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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 19

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There is no transgender row: women can have a penis

This week we learned that you can be booted out of a job for saying: “Women don’t have penises.” Angelos Sofocleous, a postgraduate philosophy and psychology student student at Durham University, retweeted those words and found himself sacked as editor of the university’s online magazine, Bubble, and his assistant editor role at its philosophy journal – called with no little irony Critique – in what the Times called a “transphobia row”. But there was no row because for that you need two sides to argue with passion. Any heated debate happened only in the media after Sofocleous was banned. This was a retweet, an article he wrote called Keingenderism, Truth, and Where the Transgender Movement Gets it Wrong and a command to get thee hence.

His retweet of a Spectator column headlined “Is it a crime to say women don’t have penises?” was to “belittle trans experiences” and leaving “no room for, or to promote, any fair discussions”.

Good to know philosophy leaves no room for discussion.

And before we go on: anyone can call themselves what they like. But others should also have the right to say ‘No, you’re not.’ That goes for women who think womenhood comes after the experiences of being a girl in society. “Is it because I is black?’ asked Ali G, who walked the walk and talked the talk but lacked the actual skin tones, biology, genes and depth to be black. How we laughed.

But on the upside, Sofocleous did get a job: he was hired to write a story for The Spectator. He writes:

On campus, the subject of gender is now off limits for those who fail to fall into line with the new orthodoxy: that being a man or a woman is fluid. Anyone who says otherwise is liable to find themselves hounded into silence…

Or pushed towards a magazine with a larger readership with the misnomered Critique and correctly named Bubble, or Echo as might be a more fitting title. He continues:

It won’t come as much of a surprise that the National Union of Students is leading the charge on this front. Today, the NUS announced its response to the government’s consultation on changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Among the NUS’s more barmy proposals was calling for an end to ‘coercively assigning gender at birth’. Is it a boy? Is it a girl? In future, it seems we might have to wait to ask the child itself when it grows up.

In the meanwhile, if you see a woman with a penis in the women-only changing rooms, at the rape-crisis centres, at the refuge centre for abused mothers, in a women-only train carriage, in a women’s prison, in the women’s football team or running the Women’s Institute don’t point and say, ‘You sure you’re in the right room?” because to do so is be bigoted and very possibly misogynist.

 

Posted: 23rd, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Liverpool: Arsenal didn’t miss Virgil van Dijk, they just lack Southampton’s coaching skills

News that Arsenal rejected Virgil van Dijk, 27, before Southampton bought him comes as no great shock. The final years of Arsene Wenger’s leadership at Arsenal are punctuated with a myriad bad decisions and indifferent coaching. The BBC says Arsenal could have bought the now Liverpool star for £12m from Celtic but thought him “too nonchalant”.

Former Celtic assistant manager John Collins, told BeIn Sports that Arsene Wenger liked Van Dijk but the club’s then chief scout, Steve Rowley, was less impressed. “Arsenal’s chief scout thought he was too nonchalant,” said Collins. “Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes. He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air. He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.”

Easy to see this this as an Arsenal misstep. But given how Arenal stagnated under Wenger, what evidence is that that Van Dijk would have improved under the Frenchman? Yesterday former Gunner Santi Cazorla told the BBC Wenger’s Arsenal lacked belief. We needed to believe in ourselves more,” he told Football Focus. “To believe that we were capable of competing with the big sides in the Premier League and not just settling for third or fourth.”

Moreover, Collins says Van Dijk, who would up costing Liverpool £75m, wasn’t rated by Brendan Rodgers when he was in charge at Anfield. “He would’ve cost around £12m,” says Collins. “Every team watched him regularly but the worry was he was showing it against Scottish players but you could tell he was strong, powerful and a well balanced player.”

He was presumably all those thing when Celtic bought the Dutch national captain from Groningen for £2.5m. He did well there but it was at Southampton where he flourished. And what Collins does not say is how well he was coached at the innovative south coast club. Southampton’s system has produced Gareth Bale, Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw. And players have improved at the Saints: Saido Mane, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren (all now at Liverpool) and Toby Anderweireld. Name one academy player who really improved under Wenger in his final four or five years at Arsenal, or a new recruit who looked like a bargain. It’s not easy.

Why did Arsenal fail? Matthew Syed took a look:

“We visited the Yehudi Menuhin Music School to see how they think about purposeful practice,” Edd Vahid, the head of coaching, said. “We also visit Saracens a lot. They do not have the best facilities in the world, particularly when compared to some Premier League football clubs, but they are fantastic when it comes to culture and innovation.”

Partly inspired by Saracens, Southampton now have an educational and skills programme running alongside the usual academy functions…

“If you want leaders on the pitch, you have to develop their qualities off the pitch,” Les Reed, the technical director, said. “In many academies, education is seen as a waste of time, a distraction from the game. We think that it is central to player development. We need England players who don’t crumble when they are on a big stage and go one-nil down.”

Southampton also have a Black Box Room, modelled on the aviation industry, so that they can constantly analyse the data from training and matches, just as aviation learns from the cockpit recorders. The analysts are striving to build better metrics to improve recruitment, despite the statistical challenges. They have studied a number of outside organisations, including Google.

Would Van Dijk have gotten that development at Arsenal under Wenger? No. Southampton (plus a dash of Liverpool desperation on paying such huge fee) turned him from a decent player into the world’s most expensive defender.

Posted: 23rd, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Gertcha! The trite and lazy journalism of ‘battling cancer’ with Chas and Dave

Farewell Chas Hodges, aka Charles Nicholas Hodges (28 December 1943 – 22 September 2018), the piano-playing half of the brilliant Chas and Dave. Even Arsenal fans enjoyed his hymn to Tottenham Hotspur, Ossie’s Dream, when the little Argentine hoped to “win the Cup for Tott-ing-Ham”.

 

 

The songs were brilliant, like this love song:

 

 

But Chas Hodges did not die because he lost a “battle” with cancer. The Mirror’s trite take that the Chas and Dave star died because he lost a fight with a deadly disease is the worst of journalism.

 

chas hodges dad

 

Deeper into the cut-and-paste Wikipedia balls on the career of a very talented musicians, the Mirror adds: “He and Joan – an original Playboy bunny and actress – put up a united front as they battled cancer together, along with their children and two grandchildren.” No. She did not battle cancer. The children did not battle cancer. Chas did not battle cancer.

 

battle cancer

 

So entrenched is that hackneyed balls about ‘battling cancer’ that the Sun commissioned a feature published yesterday. Deborah James told Sun readers: “I hate ‘battle chat’ when it comes to cancer…”

We don’t lose people, friends don’t succumb to it, loved ones weren’t too weak and they certainly didn’t lose their battle. It’s clear, you can’t fight your OWN cancer. It’s not something we win or lose, it’s out of our control.

Even suggesting to people they can is unhelpful and naive.

One day one and in the very same Sun:

 

cancer battle

 

More battles with ‘cancer battles’ soon. In the meantime, here’s a message from Chas to anyone using the dread phrase ‘battle with cancer’…

 

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


Ivan Gazidis: the towering force who took Arsenal from 1st to 6th

Say it ain’t so. Arsenal’s chief executive has been transferred to work for a US hedge fund which took ownership of AC Milan after the outfit it loaned money to defaulted. These reluctant football club owners see in Ivan Gazidis the perfect talent to make their investment bear fruit. Ivan gets a few million quid a season to make AC Milan sellable; and if the once mighty Italians become really in demand a stake in the brand should make him millions. Just a few words Ivan: shut the door on the way out, mate. Ok, yep, if you must leave your ‘message to the fans’, keep it brief. Want to hear it? Go on, then:

“For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge. This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham in whom I have enormous faith.”

They were all employed in very recent times – Sanllehi in November 2017;  Emery in the summer 2018; and Venkatesham, who today begins his salute to the club by stating, “Although I joined Arsenal just months ago…”. They only came once the Arsenal owners realised that Arsene Wenger’s failure was impacting on their dividend cheques. Not competing for the Premier League title was fine, but when those Champions League pay days ran out, the board freaked. They finally had some work to do.

Gazidis then guffs on about “primary partnership deals” and the “new league broadcast deals” – things a mechanical rabbit running on an inferior battery could have managed to sort out. Arsenal have “updated our stadium” (let’s hear it for the toilet paper!) and “rebuilt our training facilities so that they are now world class”. What were they before Unai Emery arrived? He then comes over all X Factor and thanks one and all for being on “the journey”. And he thanks “Stan and Josh Kroenke for their support and guidance on everything we have done”. They’re the owners that have taken the club into private hands – theirs.

Time to hark back to what Gazidis said when he arrived at Arsenal in November 2008:

“The great thing about Arsenal is that it has been run to sustain itself. It is not dependent on an outside investor to pump money in year after year. That position is inherently a little bit unstable because it depends on one individual. Arsenal has positioned itself not to be dependent on one individual.”

But now they are. Cheers, Ivan, for helping make that possible. For good measure he said of himself (he was born in South Africa): “This is not going to be an American coming with no understanding of Arsenal looking to make it in to a Disneyfied version of Arsenal.” Go, Josh Kroenke! Whoop!

Let’s end with this – the Premier League table when Gazidis joined the club:

 

gazidis arsenal table

PL table on Saturday November 24 2007 – the week Gazidis joined Arsenal

 

And here’s the table at the end of Gazidis’ last full season of improvement – 2017-2018:

 

PL table season 2017 - 2018

PL table season 2017 – 2018

 

 

Ivan. Bye.

Posted: 18th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Middle-class drinkers should ignore advice on safe alcohol limits

Shocking to learn that the middle-classes take more drink and drugs than the poor. The Mail calls the report by the Social Metric Commission a “landmark” finding. Having discovered that people with more money and leisure time use more mind-altering substances than those with less money, we wonder what else the Mail has revealed?

In 2016, the Mail told readers: “Middle-class drinkers can get away with drinking MORE because their otherwise healthy lifestyles make up for it.” Adding: “Wealthier drinkers are less likely to smoke, be overweight and have a poor diet – traits more associated with the lower-income demographic.”  Today Ian Duncan Smith, the Tory MP, says: “Part of impoverished adults drinking less is that they do not have the cash to spend on it.” The other part being, presumably, that huge taxes on drink affect the poor more than the wealthy. He doesn’t mention that. He also doesn’t mention why politicians of all stripes want to clamp down on cheap booze with minimum pricing (see: sin tax for people seen as too poor, too thick and too dependent to know what’s best for ’em). But he does say: “This is not in the report but my own experience is that where people are drinking or taking drugs in poverty, it is at a very serious addictive levels. For the middle-classes, they are holding down a job and doing what’s expected of them.” Which is to say: paying more taxes.

But the overriding message is that drinking in excess of the Government’s stated limits does you no harm at all. Indeed, in 2007, an insider said that the recommended weekly limit of 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 for women decreed by the Royal College of Physicians in 1987 was a guess. Former panel member Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, revealed to the Times: “So those limits were really plucked out of the air. They weren’t really based on any firm evidence at all. It was a sort of intelligent guess by a committee.”

 

daily mail drinking

 

The Mail‘s readerships is very much middle-class. But having told the middle-classes that drinking more makes no impact on their health, the Mail also says that it is a huge problem for the kind of so-and-sos who say ‘wine ‘o’clock’:

 

daily mail drinking

 

The talk is of “problem” drinking. The middle-class “culture of drinking at home is driving the problem”. And you can narrow it down still further to educated women:

 

daily mail drinking

 

daily mail drinking

 

daily mail drinking

 

It’s hard to work out what the point of all this bilge is. Perhaps it’s just a prelude to tax rises, moves to hike the price of booze for our own good – even if it it’s not doing the biggest payers any harm.

Posted: 17th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids, The Consumer | Comment


Madeleine McCann: a bride of Christ, an old story and grief recast as a mental health issue

No word on Madeleine McCann in any of today’s printed tabloids. But there is is news on the web. Following the non-news that the Met might or might not seek money to continue Operation Grange, the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, the Express online delivers: “Madeleine McCann’s father reveals mental health battle in HEARTBREAKING interview.” As ever it was, the Press are watching the parents.

Madeleine McCann’s father will speak about the grief and depression he faced over losing his daughter in a heartbreaking interview on Radio 4, in a bid to remove the prejudice men face when talking about their feelings.

What prejudice? No TV or radio show is complete without a man crying, whether it be over a DNA test on mid-morning telly or a well-baked cake on prime time. “I decided it was a good opportunity to say something about the special bond between fathers and daughters,” says Gerry McCann, “thinking that speaking openly might help other men in similar positions. It feels like the right time.” Fir enough. But isn’t there is a special bond between men and their children, regardless of gender. The sane can surely sympathise with parent whose lost a child, but why is this news? Someone from the BBC explains:

“We look at Gerry’s experiences, his thoughts and feelings, and the wider context in society of mental health issues surrounding a loss. Susan Roberts, our producer, has already interviewed Gerry over the past few weeks, it has been recorded and we are now doing the final edit. It’s very emotional and helps get across the point of view of mental illness associated with a loss or bereavement of a family member or friend, that there is no stigma in men opening up and discussing emotions with someone is important. In our show there is a parallel between the poem of a father’s loss and the real life experience, reflecting the two.”

Eh? Grief and loss is now a form of mental illness? It’s not a human reaction to loss. It’s a treatable condition. As for the tosh about men not emoting and expressing themselves, how may poems has the producer ever read? What about books, films, music and art? Did women write them all? As for facts about the missing child, we’re told: “There have been 8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine in 101 countries, but all of them have been ruled out.”

 

 

Pearl poem

 

Over in the Mail, where the BBC press release is an “exclusive”, we learn:

He will be interviewed by poet Simon Armitage on a special Radio 4 show: Pearl: Two Fathers Two Daughters. The show will weave together two voices of grief: Mr McCann’s and that of an anonymous poet from 600 years ago who laments the loss of his daughter in a poem entitled Pearl.

Mr Armitage, who wrote a poem to mark the 1,000 days of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, has written a new translation of Pearl. We don’t know who wrote the original version about the loss of a child and her father’s pain. The New Yorker reviewed the poem steeped in New Testament imagery and numerology in 2016. In one scene her father sees his lost daughter as the bride of Christ:

In the poem, the narrator visits the spot where a pearl once slipped from his grasp and got lost among “Gilofre, gyngure, & gromylyoune, / & pyonys powdered ay bytwene” (“ginger, gromwell, and gillyflower / with peonies scattered in between”). Swooning into unconsciousness, he comes to in a dream, in a place he has never been before, where cliffs split the sky (“ther klyfez cleven”). Across a river, he sees his pearl again, but now the “perle” is no mere thing—she is a young girl, richly arrayed in an elaborate outfit covered in pearls. Pearl also seems to be her name, or at least it is how the man addresses her: “ ‘O perle,’ quod I . . . ‘Art thou my perle?’ ” In reply, she calls him a jeweller, and he refers to her as a gem (“ ‘Jueler,’ sayde that gemme clene”).

Overcome with joy at finding his lost pearl, and unable fully to understand the complicated things she says to him, the dreamer plunges into the river to swim toward her. He is desperate to “swymme the remnaunt, thagh I ther swalte”—to swim across, or die trying. This angers the ruler of the celestial land, called the Prince: the dreamer does not belong there. He is flung out of his dream as punishment. He wakes up, and the poem ends with a short meditation on the glory of God, and then the words “Amen. Amen.”

The child in Pearl is dead. We do not know what happened to Madeleine McCann, save for her vanishing.

On a final note the Mail tells us:

The doctor’s new-found openness to help others cope with loss comes after Prince Harry, now Duke of Sussex, spoke about his struggles with mental health in a groundbreaking podcast interview on May 2017 with the Daily Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon for her revered ‘Mad World’ series. The young royal spoke openly about bottling up his emotions and being unable to grieve for years after the loss of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.

From Princess Diana to Madeleine McCann. When private grief became celebrity mourning.

 

Posted: 17th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment


Couple harvest dead son’s sperm to create grandchild

This will strike some as remarkably disgusting, even perverse. A couple lost their son in a car crash so they “harvested” his sperm in order to create a grandson for themselves. Certainly we’d expect there to be calls that they can’t do that – despite the fact that they obviously can. What is meant of course is that they shouldn’t be allowed to do that but then perhaps they should. You see, to have grandchildren is to win.

 

widow-uses-husbands-frozen-sperm

 

Thus this is a story of someone winning:

A wealthy British couple have created a “designer grandson” using sperm taken from their dead son, it was claimed yesterday.

Yes, this is indeed winning. For details you could read the work of Charles Darwin and the like but it’s simple enough. The aim and purpose of life is to have children which go on to have children:

The couple were left devastated after their only child was killed in a motorcycle crash and seemingly ended their chance of becoming grandparents.

But the pair, who are in their 50s, were reportedly desperate for an heir decided to harvest the 26-year-old’s sperm, which was frozen and exported to the US, bypassing strict laws in the UK.

Their grandson is now three and is believed to be living with them in Britain in a case that highlights ethical and legal concerns.

Well, yes, ethical and legal concerns. That’s the voices of those who insist that they shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Who wish to, insist upon, imposing their own morality on the lives of others:

Professor Allan Pacey, a former chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: “If the son in this case wasn’t being treated by a clinic, and had not signed the necessary consent forms for the posthumous retrieval, storage and use of his sperm, then a criminal act has probably taken place.

“The clinician who extracted the sperm is in breach of the law as is the facility which stored and exported the sample.”

Well, yes, except for that winning by the grandparents. That aim and purpose of all life being exactly that, to reproduce in a manner that leads to the next generation doing so and thereby becoming those grandparents. So, despite the difficulties here they’ve done that, they’ve won that life lottery.

The only pity here being that British law, for some unknown reason, would deny them that ability to produce the life which carries them on into perpetuity.

Posted: 11th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Apple Already Manufactures In The US

Donald Trump is insisting that Apple should move its manufacturing over to the United States. The problem with this being that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Apple already does its manufacturing in the United States. Calling for Apple to do what Apple already does isn’t all that useful. What’s being missed is that Apple only assembles equipment in China. And that’s of trivial value so we don’t care where it is done:

Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that Apple should make products in the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.

The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed tariffs would affect prices for a “wide range” of Apple products, including its watch.

Apple’s AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies if the current package of $200bn in tariffs goes ahead as expected in the coming days.

The usual point of trade is to make us better off. So, if having tariffs to block trade makes us worse off – which is what price rises do – then why are we having tariffs? Well, the correct answer is because the President of the United States doesn’t understand this.

But why would we want to do that?

The thing is that Apple already, pretty much, makes things in the US. What it doesn’t do is assemble them there. So, take an iPhone, say it costs $800. About 40% of that – $320 – is pure profit to the company. That’s added in Cupertino in California – yes, the recent tax changes mean that it is, not Bermuda, not Ireland. The expensive parts of the kit itself are the processors and the screens. The screens are made in Taiwan or Japan and no one else in the world knows how to make them – not even Apple. The processors are made in Texas.

All that’s left is the cheap stuff – a few wires etc – and the assembly. And we know how much that costs, about $10 per iPhone. And that’s the bit that’s done in China too. In terms of who adds the value and where then Apple already manufactures in the US. The only bit that’s done in China is that $10 worth of sticking it altogether. And why would we care at all where $10 of an $800 piece of kit is done?

As we started out saying Donald Trump doesn’t understand trade. His ideas about Apple just show this.

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


Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds are cosier than an otter’s pocket

carrie symonds boris

 

News that Boris Johnson has been named an “adulterer” in divorce papers comes as a shock to anyone who wakes each day, quints at the sun and asks, ‘What the bloody hell is that?’ To the Sun Johnson’s penile adventures are an alliterative tale of of ‘Bonking Boris”, a “long-suffering wife” called Marina Wheeler and 30-year-old “Tory aide” Samira Mohammed. No, only joking. The alleged other woman is called Carrie Symonds, and she’s not wearing a burqa because we can see her face on the Mail’s front page.

In the Sun we see photos of Johnson in his garden. He’s drinking from a mug – a metaphor perhaps – and looking “grim-faced” at his phone. Both pictures are credited to Simon Jones, aka “Sun photographer Simon Jones”. Might they, you know, be staged? “Explosions aside, Boris is still The One,” states Trevor Kavanagh three pages on in the paper., not exactly discounting the idea that the Sun is presenting the philanderer in a good light.

The photos also appear in the Mirror, but it’s main thrust is not into Carrie Symonds, but Johnson’s Mail on Sunday column in which he said Theresa May had “wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution” and handed the trigger to Brussels. A few Tory MPs are lined up to say how revolting that is. Amid the “fury” the Mirror says it asked one Tory MP “if Mr Johnson had put a bomb under Mrs May’s leadership”. I see Tory MP Tom Tugendhat’s horrific tale of a suicide bomber who maimed and murdered many in the courtyard of his office in Helmland, and notice the bomb detonated below then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which killed five Tories, including one MP, and permanently disfigured many more.

But what’s that? “Show us the totty!” Ok. The Mail obliges with five phots of Symonds – a “fun-loving blonde”. She is “glamorous” – and what more speaks of glamour than shagging Boris Johnson; maybe finding a pre-loved glamour magazine in a bush? – a “Tory party cheerleader”who tweeted as her name rode high on the news cycle: “Sea otters have the thickest fur of all animals.” To say nothing of their pockets – an otter’s pocket being something Johnson finds irresistible.

 

Posted: 10th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Serena Williams inspires a generation of girls to behave like entitled shits

Two things we learnt from The US Open Women’s final. Firstly, Serena Williams, the brilliant, ungallant, tantrum-tossing loser and her enablers – the President of the USTA pretty much ignored the winner to tell Williams: “Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today, but Serena, you are a champion of all champions….This mama is a role model and respected by all ” – has a baby.  Who knew? “You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right!” Williams yelled at umpire Carlos Ramos after receiving a point penalty. We don’t know if Ramos has any children, and thus if he innately knows the difference between right and wrong, moreover Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who admitted to coaching her during the match, offering the noble explainer that it’s ok because everyone cheats.

 

serena williams US open correct

Girls are inspired by Williams message to a female line judge at the the 2009 US Open

 

Without rules, there is no sport. “I don’t cheat to win,” Williams told Ramos. “I’d rather lose.” She called him a “liar” and a “thief” for docking her a point.  “You stole a point from me!” she bellowed, jabbing a finger at him. But Ramos had acted fairly. His children, if he has any, must be proud. The only winner was Naomi Osaka, who won fair and square. But there was Williams inspiring her daughter by spoiling what should have been Osaka’s most joyous moment, stopping the surge of unbridled elation that comes with victory. “Let’s try to make this the best moment we can,” Williams told a partisan crowd. “We’re gonna get through this and let’s be positive, so congratulations, Naomi.”

Er, yeah, whatever.

 

serena-williams bad sport

In the 2011 US Open final, chair umpire Eva Asderaki warned Williams for hindering opponent Stosur for shouting “come on” before the Australian had reached the ball. Williams called her a “hater” and “unattractive”

 

And so to the second thing we’ve learned: women’s tennis is worth watching. If other sports can embrace Williams’ sense of entitlement and bad sportsmanship, the sponsors will be lining up. How disappointing it is to watch the England women’s national football team fail to berate the referee at every turn. When the England women’s cricket team won the BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year Award 2017, there was, shamefully, not one story about their sledging and ball tampering. It was an opportunity missed to attract a bigger audience.

But if you don’t feel comfortable yelling at the referee, calling him a sexist and vowing to end his career, ladies, think of the next generation. Do it for the girls.

 

Posted: 10th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Iran’s fascination with local Enfield politics makes Joan Ryan a star in Tehran

How a reporter from Jew-baiting, Israel hating, Iranian propaganda channel and Jeremy Corbyn’s former paymasters Press TV managed to live tweet Labour’s vote of no confidence in Jew friendly Joan Ryan, Enfield North MP and chair of Labour Friends of Israel is down to “infiltration” says the Telegraph.

 

Joan Ryan Iran Labour Press TV

 

You might suppose the story would mention not only the Press TV hacks in the Labour members-only room defying a ban on media reporting but also Yasmine Dar. She’s just been voted onto Labour’s NEC, the governing body of the Labour Party. Dar, a councillor in Manchester, came first in the vote with an impressive 88,176 votes. As reported, she’s attended an annual celebration of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in Manchester. One Times writer notes:

Her speech was followed by a Q&A in which a rather notorious British academic carefully explained, among other things, that Hillary Clinton was a Zionist warmonger and that “80 per cent of the American media is owned by the Zionists”. Dar seemed to be sitting in the front row for this and there was no sign of dissent.

But, no. The Telegraph makes no mention of her. Beneath the headline: “Iranian activists infiltrated Labour and were able to vote in pro-Israel MP’s no-confidence ballot” – this infiltration was presumably facilitated by the cunning plot of joining the Labour Party and voting democratically – we get the facts.

 

 

Ryan tells the Telegraph: “I’m horrified that they’ve infiltrated the Labour Party in this way and I think it needs to be investigated, because it is incredibly serious. I’m proud of my values, and I don’t expect to be the toast of the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime.”

 

jeremy-corbyn-press tv

‘Press TV – First for Jews’

 

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, thinks it “impossible to fathom” how Press TV got in. “This disorder makes a farce of the proceedings and is not how the modern Labour Party should conduct its affairs.”

 

 

The proceedings were nasty. The farce comes from banning the media. When pretty much everyone smart phone and a Wi-Fi signal, why bother? Let them film. Why should only Iranians desperate for party political news from Enfield get to see  the show? One source in Enfield said a few years ago only 15 or 20 people would have tuned up to such meeting; now it’s anything from 200 to 80million. She might not be famous in Edmonton, but Ryan is a mega star in Tehran. Allow for an ad break, and Enfield could be coining it in.

David Baddiel wonders what if Israeli media and not Press TV had been there:

 

 

Ha. Silly stuff. As Jeremy Corbyn knows, “Israeli media is always in the room.”

Posted: 8th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Free speech loving Labour purges Israel supporters and censors the media as Joan Ryan is voted down

The purge is underway. As Jeremy Corbyn is labeled an anti-semite and the party twists and turns over its attitude towards Jews, Labour Party members called for a vote of no confidence in Labour MP Joan Ryan, The Enfield North MP, who just so happens to chair Labour Friends of Israel. She has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism in the ranks.

She lost the vote. Ryan called the 94-92 result “hardly a decisive victory”, adding in a statement: “It never occurred to me that Trots Stalinists Communists and assorted hard left would have confidence in me. I have none in them.”

Later she tweeted: “I fought the hard left to a virtual draw… This was about anti-Semitism in the Labour party and those of us who have stood by the Jewish community and said ‘enough is enough’. I made no apologies last night for that and I make no apologies now.”

Joan Ryan statement

You can see the vote on Press TV, which filmed and live tweeted the vote. Press TV is the Iranian State broadcaster banned from broadcasting in the UK since 2012. On it you used to be able to watch such presenters as George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley (this might be her discussing an anti-semitic mural with Corbyn) and, of course, Corbyn, the Labour Party leader who reportedly received up to £20,000 for appearing.

 

 

Siddo Dwyer, chair of the Enfield North CLP,  plans to lodge a complaint against Press TV. He says: “No press was allowed to be in that room, nor members of the public, or registered supporters, you had to be a fully paid up member of the Labour party. Photo ID was taken as well as Labour party cards. Everyone was checked and double-checked, but the process isn’t bullet proof.”

Perhaps the Press TV reporter is a Labour Party member? After all, it only cost £3 to join, and look at the mayhem you can cause.

And isn’t banning Press from political meetings foolish? It’s almost impossible to implement. But Labour HQ showsw us its clean hands and says: “Filming of local Labour Party meetings is not permitted, and Enfield North will be reminded of this fact.” Only a few days ago, Labour was stating its commitment to ‘free speech’. Admittedly, it was hard to hear the noble cry over Corbynistas calling for Israeli musicians, speakers, actors, artists, medics, scientists and politicians to be no platformed.

 

Meanwhile, here’s an argument for an uncensored media from Press TV. See if you can spot the lie:

Posted: 7th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Labour updates Macpherson: hating Jews doesn’t make you a racist

If you can be an unwitting racist, is Jeremy Corbyn’s obsession with Jews and his friendships with those who want them dead a hate crime? Is Corbyn’s Labour Party institutional racist? In 1999, the Macpherson Report into the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence by a racist gang and the botched police investigation left us with two legacies. First we got to know what is meant by ‘institutional racism’. Sir William Macpherson defined it:

“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

And in that we got the second legacy: you could be an ‘unwitting racist’. If the injured party thinks it’s racist, then it is racist. Anything that happens to an Asian person, say, can be self-defined as racially motivated. Lord Macpherson demanded that police mark a crime as racist where the incident “is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person, rather than their own conclusion”. The result is that anything can be racially motivated if you think it is. You can have racism without racists.

If racism can be unwitting, perhaps we’re all racists and at some point become “infected” by racist thoughts? Racism was recast as no longer being about real power and police; it became subjective, a study in what lurked within individuals. The State was in the clear. Don’t look at the police. Look at yourself and investigate your fibre. Racism became a moral matter. Depressing stuff, for sure. To see racism everywhere and in everyone and everything was a low view of humanity. And it stuck.

Which brings us to anti-Semitism. Labour is all for unwitting racism – but not if you’re a Jew. Labour has after much agonising adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s international standard definition of antisemitism. Try not to call Zionists – people who believe in a Jewish homeland – Nazis (a conniving slight of the lowest stripe) or label Israel a “racist endeavour”. Labour noted that it’s decision must not “undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of the Palestinians”. Labour loves freedom of expression so much it wants to make misogyny a hate crime, punishing people for what they think.

It’s odd, no, how racism has caveats when it’s about the world’s one Jewish state but for everything and everyone else it can be assumed. Corbyn had wanted to include a 500-word explainer to one and all – including you Jews – that it must not be “regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact”. He’s never said that about any other country. Israel is exceptional. It’s backers – oh, those shadowy ‘Zionists’ who run the media and the banks (whoever can they be talking about? clue: ask the Jew haters) – are uniquely barbaric. Even after the Holocaust, Jews never learn.

So Corbyn sought a definition of antisemitism that allows people to be antisemitic and get away with it. While other minorities gets to see racism in everything, Jews are not allowed to see racism in anything – even when it’s staring them in the face.

Posted: 6th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard harks back to the Johnson Dick affair

When not giving the ‘go‘ for an innocent man to be shot dead on the London Underground, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick is on the PR trail. Last week Dick popped up on Good Morning Britain, the televised middle-class coffee morning, to discuss, among other things, Jed Mercurio’s BBC thriller Bodyguard.

Dick mistook fiction for fact, praising the show’s “senior” females as “role models”, who are, er, actors working to a script. A woman playing a top copper with five lines on the show is not the actual superior to the lower rank plod who plays the show’s star, the actual Bodyguard.

Cressida did, however, manage to say the show was “ridiculous”, turning off as soon as sexual signals were exchanged between the protector and the protected – in the show the Home Secretary and her Bodyguard shag. But is it so far fetched? No.

 

 

In 2011, the BBC reported on a real-life matter:

A police bodyguard to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has been sacked after an inquiry into an alleged affair with the Labour MP’s wife.

PC Paul Rice, 45, was dismissed by the Metropolitan Police, which condemned him for damaging its reputation.

Mr Johnson quit as shadow chancellor in January as allegations surrounding the affair became public.

The Dick and Johnson Affair – not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Salisbury poisoning madness: Russian spies made getaway on Southwest trains Sunday service

petrov boshirov moscow poison

 

The suspects in the Salisbury Novichok poisoning case are two Russian nationals called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. They are straight out of central casting. Theresa May says the mean are Russian spies.

The Met police says there is “sufficient evidence” to charge Petrov and Boshirov with the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal hi,s daughter Yulia and Det Sgt Nick Bailey in March. Although Petrov might not be Petrov and Boshirov might not be Boshirov – chances are the middle-aged men were using aliases.

If the men are in Russia, the UK will rely on good will and a sound sense of right and wrong for the Russian authorities to send the men here for questioning. The Russian foreign ministry has seen the news and responded by shrugging and saying the suspects “do not mean anything to Moscow”.

 

petrov boshirov moscow poison

Petrov

 

But they do mean something to the families of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, who fund a vial of ‘perfume’ in a charity bin around 8 miles from Salisbury and tried it on. The liquid in the perfume bottle labelled Nina Ricci Premier Jour perfume was Novichok. Ms Sturgess died. Mr Rowley was hospitalised.

The Metropolitan Police said the two men had arrived at Gatwick Airport from Moscow on 2 March and stayed at the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London.

Both travelled on passports issued by the Russian government.

From there, they travelled to Salisbury on 4 March where Mr Skripal’s front door was contaminated with Novichok.

Officers believe a perfume bottle was used to spray the door.

 

petrov boshirov moscow poison

 

And here’s an oddity:

Dame Sally Davies, the head of Public Health England, said that the wanted pair used the London Underground, Aeroflot flights and the South Western rail service.

Can you think of less reliable way to get around the UK if you’re on mission to assassinate someone? The Skripals were found poisoned on March 4 – a Sunday. Yeah, the caper rested on the getaway driver being a south-west trains operative. Daring stuff…

Timeline (via):

They arrived at Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday 2 March, having flown from Moscow on an Aeroflot flight.

It is believed that they travelled by train into London, arriving at Victoria station at about 5.40pm.

They then travelled on public transport to Waterloo station and then travelled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London, where they stayed the night.

On Saturday 3 March, the two men left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at 11.45am. They then caught a train to Salisbury whey they arrived at 2.25pm.

Police believe this visit was for “reconnaissance of the Salisbury area”.

The two men left Salisbury at about 4.10pm and arrived back in Bow in east London at 8.05pm.

On Sunday 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at about 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.

CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and police believe that they contaminated the front door with novichok.

They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo station where they arrived at about 4.45pm. They then boarded the London Underground to London Heathrow airport at 6.30pm.

From Heathrow airport, they returned to Moscow on an Aeroflot flight, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday 4 March.

One rail replacement service (aka: the bus) and the whole thing would have been scuppered.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Peak Guardian: fight fatphobia and why being unhealthy is deadly

guardian fat

 

The Guardian’s cover is a thing of wonder – the wonder being did anyone read it before going to print? Having invited readers to “fight fatphobia – ten ways to do the right thing” (well, if it’s a phobia, you should seek therapy or avoid the fat let you feel physically ill), the Guardian tells readers that “unhealthy lifestyles put four out of five adults at risk of an early death”. You’ve got a problem that need fixing if you look at someone whose obese and think them unhealthy – but don’t worry because 80% of them should die before you.

True enough being fat was once a sign of being jolly; whereas now you’re a victim and scourge of the NHS. But the juxtaposition of those competing headlines is dire. An it’s underpinned by those ‘Ten Ways’, including: “A fat activist once said clothing was the alphabet we used to express ourselves – and fat people have fewer letters.” What about XXXXL?

Oh, read it all if you must. But the pick is people praising others for their weight loss:

Make it a rule not to use language that focuses on your own or others’ weight. We have no idea what someone is going through, whether they are dealing with body shame or trying to heal from an eating disorder. When we stop using this kind of language altogether, we create an environment in which people of all sizes can coexist without a sense of weight surveillance.

More evidence of abuse are restaurants which don’t offer “sturdy chairs without armrests”, undoing the myth that the “proximity to fatness bears the threat of contamination” and a medic dishing out “medical discrimination” who failed to spot a fat woman’s cancer (Note: I wasn’t fat when five doctors missed mine.)

 

Posted: 4th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


In full: David Remnick’s memo to New Yorker staffers about the Steve Bannon interview

This is David Remnick’s memo to New Yorker staffers about the decision not to interview Steve Bannon at the magazine’s yearly festival. Remnick is the magazine’s editor who intended to interview former Breitbart Media chairman, former Trump aide and former chief White House strategist Bannon before a live audience at a festival of ideas. Remnick had “every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation”. Even if thrice-divorced Bannon is yesterday’s man, it sounds great. I’d never heard of the Festival before now but count me in.

But other notable guests – Jim CarreyJohn MulaneyPatton Oswalt and Judd Apatow – said they’d withdraw unless Bannon was given the elbow. The New Yorker’s Kathryn Schulz  tweeted: “I love working for [the New Yorker] but I’m beyond appalled by this … I have already made that very clear to David Remnick. You can, too.” She provided a New Yorker email address.

To which Remnick said: screw you. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let’s expose the enemy with our wit and democratic values. It’s a Festival of Ideas not a bloody dinner party. And in any case, it’s rude to invite someone and tell them they’re not wanted. Nah. He kiboshed the whole thing.

So Bannon wins. He might have been irrelevant, an opportunistic rabble-rousers, but now banned he becomes a man of substance. And he’s issued a statement: “The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation. In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”

 

Steve_Bannon_new yorker

 

THE MEMO:

In 2016, Steve Bannon played a critical role in electing the current President of the United States. On Election Night I wrote a piece for our website that this event represented “a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.” Unfortunately, this was, if anything, an understatement of what was to come.

Today, The New Yorker announced that, as part of our annual Festival, I would conduct an interview with Bannon. The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him. Some members of the staff, too, reached out to say that they objected to the invitation, particularly the forum of the festival.

The effort to interview Bannon at length began many months ago. I originally reached out to him to do a lengthy interview with “The New Yorker Radio Hour.” He knew that our politics could not be more at odds — he reads The New Yorker — but he said he would do it when he had a chance. It was only later that the idea arose of doing that interview in front of an audience.

The main argument for not engaging someone like Bannon is that we are giving him a platform and that he will use it, unfiltered, to propel further the “ideas” of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and illiberalism. But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism’s leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity. Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we’d be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism. Early this year, Michael Lewis interviewed Bannon, who made it plain how he viewed his work in the campaign. “We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall,” Bannon said. “This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” To hear this was valuable, as it revealed something about the nature of the speaker and the campaign he helped to lead.

The point of an interview, a rigorous interview, particularly in a case like this, is to put pressure on the views of the person being questioned.

There’s no illusion here. It’s obvious that no matter how tough the questioning, Bannon is not going to burst into tears and change his view of the world. He believes he is right and that his ideological opponents are mere “snowflakes.” The question is whether an interview has value in terms of fact, argument, or even exposure, whether it has value to a reader or an audience. Which is why Dick Cavett, in his time, chose to interview Lester Maddox and George Wallace. Or it’s why Oriana Fallaci, in “Interview with History,” a series of question-and-answer meetings with Henry Kissinger and Ayatollah Khomeini and others, contributed something to our understanding of those figures. Fallaci hardly changed the minds of her subjects, but she did add something to our understanding of who they were. This isn’t a First Amendment question; it’s a question of putting pressure on a set of arguments and prejudices that have influenced our politics and a President still in office.

Some on social media have said that there is no point in talking to Bannon because he is no longer in the White House. But Bannon has already exerted enormous impact on Trump; his rhetoric, ideas, and tactics are evident in much of what this President does and says and intends. We heard Bannon in the inaugural address, which announced this Presidency’s divisiveness, in the Muslim ban, and in Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville.What’s more, Bannon has not retired. His attempt to get Roy Moore elected in Alabama failed but he has gone on to help further the trend of illiberal, nationalist movements around the country and abroad.

There are many ways for a publication like ours to do its job: investigative reporting; pointed, well-argued opinion pieces; Profiles; reporting from all over the country and around the world; radio and video interviews; even live interviews. At the same time, many of our readers, including some colleagues, have said that the Festival is different, a different kind of forum. It’s also true that we pay an honorarium, that we pay for travel and lodging. (Which does not happen, of course, when we interview someone for an article or for the radio.) I don’t want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I’ve ignored their concerns. I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind. There is a better way to do this. Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.

— David Remnick

Bannon should write Remnick a thank you note for making him ‘great’ again.

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


Cosby Show star tries to forget working with Bill: the delicious shaming of Geoffrey Owens

There’s a thrill in spotting a famous face. And we can imagine the excitement when, as Fox News puts it in breathless tones,  “‘Cosby Show’ actor Geoffrey Owens [was] spotted bagging groceries at NJ Trader Joe’s.” Admittedly, I’ve no idea who Owens is, but if others do then I’m happy to gawp and learn. The 1980s show’s Bill Cosby, aka Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable, would have been a bigger draw, as would have Lisa Bonet, the elfin object of ruby adolescent dreams, who appeared as his daughter Denise. But Owens, who played the hit show’s Elvin Tibideaux (1985–1992; thanks Wikipedia), is who we have in the crosshairs, and Fox News is excited.

 

Geoffreyowencosbytrader

Worker spotted working. “I had a job and I still have a job,” says man.

 

Geoffrey Owens was “spotted by a local shopper at the Clifton, N.J. store, standing behind one of the checkout counters and wearing a Trader Joe’s staff shirt with a name tag that read, ‘Geoffrey’.”  The local shopper was thoughtful enough to take pictures of Owens at work. As these “exclusive photos reveal”. He “wore a Trader Joe€’s t-shirt with stain marks on the front as he weighed a bag of potatoes.” But that’s still a cleaner living than hanging out with Bill Cosby, as many might say.

Owens is billed as a “former star”, which is not exactly true because people still recognise him, which makes him more than starry enough for a Fox News exclusive and, most likely, a stint on Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Bake Off.

The star spotters are revealed as Karma and Yanelle Lawrence, 50, and Yanelle, 40. “€œI was getting a bunch of groceries and he wasn’t really looking at anybody, but he said, ‘Have a nice day,'” says Karma.€™ “€œHe looked bloated and fat and unhappy.”

This week Geoffrey Owens, next week  Brian Bonsall. Who knew life could be so exciting? Have a nice day!

 

Posted: 3rd, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


Cosmopolitan stretches its arms wide and embraces obesity

Right now hundreds of skeletal and grey-skinned models are ordering double celery in the hope of getting work. Cosmopolitan magazine has featured a big girl on its cover and the dye is cast. Not only do bigger-boned models fill more of the page, thus negating the need for copy and ads for weight loss, liposuction and cosmetic surgery but the also make the magazine relevant in its ‘Celebration of Diversity and Difference’. This means anyone can be a model because everyone is beautiful. And with bigger pool to pick from , modelling rates are bound to plummet. Whereas ‘super model’ Linda Evangelista reportedly said “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” in the 1980s, today’s tall and skinny bird will be there for 10,000 lira (Turkish) and sleep standing up.

 

tess holliday

Tess socks it to the ‘haters’

 

And so the debate: will Tess Holliday, the Cosmo cover model, prove that we – given that so many of us are fat as the nation reels from an obesity crisis (see all press) – prefer to buy magazines that reflect us as we truly are: fat? Or are mags just a trite form of escapism in which we fetishise other people as celebs and learn how to look like them, dress like them and smell like them?

 

Cosmopolitan Super Diets & Exercise Guide Spring/Summer 1980 cover with Kathy Davis

Cosmopolitan Super Diets & Exercise Guide Spring/Summer 1980 cover with Kathy Davis

 

The encouraging news is that if you’re big you’re more likely to sweat than someone who’s thin, thus making it easier for perfumiers to fill vials with the celebrities’ essence from their scraped sheets and underwear. Look out for a whole range of Tess Halliday scents with names like ‘Difference’, ‘Diversity’ and in a bid to reclaim the word from the haters, ‘Obese’.

In the meanwhile, we can fret about how many children – won’t somebody think of the the children – will be inspired to pile on the pounds by Cosmo mag’s brave stance – the answer being none. Oh, and the rest of you can pick up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine for free in your – get this – gut-busting gym.

NOTECosmo’s editor in chief is Michele Promaulayko, who got the job “having spent eight years as executive editor prior to her blockbuster run at Women’s Health“. On Women’s Health you can read lots and lots and lots about how to get slim and stay slim.

 

Cosmopolitan

DON’T BE FAT!

 

Cosmo – putting the fat in ‘fatuous’.

Posted: 2nd, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Corbyn is the anti-Semitic Prime Minister you voted for

Is Jeremy Corbyn a racist? He is if he you look at what else he said at a London conference convened by the Palestinian Return Centre in London in 2013. The conference was marketed by the Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military arm – they’re the group that want all Jews dead and who Corbyn has called his “friends”. Ok, ok, move on ,already. We know all about the mural, the iffy mates, Press TV and the report whitewashed and wrapped in ermine. Borrrr-ing! On this occasion Corbyn was irked by comments directed towards the Palestinian ambassador in response to a speech he’d made. Corbyn responded by saying Jews, sorry, Zionists heckling the ambassador suffered from two problems: “One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. I think they need two lessons, which we can help them with.”

Did he man Zionists or did he mans Jews? Do you smell something nasty or not? Nothing of it, said Labour, holding its nose. Corbyn was using the word Zionist in a political way. It was a word employed in “the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people”. Phew! He’s not othering British Jews. Corbyn was not billing Jews as the enemy within, a people loyal only to Israel, a country he sees as the epitome of all Western ills and the ultimate enemy. Jews are not, in terms employed by the Left to demonise Israel and make the Jews not worthy of the Holocaust (but maybe deserving of another  one; those uniquely barbaric sods never learn), Nazism’s fifth column.

And then he said this:

“[In the early 20th century], the progressive leadership in London of the trade unions and the Labour Party… was actually Jewish trade unionists and Jewish people in the East End of London. It was Zionism that rose up and drove them into the sort of ludicrous positions they have at the present time.”

That sounds a lot like anti-Semitism. British Jews used to be good. All of them. Now British Jews are bad. All of them. He didn’t mean Zionist in any political sense at all; he meant Jews.

Jews and the Left were once of a single mind and purpose. They joined forces at the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 to fight fascists in London’s East End. That was then. Now Labour has nothing in common with Jews, who do not hold English values. Born and bred British Jews are foreign and hold only the possibility of civilised humanity. This was Corbyn the tribalist, middle-class Jew hater of a type we know too well, who sees “large fat foreign” Jews, as the author Graham Greene did, a writer who opined for The Spectator in 1939: “How the financial crisis has improved English films! They have lost their tasteless Semitic opulence and are becoming – English.”

Are you still uncertain as to whether or not Corbyn is a racist? One Guardian writer said Corbyn’s words were “unquestionably anti-Semitic”; another said they were “anti-Semitic and unacceptable”. Both are right. That Corbyn is still in with a chance of being Prime Minister is depressing: how can a bigot lead the country? The conclusion must be that for too many people anti-Semitism is no big deal. It’s only the Jews, a Biblical people remarkable for having survived persistent persecution. This leaves Jews to form their own conclusion: grandma was right. The oldest story is back. Keep a bag packed under the bed and rely on nobody else to fight your battles. They always come for us.

 

Posted: 31st, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


 Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown says far Right ‘Allo Allo cast pose threat to British society

Did you see the Nazis massed in Gloucester? There was Herr Flick and the rest of the Herrenvolk who used to star in he BBC’s fly on the wall documentary Allo ‘Allo!.  These recreational Nazis were at the Gloucester Goes Retro festival.

 

Gloucester Goes Retro

 

Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown spotted them. She noted: “Too busy accusing Labour of anti-Semitism to heed the real scary threat posed posed by the hard right.” Yeah, all four of the Far Right enthusiasts surrounded by media – which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to reporting on Nazis, a minority focus group with huge reach. There the “real” threat – unlike the Jew hatred that’s rife in the Labour Party, which is presumably fakery made up by a team of scriptwriters.

 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown allo allo nazis

 

As they used to say on the TV show, she’s the one with the ‘big boobies’.

Posted: 30th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Madeleine McCann in hijab horror

Did you “remember Madeleine McCann” this summer, heeding the advice of Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips to not “let your holiday be the one we all read about”? You all must of because the papers did not make single mention of any new child getting kidnapped on holidays, let alone launch into a voracious feeding frenzy as the media did in 2007 when Madeleine McCann became ‘Our Maddie’. Eleven years on, Operation Phillips is a success. Cheers, Fi, we don’t know how many children your advice to “forgo all of the adult holiday pleasures all over again to make sure our kids were safe” saved. Maybe none. Maybe one. Phillips has a story:

I thought of this when I read about Janet Alexander who’s suing Thomas Cook after her daughter was “abducted” from a holiday kids’ club.

Was the child abducted or not? Pull up a sun lounger and play detective.

She left five-year-old Rose at a supervised play area at their hotel in Turkey while she took her other daughter scuba diving. When she returned an hour later there was no sign of Rose. Janet thought her daughter was dead or faced being abused.

Was she?

Thankfully, another guest spotted Rose near a main road with a strange woman wearing a hijab.

It seems a pretty safe bet to say that Janet doesn’t wear an hijab and this was not a case of mistaken identity. It might also be that women in hijabs arouse more suspicion among columnists than those who do not, or are very good at helping kids who have wandered off cross the road. Discuss.

And here’s some more, also via the Mirror:

A frantic search for the child was then launched and Janet has described seeing staff turn to a woman in a hijab and speak to her in Turkish…

In Turkey!?

It is believed the ordeal came to an end 40 minutes later when another hotel guest spotted the blonde youngster walking with a woman in a hijab near a main road within the hotel grounds.

If only we knew what colour hair the hijab woman has we could form a better opinion of her intentions. Blonde hair: likelihood of innocence high (see Myra Hindley); dark hair: likelihood of guilt high (see Mother Teresa).

As that legal matter grinds on, we rejoice in the news that the case of Madeleine McCann has been “SOLVED!” So goes the National Enquirer’s front-page headline, which heralds the the story of a convicted pedophile who allegedly stole Madeleine McCann. Who is this wine? Well, he’s dead. He died a year ago. His name? Dunno. But he is “This man kidnapped little girl & sold her into slavery!” Fact! And where’s Maddie? “She’s still alive,” declares the Enquirer. But where? Dunno. Maybe they’ll find out in time for next week’s deadline.

Meanwhile, the South West Londoner website has conducted a poll:

We went out into the streets of Wimbledon and asked: “Should the government stop spending money searching for Madeleine McCann?”

Yes: 72% No: 28%

How many women wearing the hijab were questioned is not stated. But you just know most of them who were said ‘NO!’

 

Posted: 28th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, National Enquirer, News | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United’s vanishing £60m agreement for Spurs star

In the shadowlands where transfer news and transfer gossip merge into clickbait balls was the summer’s news that Manchester United were dead keen on Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld. Today the BBC tells its readers that Man United “made no attempt” to sign Alderweireld, 29, from Spurs.

Really?

The Metro told us on August 6:

Tottenham were demanding £75million for Alderweireld, but a compromise has been reached and United are poised to complete the deal.

One day on the Daily Star had reduced the fee by a mere £20m – still £15m more than the United “bid”:

 

Toby Alderweireld transfer

 

Confusing stuff. Maybe the Mirror can help. It’s the source of the BBC’s story that United never did bid for Alderweireld. The paper reports:

Manchester United made NO attempt to sign Toby Alderweireld or Danny Rose in the summer transfer window… despite reports claiming otherwise.

In fact, it’s emerged that it was Spurs who informally approached United, their hosts for Monday night’s Premier League game, to ask if there was interest in either of their stars in the lead up to deadline day.

Fact. But on August 5 the Mirror said United were “set to sign” the Belgian for – get this – £60m.

 

Toby Alderweireld transfer

 

Just two days later and the “final offer” form United was down to £40m:

 

Toby Alderweireld transfer

Total balls, then.

Posted: 27th, August 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


NBC announces death of Senator John McCain with mating human dolphins

 

RIP John McCain (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018). Victor in six elections to the US Senate, McCain was the US navy pilot who crashed twice. He was was on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal when his A-4 Skyhawk jet caught fire. He was hit by shrapnel by the plane’s exploding bombs. The accident cost 134 men their lives. He was shot down during the Vietnam War, bayonetted, beaten badly and held for five-and-a-half years as a prisoner in inhuman conditions at the infamous Hoa Lo prison. The admiral’s son survived months in solitary confinement and torture. When he ran for Congress in Arizona, he told a journalist who accused him of not being local:

“Listen pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things… The place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

And on CNN

Posted: 26th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Strange But True, TV & Radio | Comment


Forget Muslims – we want Boris Johnson to attack Jews

When Boris Johnson criticised Denmark’s absurd decision to ban the wearing of the burka in a to-deadline article for the Telegraph, he went on to liken women wearing the niqab to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”. This, said many, was Johnson “fanning the flames of Islamophobia”. We’re with Johnson on his view that it’s wrong to tell “a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear in a public place when she is simply minding her own business”. Denmark’s move to ban an item of clothing follows burqa bans in France, Austria and Belgium. The problem is that he’d ask a constituent visiting him at his MP surgery to to remove her veil – “If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecturer looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct.”

Reactions are many:

“They are absolutely demonising, misogynistic, hurtful comments and they are fanning the flames of Islamophobia. As a result, the thugs who are already snatching the headscarves of Muslim women will feel empowered that someone who is part of the establishment, who has been our foreign secretary, is giving them licence.” – Imam Qari Asim, an imam who sits on the government’s Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, in The Times.

“We’re still waiting for that to happen, which is not lost on a community that still feels vulnerable … My own congregation are increasingly reporting Islamophobic abuse, from having their headscarves removed to facing racist chants.” – Finsbury Park imam Mohammed Mahmoud.

Naz Shah – yep, her – wants the Conservative chair, Brandon Lewis, to send Johnson for mandatory equalities training. Shah, who once called for all Jews for be deported from Israel (she later went on a “journey” and apologised) is Labour’s shadow equalities minister. She calls Johnson’s comments “ugly and naked Islamophobia”.

 

boris johnson islam

An extract from Naz Shah’s letter

 

And:

“Muslim women are having their burkas pulled off by thugs in our streets and Boris Johnson’s response is to mock them for ‘looking like letter boxes’. Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions.” – David Lammy MP.

Nothing to do with Jews, then. Right? No. Because on Twitter, Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy is introducing Jews:

 

Jews burqa

Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy wonders about Jews

 

Why bring the Jews into it? Is the argument that Jews get more protection? Are Jews too powerful? Is it supposed Jewish privilege he’s wafting into the debate? What’s Guru-Murty’s point? The language around anti-Semitism has become nuanced, vague, deceptive and downright dishonest. Would a criticism of a Jew’s kippah or a woman’s sheitel (a wig be worn by very religious married Jewish women) be anti-Semitic? Is it racist to call orthodox Jews living in North London ‘Stamford Hill Cowboys’? We live in a time when many anti-Semites don’t like to make their hatred too explicit. You’re left looking for the verbal wink. And you get to the point where comparing a woman in a burqa to a letter box is presented as anti-Muslim – an assault on all Muslims and the religion of Islam – and not a lazy joke about an item of clothing worn by a relatively few Muslims.

 

It always comes back to the Jews

 

Over on the BBC, it’s all about Jews. On Newsnight – ” In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day’s headlines with Evan Davis -we get this:

 

 

A crass comment about women in burqas and you “have to ask” a question about Jews? To the knowing, sensitive and caring everything is about those pesky Jews, a group now portrayed as underserving of that ultimate 21st accolade: victimhood.

Posted: 7th, August 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment