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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 2

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Covid-19 : Armageddon did not begin in Bournemouth

 Covid beach

When the fist lockdown was ended, we headed to beaches. But the ‘Covidiots’ never did spread Covid-19 on Bournemouth’s golden sands. SAGE epidemiologist Mark Woolhouse tells the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that crowded beaches did not lead to a single outbreak last summer.

“Over the summer we were treated to pictures of crowded beaches, and there was an outcry about this, but there were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches… there has never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world, to the best of my knowledge.”

What did the papers and say? The Indy and Telegraph were scathing:

Bournemouth Covid
Covid bournemouth

One local MP was hot on Covid. Tobias Ellwood new the rules:

Later…

As you were.

Posted: 17th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


William Charles Flynn: Breeding the perfect child through eugenics – 1915

This photograph shows William Charles Flynn, a winner of perfect “eugenic baby” contests in the early 20th Century.

The Spokesman-Review, of Mar 27, 1915, reports that Flynn, 37 months old, had won 14 first prizes in baby eugenics shows. His mother and the mother of 17-months-old Alene Calvert Houck, a girl with 6 wins under her nappy ban, hoped their “perfect 100-point” children would later marry produce the perfect human.

The Eugenics Archive has more:

When one considers the strong contribution of agricultural breeding to the eugenics movement, it is not difficult to see why eugenicists used state fairs as a venue for popular education. A majority of Americans were still living in rural areas during the first several decades of the 20th century, and fairs were major cultural events. Farmers brought their products of selective breeding — fat pigs, speedy horses, and large pumpkins — to the fair to be judged. Why not judge “human stock” to select the most eugenically fit family?

This was exactly the concept behind Fitter Families for Future Firesides — known simply as Fitter Families Contests. The contests were founded by Mary T. Watts and Florence Brown Sherbon — two pioneers of the Baby Health Examination movement, which sprang from a “Better Baby” contest at the 1911 Iowa State Fair and spread to 40 states before World War I. The first Fitter Family Contest was held at the Kansas State Free Fair in 1920. With support from the American Eugenics Society’s Committee on Popular Education, the contests were held at numerous fairs throughout the United States during the 1920s.

At most contests, competitors submitted an “Abridged Record of Family Traits,” and a team of medical doctors performed psychological and physical exams on family members. Each family member was given an overall letter grade of eugenic health, and the family with the highest grade average was awarded a silver trophy. Trophies were typically awarded in three family categories: small (1 child), medium (2-4 children), and large (5 or more children).

All contestants with a B+ or better received bronze medals bearing the inscription, “Yea, I have a goodly heritage.” Childless couples were eligible for prizes in contests held in some states. As expected, the Fitter Families Contest mirrored the eugenics movement itself; winners were invariably White with western and northern European heritage.

Top Ten Unlikely and Surprising Eugenicists

Posted: 13th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


PR and privacy beats public interest: Duchess Meghan defeats the Mail

Markle letter high court

Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, struck a blow for the little people when she took on the Daily Mail on Sunday and won her high court privacy case. The aristocrat says “we have all won”.

She brought the claim against Associated Newspapers over its publication of extracts from her letter to her father. He had passed it to the paper. Judge Mr Justice Warby said Meghan had a “reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private”. The Mail countered that publishing the letter was in the public interest.

“One’s correspondence with others is presumptively private in nature,” said Warby. “…Taken as a whole the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful. There is no prospect that a different judgment would be reached after a trial.” The Mail never got to test the matter in open court.

Warby ruled that the letter that appeared beneath the headline “Revealed: the letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces” was “a long-form telling-off”, “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.”

Markle letter high court

The Sun calls the ruling “a blow against press freedom”. The Daily Mail says its publishers are considering an appeal. It would be useful to discover what it all means going forward.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens tells the BBC: “If you can’t effectively report on leaked letters then in those circumstances the media holding people to account is going to be hampered. Essentially this judgement in its widest context puts manacles on the media… This is a letter that could have easily been published in the United States and you are in a situation where going forward people will leak these letters to media in America.”

How did we all win, as Meghan put it? Isn’t this a win for the rich and powerful, those born to rule?

“Thomas Markle makes the allegation that she created an attack through PR and her friends,” says Stephens, now popping up in the Mail. “Thomas Markle makes the allegation that she created an attack through PR and her friends. If that’s right it means rich and powerful people who can afford PR and representation will be able to curate their reputations without the media being able to expose that.”

Joshua Rosenberg writes in the Telegraph:

Warby’s ruling reinforces the law without changing it. There will still be cases where a newspaper’s freedom of expression outweighs a letter-writer’s right to privacy – especially if the writer is a public figure. But this was not one of them.

The Duchess of Sussex has issued a statement – something we are allowed to report:

These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence.

For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep. The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news.

What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite. We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain.

One item on the court’s agenda remains to be decided. The judge says publication of the letter infringed the duchess’s copyright. But he says the issue of whether Meghan was “the sole author” of the letter or Jason Knauf, former communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was a “co-author” should be determined at a trial.

Will it be? If it is found that personal and private letters to her dad were authored for co-authored by her staff, you might wonder what the purpose of the letter really was? And the tabloids will have yet another Meghan and Harry news story to use when they press f9 on the keyboard and let us all know what two toffs living in LA are up to when the toffs are not telling us what they’re up. And on the game goes…

Posted: 12th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Queen’s Consent makes a mockery of democracy

Queen's consent

Is Her Majesty the Queen an elitist? The Guardian has seen papers from 1973 suggesting Liz’s personal lawyers “successfully lobbied ministers to change a draft law in order to conceal her private wealth”. It’s to do with ‘Queen’s Consent’, which Buckingham Palace calls a “purely formal” process – or what you cynics might call a well-designed loophole. The paper says in seeing the proposed rule change that would affect her, Her Maj was able to debate it and possibly get it altered it in her favour before agreeing to it. Says the BBC: “A revision to the draft law subsequently enabled her as a head of state to sidestep the new regulations.” The Palace is dismissive:

“Queen’s consent is a parliamentary process, with the role of sovereign purely formal. Consent is always granted by the monarch where requested by government. Any assertion that the sovereign has blocked legislation is simply incorrect.

“Whether Queen’s consent is required is decided by parliament, independently from the royal household, in matters that would affect Crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the monarch.

“If consent is required, draft legislation is, by convention, put to the sovereign to grant solely on advice of ministers and as a matter of public record.”

Good job we’re living in a democracy where we are all equals, right?

Posted: 8th, February 2021 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, Royal Family | Comment


British politics at its best: Handforth Parish Council meeting goes viral

You are watching a meeting of Handforth Parish Council, in Wilmslow, Cheshire, on Zoom. Jackie Weaver is from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils. The Chairman is Brian Tolver, refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the meeting. He bills himself as the “clerk”.

Ms Weaver says: “The chairman simply declared himself clerk and notified everybody of the case. There is no way of stopping him from calling himself clerk. Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.”

local news
Britney Spears

Mr Tolver is removed from the meeting and placed in a “virtual waiting room” to the virtual meeting after saying: “You have no authority here Jackie Weaver.”

Councillor Aled Brewerton adds: “Read the standing orders – read them and understand them!” He too is sent to the virtual waiting room.

Stay tuned…

Posted: 5th, February 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Watch The Princess Bride Home Movie

The Princess Bride (redux), directed by Jason Reitman, broadcast on Quibi (the now dead streaming service you never heard of), starring Fred Savage, Cary Elwes, Adam Sandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Hamm (Westley), Zoe Saldana (Buttercup), Penelope Cruz (Prince Humperdinck), Pedro Pascal (Inigo Montoya), Shaquille O’Neal (Fezzik), Charlize Theron (Fezzik) and Andy Serkis (Count Rugen).

Why was it made? for charity. Money raised went to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 2nd, February 2021 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts | Comment


Craven Joe Biden denies Harry Dunn justice – protects coward Anne Sacoolas

Joe Biden agrees with Trump. They are foreign birds of a feather for whom the “special relationship” is a one way street. Biden says Anne Sacoolas, the American wife of an American spook working on British soil, does not have to face British justice. She fled the UK after a car she was driving on the wrong side of the road near RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, in 2019, collided with a blameless Harry Dunn, leaving him dead. He was 19.

The cowardly Sacoolas legged it, citing diplomatic immunity. Harry Dunn’s working-class parents sued for justice. They believed they’d get it.

“The United States government has declined the United Kingdom’s request for extradition of a US citizen involved in a tragic vehicle accident that occurred in the United Kingdom,” says State Department spokesman Ned Price.

“Our decision in that regard was final. At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the US citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.”

A young man is dead. Harry Dunn was neither rich nor powerful enough to matter to Joe Biden. Anne Sacoolas is being protected by America. But what’s to stop her boarding a flight and heading to the UK? What prevents this protected American from doing the right thing?

Posted: 29th, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Cracking Typo: ‘Daft’ Germans lose plot over AstraZeneca vaccine in the Guardian

“Daft Germans” in the Guardian – a typo (?) now changed

The “daft Germans” (source: Guardian – see above) say the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine they are desperate to get is pretty rubbish if you’re over-65. It feels like only yesterday (it was – ed) that the Germans and their equally slow EU peers who ordered the vaccine three months after the UK put its order in were demanding the UK supply doses from its stocks to make up any shortfall due to production issues.

Weird feeling for someone who voted to remain in the EU to watch it implode over UK’s ability to work faster and harder to get more vaccines. It is a brilliant advert for Brexit – and for the ancient principle of first come, first served— Grant Feller (@grantfeller) January 28, 2021

The EU’s health commissioner (can you name him / her?) claims AstraZeneca is wrong when it says it is contractually obliged to supply the UK first. Stella Kyriakides (congrats to longtime reader Mrs Stella Kyriakides for answering right; hard cheese Mr Stella Kyriakides for his wrong answer) says: “We reject the logic of first come, first served. That may work in a butcher’s shop but not in contracts and not in our advanced purchase.”

AstraZeneca says it can deliver 25% of the doses scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of the year once the European medicines authority has given its approval. The company says it will deliver 2m doses a week for the benefit of UK residents, as agreed.

The “daft Germans” will have to wait.

Posted: 28th, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


‘Queen Bitch’ Margaret Marilyn DeAdder’s obituary is the best read of 2021

Great obituary

Margaret Marilyn DeAdder (1942-2021), of New Brunswick, Canada, loved coupons, bitchiness and menace on the roads. Her obituary is choice:

Margaret Marilyn DeAdder, professional clipper of coupons, baker of cookies, terror behind the wheel, champion of the underdog, ruthless card player, and self-described Queen Bitch, died on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. Marilyn, the oldest of four siblings, was born Marilyn Joyce in 1942, to parents Hannah and Edgar Joyce, in New Glasgow, NS. She grew up in a modest home, which still stands on the top of a hill where the Westville Rd. forks to the Town of Westville in one direction and the old drive-in in the other. Growing up with very little taught her how to turn a dime into a dollar, a skill at which she’d excel her whole life.

Marilyn loved all children who weren’t her own and loved her own children relative to how clean-shaven they were. She excelled at giving the finger, taking no sh!t and laughing at jokes, preferably in the shade of blue. She did not excel at suffering fools, hiding her disdain, and putting her car in reverse. A voracious reader, she loved true crime, romance novels and the odd political book. Trained as a hairdresser before she was married, she was always doing somebody’s hair in her kitchen, so much so her kitchen smelled of baking and perm solution. Marilyn had a busy life, but no matter what she was doing she always made time to run her kids’ lives as well. Her lifelong hobbies included painting, quilting, baking, gardening, hiking and arson. Marilyn loved tea and toast. The one thing she loved more than tea and toast was reheated tea and toast. She reheated tea by simply turning on the burner often forgetting about it. She burned many a teapot and caused smoke damage countless times, leaving her kids with the impression that fanning the smoke alarm was a step in brewing tea.

Marilyn liked to volunteer and give back to the community. She was a lifelong volunteer at the Capital Theatre in downtown Moncton, which her sons suspected was her way of seeing all the shows for free. For all of Marilyn’s success in life, her crowning achievement occurred in the mid-to-late eighties, when, left with mounting debt, no job, no car, and no driver’s license, she turned it all around to the point in the early nineties that she had paid down her house, paid cash for all her cars, and got her three boys through university.

Marilyn is survived by her three ungrateful sons Michael (Gail), Paul and David (Trudy), whose names she never got completely right, and whose jokes she didn’t completely understand. She loved them very much, even though at least one of them would ruin Christmas every year by coming home with facial hair, and never forgot that one disastrous Christmas in which all three sons showed up with beards. Everything she did, she did for her sons.

Marilyn is survived by her three granddaughters Meaghan (19), Bridget (16) and Madelyn (5). While her sons committed unspeakable crimes against humanity, her granddaughters could do no wrong. While her sons grew up on root vegetables and powdered milk (funneled directly into the bag to hide the fact that it was powdered, fooling nobody), her granddaughters were fed mountains of sugary snacks as far as the eye could see, including her world-famous cookies and cinnamon rolls. Her love for them was unmatched.

Marilyn is survived by her sisters, Melda and Linda, and her brother, Lloyd, who still owes her $600* (*inside family joke – sorry, Lloyd). Marilyn is also survived by an incredible number of close friends, who cannot be named for fear of missing somebody.

Marilyn, ever the penny-pincher, decided to leave this world on the day Moncton went into red-alert, her sons believe, to avoid paying for a funeral. But, on the other hand, she always said that she didn’t want a funeral, she wanted an Irish wake. She didn’t want everybody moping around, she wanted a party. Marilyn will get her celebration of life when COVID-19 is over. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you do something nice for somebody else unexpectedly, and without explanation. We love you, mom, a bushel and a peck. A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.

As seen on. the website of Cobb’s Funeral Home and Cremation Center.

Posted: 28th, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


The best Bernie Sanders Joe Biden inauguration meme

Bernie Sanders was at Joe Biden’s inauguration. Dressed in a car coat and mittens, a meme was born. And the best of them was created by Bryce Utting:

Honourable mentions:

Posted: 22nd, January 2021 | In: Gifs, Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Artist predicted Zoom in 1896 – the telephonoscope

Artist predicted Zoom in 1896 - the telephonoscope

The rough translation to this 1896 cartoon predicting the Zoom age is: “My wife visits her aunt in Budapest, my oldest daughter is studying to be a dentist in Melbourne… this does not prevent us from celebrating Christmas with the telephonoscope.”

Helen De Cruz adds:

Next to Zoom Christmas, Albert Robida also predicted courses via Zoom, in his novel Le Vingtième siècle. La vie électrique (1890). Caption reads “Courses by Telephonoscope”. He thought the “telephonoscope” would give us education, movies, teleconferencing.

Spotter: @Helenreflects

Posted: 21st, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment


US Senator Ted Cruz thinks Paris isn’t in Texas

US Senator for Texas, Ted Cruz, has noticed President Joe Biden returning the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement. Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement in November 2020. Says Cruz:

“By signing this order, President Biden indicates that he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.”

And the Texas Senator isn’t?

PArisc climate ted cruz

Posted: 21st, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Why my baby sleeps wherever and whenever they want – a beyond parody parenting guide

As Jess Brammar (@jessbrammar) : “Just got the baby out of his cosy prison and ready for another day of baby-led parenting where we checks notes don’t put any clothes on him or feed him any solid food and let him fall asleep when he is self-aware enough to put himself down for a nap.”

Posted: 17th, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


Computer programmer forgets password – gets locked out of $220m Bitcoin wallet


Stefan Thomas, a German computer programmer living in San Francisco, can’t remember his password. If he can, Thomas gain control of the 7,002 bitcoin on his IronKey hard drive. But he can’t. He has two attempts left before he reaches his quota of 10 password attempts before the drive locks him out permanently and encrypts the content – leaving his $220 million virtual fortune gone.

“There were sort of a couple weeks where I was just desperate – I don’t have any other word to describe it,” Thomas told KGO-TV. “You sort of question your own self-worth: ‘What kind of person loses something that important?'”

File under: cash is king.

Spotter: NYT

Previously: Newport man throws away £210m Bitcoin hard drive

Posted: 16th, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, Money, Technology | Comment


When F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway compared penis size

Just as men took up painting to spend time with naked men and women, many famous writers were also preoccupied with sex. In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway notes the time he and fellow novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, compared penis size:

In the time after Zelda had what was then called her first nervous breakdown and we happened to be in Paris at the same time, Scott asked me to have lunch with him at Michaud’s restaurant on the corner of the rue Jacob and the rue des Saints-Pères. He said he had something very important to ask me that meant more than anything in the world to him and that I must answer absolutely truly.

[…]

I kept waiting for it to come, the thing that I had to tell the absolute truth about; but he would not bring it up until the end of the meal, as though we were having a business lunch.

Finally when we were eating the cherry tart and had a last carafe of wine he said, “You know I never slept with anyone except Zelda.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I thought I had told you.”

“No. You told me a lot of things but not that.”

“That is what I have to ask you about.”

“Good. Go on.”

“Zelda said that the way I was built I could never make any woman happy and that was what upset her originally. She said it was a matter of measurements. I have never felt the same since she said that and I have to know truly.”

“Come out to the office,” I said.

“Where is the office?”

Le water,” I said.

We came back into the room and sat down at the table.

“You’re perfectly fine,” I said. “You are O.K. There’s nothing wrong with you. You look at yourself from above and you look foreshortened. Go over to the Louvre and look at the people in the statues and then go home and look at yourself in the mirror in profile.”

“Those statues may not be accurate.”

“They are pretty good. Most people would settle for them.”

“But why would she say it?”

“To put you out of business. That’s the oldest way in the world of putting people out of business. Scott, you asked me to tell you the truth and I can tell you a lot more but this is the absolute truth and all you need. You could have gone to see a doctor.”

“I didn’t want to. I wanted you to tell me truly.”

“Now do you believe me?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“Come on over to the Louvre,” I said. “It’s just down the street and across the river.”

We went over to the Louvre and he looked at the statues but still he was doubtful about himself.

“It is not basically a question of the size in repose,” I said. “It is the size that it becomes. It is also a question of angle.” I explained to him about using a pillow and a few other things that might be useful for him to know.

A pillow to rest our head upon when you lie down, pick up a good book and forget about it.

Spotter: BB; Flashbak

Posted: 15th, January 2021 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment


Elizabeth was not ready for the Trump Revolution

Elizabeth came to Washington DC from Knoxville, Tennessee, to march for Donald Trump.  She made it a foot inside the Capital before she says she was maced and forced back outside. Elizabeth is upset. Elizabeth was not ready to the Revolution.

Posted: 8th, January 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Hear James Baldwin’s great record collection on a Spotify playlist

Allan warren - Own work
James Baldwin taken Hyde Park, London Spotify

You can hear American writer James Baldwin’s record collection as Spotify playlist. In his hymned work Another Country, Baldwin hailed the creative power of music:

The beat: hands, feet, tambourines, drums, pianos, laughter, curses, razor blades: the man stiffening with a laugh and a growl and a purr and the woman moistening and softening with a whisper and a sigh and a cry. The beat – in Harlem in the summertime one could almost see it, shaking above the pavements and the roof.

Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi, a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, has gone further, creating a playlist of Baldwin’s listening. “I latched onto his records, their sonic ambience,” says Onyewuenyi. “In addition to reading the books and essays, listening to the records was something that could transport me there.”

Image: CC – Allan Warren – James Baldwin taken Hyde Park, London

Spotter: FlashbakHyperallergic

Posted: 31st, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, Music | Comment


Covid-19: A Shot at freedom but new war on NHS looms

Covid-19 has infected pretty much the entire country’s mainstream media with support for the Government’s upbeat diagnoses. With Brexit done, the UK’s negotiators can sit down with Covid-19 and hammer out a deal. You might suppose the virus is setting the agenda, but Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, says the country is “ahead of the curve”. Where Britain goes Covid follows – whether we go train, jet or big red bus.

Take the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror‘s lead news story. “Lockdowns could end as soon as February if the Oxford vaccine gets the nod from regulators within days,” says the tabloid. Could. If. Circumspection get thee hence. This is a “SHOT AT FREEDOM” – rather like the other vaccine lots of Britons have been injected with, which was also a shot at freedom.

Covid tabloid review
Then
Covid tabloid review

At least the Express deals in fact, declaring, “WE WILL BE FREE BY FEBRUARY.” Fact. Well, if the regulators approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which could happen…

Covid tabloid review

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail deliver the numbers: 10,000 medics and volunteers have been recruited by the NHS to help deliver the freedom vaccine. You can get the jab in sports stadiums and racecourses, says the Telegraph. The Mail suggests getting “a jab in your village hall”. (You getting an insight into how papers view their readers?)

An unnamed source tells the paper: “The vaccine is the way to make us safe and get us through this pandemic. We are throwing the kitchen sink at it”. Now wash your hands at the standpipe.

There is one dissenting voice. The Guardian looks at other ‘coulds’ and ‘ifs’. Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says Covid-19 poses the greatest threat to mental health since World War Two. But even that’s not scary enough so the Guardian mutates his opinion into: “NHS urged to prepare for ‘biggest threat since world war’.”

As war looms, the Guardian says war continues. NHS staff have been denied the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, leaving doctors “scrabbling” to get immunised. A survey of medics finds “fear the government’s decision to prioritise over-80s and care home staff over health workers has left them at risk of catching the disease”.

The remedy is clear: get some Sun.

It’s gonna be great.

Posted: 28th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Having sex through a keyhole with tubby Prince Andrew

The Mail has an “explosive dossier” on Prince Andrew and a woman who claims she had sex with him when she was a teenager, Virginia Giuffre Roberts. It is “a bombshell” Daily Mail investigation circling the claim Roberts was trafficked to London by the prince’s paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein when she was just 17 and forced to have sex with him.

You’ll quickly form the idea that there’s a lot of hearsay and titillation in the Mail’s Whoopee Cushion. But the hope is that the bit about the alleged sex will get readers panting.

And what of the facts? The paper’s headline suggests that the bath Roberts says she and Andrew had sex in might be too small for penetration. The Mail combines sex and alleged sex crimes with looking around someone else’s home. A fetish that might be on the fringes of the web is mainstream.

We’re going prowlin’ and peepin’ because “an exclusive through-the-keyhole view shows the bathroom in Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia.” Don’t worry. She’s not in the tub. Maxwell, another of Andrew’s old muckers, is locked inside the US justice system. She faces six counts of recruiting and grooming girls and young women to be sexually abused by both her and Epstein. Prince Andrew told the BBC that he had first met Epstein through his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in 1999. That’s them and Roberts in the photo above.

Inside the house where Virginia Roberts and Prince Andrew had ‘sex in the bath’ – so is the tub REALLY too small for two people to fit like Ghislaine Maxwell claims?

Dressing up reporters as chickens is one thing but surely the Mail didn’t mock up the Maxwell backroom and encourage two hacks to play the parts of Andrew and his alleged victim? No. Rules on social distancing forbid such things. They just looked at old planning records:

We have found a floorplan of the bathroom, taken from a 1987 planning application. We have also had access to much more recent images of the room. There are two observations. One is that the bathroom is indeed ‘small’, as both sides agree; cramped, if one wished to perform anything other than solo ablutions.

Oh, hark at the language. “One.” Is solo “ablutions” faux posho for masturbation?

The historic plan shows a ‘standard size’ — 5ft 6in by 2ft 4in — alcove bath, boxed in on two sides by walls and on a third by the back of the airing cupboard. The remaining 36 sq ft is largely taken up by a bidet, a lavatory and large sink. It is very bijou.

If size matters, should we also be told Andrew’s dimensions and also those of his alleged. victim? And given what we know about sex, isn’t the sink large enough – or the keyhole?

Andrew denies any wrongdoing. His “only defence against Miss Roberts’ detailed accusations remains blunt denial” says the Mail. Which makes you wonder if the paper’s explosive dossier went off in a confined space, the protected prince would be covered in anything but the stench of his own glory hole.

Posted: 12th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


London pub takes order for one Scotch Egg and 63 pints

Tier 2-ers can order a Scotch Egg and thus legally order alcohol to float it in. According to the rules, a Scotch egg is a “substantial meal”, something that must be ordered if you want to drink in the pub. Pubs can order or make a load of Scotch eggs and lob them at the punters. And it does not have to be large Scotch egg – containing a full hard or soft boiled egg wrapped in pork and breadcrumbs – it can be a Scotch egg of any size.

And so to a pub in London, where an order has gone in for 63 pints of beer, 12 glasses of wine and one Scotch egg:

Yeah, a Chorizo Scotch egg, which sounds revolting.

Posted: 9th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Madeleine McCann Watch: German PR Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has 7 more years to nail Christian Brueckner

On the day Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, became the first person in the UK to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, news breaks of Madeleine McCann. As the pandemic begins to end, media press f9 on the keyboard and inject a dose of the innocent child they recreated as ‘Our Maddie’.

And it’s not news at all. It’s on the BBC news website – the second top story. But the story is only that German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters thinks Christian Brueckner kidnapped and murdered the child. Of this he is “very confident”.

Brueckner is in a German prison serving time for drug smuggling and rape. The 43 year old criminal was identified as a suspect in June. And six months on prosecutors do not have enough evidence to charge him.

So Wolters is reduced to guffing out PR and what sounds like a shakedown:

“If you knew the evidence we had you would come to the same conclusion as I do but I can’t give you details because we don’t want the accused to know what we have on him – these are tactical considerations.”

As he looks for evidence that leads to proof and a safe conviction, we turn away from grandstanding Hans to hear from Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who says Operation Grange is a missing person inquiry as there is no “definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead”.

But Wolters has time to burnish his media profile. Last month the suspect lost an appeal against a further seven-year sentence for rape. So we can expect more of Hans and what he believes for some time to come.

“I can’t promise, I can’t guarantee that we have enough to bring a charge, ” says Hans Wolters, “but I’m very confident because what we have so far doesn’t allow any other conclusion at all.”

Better to keep an open mind, a tad of circumspection, especially when you’ve yet to get any hard evidence and are dealing with circumstantial evidence and an open case. But the TV camera tolls and Hans Wolters is ready for his close up…

Posted: 8th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment


Roald Dahl was a hardcore anti-Semite – but hating Jews is ok

Roald Dahl is dead. He’s been dead since 1990. He was a brilliant writer for children. Buried on his official website run by his estate is an apology for his brazen and unalloyed anti-Semitism. “The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements,” goes the comment.

Jews, eh, those folk devils for Christian culture. Lots of talented people are and have been Jew haters. It goes with the territory of being a Jew living amongst non-Jews to experience the slights and slurs. It’s part of the culture.

The New Statesman printed this gem from Dahl in 1983, part of an interview with the writer: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews… Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”

That in the New Statesman, which much later came up with this explainer for everything wrong with the world and your life:

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy
The Labour Party supporting New Statesman had a question that might have been rhetorical.

The Dahl family apology adds: “Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations. We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”

But why apologise now, thirty years after Dahl’s death? Is it all about money? They’ve done rather well flogging his stuff, despite of what Dahl said about Jewish power:

“It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – jolly clever thing to do – that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

Hating Jews is ok, say the anti-Semites. It is systemic, of course, because it tells Jews that they are the problem. Sure Hitler was a mass murdering anti-Semite but it wasn’t his fault, see. It was theirs. It is not punching down to hate Jews. It is punching up. It is their differences from the norm, their faces, culture and very being that need correcting. That’s how systemic racism works. It pitches the minority as an ugly otherness in need of fixing.

When two Jewish children wrote to Dahl, his reply was, well, take a look:

Dear Mr Dahl, We love your books, but we have a problem … we are Jews!! We love your books but you don’t like us because we are Jews. That offends us! Can you please change your mind about what you said about Jews. Love, Aliza and Tamar.

Dahl replied that he against not Jews but “injustice”. Jews are fair game. Attacking Jews does not make you racist say the liberal idealists in their Islington town houses and Suffolk parlours. It makes you just and righteous.

But it won’t matter. Shakespeare and Dickens are rife with anti-semitism. Shylock and Fagin are characters that reinforce and pander to the readers’ prejudices. They’re on every classroom reading lists.

“If a person has ugly thoughts,” Dahl writes in The Twits, “it begins to show on the face.” Do we could dig him up, give him the once over and beat him with sticks? No need. No point. Hating Jews is the oldest story in Christendom. And everyone loves a story…

Posted: 7th, December 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Robbie Savage, gambling on Spurs and the Mirror’s journalism of attachment

After Spurs easily saw off Arsenal with a 2-0 win, BBC radio DJ and Daily Mirror columnist Robbie Savage told his Twitter followers: “I went early on Spurs winning the league 🤷‍♂️💙⚽️ 08085909693 ,,, tell me why the won’t ? Tom the arsenal fans said arsenal would win the league this year ,, 😂🤦🏻‍♂️ 08085909693 #bbc606.”

Tom the Arsenal fans is clearly delusional, unable to see that club manager Mikel Arteta is learning on the job and the Gunners squad is populated by many players who’d struggle to get a game for Fulham. But what of Savage and his to-deadline opinions? You can find out more of what Savage thinks at the Daily Mirror:

Robbie Savage Spurs

In order, this is how Savage predicted the Premier League table, from first to last: Liverpool; Manchester United; Chelsea; Manchester City; ARSENAL; Wolves; Spurs… So that’s Spurs in 7th place, two behind Arsenal.

This guesswork is brought to readers in association with the Mirror’s latest betting partner. It might be that Savage didn’t write the thing, just saw his name added to to the top to give it a bit of omph and authenticity. After all he’s an ex-pro who works for the State broadcaster. You can trust him. Savage might know a thing or two. So place your bets!

Given the damaging impact gambling can have on people’s lives and that the Mirror pitching Savage’s words in an article which encourages betting – the prediction piece ends with a large button stating “BET HERE” – might it be useful to tell readers that Savage’s views are liable to change with the wind?

A radio phone-in is a bit of fun, a distraction from the important things in life. Losing your money and health because those same opinions encouraged you to gamble is far more serious.

Posted: 7th, December 2020 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Money, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Covid-19 vaccine: Britain is world leader at panic buying

The Sun says Britain “beat the world to get a vaccine”. The Telegraph says the UK “leads the Western world” and talks of “Covid Liberation Day”. We’re “first in the WORLD” says the Mail. The jab is a marker in “victory over Covid-19” adds the Sun. It is “V-Day” guffs the Metro.

How the UK beat the world is by judging the Pfizer/BioNTech safe for use and ordering millions of doses of the stuff. We bought it first! The UK rules the world at queuing and possibly panic buying – although we’re not told which if any other nations were also standing in line. Was it just us?

Why the UK is first is unexplained. Was it a political decision? Did Brexit make us first?

The Daily Express accuses the European Medical Agency of “sour grapes” for criticising the UK’s “speedy approval” of the vaccine. Ministers say Brexit had “freed” the country from Brussels red tape. The medical regulator insists it had been working under European law. The virus is a propaganda tool. Mass death and fear always hosted political capital.

One minister tweeted that this is the moment Britain “led humanity’s charge against this disease”. Germany’s ambassador to Britain replied: “Why is it so difficult to recognize this important step forward as a great international effort and success.” Britain is governed by EU law, so argument is a specious one.

The upshot is that Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe. So there it is. A vaccine designed in the USA and made in Belgium is billed as a victory for the UK and a jab in the eye to Johnny Foreigner. A medicine passed safe for human use after ten months rather than the ten years a drug typically takes to get approval is fine. You might even get one in time for Christmas, says the Sun, positioning the vaccine as a kind of seasonal gift. Perfume for her. Gadget for him. Needle in the arm for granny.

Health secretary Matt Hancock says the vaccine “is a triumph for all those who believe in science”. Believe. Not trust in human ingenuity. But actually believe in science, like you would believe in a religion. And the UK is science’s most loyal disciple.

And so to the jab. Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton says Boris Johnson would not rule out receiving the vaccine jab live on television. And there’s the rub: it’s a PR matter. The vaccine is coming. But do you want it?

And so to the jab. Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton says Boris Johnson would not rule out receiving the vaccine jab live on television. And there’s the rub: it’s a PR matter. The vaccine is coming. But do you want it?

PS: Maybe they inject Boris with a truth serum?

Posted: 3rd, December 2020 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Government declares Christmas Truce in War with Covid-19 – virus considering position

“Christmas is saved,” says the Express. It’s “Bubbles with the baubles” trills the Metro – up to four households may be allowed to mix during the festive season. “Ho Ho Homes to Mix,” says the Sun. “Xmas gets go-ahead” is the Daily Mirror‘s lead. The Daily Mail wonders, “Who’ll be in your festive bubble?” The Government has declared a Christmas truce in the war with Covid-19.

As Britishers pop their heads over the parapets, taking part in funerals, prisoner swaps (you mean visiting granny in the care home? – ed), carol-singing and a football match, there is no guarantee that Covid-19 will play along.

As such, fraternising with the enemy should be avoided until a spokesman for Covid-19 – Dominic Cummings, Ivanka Trump or the bloke from Blue Peter who usually does panto but is available at a moment’s notice for other paid work? – tells us otherwise.

Helping to make sense of it all is our resident expert, Mr A. Turkey, who confides: “Whatever they dish up at such a wonderful time of the year, I’m in!”

Lead image: British and Germ(ans)s take a break from the mass killings to get their hair cut and talk about the war.

Posted: 23rd, November 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment