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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 29

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Katie Hopkins: sacked LBC DJ is Twitter’s Candyman

LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.” writes @Lbc over on Twitter.  Thank fuck for that!  Source: Twitter/@LBC

 

LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.” writes @Lbc over on Twitter.

Rejoice!

No. The sensible move was to ignore her. It’s the ratings game. If you don’t like her, don’t mention her. Do the reverse Candyman.

For those of you missed the tweet but got the fallout, Katie Hopkins tweeted in response to TV presenter Phillip Schofield, petitioning him to be strong in the face of terror.  She tweeted: “Do not be a part of the problem. We need a final solution.”

Yeah, that bad. She knew what she was doing. She knew it would antagonise. She hoped it would place her at the centre of the conversation over the heinous attack in Manchester. Revolting stuff from the tabloid’s to-deadline controversialist. And then Twitter erupted with outrage and demands for her sacking. A woman with all the relevance of a loon shouting at the pigeons in the precinct became important.

Tom Slater finds a reason for it. It’s not her. It’s us:

Why have some of those born and raised among us – as Abedi was – grown to hate us? Why, among a minority of Muslim youth, is this nihilism brewing? And what might we have done to foster it, to cultivate it? These are questions they’d rather not answer. To do so would be to inflame, in their minds, the only hate they really care about – the hate of lumpen plebs, the sort of people they imagine lap up Katie Hopkins’ every tweet.

Hopkins tried to make Manchester all about her. But through the response it generated, it told us more about the mainstream, about the cowards who tell us to treat Islamist terror like a natural disaster, a time only for sympathy and thanking the emergency services; the cowards who would rather shriek at cretinous columnists than reckon with the real hatred in our midst; the cowards who seem to get more exercised by tweets than bombs.

I don’t think the tweeters are cowards. I think it’s a question of impotence: Katie Hopkins you can get; the West’s navel-gazing you can’t.

Spotter: Twitter/@LBC

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment


After Manchester: Salman Abedi and the stupidity of anti-marijuana campaigns

Salman Abedi murdered 22 people at a pop concert because… he smoked marijuana. Rather than leading to long spells sat on the sofa watching daytime telly, weed turns you into someone who massacres families at an Ariana Grade concert in Manchester.

 

daily mail Salman Abdei marijuana drugs

 

Well, maybe it does.

Dr Max Pemberton asks, “Is marijuana a factor in jihadi murders?” The Mail adds portraits of all the losers who murdered so many people in Tunisia, London, Nice, Orlando and Paris. All adhered to radical Islam. All saw the West as their enemy and murder as a duty. But Pemberton wonders if cannabis might be to blame.

If you want a meaningful debate on drugs, it might be better to turn the question around: why are so many attracted to smoking it?

The Mail’s poser is an agenda-driven, to-deadline question perched atop a weak argument. The idea that weed was a factor – that getting wasted made it “easier to disregard the welfare of others” and butcher them –  absolves individual terrorists of responsibility for their actions. It wasn’t me. It was the weed.

So we can answer the Mail’s question very simple. It’s ‘no’. They don’t get off that easily.

After Manchester: worst of all Salman Abedi was a sexist

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


After Manchester: worst of all Salman Abedi was a sexist

Salman Abedi

SEXIST!

 

So far the attack on Manchester in which saw 22 people were murdered at a pop concert by Salman Abedi has been used to illustrate racial harmonyinsult footballers, lambaste apathyfind missing children in Australia and spot fake news. Joanna Williams has a great look at how the horror is being used to insult men.

Just hours after the attack, feminist writer and speaker Jaclyn Friedman tweeted: ‘Here is what the coverage will not say: targeting an Ariana Grande concert is targeting young women. This is a violent act of misogyny.’ …

The argument that the bombing was ‘a massive act of gender-based violence’ has continued. The headline of one article, ‘The bombing at a Manchester Ariana Grande show was an attack on girls and women’, is as simplistic as it is inaccurate. Most obviously, it overlooks the fact that men died in the attack too – fathers, brothers and boyfriends attending the concert or waiting to take people home. The author goes on to explain how ‘Grande has advanced a renegade, self-reflexive sexuality that’s threatening to the established heteropatriarchal order’. Rubbish. Grande’s Nickelodeon cuteness combines bunny ears with pink balloons. She’s loved by teen girls because her sexuality is safe and fun and threatens no one.

And it keeps coming.

“It’s not Muslims or people with mental-health problems who are most likely to kill you in a terrorist attack – it’s men’” –Independent.

Why Manchester Bomber Targeted Girls – Rolling Stone.

During Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour, Abedi gave the world a sick reminder of the dangers of being a woman in public in 2017, attacking largely female concertgoers for doing nothing but enjoying themselves while listening to music.

These girls and women weren’t just listening to any music, either – this was feminist music.

Williams nails it: “In presenting terrorism as part of a broader gender war, feminism ultimately reduces mass murder to just another example of everyday sexism.”

Posted: 25th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Epic fail: Sikh Muslim Manchester cab driver illustrates the dire state of journalism in three tweets

Read and weep as journalism takes on the Manchester terror story and fails epically:

 

muslim sikh driver Manchester cab taxi fail

 

 

muslim sikh driver Manchester cab taxi fail

 

 

muslim sikh driver Manchester cab taxi fail

Posted: 24th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Manchester, Morrissey and an emotionless suicide

Manchester native Morrissey has shared his view on the slaughter in his home city. Twenty-two people went to a pop concert and didn’t come home. Many more are very badly injured. All around us we are told not to hate, to watch our words and police our thoughts. But if we can’t rage when our children are murdered, when can we get angry? If we can’t howl and surge with anger’s raw energy, we might as well give up. Are you outraged that innocent children excitedly leaving a fun concert were slaughtered? You are. I can tell. You’re breathing.

 

 

Morrissey speaks for many when he writes on Facebook:

Celebrating my birthday in Manchester as news of the Manchester Arena bomb broke. The anger is monumental.

For what reason will this ever stop?

Theresa May says such attacks “will not break us”, but her own life is lived in a bullet-proof bubble, and she evidently does not need to identify any young people today in Manchester morgues. Also, “will not break us” means that the tragedy will not break her, or her policies on immigration. The young people of Manchester are already broken – thanks all the same, Theresa. Sadiq Khan says “London is united with Manchester”, but he does not condemn Islamic State – who have claimed responsibility for the bomb. The Queen receives absurd praise for her ‘strong words’ against the attack, yet she does not cancel today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace – for which no criticism is allowed in the Britain of free press. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says the attack is the work of an “extremist”. An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?

In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private. Politicians tell us they are unafraid, but they are never the victims. How easy to be unafraid when one is protected from the line of fire. The people have no such protections.
Morrissey
23 May 2017.

Agree. Agree?

The Guardian does not agree. It calls Morrissey “controversial”. The best poetry and music from Manchester often is. The Guardian has previously praised Morrissey for his “barbed repartee” that made watching his shows one of the paper’s top things to do over Christmas. Bring the family. Morrissey is right-on.

But today Morrissey is on the wrong side. Calling him controversial is not meant as a compliment. His words have offended. The paper unpacks his open letter to prove it false. The Guardian says MPs are not safe. Morrissey is wrong. We read: “The MP Jo Cox was murdered by a rightwing extremist last June.” The murder of Jo Cox, a respected and committed MP engaging with the people she represented, was abhorrent. But is it right to use her death to stymie debate and free speech?

 

jo cox brexit mirror

 

Jo Cox was murdered by a depraved killer, whose motives were swiftly co-opted to further the Remain side of the Brexit debate (Jo Cox was for staying in the EU; her killer was against everything she stood for). The message was clear: a vote for Brexit was to align yourself with a maniac. A vote for Brexit was to show a cruel disrespect to the memory of Jo Cox.

Writing in the Remain-campaigning Guardian, Polly Tonybee laid it on thick. Beneath the headline “The mood is ugly”, she wrote:

This attack on a public official cannot be viewed in isolation…

It’s been part of a noxious brew, with a dangerous anti-politics and anti-MP stereotypes fomented by leave and their media backers mixed in…

Rude, crude, Nazi-style extremism is mercifully rare. But the leavers have lifted several stones.

So much for debate. Leave voters were insects.

Moving on from Jo Cox – and letting her rest in peace until they need her to endorse another cause – the Guardian continues to study Morrissey:

Morrissey cited government immigration policy among his complaints saying the prime minister would never change her immigration policy in the light of the attacks. It is believed that the bomber named by police, Salman Abedi, was British-born and from Manchester.

The coward’s parents – it is to be believed – are from Libya. Is that relevant? Surely it’s worth mentioning. Or is the conversation now – and I’ll borrow from Tonybee’s lexicon of enlightenment – so “noxious” that to talk of immigration, to even mention the word, cloaks the speaker’s argument in a black shirt? That question is to everyone –  not just sub-human pests who creep and crawl.

The paper also says:

He also appeared to suggest that a desire to adhere to “political correctness” was behind politicians’ unwillingness to specify that the attack was the work of an Islamist extremist, rather than simply an extremist. The same claim is often made by people on the far-right.

Talk of immigration and you’re a neo-Nazi. You’re a race riot in waiting. So shut up. Go on Twitter and state how the perverted actions of people who destroy children at a pop concert will not bow us and change our liberal, diverse and raucous way of life. But hold your tongue. Free speech is only worth championing if you agree on what is right and proper conversation. Get an official T-shirt. Light a torch. Be in agreement. Keep in step. Stick to the party line. Don’t be a Nazi. The irony is sharp.

One music site manages to go a step further and link everything “stupid” Morrissey said to – yep – Brexit:

Morrissey has had a long history of saying more-than-questionable things about immigration in Britain, and last year called the Brexit decision “magnificent.”

It was. Brexit was a triumph of democracy. It wasn’t a victory for Nigel Farage’s narrow views, monoculture and racism. The collapsing UKIP vote tells us that. Brexit was when the ignored, abused, patronised, without, forgotten and belittled took their chance to vote for change. And if you don’t like it, you can vote for the LibDems in June’s General Election and ensure that the party now operating as a focus group gets into power and holds another referendum. In a free country, you get a free vote. (If you vote LibDem you can keep voting until you give them the ‘right’ answer.)

You can question. You can debate. And just as you can challenge the orthodoxy on the EU, pick the clothes you wear, who you fancy, what music you listen to and sing along to Ariana Grande as she makes your heart throb – and there she is live on stage before your very eyes, the singer you’ve duetted with in the car on the way to school – you are also free to look at the dead children’s faces on the telly and in the newspapers, feel your eyes moisten and your throat tighten as you consider their stories, the horror of their deaths and the hollowed out lives of their loved ones robbed of the most precious of all things; you can consider the people raped of so much joy, light and life; and wonder why it happened and what can be done to end it. And if you value freedom, and consider humanity robust and truth-seeking, you can wonder aloud. To do anything less is to live in fear.

 

Posted: 24th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews | Comment


Manchester terror fake news: Daily Express and Daily Star spot a gunman in Oldham

Many are dead in the attack on a pop concert in Manchester. What say the reputable news sources?

The Daily Express has news:

 

Daily Express fake news gunman Manchester

 

The Express’s sister publication, the Daily Star, echoed the chilling news that a second armed man was at large in Manchester. He was outside Oldham hospital waiting to strike.

And then, having spread a fake news story, the Express realised it was utter balls. Having garnered clicks from tragedy, the paper updated its earlier fake news report.

 

 

Wily stuff to make it look as though those reports were based on anything factual. The “Town Council deny”, rather than the paper “admits”.

The Express’s scoop appears to have been based on a single Facebook comment.

 

 

The paper notes:

Laura Bailey-Wood wrote on Facebook: “DO NOT COME to Oldham Hospital I’m currently inside… Man outside with GUN.”

Oldham Council wrote on Twitter: “We have no information to this effect at all. Please only trust or share official sources of information.”

Over in the Star, the fake news is no less opportunistic. The paper’s story has now been changed to read:

 

 

But the paper’s earlier URL still suggests an armed man was at Oldham hospital. Humans get the update but those news bots keep the scoop high on the search engines. The URL contains no word on fakery.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/616507/manchester-men-arena-explosion-Oldham-hospital-closed-gun-armed-man-ariana-grande

The rewrite in an  exercise is bad journalism. The headline is changed but the paper’s teaser still trills:

OLDHAM hospital was placed on lockdown after a terror attack in Manchester – sparking fears a gunman was on the loose.

 

 

Jamie Micklethwaite writes:

Oldham Hospital stopped admitting new patients after it was overwhelmed by casualities [sic] from the blast. The lockdown sent Twitter into panic – with many people reporting gunshots had been heard there.

Twitter into panic – and also Daily Star readers, no doubt. In the panic to get the story rehashed, the paper spots lots of “casualities”, whatever they are. Still, nice shot of Ariana Grande’s cleavage. Twenty-two people never made it home from a pop concert, but it’s all about clicks, right. So go for it. Phwaor!

Micklethwaite continues:

Rumours a gunman was on the loose quickly spread.

See Daily Express and Daily Star.

An Oldham Royal Hospital source confirmed they had been placed on lockdown – but due to the explosions at the MEN.

No gunman was at large.

The gunman was an imaginary figure – but he remains very real to anyone who gets their news from the Daily Express and Daily Star.

 

Posted: 23rd, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Wenger’s hubris gets just rewards

One day we will know what happened in December 2016 that destroyed Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League. Having failed to qualify for the Champions’ League for the first time in 20 years (during which Arsenal have been champions just three times; a fact that tells you a lot about that inflated competition’s credentials), the team’s manager, Arsene Wenger, tells talkSport:

“We were a force this year until December, fighting for the championship [but] after we dropped off. I will say one day the real reason behind that…”

Was it something to do with the death of Indian economist Sulabha Brahme, 84, who passed away on December 1? Did that bring Mesut Ozil to a standstill? What about the murder of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, who was shot dead on December 19? Did that put lead in Francis Coquelin’s boots? Or did it all go wrong when Toyah returned to Coronation Street?

Or was it something to do with losing matches? In December Arsenal lost 2-1 to Everton and 2-1 to Manchester City in back-to-back away defeats. The Everton game was very close, with Arsenal having shots twice saved off the line in the game’s dying moments; and in the Manchester City match they were hard done by when the referee allowed two goals that could both have been ruled out for offside – City’s second was egregious. But in each match Arsenal only scored one goal. Not enough.

Maybe something else happened – something extraordinary and uniquely damaging? Wenger’s pretty good at saying one day he will reveal all. On buying Danny Welbeck in 2014, he said: “I will tell you that story one day.” Why so mysterious? Is it hubris, gnostic or self-serving balls?

And what about what else Wenger told us today? He added:

“I believe since January we have played in a very difficult environment for different reasons.

“Some you know about and that’s very difficult for a group of players to cope with that – and some other reasons we will talk about on another day.”

Tell us now. Go on.

“Psychologically the atmosphere was absolutely horrendous. It has been difficult, yes, and certainly my personal situation has contributed to that but you can never question my professionalism or commitment.”

What happened was that after 19 matches of a 38-game Premier League season, Arsenal were nine points behind leader’s Chelsea. After 38 matches, they are 18 points behind Chelsea, the champions. Arsenal never were in contention.  As Roy Keane put it when Arsenal were annihilated by Bayern Munich in the Champions’ League, “Well, what did you expect?”

We expected Arsenal to be league also-rans and enjoy a good FA Cup run playing bouts of incisive football punctuated by moments of abject, laughable ineptitude. It wasn’t a season of disappointment for Gunners’ fans. It was season of complete predictability. Wenger will tell us all abut it one day – and that nine seasons of the same that preceded it.

Posted: 21st, May 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: James Rodriguez to Manchester United is a dead cert – place your bets!

Transfer Balls: Is James Rodriguez on his way to Manchester United? Is the player not good enough to start for Real Madrid for more than two matches in a row good enough for Manchester United?

On May 16, the Daily Mail said a deal has been agreed. “James Rodriguez ‘agrees’ Manchester United transfer,” said the paper.

Why the Mail saw a need to couch the agreement in inverted commas is odd because the story begins with a statement of fact: “James Rodriguez’s summer move to Manchester United will be confirmed following the Champions League final next month.”

In a second story, this time about Real Madrid replacing Rodriguez with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, the Mail confirmed the news: “The 25-year-old Madrid signed for £60million in 2014, and who is represented by Jose Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes, had agreed terms with Manchester United.”

And then the facts got a little murky. Sky Sports reported on May 15:

“European Paper Talk: Has James Rodriguez played his last game for Real Madrid?”

Dunno. Because Marca then told its readers on May 18:

“After missing the match against Celta, James Rodriguez has recovered from his ankle injury and will be available for Real Madrid’s last LaLiga game against Malaga on Sunday.”

And then in two stories dated May 16 Sky mused:

“European Paper Talk: Real Madrid set James Rodriguez asking price”

“Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez offered to Man Utd”

Offered to United? But the deal has been agreed. Or as the Indy puts it:

“Under Zinedine Zidane this season, Rodriguez has not once played more than two consecutive games for Real and United are, quite frankly, not interested in the 25-year-old…”

Football 365 picked up the scent of the betting companies feeding off the rumours.

There is no issue with those headlines, and Sky Sports were hardly alone in running them, but when partner Sky Bet then offers odds on James Rodriguez joining Manchester United, it’s not hard to see how those headlines might persuade the public to part with their money.

 

James Rodgriguez Sky Manchester united

 

Is it news of is it PR for the betting industry?

Says 365:

Fast forward further and most reports on Wednesday morning now say that Rodriguez is not close to a move to Manchester United, that no offer is being made by United and that claims he has agreed personal terms are false. And lo and behold, Sky Bet have opened up their market again to take bets on where Rodriguez ends up next.

Indeed, in a story updated after 6pm on May 18, Sky reports that there are odds on Rodriguez joining Manchester United. Betting is no longer suspended on what has been presented as a dead cert. Quick – get your money on it while you can!

James Rodgriguez Sky Manchester united

 

James Rodgriguez Sky Manchester united

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, May 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Everything you read about drinking during pregnancy is wrong

pregnant-wine

 

Everything you ever read about drinking whilst pregnant is wrong. Prohibition for the pregnant is unfair and unfounded. The Telegraph has news:

Advising women not to drink when pregnant is “sexist” and causes “needless anxiety”, senior academics have said.

Pregnancy charities and researchers have called for a change to the “alarmist” official Government guidelines, which warn expectant mothers to avoid alcohol completely.

They say the policy has no basis in evidence and ends up “stigmatising” women and excluding them from society.

No basis. So the dire warnings are wrong? Like this one which appeared in the Daily Telegraph:

 

pregnancy drinking daily telegraph

 

If you want to be truly alarmed you turn to the Daily Mail, which has issued all sorts of dire warnings over drinking and pregnancy.

Just one glass of wine a week while pregnant ‘can harm a baby’s IQ’ – 15 November 2012

Women believe they can drink while pregnant – but one glass of wine could damage your baby for life -19/04/2008

Drinking alcohol while pregnant helps ‘create unruly children’ – 06/11/2007

Women who drink a glass of wine a day during pregnancy affect their child’s growth for nine years – 16/08/2012

 

daily mail drinking pregnant

 

daily mail drinking pregnant

 

daily mail drinking pregnant

 

daily mail drinking pregnant

 

And you can always shame someone with a long lens camera shot:

 

daily mail drinking pregnant

 

Who else needs a drink?

Posted: 18th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Crocodiles eat pastor trying to walk on water at Crocodile River

To Crocodile River, Zimbabwe, where a pastor is trying to walk on water. Pastor Jonathan Mthethwa of the Saint of the last days church was unsuccessful. And is devoured by crocodiles.

“We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week.” said Deacon Nkosi, one of the church members.

 

pastor eaten by crocodiles

pastor eaten by crocodiles

Spotter: Zimbabwe Today

Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


The Hard Left’s last gasp for power: tracing Jeremy Corbyn’s revolutionary socialism since 9/11

May 1, 1928 Communists in London celebrating May Day.

 

News that Andrew Murray, a “longstanding communist party member who joined Labour in December”, is running the Labour Party’s General Election campaign raises eyebrows. The Hard Left have taken over Labour.

Paul Anderson and Kevin Davey, authors of Moscow Gold: The Soviet Union And The British Left, look at UK’s Leninists since 9/11, and ask “if life in the mainstream will make or break revolutionary socialism”:

 

1. What is to be done?

By the end of the 1990s, to most observers of the British left, the Leninist era seemed to have come to an end. The Socialist Workers Party, quasi-Trotskyist and owner of a competent offset press in east London, still had some life about it, but not a lot. The Scottish Socialist Party – essentially the renegade Glasgow office of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency, which had been expelled by Labour in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with SWP and independent barnacles hanging on – had some support in urban western Scotland. And the hardline Communist Party of Britain, the main Stalinist splinter from the ‘official’ Communist Party of Great Britain (which had given up the ghost in 1991, 70 years after its launch with a giant subvention from Moscow), was still influential in a few trade unions. The CPB still had a daily paper, the Morning Star, though hardly anyone read it any more.

This is what Leninism had dwindled to, unless you also count the aloof cadre at New Left Review or the machinations of mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s office, in both of which veterans of another Trotskyist outfit, the International Marxist Group, latterly Socialist Action, had key roles. New Left Review a dry bi-monthly theoretical journal, had gone through several changes of tack since its 1960s and 1970s IMG-dominated heyday (if that’s the word), but the onetime followers of the Trotskyist guru Ernest Mandel – most notably Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn, were still very much on board. Livingstone had a later generation of IMGers in key staff positions, among them John Ross as chief economic adviser and Simon Fletcher as chief of staff. Mood music for this embattled rump was provided by the occasional jeremiad in the comment pages of the Guardian and in the London Review of Books.

On the best estimate, the membership of all the Leninist groups at the turn of the millennium totalled no more than 6,000 – of whom perhaps one-third were active.

Most were in the SWP, the CPB or Militant’s successor groups, with a few hundred scattered among more esoteric fractions, some of them crazy but most of them deadly dull: Socialist Action, so deeply embedded in the Labour hard left that even members found it difficult to distinguish themselves from centrist trade-union bureaucrats; the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, previously Socialist Organiser, notable for picking ideological fights on foreign policy with everyone else and then claiming to be victimised; the group that had once been the Revolutionary Communist Party, a slightly unorthodox Trotskyist group, but after a series of baffling changes of political direction under a variety of names was in the process of launching Sp!ked, a website devoted to provocative libertarianism; the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), a weird sect that had emerged from a Stalinist fraction in the Turkish Communist Party and had spent most of the 1990s engaged in litigation over former assets of the real CPGB – fighting for flats above chip shops in Dagenham – but had also set up Weekly Worker, an entertaining newspaper, largely online, devoted to left sectarian quibbling.

Few would have predicted any kind of revival for the Leninist fragments. Yet that is what happened in the early years of the new century. The starting point was the creation of an electoral coalition to fight the 2001 general election against Tony Blair’s Labour government, the Socialist Alliance, by the SWP and the English successor-group to Militant, the Socialist Party of England and Wales (the unfortunately acronymed SPEW). Blair, said the comrades, had traded the promise of socialism for a destructive neoliberalism: it was time for a new left initiative. The SA attracted a few independents and started brightly, but got nowhere. All the same, the experience gave the SWP, with John Rees and Lindsey German at the helm, a taste for working with other organisations it not had for more than 20 years – even though they’d decided that SPEW wasn’t exactly an ideal partner.

Then came 9/11 – and everything changed.

 

2. War and peace

The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center by Islamist terrorists on 11 September 2001 had a disorienting effect on the British left. A brief, shocked silence was rapidly followed by attempts to make sense of the outrage. On the Leninist left and among its sympathisers the narrative that it was payback for American imperialism in the Middle East was quick to emerge. The “root cause” of the attack was not Islamist fanaticism, they argued, but crusader power – US support for Israel, the punitive sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, arms sales to Saudi Arabia, exploitation of the region’s oil. The British government was on the side of the imperialists – and it was crucial that the imperialists were defeated. (This is Lenin’s doctrine of “revolutionary defeatism”, developed in World War I, according to which the left in any country engaged in an imperialist war should support the defeat of its “own” ruling class in order to bring on the revolution.)

The analysis was simplistic and met deserved scorn from many left and liberal critics, but after Blair’s decision to support US military intervention in Afghanistan, the knee-jerk anti-imperialism of the Leninists gained a wider hearing. The SWP went all-out for the most opportunist popular front ever. The minuscule party – with an unstable membership of less than 2,000 – ditched SPEW and the Socialist Alliance to set up the Stop the War Coalition, with the aim of attracting the mosques to the anti-imperialist cause. It soon became an alliance of Trotskyist and Stalinist Leninists and the Islamists of the Muslim Association of Britain, with a sprinkling of Labour leftists (among them Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell), Greens, anarchists, CND (by now controlled by the hard left), Scottish and Welsh nationalists and Liberal Democrats.

Opposing the Blair government’s political and military support for the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001-02 was not popular: overturning the Taliban and catching Osama bin Laden were objectives shared by an overwhelming majority of Britons. But opposing Blair’s subsequent backing for the US invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein was different. The 9/11 link to Saddam was, to say the least, not persuasive – and the official rationale for the invasion shifted suspiciously from Saddam’s support for terror to weapons of mass destruction. Taking out Saddam by force seemed a massive risk. US President George Bush appeared to be preparing for an intervention that was at best opportunist, half-thought-through and dangerous – and Blair seemed to be tagging along uncritically. It was more complex than that, but Stop the War, with the SWP firmly in command and the CPB playing a key supporting role, found itself in the position of being the only organisation in place with the means to mobilise popular opposition to war. Its high point was the 15 February 2003 demonstration in London against intervention in Iraq, which attracted perhaps 1 million people.

It would be ludicrous to claim that many of the 15 February demonstrators were signed-up Leninists. But the Stop the War organisers and spokespeople for the movement for the most part were: Rees and German from the SWP; the organisation’s chair, Andrew Murray, a leading figure in the Stalinist Straight Left fraction of the 1970s and 1980s (a bizarre secretive group that operated both in the CPGB and the Labour Party), who had become a member of the CPB central committee and an official for the train drivers’ union Aslef; the Labour MP George Galloway (expelled from the party in autumn 2003 for bringing Labour into disrepute after calling on British troops to refuse to obey orders); Kate Hudson, chair of CND and a member of the CPB. And they had media support too – most importantly from the comment editor of the Guardian, Seumas Milne, another veteran of Straight Left.

The Leninist-Islamist alliance (minus most of the Labour hard left and the CPB, at least formally, but backed by many conservative Muslims) was subsequently the basis for a new electoral party, Respect (Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community, and Trade Unionism). German failed miserably as its candidate against Ken Livingstone in the 2004 London mayoral election; but Galloway won Bethnal Green and Bow on a Respect ticket in the 2005 general election. The Scottish Socialist Party, without Islamist support, also did well in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, winning six seats.

The Leninist revival was, however, patchy and short-lived. It bore the seeds of its own destruction in the blurring of aspirations required by the anti-war popular front: deference both to Muslim moral conservatism and to Scottish nationalism north of the border.

Despite their organisational zeal and campaigning efforts, the micro-parties recruited fewer new members from Stop the War than they had expected, and the new recruits, though often as ardent and narrow-minded as any “class-against-class” communist of the early 1930s, chafed at the bit of party discipline.

While the high-ups in the SWP and CPB engaged in the Stop the War love-in with Islamists, pacifists, Greens, the Scottish National Party and the traditional Labour hard left, undermining their own arguments for a distinctive revolutionary party, the narcissism of small differences disorganised the movement on the ground – where it was amplified by articulate (if hardly independent-minded) novices radicalised by campus identity politics.

The Leninists’ embrace of Islamism was particularly problematic: if everyone could agree that Islamophobia was bad and it was easy enough for Galloway and leftist intellectuals to declare anti-imperialist solidarity with Islamists, the culture clash between Leninist and Islamist anti-imperialisms could not be avoided in campaigning activity, particularly where the rights of women and gay people were at stake. Meanwhile, in Scotland, the Leninist left could not find a narrative to rival that of the SNP.

3. Splitters!

In Scotland, the SSP’s Tommy Sheridan never got into bed with Galloway and Respect – in part because there was little in the way of Muslim radicalism in Scotland with which to ally – but the News of the World reported in 2006 that he had taken part in orgies at a dodgy sex club in Manchester. He sued the paper for libel and won damages, but his account of his actions was at odds with what he had told his SSP comrades, and he was soon charged with perjury for lying in court. Sheridan’s economy with the truth led to the SSP imploding: it lost all representation in Holyrood in 2007 as its followers transferred their support to the SNP, which became for the first time the largest party in the Scottish parliament. Sheridan was convicted of perjury and jailed in 2010.

In England and Wales, growing tensions between Galloway and the SWP – largely over the role of Islamists – led to a spectacular split in RESPECT. Rees and German were off-loaded by the SWP in 2009-10 and set up a website in lieu of a party, Counterfire, which adopted political positions barely distinguishable from those of the traditional Labour hard left except for its empathy for radical Islam, Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Galloway, who made a fool of himself in the reality-TV Celebrity Big Brother in early 2006, abandoned Bethnal Green and Bow and then failed to become the MP for Poplar and Limehouse in 2010. SPEW, the CPB and the RMT railworkers’ union set up No2EU as a left-Eurosceptic electoral alliance for the 2009 European Parliament elections: it secured less than 1 per cent of the vote. SPEW’s next initiative, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (supported by the SWP and RMT but not the CPB), stood in the 2010 general election but lost all its deposits with a similar, stubbornly insignificant, share of the vote.

Meanwhile, the Trotskyists in Ken Livingstone’s office received big pay-offs after he lost the London mayoral election in 2008. By then, only train-spotters could tell they remained Trotskyists, so deeply had they subsumed their identity in that of Labour’s hard left and Livingstone’s enthusiasm for attracting inward investment by giant global corporations.

Things got little better for the groupuscules after Labour’s general election defeat in 2010. Galloway made a spectacular comeback to win a by-election victory as a Respect candidate in Bradford West in 2012. But he did this without much Leninist support: his electoral base in Bradford was almost entirely Muslim, communal and largely conservative. The SWP went into meltdown when the leadership mishandled allegations of rape against one of their number, a nasty affair that lost the party nearly all of the members it had recruited during the Stop the War campaign.

The film-maker Ken Loach and others – many of them, like him, formerly of the Workers Revolutionary Party, once the biggest Trotskyist group in Britain but utterly discredited in the mid-1980s when its leader, Gerry Healy, was accused of serial sexual assaults – set up Left Unity, a supposedly new party which was not explicitly Leninist, though most of the members it attracted were old-left Leninist has-beens. Unsurprisingly, it failed to get off the ground.

TUSC staggered on, failing to win local council seats, and No2EU did even worse in the 2014 European elections than it had in 2009. Slightly more in tune with the times, Counterfire, the CPB and others opened a second popular front – the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – bringing together Labour, Green and trade union leftists, among them Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Despite its large meetings and occasional demonstrations, it had little public impact.

These false starts and falterings are not the whole story. The Leninist micro-parties may have got nowhere in 2010-15, but after the collapse of the SSP and RESPECT many individual Leninists, drawing on the hard-left networks in which they had embedded themselves, did much better in the trade union bureaucracies.

 4. Part of the union

Assisted by the apathy of members and the complacency of their opponents – while building on the alliances forged in Stop the War and local campaigns – the hard left won several key positions, elected and appointed, on top of the handful it already held. The most important victory came in 2010. Unite, the giant general union born of a series of mergers with the TGWU, elected Len McCluskey as general secretary on a 15 per cent turnout. McCluskey, a self-declared former-supporter of Militant in Liverpool (although he was never a member and is much more a product of the 1970s CPGB union machine than of Trotskyism), won against a candidate supported by the SWP and other Leninists. He appointed Andrew Murray of the CPB and Stop the War as his chief of staff.

Over the next five years the hard left in the unions huffed and puffed, complaining that Ed Miliband, who they’d backed in 2010 for the Labour leadership, was a great disappointment. In 2013 there was a major falling-out between Miliband and McCluskey after complaints that Unite was trying to fix the Labour parliamentary selection in Falkirk. Miliband’s response to the unions throwing their weight around in internal Labour politics was a change to the party’s leadership election rules. In 2014, he eliminated the formal role of trade unions in the electoral college that had chosen Labour leaders since 1983: members of Labour-affiliated unions and registered supporters were given a vote in party leadership elections with the same weight as that of a standard full member.

Hardly anyone objected. The commentariat saw the move as Miliband taking on the union bosses in a new drive for “modernisation”. But Unite and others saw the change as an opportunity – and in 2015, after Labour lost the general election, the chickens came home to roost.

Unite and Leninist-influenced hard left networks in the unions played a significant role in the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Their intervention was mostly indirect. Unions in which the hard left was dominant splashed cash for propaganda and funded phone banks. Unite in particular invested heavily in the Corbyn campaign.

This support was contested and appears to have been grudging – McCluskey wanted to back Andy Burnham but was overturned by his executive. Corbyn’s leadership campaign director was Simon Fletcher, a longtime Socialist Action stalwart who had served as Ken Livingstone’s chief of staff before taking up a similar role with Corbyn. Activists from the People’s Assembly Against Austerity played an important part in organising public meetings for the Corbyn campaign, as did the Labour Representation Committee, a parallel initiative set up in 2004 that brought together the remnants of the Leninist left in the Labour Party and the unions that had survived two decades of expulsions of entryists.

Both the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and the LRC consider that Leninist parties should be allowed to operate freely inside Labour, and members of both – along with activists from TUSC and other far-left operations – have enthusiastically signed up to Momentum, the continuity Corbyn leadership campaign set up by his campaign manager Jon Lansman, a veteran of the early-1980s Bennite left who is a key player in the LRC.

As far as anyone knows, Corbyn himself never joined one of the Leninist groups, but throughout his political life he has drawn on their support and ideas. He basked in the political milieu they dominated, and was heavily involved in campaigns in which Stalinists and Trotskyists played major if not defining roles – the Chile Solidarity Campaign, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Liberation, Labour CND, Stop the War, the Labour Representation Committee and many more.

 

May 1, 1936 May Day Communist demonstration in Hyde Park, London.

 5. Imperial lather

More importantly, Leninist anti-imperialism continues to play a central role in shaping his thinking on foreign affairs: if there’s any guiding principle to Corbynism, it’s that the west – in other words, the US and the other “imperialist powers” – is always wrong. The west is by definition imperialist, whatever the aims or impact of its policies, from humanitarian intervention to regime change, from economic development to trade agreement, from the extension of democracy and human rights to formal alliances between states.

In this world, any opposition to the west that arises on the ground is understandable whatever form it takes, and is mostly viewed sympathetically. From the IRA to Hamas, from Cuba to Hezbollah, from North Korea to Venezuela, “anti-imperialists” are “friends” usually deserving solidarity – and a blind eye has to be turned to most of their flaws and their crimes.

As leader, Corbyn has appointed people from the Leninist periphery of hard-left Labour politics who share this worldview – let’s call them Leninoids, as they retain no formal relationship to organised groups – to key positions in the Labour Party, most importantly John McDonnell as shadow chancellor and Seumas Milne as chief spin-doctor. Back in the 1980s, McDonnell, along with Ken Livingstone, was part of the Labour Herald crew that was kept afloat by the Workers Revolutionary Party. Milne’s political sympathies have always been much more towards J V Stalin.

One of the strangest and most shocking characteristics of this boilerplate ‘anti-imperialism’ is a deeply ingrained deference to the Leninists’ old flame, Moscow. The hard left defended Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Georgia in 2008 and excused Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its subsequent bloody interference in Ukraine. This left raised only a finger in protest at Putin’s cynical support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria – and its leading protagonists have long been favoured talking heads on Moscow’s international propaganda TV channel, RT. That Russia might itself harbour imperialist ambitions remains unthinkable for the last Leninists standing. Their crude anti-imperialist reflex gives Moscow a pass, just as it did for Saddam, and just as it continues to do for Iran and China.

It would be wrong to describe the elevation of a few backward-looking fossils as a Leninist revival. It is certainly not a Leninist takeover of Labour. Corbyn’s mindset is indebted to Leninism, but the Labour Party members and supporters who voted for him were and are people who wanted a change of tack on austerity and foreign military intervention. What they’ve  got isn’t what they wanted. Putting it crudely, a handful of Leninists past and present have been given key bureaucratic positions by a hard-left Leninist-fellow-travelling leadership. Or to frame it differently: in choosing his team, Corbyn took a leaf out of Livingstone’s book and co-opted Leninist organisational talent for reforming and social-democratic ends.

 6. Corbynismo o muerte?

It’s not the wisest move an aspiring prime minister could make, nor has it united the party, so the future of Corbyn’s fragile and fractious project is unpredictable. One thing is clear, however. Corbyn’s leadership of Labour is unlikely to regenerate the CPB, the SWP or any of the other micro-parties. It is much more probable that the sharp left turn for Labour that his leadership represents will deny Leninists their most potent recruiting argument, that Labour is selling out socialism and the working class. The more successful he is, the more difficult it will be to differentiate their brand – and if he sinks, their close association with him makes it likely that they go down with him.

Sadly, another Leninist mini-revival cannot be ruled out. The organisations are still there, ageing, battered and bruised, and there are plausible scenarios that they could exploit to their advantage. But nearly a century of experience suggests that Britain’s Leninists are on their last legs and going nowhere.

The best hope for the left in electoral politics remains Labour – even if there is a mountain to climb by 2020 and Corbyn fails to enthuse the voters. The party is easy to join and it is a movement for change. Most of its members are sane democratic socialists with no illusions about the scale of the challenge facing them. If you want thrills and spills in the here-and-now and Labour doesn’t appeal, you’re better-off doing your politics yourself than joining one of the self-appointed vanguard parties. You might get nowhere, you might win meaningful victories, but you won’t find yourself dragged into cadre servitude by a central committee that treats new recruits as expendable extras in a misconceived historical movie.

Because that is what British Leninism is today: a tawdry political re-enactment society. They can grow Lenin beards and pretend to be hipsters, or dye their hair red like Rosa Luxemburg’s. But it’s not a politics for today. It isn’t going to find the way forward. The raison d’etre of Leninism is to mislead, to misrepresent and to divide the left. It’s time to let 1917 go.

Reproduced with permission of the very good Little Atoms.

 

Read the book: Moscow Gold: The Soviet Union and the British Left.

Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Hate crime police investigate Caitlyn Jenner heckler who yelled ‘Oi, Bruce, get your dick out!’

It certainly wasn’t polite to heckle Cailtyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner of Kardashian fame, but a hate crime?

The Mail reports:

A photographer shouted at Caitlyn Jenner ‘Oi Bruce, get your dick out’ as she left the British LGBT Awards in London.

Police have launched a hate crime investigation after the incident on Friday night.

 

CAitlyn Jenner dick

Don’t be a dick

 

This is a police matter.

Jenner was a guest at the ceremony, where she received a Loud And Proud trophy following her transition from Bruce Jenner in 2015, which she has spoken about publicly.

As she left the event at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London an onlooker hurled transphobic abuse at her until she got into a car

The Press are keen to ramp up the horror: which was  “terrifying” and a “vile attack”.

 

Caitlyn Jenner heckler who yelled 'Oi, Bruce, get your dick out!'

 

Bit nuts, no? No pun intended. Oh, go on, then, yes it was.

Unless we all support Caitlyn Jenner the police will nick us. You are a social pariah, someone unfit to live in a law-abiding polite society if you don’t agree that Caitlyn is an inspirational figure. And history is being rewritten. Bruce never existed. The Guardian told us that Caitlyn has “always been a woman”, including when she was “fathering” children. Those sperm, were Caitlyn’s and they came out of a… Well, it wasn’t a vagina. But it might be a crime to to say was it was.

 

Posted: 14th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Yorkshire Ripper IS a bastard and ‘Maddie’ not found in Africa

Today in Tautological Tabloid news we read that Peter Sutcliffe has engaged in a “SICK RIPPER RANT”. Sutcliffe is perhaps better known as the Yorkshire Ripper, a man who in 1981 was convicted of murdering thirteen women and attempting to murder seven others. But what’s “sick” about the mass murderer is what he said about Madeleine McCann.

 

Yorkshire Ripper Madeleine Mcann

 

The story begins:

The Yorkshire Ripper sparked outrage with a sickening slur claiming Madeleine McCann’s parents were involved in her disappearance.

Hanging’s too good for him!

For any reader who gives a shit what the murdering bastard thinks about EastEnders, the price of fossil fuels, Theresa May’s haircut or the disappearance of an innocent child ten years ago, the Sun relays Sutcliffe’s opinions, as shared with a “source” at Frankland Prison:

Sutcliffe – serving life for murdering 13 women – said: “It makes you sick really, keeping it in the limelight. They’ve got a cheek anyway because they made it all up. They were involved. There’s no other explanation. They’ll do anything to try and make money out of a situation.”

What Sutcliffe thinks abut the Sun keeping him in the limelight will doubtless form the substance of another scoop. As for what happened to Madeleine McCann, Sutcliffe’s reported opinions appear based on prejudices, hunches, a murderous hated of women and very possibly psychotic delusions rather than any evidence-based appraisal. The parents are innocent.

To recap: Everyone is innocent. There are no suspects. Indeed, the police have yet to prove what crime if any befell the child. All we know is that a child vanished.

The Sun then adds:

A source said: “He was spouting off to anyone who would listen after Gerry and Kate did the television interview to mark the 10 year anniversary. It was callous and heartless to hear him go on about how the parents were to blame.”

Peter Sutcliffe Sensation! Yorkshire Ripper is ‘callous and heartless’. Says one mum in tonight’s special edition: “He seemed so nice.” Read all about it!

The unnamed source continues:

“It’s awful to hear criticism of them given what they have been through, especially from someone like him.”

Of course, had the killers’ views not been aired in the national Press, the McCanns might well not have heard them.

In other news…

Daily Mail: “Tycoon who flew by £1.5million private jet to Africa to find Madeleine McCann was left ‘shattered’ when tip-off about a lookalike blonde girl proved wrong”

It’s a great shame he didn’t find her. (Is £1.5m expensive for a jet?)

It was revealed last month by the missing youngster’s family spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, that a plane was put on standby after the English-speaking blonde girl was located in Morocco.  But, millionaire Brian Kennedy 50, and his son, Patrick, 32, went one step further by actually taking off and flying across the Mediterranean in a bid to identify her.

Patrick tells the Sun: “They were shattered. You can’t even imagine how they must have felt… We realised very quickly it was not Madeleine.”

Clarence Mitchell adds in the Telegraph:

“All the information coming back to us suggested heavily that it could be Madeleine, so much so that an aircraft was put on stand-by, with its engines running, waiting to fly to pick her up.  Kate and Gerry sat tight. They had learned by that stage to be sceptical, not to give in to natural hope only for it to be dashed. They preferred to wait until the Moroccan authorities had checked it out. And when they did, it became clear she was not Madeleine.”

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 11th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids | Comment


What the biased Daily Mail said when Theresa May and Ed Miliband tried to fix energy prices

Compare and contras the Daily Mail’s treatment of news that:

a) A Conservative Government will cap energy prices. (May 9, 2017)
b) A Labour Government will cap energy prices (september 25, 2013)

 

daily mail energy bills theresa may

 

Aside from the identity of the blonde in the Mail’s crosshairs and the top ticker moan about the poor state of modern life, the headlines show how the messenger can be more important than the message.

 

 

The Mail is delighted by Theresa May’s move.

 

April 11 may energy daily mail

April 11, 2017

 

Liz Gerard has more:

 

daily mail bias labour tory

 

Now read what May’s Cabinet thought of her idea.

Posted: 11th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


How to recognise the artists of classic paintings

 

how to recognise the artists of painting

 

Spotter: antique-royals

Posted: 7th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


You Janus: John Prescott demands ‘cheap publicity stunts’ to damage Theresa May

Compare and contrast former deputy prime minister John Prescott’s views on TV debates.

 

Sky's TV debate campaign is cheap publicity for Murdoch. Gordon can beat Cameron any day of the week. Doesn't need to go on Sky to prove it

September 2 2009:

“Sky’s TV debate campaign is cheap publicity for Murdoch. Gordon can beat Cameron any day of the week. Doesn’t need to go on Sky to prove it.”

 

john prescott tv debates may

 

April 17 2017:

Empty seat her.

Is Mr Prescott’s view altered by the fact that in 2009 uninspiring anointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a poor performer on live TV and Labour could only lose – but in 2017 uninspiring anointed Prime Minister Theresa May is a poor performer on live TV and Labour can only gain?

 

 

Posted: 5th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Google Translate News: Moscow hack gives Manchester’s fat slags and ‘disgusting’ gays a thrashing

If anyone is going to call British women fat slappers and out homosexuals it’ll be the British press. So when Alisa Titko, a writer for Komsomolskaya Pravda, ridiculed British women and lambasted Manchester for allowing gays to be loving in public, that champion of feminism and homosexual rights the Daily Telegraph was aghast. Chris Graham alerted the paper’s readers to Titko’s “homophobic rant”.

Manchester is a city of “fat people” and “debauchery”, a columnist for Russia’s largest selling newspaper wrote in a homophobic article that described the sight of gay people as “disgusting”.

 

gay putin clown

 

He relays Titko’s words – words she wrote in Russian – to English speaking readers:

Having recently visited Manchester, she wrote: “It is true that there are many fat people in Manchester. Local young women don’t mind when fat hangs down from their stomach and body – and does not fit into their jeans. Whatever, when they go to a nightclub they put on tight fit leggings and mini-dresses.”

Do all East European columnists speak like Alan Partridge’s East European lover?

 

 

Here’s more from Alisha Titko (trans: Alice My-Tit):

“In Manchester there is a whole part of the city for gay people. Nobody told me about it, I have found it myself when I was walking around the town. There is even a plate there saying ‘Gay Village’. It is the most popular place for such couples, there are cafés and clubs there with small rainbow flags. Of course, a young man with a girl can also go into the gay club but they should know that if somebody approaches them, it maybe not just for a chat but for something more deep. Of course, it is hardly possible that men turn gay because girls are too fat and non-sexual. But it can influence it too.”

Who says the mainstream press is dying on its arse?

Over on Komsomolskaya Pravda, you can read Titko’s words in her native Russian. But it’s more fun to shred it through Google Translate. So I did. And it gives us:

Moscow does not need gayest street in Manchester

Look out for the claim that a quarter of men in Manchester are gay, a bride can marry a butterfly and things can go “deep” with just a friendly ‘Wotcha cocker!”:

From his friends in Moscow more often I hear that to homosexual couples should be treated more tolerant. Like, people love each other, and what’s the difference … Let. But we should not talk about it openly, to go around the city by the handles and kissing passionately. Shockingly so. And I never understand. Couple – people of different sexes. Historically, only men and women have children. These are the basic things. Understandable. But here, gays and lesbians have found a way – the children they give birth to a surrogate mother or take the baby to an orphanage.

And on such a quiet talk in the newspapers, on television. But in my head does not fit, when I know that some of our idle singers and actors (never would have thought!), And do not dream of the traditional family, and because they are better men. As a girl I was upset, their female fans, probably, too. And such relations are not only in show business, there are gays and lesbians among stylists, managers, and flight attendants. Yes, and no matter the profession. But it is becoming so commonplace that already scares. Where rolling part of Russian society? Why is it more openly demonstrated, and even citing that in Europe – is the norm.

I saw these your rules. In Manchester, for example, there are a quarter of gay men. And about it I whispered to no one in your ear, I found it myself, walking around town. At the beginning of the quarter even have a label “gay village”. It is like this place for couples. They then its cafes, clubs with small rainbow flags, even in Ukraine, the rainbow will be greater when dokrasyat Arch of Friendship of Peoples. Of course, Manchester geyskoy clubs start up and a guy with a girl. But the single boys and girls need to understand that it may be appropriate to meet and not to just talk, and for more in-depth.

Gays and lesbians in the evenings, not hiding emotions, rest not only in private clubs, and even open out onto the veranda. On the walls causing posters. For example, kissing Batman and Superman.

– Do you realize that we have something going with you staring, and they may think that we are not just friends, – told me Anna.

– Well, let’s say that we are not a lesbian, if that – I said to her friend.

At one of the tables was a wedding of two rather large girls, one was a veil, and on the other – the butterfly. We sat next to their mothers and girlfriends. At another table sat a man in a leather mask and pop out of her tongue to lick his partner’s eye. Ahead was a pretty nice guy in stylish jeans and jacket. With him is another. And how I would like to believe that they are just tourists and come here by chance as we are. But no. A friend took his belt and with a playful smile, pulled to itself, and then a couple came in one of the cafes.

– Yes, they are full of women that men are simply disgusting – throw in our conversation with a friend friend Anton. – You’ve seen the same as fast food and potato they eat. A beer of any drink huge glasses. As they say, the result is obvious.

Full in Manchester really quite a lot. And local girls not steamed that fat hanging from the abdomen, flanks , does not fit into jeans. In the clubs, they still pull tight leggings and dresses-mini. Of course, it is unlikely that men become gay because of the fact that the girl thick , not sexy. Although this, too, can influence.

– How good that in Moscow there are no streets. Well, now imagine. Come on Tverskaya , svarachivaem on Chamberlain and Grand Dmitrovka men in leather pants and whips. Oh, no – I can tell your friends after we leave the gayest village. – And if not banned gay parades, all these “free” men in pink, with arrows and bare nipples would be, for example, on the New Arbat.

– How to go there after some ordinary people? – disgust ask about Anna.

– Even so?

I can already imagine that some would say the familiar: “That’s not you they offend They are different This is a limitation of freedom….” Yes, what is freedom? Mom as a child gave a little belt. It is a measure of promiscuity. This is necessary precisely to hide, and not to put on display, and even demand to marry. I like the approach of registry offices in Russia . They say: “The law stipulates that marriage is between a man and a woman, period.”. And what’s more there gay people in Russia – it is bad and shameful.

It’s bad parenting parents, not inspected, not explained. And then the son grows and the mother says, you became a grandmother, but I do not have a wife. Or: “Mom, men – all goats, I love Lena “. Even after five years, they will lead their children to school. And they ask: “Why are the other two parents?” And what to say? There are different family? But the main question: what generation we are waiting for?

PS Let’s be Russian. Create a normal family. Have children in wedlock. And do not confuse love with debauchery.

It’s not fake news – it’s The News According to Google Translate.

Posted: 5th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Kate Middleton’s topless photos undermine William and Harry’s celebrity careers

We first encountered pictures of Kate Middleton’s naked breasts when the French edition of celebrity magazine Closer published the grainy images captured on a long lens in 2012. Today the Mirror leads with news that Kate is seeking £1.3m in damages. So traumatic was it to see Kate’s baps in the tabs that in a French court lawyers for Kate and Prince William say the episode evokes haunting memories of Princess Diana’s “Paparazzi nightmare”.

Among other things, the images show Kate removing her bathing suit and slapping sunscreen to her husband’s back.

Six people are accused of beaching privacy: Closer magazine editor Laurence Pieau, La Provence Publishing Director Marc Auburtin, whose paper also published the snaps, Chief Executive Ernesto Mauri, and photographers Cyril Moreau, Dominique Jacovides and Valerie Suau, according to BBC News.

The Sun, which published pictures of a naked Prince Harry, sets a sympathetic scene:

Kate and William had escaped on holiday in France in September 2012, a little more than a year into their marriage, when the images were taken.

So much, then, for “Workshy Wills“, the Sun’s nickname for the Prince, who last month was telling us all to loosen up. He was “escaping” not skiving. Wills and the other two parts of the Golden Triangle of Palace PR – Prince Harry and Kate – are not the epitome of an unaccountable elite, but in it with us.

The British Press are all on the Windsors side in this one, partly because some organs enjoy watching Britishers making the French squirm and partly because the story can illustrate their own sense of decency, righteousness and strict moral code. It’s not often the gutter press get to look down on something lower, so the likes of the Sun, Star, Mail and Mirror are not going to pass up the opportunity to posture, salute and preen.

But what;s wrong with the photos?

Kate and Wills – the couple who showoff family photos of their children, let us look around their palaces in TV documentaries designed to show their ordinariness, jet about the world adopting worthy interventionist causes, talk to showbiz magazines and cut through the pomp and ermine to get closer to the people – crave all the trappings of celebrities. With no Empire and no political role, it is through celebrity that Kate and Wills, and so too the Royals at large, can achieve a sense of authority. The topless photos are just part of the celebrification. The French see that. We don’t.

When push comes to shove, Kate and Wills have pulled up the red rope. They aren’t the UK’s Kim and Kanye or even Posh and Becks. They are not special by anything other than birth. If we see that then the fall out from their reaction to topless photos might cause more Royal pain in the long run.

 

Posted: 3rd, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


How to survive an armed robbery by Jimmy John’s manager Tuker Murray

Tuker Murray Jimmy Johns robbery Kansas

 

To Kansas, where a robbery is going down. The local police tells all:

At 9:15 p.m. April 26, 2017, officers with the KCPD were dispatched to the location at 3900 Broadway Blvd. in regard to an armed robbery. An unknown black male wearing a light blue hooded sweatshirt entered the restaurant, placed an order, then pointed a gun at the cashier demanding money from the register.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the server. Just chill….

 

 

The mellow dude behind the counter is Tuker Murray, 24-year-old assistant manager at a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in Kansas City, MO. Here he is talking to KCTV5:

 

Posted: 1st, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Strange But True | Comments (2)


When it’s ok to be anti-Semitic and wear a headscarf

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen – the final ‘d’ is silent, so I’ll leave it off – says all Austrian women should wear a headscarf. This will help Muslims feel comfortable and to battle prejudice, he reasons.

“If Islamophobia continues to spread,” he told a room full of students, “the day will come when we will have to ask all women to wear headscarves. All of them, in solidarity with those who [wear them] for religious reasons. This isn’t too far-fetched.”

Van der Bellen continued, adding that he remembered a story about some non-Jewish Danes wearing the Star of David during the German occupation of Denmark in World War II.

Alex, mate, they did that to counter the censors, bigots, meddlers and murderers not because they were forced to on pain of law. Wearing a Star of David when it could get you abused, raped and killed by the invaders’ enforcers is an act of bravery. If you force people to wear the veil and view those courageous Danes as your inspiration, you will celebrate freedom by doing exactly the opposite. And as for reducing a symbol of conservative religious beliefs to a sign of your own liberal views, well, good luck with that.

The Washington Post adds:

The Austrian president seems to have been surprised by the scandal. “We should be happy if we don’t have bigger problems than the question of the headscarf,” he told reporters during a visit to Slovakia this week. “I am not a friend of the headscarf, but there is freedom of expression in Austria.”

Not always. The JTA reports:

An Austrian woman who questioned the Holocaust was found guilty of violating an Austrian law that makes Holocaust denial illegal.

The woman, 53, was given a suspended jail sentence and fined $1,280 by a court in the western Austrian city of Feldkirch on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

She criticized a post on Facebook which showed a German soccer team commemorating the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi camp, in which she accused the team of “spreading lies,” according to the AP.

During a search of her home a sign was discovered over her toilet reading: “This Hitlerine needs a clean latrine.” It also is illegal in Austria to praise the Nazi era.

Nasty. False. But to criminalise an expression of bigotry that makes liars of the millions murdered and praises their killers suggests Austrian lawmakers do not have much faith in their own people to hold ignorance and racism up to the light. Bellen is wrong, then. Freedom of expression is not sacrosanct in Austria.

Undeterred, Bellen moved on:

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, the president’s office attempted to explain the context of his statement, noting that a student had asked about whether a ban on headscarves would shut some women out of the labor market.

The president was talking about “the stigma of headscarved women,” the statement said, and the president did agree that in some specific circumstances a headscarf might be prohibited but that other religious symbols should be prohibited, too, in those circumstances. The president was also concerned about “racism from the other side,” the statement said, pointing to the example of a Muslim cabdriver who refuses to accept Orthodox Jews as passengers.

Racism from the other side? No, it’s just racism.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 1st, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


ITV live news reporter has malfunction on camera

Have a heart for the live TV reporter padding out the known facts in the London drizzle. ITV goes live to its man in Westminster. Come in, Rohit Kachroo, who has Type 1 Diabetes (it was related to that):

 

I’ve been there. I was on the radio once and utterly lost my train of thought. He did well to maintain his cool. And it does make you wonder why he has to be live on the scene at all? Very rarely does the TV reporter’s location ever add to the story? After all, they are there long after the incident on which they’re reporting has passed.

Posted: 28th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comments (2)


Tim Farron finds his backbone and blocks David Ward over ‘antisemitic’ comments

In today’s Sun we read that the LibDems have approved David Ward as their candidate for Bradford East. Ward lost the seat to Labour in 2015. Ward is the man who likened “the Jews” to the Nazis, the paper reminds us.

But just as we started to think there is no exit for such nastiness we learn that LibDem leader Tim Farron has sacked Ward. Farron says Ward’s comments about Jews were “deeply offensive, wrong and antisemitic”.

HURRAH! Finally one of them gets booted out. Other politicos accused of anti-Semitism get suspended. “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him,” said Farron.

 

Corbyn anti-semitism

 

But, as the Guardian points out, the sacking only occurred after Theresa May criticised Ward’s selection following a question from Eric Pickles during prime minister’s questions. Pickles asked if May “shares my disgust that a former member of this house criticised by the home affairs select committee for antisemitism has been selected for Bradford East for the Liberal Democrats?”

May said voters would be “disappointed to see the Liberal Democrats re-adopt a candidate with a questionable record on antisemitism”. The paper notes:

Ward has also said he would be willing to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel and praised the Labour MP Naz Shah after she was suspended by her party for antisemitic posts on Facebook.

Naz wasn’t kicked out. She was suspended. She was re-educated. She discovered that anti-Semitism is a form of racism. Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West – what is about that place? – delivered an apology, albeit with a sympathetic backstory.

“The language I used was anti-Semitic, it was offensive,” she said. “What I did was I hurt people and the language that was the clear anti-Semitic language, which I didn’t know at the time, was when I said, ‘The Jews are rallying.'”

She then went on a journey:

Ms Shah said she had been on a learning journey in recent months and had received “amazing compassion” from the Jewish community. “I didn’t get anti-Semitism as racism,” said Ms Shah. “I had never come across it. I think what I had was an ignorance.”

With her abhorrent views unchecked, Naz had made it all the way to be a front-bench advisor in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Until she was exposed in the media, at no point did Shah think anti-Semitism could be wrong, let alone racist. Is that because everyone around her was as ignorant as she was? Or is it because anti-Semitism is rife in Labour, which is a safe space to be an anti-Jewish bigot? We can give ink to our thoughts on polling day.

Says Farron: “I don’t select our individual candidates and nor should I. But let me be clear, I won’t tolerate antisemitism in my party. David Ward has been disciplined in the past and if he or anyone else makes antisemitic remarks in this campaign I will expect the party to act quickly and decisively, as we did when we suspended a candidate in Luton South yesterday …Ashuk Ahmed, was suspended over Facebook posts that compared Zionism to the Nazis.”

Don’t panic, lads. You can always go back to school and stand as a representative for the NUS.

The National Union of Students (NUS) is embroiled in a fresh anti-Semitism row after three candidates holding or running for positions on its executive committee were revealed to have made offensive comments.

In online posts seen by The Independent, one current member of the union’s National Executive Council shared a video mocking Jews as having big noses and being tight with money, while another publicly suggested Jewish people are tight-fisted and said he wanted to destroy Israel.

A third, who is seeking a position on the union’s executive in elections being held this week, wrote an offensive Twitter message referring to Jews and using the phrase “Heil Hitler”.

Good job the Left has no issue with Jews. We know this because Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti told us there is no anti-Semitism in Labour Party.

Vote now. And vote often.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comments (2)


Madeleine McCann: the Met’s 10th anniversary PR exercise ‘COULD’ be news

Madeleine McCann: 10th anniversary news round-up.

The Daily Mail (front page): “MADDIE POLICE CHASING ‘CRITICAL LEAD'”.

 

maddie mccann daily mail

 

That Madeleine McCann remains front-page news 10 years after her vanishing – and after ten years of no evidence of what happened to her emerging – is remarkable. As for the news, we learn that police are “chasing a critical leader”. How critical? Well, it “could crack the Madeleine McCann case”. So only potentially critical, then.

What of the “mysterious new clues”, then, that “could explain why the three-year-old vanished in May 2007″?

We hear from Mark Rowley, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, who tells us that the “latest lead” is “worth pursuing”. He says: “It could provide an answer, but until we’ve gone though it I won’t know whether we are going to get there or not.”

That’s three “coulds” on the front page alone. So much for the “critical lead”. Rowley says – without irony – “I’m not going to discuss…because it is very much a live investigation”.

The Mirror makes “COULD” part of its front-page lead. It could just as easily says ‘Could Not”.

daily mirror maddy mccann

 

Millions of pounds invested in the search for answers and still none are forthcoming. Ten years of looking and the Met are in full PR mode. They “don’t want to spoil it by putting titbits of information our publicly,” says Rowley as he chucks a tasty morsel to the Press. Indeed, this isn’t a hunt for alleged VIP sex criminals. There will be no televised raids and no airport arrests. So can Rowley tell us anything? “We don’ have evidence telling us if Madeleine is alive or dead.” says Rowley, “but as a team we are realistic about what we might be dealing with.”

As the Met gets realistic about theories, the Mail moves on to look at the parents. Over pages 4 and 15, we get “10 YEARS OF PAIN”.

Pages 14-15: “Maddie’s bedroom is piled high with a decade of unopened gifts. Kate’s given up work to care or their twins – while Gerry’s now a world-renowned heart doctor. As police reveal a ‘significant’ new line of inquiry… 10 YEARS OF HOPE AND HEARTBREAK”.

What a parent looking after their own children has to do with the case is moot, moreover the husband’s job. But this story always was laced with a middle-class thread. The blonde child. The medical professional parents. The upmarket holiday camp destination. It all overshadows the fact that police only might have a significant new line of enquiry. We don’t know. They don’t know. All we know is that Kate McCann is a “fitness fanatic” who “finds finds comfort in daily work-outs at he gym”; Gerry McCann “was recently praised for saving the life of former footballer Alan Birchenall after he suffered a heart attack and ‘died’  for seven minutes”; and “they have coped in different ways with the tragedy”.

 

daily express maddy mccann

 

Daily Express (front page): “VITAL NEWS CLUES IN MADDY HUNT.”

No. They could be critical clues. They might not be of any value at all. The Express notes that Operation Grange, the police investigation, has cost £11m.

Page 5: “Yard reveals ‘critical lines of inquiry’ in Maddy case.” It did. And it didn’t. The Met mentioned the leads and then said they were secret.

The paper does have some news, though. We learn that in 2013, “officers identified four people as possible suspects but they have now been ruled out.”

The Telegraph prefers to lead with a question: “Madeleine McCann: Are the police any closer to knowing the truth?” As Betteridge’s law of headlines states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

This is Mark Rowley’s statement in full – delivered to deadline. The Met calls it “AC Mark Rowley reflects on the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.” It reads like mixture of school report and therapeutic journey:

As an investigation team we are only too aware of the significance of dates and anniversaries. Whatever the inquiry, we want to get answers for everyone involved.

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is no different in that respect but of course the circumstances and the huge public interest, make this a unique case for us as police officers to deal with. In a missing child inquiry every day is agony and an anniversary brings this into sharp focus. Our thoughts are with Madeleine’s family at this time – as it is with any family in a missing person’s inquiry – and that drives our commitment to do everything we can for her.

On 3rd May 2017, it will be 10 years since Madeleine vanished from her apartment in Praia Da Luz, a small town on the Algarve. In the immediate hours following her disappearance, an extensive search commenced involving the local police, community and tourists. This led to an investigation that has involved police services across Europe and beyond, experts in many fields, the world’s media and the public, which continues to this day. The image of Madeleine remains instantly recognisable in many countries across the world.

The Met’s dedicated team of four detectives, continues to work closely on the outstanding enquiries along with colleagues of the Portuguese Policia Judiciária. Our relationship with the Policia Judiciária is good. We continue to work together and this is helping us to move forward the investigation.

We don’t have evidence telling us if Madeleine is alive or dead. It is a missing person’s inquiry but as a team we are realistic about what we might be dealing with – especially as months turn to years.

Now is a time we can reflect on an investigation which captured an unprecedented amount of media coverage and interest. The enormity of scale and the complexity of such a case brings along its own challenges, not least learning to work with colleagues who operate under a very different legal system. The inquiry has been, and continues to be helped and supported by many organisations and individuals. We acknowledge the difference these contributions have made to the investigation and would like it known that we appreciate all the support we have and continue to receive.

Since the Met was instructed by the Home Office to review the case in 2011, we have reviewed all the material gathered from multiple sources since 2007. This amounted to over 40,000 documents out of which thousands of enquiries were generated. We continue to receive information on a daily basis, all of which is assessed and actioned for enquiries to be conducted.

We have appealed on four BBC Crimewatch programmes since April 2012. This included an age progression image which resulted in hundreds of calls about alleged sightings of Madeleine; an appeal for the identity of possibly relevant individuals through description or Efit; and information sought relating to suspicious behaviour or offences of burglary. These programmes collectively produced a fantastic response from the public. The thousands of calls and information enabled detectives to progress a number of enquiries. This was in addition to over 3,000 holiday photographs from the public in response to an earlier appeal.

The team has looked at in excess of 600 individuals who were identified as being potentially significant to the disappearance. In 2013 the team identified four individuals they declared to be suspects in the case. This led to interviews at a police station in Faro facilitated by the local Policia Judiciária and the search of a large area of wasteland which is close to Madeleine’s apartment in Praia Da Luz. The enquiries did not find any evidence to further implicate the individuals in the disappearance and so they are no longer subject of further investigation.

We will not comment on other parts of our investigation – it does not help the teams investigating to give a commentary on those aspects. I am pleased to say that our relationship with the Portuguese investigators is better than ever and this is paying dividends in the progress all of us are making.

We are often asked about funding and you can see that we are now a much smaller team. We know we have the funding to look at the focused enquiry we are pursuing.

Of course we always want information and we can’t rule out making new appeals if that is required. However, right now, new appeals or prompts to the public are not in the interest of what we are trying to achieve.

He says publicly.

As detectives, we will always be extremely disappointed when we are unable to provide an explanation of what happened. However the work carried out by Portuguese and Met officers in reviewing material and reopening the investigation has been successful in taking a number of lines of interest to their conclusion. That work has provided important answers.

Answers? But there was only ever one question: what happened to Madeleine McCann?

Right now we are committed to taking the current inquiry as far as we possibly can and we are confident that will happen. Ultimately this, and the previous work, gives all of us the very best chance of getting the answers – although we must, of course, remember that no investigation can guarantee to provide a definitive conclusion.

However the Met, jointly with colleagues from the Policia Judiciária continue the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann with focus and determination.

No progress, then. The Met is looking back – just as it always has done.

Posted: 26th, April 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment