next week’s column Boris says: ‘Time to go, Theresa May, and give a bloke a chance…’

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Manchester United balls: Pogba saves sacked Mourinho

Can the Daily Mirror reassess the quality of its “Manchester United” insiders” who were “convinced” Jose Mourinho was going to be sacked last weekend? The paper leads with United’s 3-2 win over an average Newcastle side lacking in top talent, hailing it as a “stay of execution”.  The comeback from 0-2 down “papered over the cracks”.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

David McDonnell saw United play for 70 minutes “without spark or purpose”. They were “abject”. But “from somewhere deep within themselves”, the players stirred for a “staggering Fergie-like 20-minute comeback”. It was a “miracle”. No word on Mourinho’s role in the resurgence. Not a peep about what the manager might have done at half-time to reform his side trialing by two goals. And nothing said on the Mirror’s story, as told by one David McDonell, that Mourinho is today looking for a new job.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

As the Mirror memory holes the words “Mourinho Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle”, the Sun has its own exclusive. The Sun is the paper that has cheered longest and loudest for Mourinho. The team might be dull, but to the Sun it’s all part of the “RED-OLUTION”.

 

Jose Mourinho the sun Manchester United

The Sun loves Jose

 

And so to the day’s scoop: “HOW POGBA SAVED JOSE”. The want-away midfielder saved Mourinho, how? “He told boss best way to spark fightback.” Pogba Tip 1: Tell Juan Mata to score direct from a free kick. Mata scores! The trust is less poetic. We hear that Mourinho listened to his players at half time. Pogba suggested a “deeper role for himself and brining on Fellaini”. Genius. Bring on the hairy elbow and lob it up into the mixer.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

Mourinho tells everyone that he and the team chatted for 10 minutes about this and that at half time.  To seasoned Mourinho watchers this might look like the manager trying to exculpate himself from the mess. But to the Sun’s it’s honest Jose binding the team and securing victory. It “showed how they could all work together”. It also showed that Newcastle United – six defeats from eight played; two draws – can’t hang on to a two goal lead.

But as Jose and Pog hug in the Sun, the Mail says Pogba wants to leave regardless of Mourinho’s future. Looks like the miracle will only last if plucky minnows United can play huge-spending Newcastle at home every week…

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho sacked when noodle deal goes cold

That the Press have no idea what Manchester United’s moneymen will do about Jose Mourinho is no clearer than in the BBC’s news that the club “could” sack the draining Portuguese “if his side lose to Newcastle United on Saturday”. Could and if are not news. But the Sun goes further. It says senior boardroom figures have lost faith in Mourinho. No names are revealed. No boardroom suit has given the rumours of top-level discord a face.

Are they upset by Mourinho’s dire man-management of Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Eric Bailly? Before he criticised those current members of the United squad in public, Mourinho sniped at Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger, although of the later he did say, “He’s in the category of players that I feel sorry for something I did to him.”

Or are the suits voicing dissent over the dull style of play and poor results? Most likely they’re fretting about sponsors. Under the Glazers, United are a brand for hire. Mourinho, like Pogba, was recruited for his market appeal. Mourinho’s the man with a range of perfumes, whose name was licensed for Jose Mourinho briefcases and umbrellas. Jaguar and Hublot have paid big money for Mourinho to advertise their stuff. As one Times writer notes, the Glazers’ yes man, Ed Woodward, “can nail a noodle deal but not provide any heavyweight footballing guidance or astute succession planning.”

If Mourinho is deemed to have lost his cache in the luxury goods arena, he’s toast. If it’s all abut football, why did United ever hire the man whose teams are set out to pinch a goal and hang on? Sack the suits, right, for neglecting Manchester United’s footballing history.

 

spurs

 

But who if not Mourinho?

The BBC says Mauricio Pochettino is “Manchester United owner Ed Woodward’s preferred candidate”. The reporting is shockingly bad.

And over in the Manchester Evening News, we learn that when Zinedine Zidane was at Real Madrid, he was an admirer of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. So much did he admire them that moneybags Real never recruited any of the trio. But they all play for United and Zidane’s between jobs, so the story must be that the great Frenchman wants to take over at United – noodle deal permitting.

 

Posted: 5th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Free speech for Jew haters: Mahathir Mohamad addresses Oxford University students

Is Mahathir Mohamad a fan of Katie Hopkins, the rent-a-gob former Mail columnist and LBC radio presenter? Both seem to have missed the memo from Josef Mengele, the Nazi who when not dreaming up new ways to murder Jews in his lab was measuring Jews’ anatomy to check for nose size. It turned out that despite Nazi propaganda painting Jews as hook-nosed freaks, Jew noses were no different in dimension to the Aryan master race’s. So when Hopkins reportedly says “I got the nose but not the Jewish bit, which is shit” and Mohamed, the Malaysian prime minister, states that all Jews are “hook-nosed”, you might think they’re harking back to anti-Semitic tropes. You might also get the feeling that the sighting of “Jew noses” is not meant as a compliment, but intended to other the Israelites and mark out Jews as, well, “shit”.

Hopkins is no longer a regular presence on the mainstream British media. But you can catch Mohamad on the Beeb and on stage during his tour of the UK. He’s a lovely bloke. Not in the least bit of an anti-Semitic bastard. “If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of Israel,” he opined knowingly on BBC’s Hard Talk, pointing to those fabled pre-Israel lands flowing with the milk and honey of human comradeship [see the Bible, Islamic history, the big book of beheadings and the Horrible Histories series for children]. That is the truth. But I cannot say that.” He also knows that 4 million not 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust – which means 2 million dead Jews are liars, so too the ones who mourn them.

Not that the bigger figure is not without its appeal:

“1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” he said at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. “There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counterattack. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million.”

He “wrote on his personal blog in 2012 that ‘Jews rule this world by proxy,” The Associated Press reported’.

But why read the case notes when you can catch him live? The man who says he’s “proud” to be called an anti-Semite appeared at Oxford University’s Islamic Centre, Imperial College and Chatham House. Good to see universities are not full of snowflakes after all – at least those sensitive students didn’t issue a ‘no platform’ decree when Jew-baiters and Jew haters are delivering the address…

 

Posted: 4th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Manchester United players betrayed Mourinho – it’s Chelsea 2015 all over again

mourinho betrayed manchester united

 

Is Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho looking to be sacked? Asked how his team are responding to a poor run of results, he told media “some [players] care more than others”. Which players are actors only pretending to care? He won’t say. Does he think his job’s on the line? “No.”

“Every player is different, no player is the same,” said Mourinho apropos of something self-serving. “I see different actions but what you see is not really inside. I see upset people, some people that don’t look like they lost a game. I see so-so but in the little two sessions of training we had [since Saturday] everything was normal, desire to work and play.”

 

mourinho betrayed manchester united

 

Can anything be done? Yes, says Mourinho: “What I can do to improve things I do, and I will improve the things that depend on me and my work.” Got that? Now hark back to his departure from Chelsea – the second time he was sacked by the Blues – when he told media in December 2015 following defeat to Leicester City:

“The only thing I can say is that I want to be. I have no doubts and I think you know me well enough, three years this time, plus three years another time, that I am not afraid of a big challenge, and in this moment this is a real big challenge. I want to stay, I hope Mr Abramovich and the board want me to stay.”

See a pattern? What about now:

“My board, my club I don’t think it’s right that I go to them and say these players are not good, we need to spend £50m or £100m or whatever, I don’t think it’s fair. We have these players and it’s with these players we have to go. The players that are not performing well, they must feel attacked in their pride and their self-esteem and they have to do everything to get results in a humble way.”

And his main point:

“I feel my work is betrayed. I worked four days in training for this match. I identified four movements where Leicester score a lot of their goals and in two of the four situations I identified they scored their goals. I went through it all with the players, you can ask them.”

Don’t blame Mourinho. He’s not changed. He’s certainly not improved. Just wonder what the Manchester United board who recruited him thought they were getting.

Posted: 1st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment