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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 30

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The Mail’s Legs-It cover triggers a race to the bottom

When Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon had a chat in Glasgow, the Daily Mail noticed that both women had legs. It wasn’t just a meeting between two leaders of British political parties; it was a beauty contest. It was also an eye-catching front-page headline and photo. If newspapers set out to be relevant and capture their readers’ attentions, the Mail did a fine job of it.

But many leading voices – most of whom don’t much like the Mail and don’t buy it – were quick to accuse the paper of “sexism”.

 

legs sturgeon may daily record scotland

 

Reaction to the Mail’s cover has been loud. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn looked beyond mere policy and leadership to decry the picture’s “sexism”. “This sexism must be consigned to history,” Corbyn tweeted. Labour MP Harriet Harman found the Mail’s headline “Moronic!” She checked her calendar and added with not a muon of wit, “And we are in 2017!”

Conservative MP and former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan accused the paper of “appalling sexism”.

 

womack daily mail

 

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the The Green Party of England and Wales, ruled that the cover was “treating women with contempt”. She went further than most and complained to IPSO,  the Independent Press Standards Organisation. To her mind the over was “breaking the Editors’ Code”.

The Editors’ Code of Practice covers:

Accuracy
Privacy
Harassment
Intrusion into grief or shock
Reporting Suicide
Children in sex cases
Hospitals
Reporting of Crime
Clandestine devices and subterfuge
Victims of sexual assault
Discrimination
Financial journalism
Confidential sources
Witness payments in criminal trials
Payments to criminals
The Public Interest

Which of those topics deals with a picture of two clothed women and a silly comment on their legs? You can try and guess but you’d be hard pressed to nail it. Helpfully, Womack says the Mail broke clause 12 of the code which says editors must “avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”.

Of course, drawing attention to the leaders’ legs story gives Womack a chance to draw attention to herself. Like all other ‘Outraged of Westminster’ moaners, Womack uses the Mail to showcase her own clean lines. The paper must love it. At a time of falling circulations, the Mail is one newspaper still able to rile and matter. People really do care what it says.

The Mail online even features a report on its own front page:

 

mail legs

 

And what of Theresa May, the poor woman being objectified by the nasty Mail? She called the cover “a bit of fun”. Which it is.

In next week’s Mail: “Put ’em away Jeremy!”

Posted: 29th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea ‘nark’ sets the police on rude Manchester United supporters

Looking for offence in dust is a full-time job. Today brings news that one sensitive Chelsea fan has given full throat to his upset that Manchester United fans referred to the Blues as “Chelsea rent boys” during the teams’ recent FA Cup match.

Rent boys is an old-fashioned term, for sure, but it is entirely in keeping with the way football fans model chants to the tunes of 1960s songs. The correct and up-to-date term is “male sex worker”. And it’s not even a term of abuse. It’s a career choice and should be legalised and taxed.

manchester united

 

The Sun says a police officer told the complainant that the chant “Chelsea rent boys” is “unacceptable” – but not for the reasons mentioned above. It’s because calling Chelsea fans “Chelsea rent boys” is offensive and intended to cause upset.

Writing in the Sun, Mick Hume wonders: “What next? Chelsea fans probed for animal welfare offences for shouting ‘sheep, sheep, sheep-s******s’ at supporters of less fashionable provincial clubs?”

Winding up the opposition is part and parcel of the game. The FA says it is bent on “eradicating all discriminatory and offensive chanting from football”. Mick adds: “But equating discrimination and offence is like giving a player a red card for nutmegging an opponent.”

We’d advocate going for the full Cruyff turn. Go beyond those arcane and sanitised rent-boy chants. That one only upset one Chelsea fan. It’s time fans upped their game.

PS: Stand up for free speech and the right to be offensive by buying Boy Mick Hume’s book here.

 

Posted: 28th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Government uses Westminster terror attack to limit hard-fought freedom

The reaction to Khalid Massod’s murderous attack in London was clear: we will not let the heinous actions of one man threaten our hard won freedoms. Theresa May assured us that “Any attempt to defeat those values [liberty, democracy, freedom of speech, the spirit of freedom, the rule of law and human rights] through violence and terror is doomed to failure.”

 

whatsapp terror the sun

 

And then came news that two minutes before he attacked, Masood received an encrypted message via WhatsApp. Would knowing the contents of that message have helped the police stop Masood’s “depraved” and “sick” crime? The police weren’t watching him, so maybe not.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, like May, her eavesdropping predecessor in the Home Office who introduced the invasive Investigatory Powers Act, is no fan of privacy. Rudd says encryption represents a threat to national security. She wants apps like WattsAp to aid government investigations by letting them in to look around.

And so from not giving into terrorists by refusing to play the terrorists at their own game, the State soon begins to chip away at our liberties.

The Liberal Democrat’s home affairs spokesman, former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and onetime London mayoral hopeful Brian Paddick says allowing the authorities to view encrypted messages would be “neither a proportionate nor an effective response” to the Westminster attack. “These terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and undermine our democratic society,” he says. “By implementing draconian laws that limit our civil liberties, we would be playing into their hands.”

The Sun uses its editorial to argue that Rudd is right. “Home Secretary Amber Rudd is right to read them [WhatsApp, Apple and Google] the riot act and tell them the terrorists should have no place to hide,” the paper thunders. “Because that’s just what WhatsApp – owned by Facebook – lets them do. By encrypting messages, it stops the police being able to track terror plots.They can’t even investigate in the ­aftermath of a terrorist atrocity.”

But “if you build a back door, it’s there for everybody to access,” says Tony Anscombe in the same paper. “And if you store that data you collect, even in encrypted form, how secure is it? All these data breaches we hear about show our privacy is regularly being breached by hackers, so the action suggested by the Home Secretary would only open us all up to further invasions of privacy.“

In 2012 the murderous Syrian government banned WhatsApp in order “to disrupt the rebel opposition’s cellular privacy”. In a dangerous place, privacy is paramount for many. It’s matter of life and death. “WhatsApp is very popular among Syrians, and particularly Syrian opposition activists,” says Tuma, a Syrian journalist. “Even Free Syrian Army soldiers are using the app.” The Syrian government wants to police communications because it fears the people. The UK government wants to police communications to protect the people. But protecting citizens from criminals soon slips into monitoring us all. A rogue State begins to look like the Free West.

May should wonder how she can champion free expression and free speech through observation and mistrust? With no private lives, no space to look at non-conformist things and express ideas, however mentally negligible and far-fetched, privacy become public spectacle. Afraid of standing out and attracting police attention, we ape each other’s movements, keeping in step with what the authorities deem acceptable and unthreatening.

You can still believe things but you dare not say them aloud. People become isolated, hidden behind a bland facade. Is that what not giving into the terrorists looks like?

Posted: 27th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment


The Westminster terrorist can’t win if we carry on regardless

The man who killed and maimed in Westminster yesterday has not been named by the authorities yet. The British born killer’s actions were those of a coward.

Much of the talk is of not letting the terrorists win. It can sound trite and easy. But it’s spot on. But the way we go about achieving it differs.

 

westminster terror

 

All day the TV has been broadcasting pictures from Westminster. Things look wonderfully normal. Westminster Bridge is open to traffic and walkers again. Tourists with selfie sticks are snapping away. A man is stood on the crossing, not waiting for the ‘green man’ to flash, but dashing between vehicles. Lots of people are talking to one another.

There is no sense of fear in the air.

 

farage westminster terror immigration

 

Yesterday’s horror was the actions of one man armed with a car and knives. One human being caused havoc, ruining and ending lives. But the rest of us have carried on. Society has not changed.

 

arab news westminster killer

It’ll take more than that

 

London has not fallen, as the Arab News oddly declared on its front page. The beating heart of the UK was not stopped by a cowardly killer. One man will not put and end to democracy.

But some of us want to use the murders to promote our own prejudices – Muslims are inherently dangerous; immigration means death; only the State can protect us; the Jews did it; Islamophobics will race riot; white people have done worse; and more. They make misstep after misstep. The way to defeat the terrorists is to neuter them by celebrating freedom and trusting people. Don’t be like the killer by seek victimhood and fomenting fear and otherness.

You can keep calm and carry on. And as you carry on also keep having fun, keep being rigorous, energetic, saucy, curious, challenging, boisterous, vibrant, loud, welcoming, rude and defiant. The bigots hate that. Keep it up.

Posted: 23rd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment


Irony Overload: Labour MP Yvette Cooper wants to save us from online anti-Semites and other virtual haters

Yvette Cooper wants to set you free from fake news, horrible words and unpleasant images online. The UK Home Affairs Select Committee, which Cooper chairs, challenged directors of big social media companies – Facebook’s Simon Milner, Google’s Peter Barron and Twitter’s Nick Pickles – to explain why their businesses engage in “commercial prostitution” by allowing ad placements alongside nasty videos made by, amongst others, neo-Nazis and white supremacist David Duke, whose video Jews admit organising white genocide Labour MP Cooper called antisemitic and shocking. “I think most people would be appalled by that video and think that it goes against all standards of common decency in the United Kingdom,” said Cooper.

The charge is that in equipping nasty videos with ads, the likes of YouTube (owned by Google) is funding hate because the publisher takes a slice of the ad revenue. But if hate’s not a crime, the problem is one of taste not law?

Overlooking the sensational news that a Labour MP is now an expert in spotting anti-semitism, and just marvel at an MP of any hue deciding and defining the limits of good taste.

Google’s Matt Brittin told the committee, “I want to start by saying sorry” for allowing tax-payer funded Government adverts to feature alongside extremist material on YouTube. Cooper seized on it. “They are right to apologise for failing to stop extremists making profits from hatred, and for making profits themselves from advertising on these videos,” she said. “They need to say whether they will be paying back any of that advertising revenue. And to answer our questions on what more they are doing to root out extremism or illegal activity on YouTube. Because they are still failing to do enough to remove illegal or hate filled content from YouTube.”

And there it was again, that casual merging of what is illegal and what is legal and nasty. Not all unpleasant things are criminal, nor should they be made so.

Bannon helped Cooper out. “There is no clear definition of hate speech in British law,” he explained at length. “We have our own guidelines around hate speech. The guideline that we follow, which is very close to the law, is that a general expression against a country, for example, wouldn’t qualify as hate speech, but if you are promoting or advocating violence against a particular group based on their race or ethnicity, that would constitute hate speech. … I am not going to defend the content of the video; I found it abhorrent and offensive. However, the important question, which relates to wider issues of freedom of expression, is whether that content is illegal and whether it breaks our guidelines. Our policy and legal experts arrived at the conclusion that it didn’t. I think everyone in this room would agree that it was deeply distasteful.”

Cooper replied: “How on earth is the phrase, ‘Jews admit organising white genocide’, as well as being clearly false, not a statement that is a malicious or hateful comment about a group of people solely based on race, religion or the other protected characteristics that your own guidelines and community standards say are unacceptable?’

Guidelines are not laws, Yvette. Google is free to set its own rules. As is the Commons. So when Labour MP Tam Dalyell, aka Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), warned in dead-tree magazine Vanity Fair of a “cabal of Jewish advisers” unduly influencing Tony Blair, he wasn’t censored and banned. When Tam told the Zayed Centre, an organisation “established in fulfilment of the vision of his highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan” – that “there were 400,000 Jews in Britain who enjoyed a very strong and stunning influence” he was not sacked.

The then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose Jewish ancestry (one grandparent too many, apparently) caused Dalyell to sense something sinister in his blood, offered the grown up response: “These remarks are too unworthy to be worth a comment.”

When old-Etonian Dalyell died, tributes were fulsome. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “The Labour movement has lost a giant… As Father of the House his wisdom was passed on to countless MPs.” Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Jew-sniffer had been a “good friend and comrade”. Other “friends” of Corbyn work at Hamas, whose mantra is the annihilation of Jews. As one Guardian writer notes, “Corbyn has associated with the worst type of antisemites: Holocaust deniers, men who think Jews made bread from Christian blood or were behind the 9/11 atrocities. No blood libel was too bloody for them. He keeps saying he’s not a racist, but he’s happy to keep racist company.”

James Bloodworth wondered: “Why is no one asking about Jeremy Corbyn’s worrying connections?” Having stated his belief that Corbyn is no anti-Semite, Bloodworth looked at context:

Corbyn wrote a letter defending Stephen Sizer, the vicar disciplined by the Church of England for linking to an article on social media entitled 9/11: Israel Did It. [He] Presented a call-in programme on Press TV, a propaganda channel of the Iranian government which was banned by Ofcom and which regularly hosts Holocaust deniers.

Is Corbyn advertising these people by being among them? Should he be blocked from doing so, lest his meeting with bigots be seen as an endorsement in the same way anyone watching an advert for Marks and Spencer’s on a jihadi recruitment drive fall into thinking M&S is enlarging its underwear range and selling thermal suicide vests in all sizes? Should Labour Party members get their money back when the context gets nasty?

Or are well robust grown ups, who enjoy freedom of expression and the right to offend, who baulk at the idea of State censors demanding we adhere to their interpretation of “common decency”, those prudes who trammel free speech and treat people as a problem to police and patrol?

Let’s trust that we are.

Posted: 21st, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Chuck Berry: the King is dead so let’s give his body a good kicking

chuck berry hail

 

No sooner is Chuck Berry dead than the Mirror pulls on the boots and gives his bones a good kick. The rock’n’roller who gave full throat to all the taboo-busting stuff the olds hated is the subject of the front-page yeller about his ‘Dark secrets’.

For readers to be shocked by anything, Berry would have to have been extraordinarily depraved. Having seen knights of the real and papacy exposed as predatory paedophiles – You never can tell, right? – and knowing your internet-based readership is reared on Rule 34 – ‘If it exists, there is a porn of it’ – you wonder how dark Berry’s darkness got to warrant front-page news.

 

chuck berry crime

 

A clue to things being not all that dark comes on pages 8 and 9, where the Berry abyss becomes more ‘murky’ than inky black. And those ‘secrets’ become anything but. Berry’s ‘three spells behind bars’ are well documented (robbery, tax dodging and transporting a 14-year-old prostitute across State lines to work at one of his clubs – when he sacked her she grassed him up to the law; he says he never slept with her), as is his conviction for sticking a hidden camera inside the ladies’ toilets at one of his restaurants.

And that’s it. There is nothing more. No ‘Nick‘ to talk of dead children. No priapic visits to the mortuary. No Satanic cults. No octopus porn.

One of the most influential musicians of all time, the man who brought joy and light to millions with his swagger, wit and infectious songs will not be airbrushed from history. So great was Berry that even the Mail, a paper not given to shying away from moral panics, overlooks the ‘shadows’ and ‘secrets’ to hail the ‘Godfather of Rock’, the ‘musical genius’ who inspired Britain’s biggest stars’ and led an ‘outrageous life’. Chuck Berry’s the man who grew up on the wrong side of racially segregated America and got white and blacks dancing in the aisles.

And so without further ado, here’s Chuck Berry. Hail, hail, Rock And Roll:

 

Posted: 20th, March 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Anti-Trump swastika billboard in Phoenix road is more stupid that anything you’ll see in the White House

Phoenix billboard Nazis Trump

 

Let’s be clear: whoever erected the billboard calling Donald Trump a Nazi understands neither democracy nor history. The billboard on the 1000 block of Phoenix’s Grand Avenue is, according to reports, the work of Karen Fiorito. For those of you not au fait with the name ‘Karen’, Fox News tells us she’s a “female artist”. She is not a male artist, nor is she a coffee table.

“I got the opportunity to have a platform to say something, and I took that opportunity, and I take full responsibility for it,” Fiorito says. Shame that what she says is so crass and lazy.

Her portrait of Donald Trump sat before the nuclear mushroom clouds is the stuff of teenage angst. But the real misstep is the dollar signs that bear some resemblance to swastikas on each side of the orange lunk’s head. Irony of ironies, the other side of the same billboard carries the message “unity”, something history tells us Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were very much in favour of.

Her drawing is all about division. It’s childish, self-satisfied and regressive. It’s entirely in keeping with the shrill reaction to Trump’s presidency. It screams that the people – millions and millions of people – who voted for Trump, rejecting Hillary Clinton’s paternalism and the technocratic oligarchs who see democracy as something to be kept from the ‘low-information’ poor, are fascists akin to the Black Shirts. Taking the greatest evil and slapping it on a poster to attack someone who is not this age’s Hitler – really, he isn’t; read some books other than the one that reinforces your prejudices – demeans the Holocaust’s victims, negates actual Nazism and monsters the tens of millions of Americans who exercised their right to vote.

Using Nazi death camps to buttress your anti-human argument that the electorate voted for Trump because they were duped by Russian newbots and he spoke to their slack-jawed inherent racism co-opts the murdered millions into your monocular world view. It’s a hideous abuse.

In a game of Spot the Bigot, I’d point to the one screaming ‘Hitler!’ at everyone whose view they don’t agree with.

This lazy reductivism abates any need for reflection and the need to work out how progressive Left-wing politics mutated into a cloying, narcissistic hissy fit of entitlement, and why it is that the working classes seized their chance to storm the citadel and hope for a rosy-fingered dawn.

Posted: 19th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)


Arsenal balls: Wenger and Kroenke are on a hiding to nothing

Is Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal? To paraphrase the banner that used to point to Arsenal victories at the club’s old Highbury stadium, “Arsene Knows”. But he’s not telling the Press. He’s most likely told Stan Kroenke, the businessman who owns the biggest grasp of shares in Arsenal.  But the man nicknamed ‘Silent’ Stan won’t be telling the tabloids, either.  The papers could try door-stepping Kroenke, but last year he bought a Texas ranch worth about £500m and locating him in 865,000 acres of garden is no easy thing.

 

arsenal daily star

 

So Arsenal fans bumble on, wondering if the man who helped transform the club from perennial also-rans into occasional winners will accept the deal and sign on for a further two years.

The club is torn. In the skies over the Hawthons as a wilted Arsenal succumbed 3-1 to an ordinary West Brom, fans made their own entertainment. They craned their necks and looked up, much as they did when the likes of David O’Leary used to deliver one of those huge hoofs into the opposition’s half in the 1970s and 1980s and in matches when Tony Pulis, now at West Brom, managed Stoke City RFC. Overhead was not a Johnny Jensen effort on goal and Peter Crouch’s head, but two planes: one trailing a banner for Wenger to stay; one calling for him to get thee hence.

What kind of fan hires a plane and buzzes the ground is something psychoanalysts can help the sane to understand. That these two planes were duelling offered hope that the rich fools’ vanity show would achieve some kind of finale at something other than a small regional airport. But there was no spectacular crash and dog fight. The planes were a novel distraction, expressing bold statements loudly before their endless whining became irritating and everyone wished they’d go away. Chelsea fans who endured Jose Mourinho will know the feeling well.

So is he going or not? The Mail says losing to West Brom was an ‘historic low” for the club. Well, the fourth defeat in five Premier League games is extraordinary so long as you’ve only watched Arsenal in HD. For those fans who watched Arsenal when they were routinely mediocre, the current poor run is remarkable for how long it’s taken to return after so many seasons of style, dash and hope.

 

Posted: 19th, March 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Prince William turns into his feckless father as mute Kate awaits her Diana moment

prince william dancing the sun

 

It’s the third day of the Sun’s Prince William expose. On Tuesday the paper led with news that Wills had ‘sloped off’ to the Swiss Alps to pranny about his pals on a lads’ holiday, where he met an Australian model called Sophie Taylor. So much the norm for the super-rich. But the Sun was aghast, saying that Wills should have been at a Commonwealth Day service with the rest of his kin.

Over pages 4 and 5, we saw Wills ‘sloping off again’, ‘snubbing’ the service at Westminster Abbey. Wills does a ‘high skive’ palm slap with Sophie as he ‘chills ‘with ‘topless model’ Sophie and his mates.

On Wednesday it was more of the same. There was Wills on the Sun’s cover page, his lips pursed in disapproval as he stared into the paparazzo’s lens. Wills has an ambivalent relationship with the Press. The photo-ops that make him looks good and chummy with the hol polloi are great; the ones where he’s seen larking about for the 30-plus weeks of the year in which he isn’t ‘working’ as a military-lite soldier and celebrity lifesaver are undesirable and invasive. The narrative is that the paps did for his mother, but what really hurt William’s mother was his father, cheating Charles, who refereed to Princess Diana as ‘Diana the Martyr‘ as she carved out a life for herself that involved more than being the Windsor clan’s latest ‘brood mare‘.

And it keeps coming. Wills is ‘Throne Idle’. He is – yet again – ‘sloping off’, having performed ‘just 13 royal duties’ this year (although it’s at least a couple more if you include telling the secretary to tell the nanny to wipe Prince George’s arse and smiling at Kate in public) to the Queen’s 24.

Over pages 6 and 7, we see Wills in ‘Boogie-wonderland’ getting ‘crown on it’ at Verbier’s Farinet club. We hear from a ‘stunned’ onlooker who “couldn’t believe” Wills was ‘gyrating to a rap song with lyrics about smoking cannabis’. It’s unbelievable. Where’s the future King’s sense of tradition? What happened to getting goofed on opiates, impregnating peroxide-tinted serfs, murdering dumb animals and giving Nazs salutes? It was good enough for his ancestors, so why not Wills? The snob.

“William clearly isn’t interested in taking his role seriously and I really wonder if he wants to be king,” says the chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic.”He’s not living up to the hopes that people had of him and does seem to be taking all this for granted,’ adds a ‘Royal historian’.

And so to Thursday’s Sun‘s lead story. We hear that Sophie did a slut drop’ dance in a rarified Swiss club. On pages 4 and 5, we learn that Wills was ‘cavorting on a club dance floor with two beauties’.  We also learn that the slut drop is a dance move ‘made famous of Geordie Shore’, the TV show in which orange-skinned Geordies shag on camera and then read each others tattoos by the light of their teeth.

What it all amounts to is not very much at all. Unless you consider Kate, the missing part in all her husband’s life of privilege and privacy. The Sun invites its agony aunt Deidre to ‘imagine’ what Kate would write about her husband. Imaginary Kate is worried that her ‘boring and ‘balding’ husband ‘has been pictured with his hands all over some girl’. She wonders, ‘Has the magic gone?’ Above all she is terrified he’s turning into his father. We hope, of course, that Kate learns from Diana, a woman who touched the shunned and sick (literally) and attempted with no little success to turn a life of public virtue and private vice into something the subjects can look up to.

Over to you, Kate…

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


The myth of Millwall’s racist abuse at Spurs

When Spurs played Millwall in the FA Cup – final score: 6-0 – the Guardian heard ‘racist’ abuse from the South Londoners. So bad was it that rather than lead with a match report or news on Harry Kane’s injury, the Guardian opted to tell readers that the FA is investigating the ‘racist chants’. ‘FA is aware of chants and awaiting reports from referee and police,’ the paper announces. Once more lowbrow football is in the dock for racism. Yippee!

 

spurs son millwall racism the guardian

 

Given that this is about Spurs, where the ‘self-styled ‘Yid Army’ hold sway, you might suppose the Millwall berks opted for a spout of anti-Semitism. But you’d be wrong. The alleged racism was directed at Tottenham’s South Korean forward Son Heung-Min. The Mirror says, ‘Chants of “DVD” and “three for a fiver”, apparently in reference to the sale of pirated films, coursed through the away end each time Son touched the ball in the last-eight clash.’

The Guardian tells its readers, who don’t partake of white working-class leisure pursuits and buy the Guardian because of its platoon of black and Asian board members (number of non-white faces in the paper’s twelve-strong boardroom: nil): ‘The reference to selling DVDs is considered to be a racist slur when directed at an Asian person.’

Millwall fans are so regressive. Piracy is all about downloads and streaming from Russia and Israel nowadays, lads. If you want to goad and upset the opposition’s most threatening player with a tasteless chant, why not lampoon his countrymen’s appetite for dog meat? You can try this chant:

Son, Son, Wherever You May Be
You eat dogs in your country!
It could be worse, you could be Scouse,
Eating rats in your council house!

On second thoughts, best not to. Manchester United fans used to sing that tune about Park Ji Sung, a player they loved. He never complained. He’s a robust adult who saw it for what it was: a friendly bout of un-PC banter. It’s just that given United’s love of branding, the song’s most likely copyrighted and singing it will require a licence and large fee.

Better to echo what Spurs fans serenade Son with:

“He’ll shoot, he’ll score, he’ll eat your Labrador.”

Over in the Mail, we read that those Millwall chants about knock-off films and video games spoilt everything. The paper notes:

Millwall supporters should’ve been celebrating their wonderful FA Cup run but racist chants of ‘DVD’ and ‘three for a fiver’ towards Tottenham’s Son Heung-min ruined it.

Those would be the same multi-cultural Millwall fans who were watching their multi-cultural club get thrashed and Son score a hat-trick? The Mail thinks Millwall’s ‘racist’ fans should have been celebrating their team’s annihilation rather than trying to upset Son and Spurs.

Says the Mail:

Millwall’s supporters wonder why no-one likes them but showed exactly the reason with the disgraceful abuse directed at Tottenham forward Son Heung-min during their FA Cup quarter-final defeat.

What utter balls. Millwall fans don’t wonder why no-one like them – they celebrate the fact. It’s part of their identity to cock a snook at authority. Their chants are supposed to be vulgar, offensive and tasteless.

So dumb is the entire story of racism at White Hart Lane that the Indy can’t even decide what is and what isn’t racist. ‘Millwall could face FA action after fans appear to racially abuse Tottenham striker Son Heung-min,’ it says. For those of us who can recall the 1970s and 1980, when racism at football was loud, nasty and obvious – just as it was in society – the verbals aimed at Son are weaker than Millwall’s performance in the match.

To the people who seek out racism in dust, who view fans as suspects and seek to buttress their own superior morals in commands to ‘Kick It Out’, who investigate every word for offence – who reduce Son, an energetic, tough and skilled footballer to the role of victim – we wonder what planet they’re from and who invited them to join this one?

 

Posted: 13th, March 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (15)


Manchester United’s thought police ban a fan for a tweet

Manchester United have extended the rule governing football fans – Rule 1: sit down; shut up (unless it’s for the national anthem) – to censoring what supporters can say when they’re not at the match. Football fans have long been subjected to new forms of control. Portrayed as a mob inherently given to violence and a moral threat to society, deserving for tear gas, metal cages, water cannon and ID cards, Manchester United have taken up the State’s cosh against their own fans.

When one Manchester United season ticket holder heard the club were adding 300 places for disabled fans, causing 2,600 season ticket holders to be relocated elsewhere inside Old Trafford, he tweeted: ”Fuck em, gona go ticket office, and tell them they are retards, cheeky cunts.”

Somehow Manchester United’s moralists saw the tweet and wrote to the fan, who is a season ticket holder. They told him they’d revoked his season ticket for the remainder of this season – with a refund of £190 – and suspended him from watching his club home and away matches for the next three years.

The letter told him: “Manchester United is wholly committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. The club will continue to address any inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour that we are made aware of.”

We should all be concerned when a football club polices what we say on social media. The fan is being banned for speaking freely. That’s what we do in a free society. Inside the stadium, the club can keep order as it sees fit. We might not like being told to sit down and not sing that but we’re on their property, so we wear it. But when did the internet come part of the club’s remit?

Moreover, silencing unwholesome thoughts and censoring the wrong words amplifies the offence into a cause. Was the fan actually going to abuse disabled supporters? We don’t know. What we say and what we do are not one and the same. So, what was his crime?

The club’s reaction to a tweet has become a way to showcase its own sound morals, a spot of PR from the marketeers who run the game. But it also reveals the club’s malicious mistrust of its own fans, a malevolent mob in need of civilising.

If you go looking for offensive words at the football, you can be sure to find them. But most if it – however cruel and stupid – can be ignored or dealt with by other supporters.

If anti-discrimination were still a progressive force, the club would encourage dialogue.

What’s troubling is that the authorities that lay at the heart of racism and all forms of discrimination when campaigning for equality was brutal and brave, remain the bastions of all that is right and proper. They still don’t listen. They just tell.

Football used be be about fun, escape and letting off steam. It was a leisure pursuit. Now it’s a symbol of your moral code and your words are policed by your own club.

We should tweet what we want to.

 

Posted: 10th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Uber driver are workers not employees and Travis Kalanick should drive

uber row

 

The video of Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver is all over the media. Kalanick is seen talking with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel. The conversation between the man Forbes estimates to hold a net worth of over £5.1billion and the mini-cab driver runs like this:

TK: Good to see you man, thank you.

FK: Good to see you too. I don’t know if you remember me but it’s fine.

TK: So we are reducing the number of black cars on the system over the next six months.

FK: Yeah it’s good.

TK: Yeah you probably saw it on the email.

FK: I saw the email, it starts in May. It’s all about the rating but you, you’re raising the standard and dropping the prices.

TK: We’re not dropping the price on black cars.

FK: Yeah but in general.

TK: We have to, we have competitors. Otherwise we’d go out of business. 

FK: But you have the business model in your hands, you could have the price as you want but you choose to buy everybody a ride.

TK: No, no, you’re misunderstanding. We started high end. We didn’t go low end because we wanted to, we went low end because we had to.

FK: Why? (Because of) Lyft?

TK: Yeah.

FK: That’s a piece of cake right there.

TK: No, it seems like a piece of cake because I’ve beaten them. But if I didn’t do the things I did, we would have been deep (inaudible).

FK: Why? We could go higher and more expensive.

TK: So here’s the thing. Luxe is in San Francisco so I have guys working on Luxe which will be 15 to 17 percent more expensive than black…

FK: But people aren’t trusting you anymore. Do you think people will buy cars anymore? We’ll buy them through Europe and invoice, nobody wants to buy a car. I lost $97,000 because of you. I’m bankrupt because of you. You keep changing every day.

TK: Hold on a second, what have I changed about black?

FK: You dropped the prices.

TK: On black?

FK: Yes.

TK: Bulls***. Bulls***.

FK: We started with $20. How much is the mile now, 2.75? 

TK: You know what, some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s***. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck.

FK: Good luck to you too but I know you’re not going to go far.

Kalanick comes across as a greedy and rude swine.

Newsweek says this is just the latest episode in a company mired by a ‘dysfunctional culture, bad press, a sketchy financial outlook [and] dissatisfied employees’.

Is there a certain delight in hoping the mighty will fall? ‘Every time we take an Uber we’re spreading its social poison,’ says Laurie Penny in the Guardian.

Keep in mind she’s talking about catching a taxi when she writes:

What we’re dealing with here is a new class of bastard: the bro gone pro, the freewheeling post-Randian slimeball whose insecure sense of entitlement is the foundation of his business model… This matters because Uber is more than just a tech firm. It is a social engineering outfit masquerading as a tech firm… Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

All that from hailing a car. And more!

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

First world problems never got so important.

Another Guardian writer is conflicted. Sonia Sodha writes: ‘My finger has hovered over the delete button on more than one occasion. So far, I haven’t pressed it.’

And you thought President Trump had issues with that other button.

And then he looks at the fact – and gets them wrong:

The extent to which drivers are satisfied in the here and now is irrelevant to whether they are employees or self-employed in the eyes of the law, and the rights to which that entitles them. In a scathing ruling last year, an employment tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are, in fact, employees, because Uber exerts a degree of control over them – including dictating the price they can charge consumers – that should not exist between a company and its self-employed contractors.

Wrong. They are classed as ‘workers‘. Workers enjoy some of the rights of employees but not all. They also get a degree of flexibility, which many Uber river prefer.

Such are the facts.

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


The European Union bans free speech for MEPs

News for those of you who think the vote for Brexit is not a glorious triumph for democracy – it was. The European Union will enforce a new rule that says any elected MEP giving full throat to ‘hate speech’ in the debating chamber will be fined up to €9,000. The live feed carrying their hateful words to the impressionable masses will be switched off.

Of course, hate speech is free speech. Shorn of the right to offend, debate dies. With contrary views censored, debate is moulded into suffocating propaganda. Censorship is more sinister than any MEP’s opinion, however daft, brave, rude, rebellious, uncertain, outrageous or risky.

But some people don’t get it that stymieing free speech is anti-human and reveals a deep mistrust of the electorate, people viewed as a race riot in waiting. UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett supports the rule. He tells the Associated Press: ‘What if this became not isolated incidents, but specific, where people could say, “Hey, this is a fantastic platform. It’s broad, it’s live-streamed. It can be recorded and repeated. Let’s use it for something more vociferous, more spectacular.”’

I’m more worried by what people are saying now rather than trying to regulate what others are thinking and might say. To paraphrase Corbett, ‘Let’s ban what we don’t agree with. Let’s make martyrs of dissenters. Let’s stop the tyranny of free speech. Let’s reveal our authoritarian, totalitarian-tendency, deep-seated fear of the demos by preventing them from seeing and hearing their elected representatives saying the wrong sort of things. Let’s kill off the disastrous democratic experiment by turning the chamber into a pious promulgator of moral righteousness. Let’s crush freedom.’

Posted: 3rd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Donald Trump’s propagandist Sean Spicer was George Bush’s Easter Bunny

In 2008, Sean Spicer played the role of the Easter Bunny at President George W. Bush’s holiday do.

spicer aster bunny

 

Transcript:

The Easter Bunny Speaks

On Monday, the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll took place — complete with the Jonas Brothers and President Bush feigning some sort of excitement. But what about the Easter Bunny? He always gets the shaft, so we decided to interview a bunny, also known as Sean Spicer, a former Hill-er currently serving in the U.S. trade representative’s office.

Q. Is it hot in the bunny suit? Can you see in that thing?

A. It gets very hot. Each bunny gets a handler who guides them around the South Lawn. My handler for the event was my wife, Rebecca, who has been keeping me in line for years.

Q. How do kids react to you?

A. Kids love the Easter Bunny. There is something real special about seeing all the families on the White House lawn. The first lady and several members of the Cabinet, including Ambassador [Susan] Schwab, read to the children during the day.

Q. Any famous kids? Did any famous kids misbehave or behave really well?

A. I can’t see too much, and the bunny does not talk, but every child is special on this day. Most children are so excited to see the bunny that they are on their best behavior. I really get a kick out of the ones that thank the bunny for their basket or a gift they got on Easter.

Q. How many years is this for you being a popular bunny and all?

A. Second year.

Q. Any good bunny perks?

A. I think I have an in with Teddy from the Nationals’ racing presidents — we share a bond.

Q. You’re known for your props in helping the trade cause — any way a bunny could fit into that routine?

A. Sure. I kept telling the kids that “eggs-ports” help grow the economy and create jobs. All of the stuff kids got in their Easter baskets from Colombia entered the U.S. almost entirely duty-free, but when the Easter Bunny brought stuff made in the U.S. to kids in Colombia, he had to pay stiff tariffs — Congress should pass the Colombia trade agreement and end one-way trade.

Q. Any politicians talk to you? Or the Jonas Brothers?

A. Lots of moms and dads. I was not aware of anyone specifically — there are so many children trying to say hi and have their photo taken that there really isn’t much time, and since the bunny does not speak, it would be tough.

Last but not least, here’s a fun fact: In 2007, the U.S. exported about $221 million in eggs in their shells. Canada was the largest customer, taking about 22 percent of the total.

Via Politico, @RSchooley

Posted: 2nd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


American Allan V. Evans of Colorado says he’s the rightful king of Britain and ready to seize power

An American called Allan V. Evans of Colorado USA has taken out a big ad in the Times to say he’s the rightful king of Britain and intends to seize power.

 

American Allan V. Evans of Colorado says he’s the rightful king of Britain and ready to seize power

 

Allan V. Evans of Colorado king of britain times advert Allan V. Evans of Colorado king of britain times advert Allan V. Evans of Colorado king of britain times advert

 

 

Posted: 1st, March 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Royal Family, Strange But True | Comment


Jimmy Savile’s sex-free sex den at High Royds Hospital

Fancy a peek inside ‘Jimmy Savile’s sex den’? This is where the ‘shamed star preyed on victims’. The Daily Star’s wrong, of course. Savile wasn’t shamed. Sir Jimmy was buried with full honours. The great and good lined up to praise the “colourful character”, the embodiment of “diligence and decency” who will be “greatly missed“. Savile was not shamed. He was dug up, possibly beaten with sticks and buried a good deal deeper down than the normal six feet, but the Papal knight died a State- approved hero.

Savile’s ‘sex den’ is the abandoned High Royds Hospital in Menston, West Yorkshire. Savile was a depraved, gibbering loon who hid in plain sight. He didn’t need a sex den. He had a caravan, a BBC studio pass and an NHS-issued gown.

Reading on we learn that the sex den featured no actual sex. The Star reports:

It was here sexual predator Savile targeted a number of women during the get-together in 1988. The party was to celebrate the centenary of the hospital, according to a 2014 report.

More of an office party than a sex den, then?

An investigation found that the monster had cupped women’s boobs and put his hand up one victim’s skirt during the event.

All nasty, pervy, leery, criminal and sad. But not what anyone would call a sex den, least of all the Star, whose Television X stablemate broadcasts hardcore pornography with such titles as Sexual Predator 1. 

As for Savile, well, the Star continues: ‘But the women didn’t make a formal complaint because sexual assault was considered an “occupational hazard”, the report said.’

Maybe that should be investigated – why nurses were seen as fair game?

Over in the Mirror, the sex den is gone. We are in the former hospital ‘where Jimmy Savile groped nurses and asked for a room in case he “pulled”‘. We see photographs by Kieran Young, 20, who posts as Exploring Lancashire.

“I had been here a few times previous but never found a way in,” he says. “I’ve always love the look of Victorian buildings so this really took my eye so I kept going back to get in. After five or six attempts I finally got in with a friend. My pictures encapsulate the past while also showing the morbid reality of the present.”

They’re good. We like looking over disused building, which given their massive size and emptiness often look haunting and sinister. Was Savile the worst thing to have occurred at West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, later Menston Mental Hospital and finally High Royds Psychiatric Hospital, where up to the 1960s inmates were buried in unmarked graves? Who listened to the poor and vulnerable back then? Who listens to them now?

A staff member is quoted talking about Savile in 2014: “He was just very free with his hands, so hands going round people, round their waist but then upwards, cupping under breasts, hands up the skirt. We just laughed it off, said ‘Dirty old man’ and didn’t go near him for the rest of the day. I can’t imagine that if we had said anything to anybody, or the police, that anybody would take it seriously, I don’t think, at that time. It was just an occupational hazard of being a woman.”

It sounds like Savile wasn’t the only man free with his hands. But he’s the focus of the Mail’s report, even if the paper does spell his name wrong.

 

jimmy savile nurse

 

The Mail issues an invitation: ‘Look inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a truly dark past: Jimmy Saville [sic] once prowled these corridors to launch sickening attacks on nurses.’

He more walked and jogged than prowled. That was the thing with Jimmy Savile – he was there for all to see, often dressed in a shining gold tracksuit and neon hair. He was hard to miss. But no-one was listening.

Posted: 26th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Denmark stages blasphemy trial after man burns the Koran

If you burn a book in Denmark you can be hauled before the Beak. In the fourth blasphemy case in Denmark’s entire history – the first in 46 years – a 42-year-old idiot who filmed himself burning a copy of the Koran in his back garden and posted it on Facebook is to have his moment in court.

The burning, which took place in Jutland in December 2015, was published on a Facebook page called “Yes to freedom – no to Islam”.

Forget Islam. Freedom’s already gone when you can get arrested or burning your own book in your own garden.  Prosecutor Jan Reckendorff  explains why this bellend is in court. “It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in certain cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion,” he opines.

You can’t mock religion in Denmark. What horror!

The courts have turned a fool who seeks to cause offence into a martyr.

Is the West so fragile, so lacking in direction and authority that a minor incident is deemed a threat to society? Or is the assumption that if this mentally negligibly anti-thinker is not censured there will be riots and anarchy? The Danish authorities’ sad attitude to a sad act tells us something: they fear the people. In the dust of one local oddball they see a trigger that unleashes anarchy and legitimises a typically unhinged reaction from Islamists. Intolerance from one side serves and feeds off intolerance from the other, leaving the West and its enemies locked in a deathless embrace, each mouthing the same mantra at the people they don’t trust: ‘I’m doing this to keep you safe.’

* As for the other cases hear in Denmark’s law courts: ‘The Local reports the other three cases involved four people distributing posters mocking Jewish religious beliefs in 1938, two people partaking in a fake baptism in 1946, and two radio presenters airing a song which mocked Christianity in 1971.’ The ridicule we can take. The criminalising of thought we cannot.

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


Madeleine McCann: finding hope in Cairns, Jodie Marsh’s dog and looking for ‘my Maddie’

Madeleine McCann: a reporting review on the missing child.

As we must, let’s begin with news of the English child who went missing in Portugal by looking at the Australia’s Cairns Post, which features a message for Kate and Gerry McCann: ‘Maddie McCann’s parents need to move on, for their kids’ sake.’

Louise Roberts kicks off her heartfelt advice to the parents of a missing child who became the media’s benchmark for all missing children by telling her readers: ‘Only Madeleine McCann and her presumed abductors know what really happened the night she went missing, but none of them are available to reveal the brutal truth.’

You can wrestle with what ‘presumed abductors’ know and don’t know, being as they are unnamed and, as Roberts suggests, possibly unreal. As for that ‘brutal truth’, it’s delivered after Roberts imagines the teenage Madeleine McCann. ‘Maddie should be 13 now,’ she calculates, ‘armed with an iPhone and cocooned in family love and the carefree discoveries of teenage life in middle England.’  She then adds: ‘There isn’t a single clue as to whether she is alive today but the lucrative whodunit industry dogging her parents Gerry and Kate, who deny any part in her death, rumbles on.’

Having slammed the armchair detectives who spin the single fact – child vanishes – and confusingly told us that we don’t know if Madeleine McCann is alive but her parents are not to be blamed for her ‘death’, Roberts advises: ‘But it’s time for the McCanns to turn off the legal tap and focus on the family life they have left.’

Mawkish much. ‘The time they have left” suggests new horrors lurking around the corner. What they are Roberts doesn’t say, so she harks back to the night of May 7 2003 and tells us: ‘Maddie was asleep in the holiday flat alone with her twin siblings while their parents ate tapas in a bar 50 metres away. It was a spring evening in May 2007.’ May is in Spring. Fact! ‘She disappeared and the guilt and the blame game began for them. There is no doubt they were remiss in leaving her alone — even Gerry said it was a mistake.’

She adds: ‘Former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral claims in his book that Maddie McCann’s parents faked her abduction, but they’d be better off ignoring his terrible claims.’ Terrible’ but worth repeating to the good people of Cairns. And then Roberts tucks into the parents, who we’ve been watching in the media for nearly a decade. She writes:

‘The couple are emotionally paralysed not only by her disappearance but by their consciences, never shaking off the sick feeling that they were not there when Maddie needed them. And the public has never let them forget it.’

The public, of course, are not journalists, who occupy a higher level. Roberts is here to inform. Not for her amateur sleuthing and a tawdry ‘whodunnit’. ‘The McCanns faked the abduction, according to Goncalo Amaral,’ she says in the spirit of enlightenment and moving on, ‘to cover up the death of their eldest daughter in their holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the country’s south.’

And:

‘Maddie’s legacy has gone from a relentless search for clues to a ruinous, exploitative and mind-blowingly expensive war between her parents and anyone who challenges their steadfast belief that a stranger abducted her.’

And after the speculation, Roberts reaches her ‘brutal truth’: ‘It’s time for Gerry and Kate, trapped on a grief and reputation treadmill, to change focus. Time to get busy living, ditch the reputation management and let the chips fall where they will.’

As their spokesman Clarence Mitchell begins to file a ‘no comment’ comment, Roberts delivers the time-honoured media motif: Maddie & Me. ‘I speak with more than a passing interest in this case,’ she says. ‘I was a reporter in London when the story broke and my son was the same age as Maddie.’

There but for the grace of god.

She then speaks up for the McCann twins, who ‘have some right to fade into the background and find some kind of a normal life away from the glare of scandal and innuendo’. As the twins dream of a life away from the media spotlight – tip: they know who you are in Cairns –  Roberts returns to her own ‘Maddie’. ‘I could never imagine giving up hope to find a missing child but I would not sweat over what was said about me either,’ she says, knowingly.

But before she goes to check on her child, Roberts, who told us of the ‘presumed abductors and mused on whether the child is alive or dead, opines: ‘None of it is going to bring Maddie back. Only the perpetrators know where her body is, who took her, where they took her. And why.’  The parents really can move on because Roberts’ ‘brutal truth’ turns out to be that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped and is now dead.

She signs off: ‘The only “winners” here are lawyers and so-called authors still making a buck from the blonde preschooler with the signature blemish on the blue iris of her right eye.’

And the media, right, who get to press f9 on the keyboard and churn out another ‘Our Maddie’ story?

And now for a few words from the fragrant English rose, Jodie Marsh.

Closer Magazine: ‘Jodie Marsh goes on a bizarre Twitter rant about the McCann’s after This Morning interview.’

You can read about that interview in which a to-deadline Madeleine McCann expert told mid-morning telly watchers he thinks she might have wandered off here.

Closer magazine’s Emma Dodds says ‘former glamour model Jodie Marsh’ was watching. She ‘vented her frustrations at the case, shockingly even blaming Maddie’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann for her disappearance, despite there being no evidence that they were involved… Jodie angrily tweeted that they “should concentrate on finding Maddie,” rather than being “concerned with all this legal action.”‘

Advice is coming thick and fast for the McCanns. It’s all well-meaning, of course. And before long Jodie is delivering her own ‘Maddie & Me’, tweeting: “I must admit, if it were my child I’d be on my hands & knees digging up the earth with my bare hands! Nothing else would matter…” With no children to hold tight, Jodie scouts around for something to make into her own Maddie. She finds it. “My dog went missing for 10 mins the other night & I was running up the street screaming her name like a lunatic. I was beside myself,” she reveals. “And if I was so hysterical over my dog, the hysteria would be ten fold if it were my child. I wouldn’t be suing people. I’d be SEARCHING.”

Having heard a missing child likened to a non-missing dog, we turn to the Sun, where the headline runs: ‘FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE Kate McCann offers support to missing persons charity just hours after top cop claims new theory to Madeleine’s disappearance.’

Kate McCann is the ‘brave mum’ who ‘put aside her own anguish over snatched daughter Madeleine to help a pal raise money for charity’. As people ‘continued to heap more misery on her family, she has spared time to consider other missing children and adults.’  The charity is called Missing People. You can find out more here.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment


Ted Heath becomes ‘Ed’, the ‘Fred West of child murder’ and celebrity police appeal for calm

Time for another look at Ted Health’s corpse. A high-ranking policeman reportedly said that the former Prime Minister was a paedophile. A ‘source’ told the Mail on Sunday that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, for it is he, is “120% certain” the dead man was a child rapist. You can either believe it and think, ‘Yeah, always knew he was a wrong un.’ Or you can wonder about the evidence, the messenger, the timing and if the hunt for the morally reprehensible can ever be satiated?

Pick your prejudice and read on…

In the Salisbury Journal, dead Ted’s local paper, we read Veale’s response to the Mail on Sunday’s story. This is it in full:

“On Friday 2 December 2016, I prepared and distributed an unequivocal open letter outlining the Wiltshire Police position in relation to the ongoing investigation into allegations made against Sir Edward Heath.

“This letter was written as a direct consequence further to unhelpful and inappropriate speculation about this case. However, this speculation continues and is of huge concern to me as I believe it will undermine trust and confidence in the police, have a potential prejudicial impact upon a live ongoing investigation, not to mention an impact upon the confidence of persons who have come forward with information.

“In my letter I made a number of points to provide absolute clarity about why Wiltshire Police is conducting this investigation. To reiterate, there is a clear legal requirement and supporting national policy from the College of Policing that I am required to undertake an investigation where allegations have been made, regardless of whether the alleged offender is living or deceased.

“In relation to the recent unhelpful speculation regarding the veracity of the allegations made, let me once again be clear, it is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our Criminal Justice System. Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us. Further, those who choose to continue to make comment on this case whilst not in possession of the facts ultimately may serve to unfairly damage both the reputation of Sir Edward Heath and / or those who have disclosed abuse.

“At the end of my open letter I stated that I would not be making further comment about the investigation unless it was for operational policing purposes. Other than to provide clarity around a number of key points, my position remains unchanged.

“The operational security of this investigation and the anonymity of the people who have come forward remains of paramount importance to Wiltshire Police.”

That’s a very long ‘no comment’. And he doesn’t specifically say if the Mail on Sunday’s story is false or true. Pity.

 

ted heath satanic abuse

 

Mindful of the copper’s words, the Sun dutifully bows its head and reports with circumspection:

HEATH’S SEX CULT LINK Edward Heath ‘linked to a murderous paedophile ring that killed 16 kids’

Ted Heath was in cahoots with serial killers?! The story begins:

BIZARRE claims that former Prime Minister Ted Heath was part of a satanic paedophile ring which murdered 16 children have been dismissed as “wild allegations” by a close family friend.

Sensational claims make for sensational headlines.

Who are making the outlandish claims?

A group of women allege the Tory PM abused them as children as part of a sex cult run by their own parents which burnt babies in satanic orgies.

Wiltshire Police have spent more than a year investigating the allegations as part of an inquiry that has cost taxpayers over £883,431, the Daily Mail reports. But Sir Edward’s godson Lincoln Seligman said: “I understand that these claims from the 1980s were at the time dismissed as complete fantasy by police. It is disappointing that these wild allegations have been reheated and randomly attached to Edward Heath’s name.”

Oh, and:

There is reportedly no suggestion that Sir Edward killed any children in the women’s accounts.

Only ‘reportedly’? But gerraload of that headline!

After a few lines on tortured babies, Devil worship and murder, the paper delivers a selection of facts:

Sir Edward, who was Prime Minister from 1970-1974, was never married and died in 2005 aged 89. The lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989, and Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time.

Over in the Mail, the Sun’s source, we read more.

Group of women who say they were abused by Sir Edward Heath also claim their parents ran a satanic sex cult that was involved in SIXTEEN child murders

Like the Sun, the Mail delivers the claim in a big, bold headline before noting at the very start of the story:

The farce came as police probe incredible claims that the former prime minister was linked to a paedophile ring that killed as many as 16 children – which would make them the worst child murderers in British history.

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Ted Heath, the subject of a ‘bizarre’ ‘farce’. The paper adds:

The seemingly far-fetched allegations have been made by a family who allege that the politician was part of a satanic sex cult run by their own parents.

The paper delivers more on the allegations of terrible acts that only ‘seem’ to be far-fetched:

They say that the cult regularly slaughtered children as ritual sacrifices in churches and forests around southern England and also participated in similar ceremonies in Africa.
They claim their mother and father – who is said to have known the former Conservative leader – were responsible for slaughtering children ranging from babies to teenagers – yet they evaded justice.

The paedophile ring – which they say Sir Edward was part of – stabbed, tortured and maimed youngsters in churches and burnt babies in satanic orgies before men, women and children gorged themselves on blood and body parts, police have been told.

Can we take some small relief that no sex was involved in this alleged orgy of depravity? What we’d like, of course, are some facts. But instead of them we get news that, ‘If the bizarre allegations were to be proved, the parents who allegedly led the killings would be responsible for murdering more children than Fred and Rose West.’

Did Fred and Rose West meet Ted? Sorry, ‘Ed’? If ‘wild claims’ are newsworthy, look out for tales of MPs at the Wests? Reading on, we’re told:

The women’s lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989 when they came forward. Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time. It was only last year that he was named for the first time after one of the claimants said she had ‘remembered’ a man called ‘Ed’ was a prime mover in a network of paedophile abusers.

The story is so weak, a cynic might wonder if it’s put up to create a smokescreen to derail the whole search for so-called VIP paedophiles?

Maybe the Times can be more helpful? Beneath the headline ‘We can link Ted Heath to alleged victims of abuse, police claim’, the paper tells us:

The police investigating claims that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile believe that they have evidence linking the former prime minister to a series of alleged victims.

Believe?

More than 30 alleged victims have contacted Wiltshire police with claims of abuse involving Sir Edward from the 1960s to the 1990s. A source close to the investigation said that “strikingly similar” allegations made against Sir Edward include the names used for the former politician, the type of abuse and the locations.

Detectives were reported to be initially sceptical about the allegations but “now believe them”.

And?

Wiltshire police said it did not know if the investigation report would be published. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse, although not linked directly to Sir Edward. The investigation is also considering claims that the abuse was reported to the police years ago but was covered up.

The paper then mentions Mr Veale’s aforementioned letter, noting:

The chief constable had previously apologised for launching the investigation in 2015 with a public appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home beside Salisbury Cathedral.

And what of the alleged Satanic murders?

An expert called in by the force to assess the claims by three women who alleged that Sir Edward was involved in occult abuse said that the police inquiry was the result of on “an over-active imagination”.

Is any of this going to be tested in court?

The Times revealed last week that three prominent victims of false abuse claims are suing the Metropolitan Police over their treatment in a separate inquiry. The legal actions by the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, the former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall and the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini could cost Scotland Yard an estimated £3 million.

The widow of the former home secretary Leon Brittan was reported yesterday to have sent a “letter before action” to the force as a result of raids on their homes in London and North Yorkshire after her husband’s death.

Having read what the police believe and what women imagine, David Mellor, the former Tory minister, takes to his blog on LBC radio, where he hosts a phone-in show:

In an interesting scoop yesterday, the Mail on Sunday claimed that the Chef Constable of Wiltshire, Mike Veale, believes that Ted Heath was a serial paedophile, whose crimes were covered up by the establishment. The MOS report that thirty complainants have allegedly been identified, and “Mr Veale believes them 120%, and thinks they are totally convincing”.

Scoop or utter balls?

He is not directly quoted in the piece, so it could all be made up. But I doubt it.

So much for facts. It’s all about belief.

It’s worth taking a look at the original ‘Statement from Wiltshire Police following the IPCC announcement re. Sir Edward Heath investigation’.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said:

“Following the announcement today regarding an independent investigation by the IPCC into allegations concerning how Wiltshire Police handled an alleged claim of child sex abuse made in the 1990’s, we are carrying out enquiries to identify if there are any witnesses or victims who support the allegations of child sex abuse.

“On becoming aware of the information, Wiltshire Police informed the IPCC and later made a mandatory referral. The IPCC investigation will specifically consider how the Force responded to allegations when they were received in the 1990’s. [sic]

Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”

Sir Edward Heath has been named. By whom? Dunno. What’s the dead man been accused of? Dunno. The statement kickstarts the hunt. We don’t know what Sir Ted’s been accused of but we know any ‘victims’ will be believed. They are not ‘alleged victims of…’ They police are at pains to paint them as victims:

“We are working closely with the NSPCC to ensure that any victims are appropriately supported. They provide trained helpline counsellors to listen and provide assistance… Victims will receive support throughout any investigation and associated judicial process…

“Please call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk as they have dedicated staff in place to deal with victims or if you have information that may help police please call us via 101.” Ends

But it’s not all bad for Ted Heath. In the Telegraph, an article on a hot London property spot name-checks Ted as a stalwart of good taste:

Jermyn Street’s distinctive shops, some of which are still owned by the descendants of the original families that established them, have been frequented by Diana, Princess of Wales, Ted Heath and Joanna Lumley.

And you know who Diana was mates with, don’t you.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 21st, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Fake News: European Union Baroque Orchestra quitting UK over immigration

Looking beyond fake news, we turn to the Guardian, which tells us about yet another casualty of the Brexit vote. The headline is to the point: ‘Top orchestra quits Britain over Brexit migration clampdown.’ The musicians are so worried by ‘looming restrictions on travel’ they are all moving to Belgium.

The Guardian hammers the point home: ‘One of Britain’s most successful orchestras is moving to Belgium amid fears that its musicians may be among the victims of a post-Brexit crackdown on immigration.’

One clue that this story might not be as it’s presented appears in the orchestra’s name: the European Union Baroque Orchestra. It’s been based in Oxfordshire since 1985.

 

European Union Baroque Orchestra

 

The Guardian says the London-based ‘highly influential European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), could also leave the UK.  Marshall Marcus, chief executive of the EUYO, says: “For some time we have been forming our plan to be ready to relocate, if and when this becomes necessary. Or indeed simply advantageous.”

That’s the second clue as to the value of this anti-Brexit story. The orchestra is located in the place where it gets the most advantageous terms – inside the EU.

So what else do we know about the EU Baroque Orchestra? On its website we learn that it’s an ‘Official Cultural Ambassador for the EU’.

Its activities are open to young musicians from all 28 EU member states. EUBO renews its personnel 100% each year.

For 28 years, between 1985 and 2013, EUBO was funded annually through various European Commission Culture programmes, most recently and aptly with Operating Grants as a Cultural Ambassador for the EU.

It’s not about immigration. It’s about an orchestra funded by the European Union to promote the EU’s activities moving to a country that actually pays for it and is part of the EU. The site continues:

Since 2014 a change in the EU’s cultural funding policy meant that funding from the EU was only available for projects under the EU’s new Creative Europe programme.

EUBO’s application for Creative Europe funding in 2014 was unsuccessful. EUBO decided to re-apply in September 2015 and managed to maintain a reduced programme of activities during 2014, the unfunded period.

EUBO’s second and revised application entitled EUBO Mobile Baroque Academy [EMBA] was successful. The project was found to meet the aims and criteria of the Creative Europe programme. The training orchestra EUBO remains at the core of the activities. The project is organised in partnership with nine other organisations across nine EU Member States for the period 2015 to 2018…

EUBO’s Honorary Patrons are the Culture Ministers of all of the 28 EU Member States.

It might well be a pity that a cultural outfit is leaving the UK, but the European Union Baroque Orchestra is not moving to Brussels because the UK’s become anti-migrant and anti-foreigner. Maybe the orchestra is moving to be closer to the money?

Posted: 20th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment


Ted Health: what the police believe

Was Ted Heath a paedophile? The Mail says it’s been told that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale ‘regards the allegations as “totally convincing”‘. An unnamed ‘source‘ tells the paper:

“Mr Veale believes in them 120 per cent and thinks they are totally convincing.”

What Mr Veale believes is now fact? Not too long ago police on Operation Midland said the words of a man known only as ‘Nick’ were “credible and true”. They weren’t. Whereas once the police response was to undermine the alleged victim’s credibility they now accept claims at face value. So much for evidence-based police work. The police arrested known faces at the airport as the cameras clicked and the BBC televised police raids on empty homes. The hunt for child abusers began to look like a PR drive to support the police and media, two pillars of society that had let down victims.

While we’re on the matter of moving your organisation to the right side of history, the police once supported laws that made homosexuality a criminal offence. That’s relevant because at the time of his alleged offending, Heath was a ‘confirmed bachelor, a euphemism for what TV light entertainers, the Press and the police in the 1970s termed ‘poofs’. Heath was not out and proud. He was very much in, giving organ recitals to his enthusiastic mates.

 

ted heath

ted hath paedophile mail

 

 

Back then to the source who knows Mr Veale’s opinions:

“There are very close similarities in the accounts given by those who have come forward. The same names used for him, the same places and same type of incidents keep coming up. What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail. It contains disturbing stuff. Investigators have been shocked by what they have learned.”

With the copper’s thought aired, the media pile in. The Sun (Page 14), thunders: ‘PM TED HEATH “WAS A PAEDO”.’ The ‘Cop is 120% certain’. Who needs all those barriers to justice, like evidence, proof, courts, charges and lawyers. The copper is more certain than certain can be. The trouble is that the man he knows to have been a paedophile is stubbornly dead.

The Sun says Heath’s supporters view the police investigation as a ‘witch hunt’. Seventeen police work on the matter. We’re told that the ex-PM’s supporters ‘say he did not have a car. Cops are thought to have proof that he did.’ This is relevant because one claim is that he picked up a 12-year-old boy and took him to his Mayfair flat.

 

9th January 1979: Edward Heath, British Conservative politician and prime minister (1970 - 1974) playing the piano to the amusement of Kermit the Frog and Paddington Bear. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

 

Back in the Mail, we see Heath ‘standing by the driver’s door of the Rover 2000 he bought after Margaret Thatcher ousted him as Tory leader in February that year… The Mail on Sunday has learned that Wiltshire Police has also obtained photographic evidence of him driving.’

 

daily mail ted heath

 

The Mirror, which featured Nick on its front page, covers the story on Page 4. The report is short. The final line says the police reports, ‘may reignite the case against Sir Edward’. Consider the flames lit and the smoke fanned.

The Express features the story on Page 2. ‘Tory outrage as police chief claims that Edward Heath was paedophile,’ runs the headline.  ‘Tory grandee’ Malcolm Rifkind calls the new “despicable gossip”. He adds: “Until you know the facts you no in a position to judge.”

You can’t judge it in a court of law, but you can make a judgement in the court of public opinion. We are free to wonder why 12 years after he played his last note, Heath is in the frame? Are accusations easy when the target is dead? Or is 12 years the time it takes for coppers, editors and politicos who were around at the time of the PM’s alleged crimes to retire, succumb to failing memory syndrome and die? Of course, as the adults accused of heinous act wither, their alleged victims mature into adulthood. One argument is that they’re speaking out now because they can. If they’re dismissed because their alleged abusers are dead, the message to deviants is that so long as your victim is much younger than you are by the time they get the confidence to point the finger, you’ll be polluting the water supply and out of harm’s way.

Which leaves only prejudices and gut feelings. Ted Heath, eh. Always thought he was a wrong ‘un.

So let’s end with this short extract from the Michael Cockerell documentary Westminster’s Secret Service broadcast by the BBC in 1995. Tim Fortescue, a Whip under Edward Heath between 1970 and 1973, told the cameras:

“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the Whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”

 

 

And Ted? In Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership Since 1945, Donald Shell writes:

The most significant changes in the role of the whips appear to have taken place during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Heath as chief whip from 1956 to 1959 brought a new professionalism to the job; he was the first holder of that position to routinely attend cabinet meetings,although neither he nor his successors have been full cabinet members. More significant was the way he systematically gathered information about every member of the party, and developed the art of using this to maximum advantage. He was after all responsible for piloting the Conservative party through the Suez crisis and its turbulent aftermath. When Edward Short became Wilson’s chief whip in 1964 he found that it ‘had been the practice to keep a “dirt book” in which unsavoury personal items about members were recorded’, and he immediately ordered this to be discontinued. It is probable that such stories arose simply out of the thoroughness with which Heath and his successors had gathered information. Heath himself explained his professionalism: ‘I acted on the principle that the more you know about the people you are speaking for, and the more they know about you and what you are being asked to do, the better.

‘Nuff said.

 

Posted: 20th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Cambridge student who burned cash saved homeless man’s life

Helping us know why an 18-year-old set light to a £20 note in the streets of Cambridge is a delighted Press. Above a picture of a £20 note – so helping Guardian readers know one should they encounter it lit or otherwise – the paper explains from the off that the berk ‘burning cash’ was a member of ‘Cambridge University Conservative Association’, an organisation the paper calls ‘prestigious’ but which I’d brand ‘ghastly’, in keeping with all student politics.

The Mail tells its readers the money burner was ‘drunk‘. No blood test needed. The paper knows a drunk when it sees one on a Snapchat video. The Mail soon names the wally as one Ronald Coyne, who now only ‘tried to set fire to a £20 note in front of a homeless man’.

Like the Guardian, the Mail politicises the pillock’s antics by telling its readers in the third paragraph that Coyne is a ‘relative of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’. Brother? Son? In the 30th paragraph, readers learn: ‘He is believed to be the nephew of the First Minster’s sister-in-law’s ex-husband.’

 

cambridge student cash burning-6

 

As you work out if that makes Master Coyne closer in blood to Sturgeon than Kevin Bacon or a bacon bap, the Telegraph tells its readers in a shouty headline: ‘Cambridge University student who boasted of being related to Nicola Sturgeon filmed burning £20 note in front of homeless person.’ So keen is the Tele to work the Sturgeon angle into its story that whilst her name features in the opening line – ‘Cambridge University student who claims he is a direct relative of Nicola Sturgeon…’ – you have to wait until paragraph two to hear of Coyne. Sturgeon is name-checked five times in the article.

There’s no mention of Sturgeon in the Tab’s report, although it does note: ‘It has been rumoured that burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person is one of the initiation ceremonies of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon club.’ Whether that’s before of after they defile a dead pig and toss a pot through a restaurant window is left un-investigated.

Having gone off on a fact-free tangent, the Tab notes that the ‘motivations of the student, other than odiousness, are unclear’. Helpfully an unnamed source is on hand to call Coyne an ‘arsehole’.

By now you’re wondering about the video. Here it is.

 

 

Over in the Sun, we get to hear about the other man in the frame, Ryan Davies. The rough sleeper says Coyne first offered him the note.

Ryan, an unemployed crane operator who has been homeless for three months, thought his luck was in – until the Pembroke College student, who has distant links to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, set the money alight.

He said: “There were some people going past and I was asking them for spare change. I’m homeless. I asked one man for spare change. I was polite about it as I always am. I couldn’t believe my luck. But then he pulled it back and lit it and said ‘I’ll give you some change, I’ve changed it into fire.””He says let’s see what I’ve got and pulls out a £20 note and went to pass it to me.”

Is the Sun on the side of beggars? In 2016, the paper told its readers:

Revealed: Just one in 5 beggars are homeless… as one boasts she’s using cash for new kitchen

SUN INVESTIGATION: Just 1 in 5 on our streets are homeless and one office worker even admitted to begging after work … to buy a new kitchen

 


cambridge student cash burning-2

 

cambridge student cash burning-3

 

cambridge student cash burning-4

 

Can bad press turn people against a certain type of person? The Sun says it can:

 A CAMBRIDGE student was attacked on his bike in suspected retribution for Nicola Sturgeon’s relative goading a homeless man. One college has even warned students against wearing gowns in public – in case they inflame further violence.

 

cambridge students cash burning

 

And what of the argument that says it’s wrong to give beggars money? The Sun reported in 2016:

Charities last night urged people NOT to hand out money in the street.

Jeremy Swain, chief executive of London-based homelessness charity Thames Reach, said: “The evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets spend their begging money on crack cocaine, heroin and super-strength booze.

Nottingham Council advised:

 

PRess

begging

 

The Mail reported:

Thames Reach, a large-scale organisation with more than 350 staff, said that most people who beg on the street have some form of accommodation to go to.

Its spokesman Mike Nicholas said: ‘Giving to people who beg is not a benign act. It can have fatal consequences.
‘Many people asking for your money are caught up in a desperate cycle of begging from the public, buying drugs from a dealer and then taking these drugs.’ He added: ‘There are many services seeking to help people sleeping rough. Please work with them, not against them.’

Can we sympathise with Coyne? After all, it’s not as if beggars, people more likely to sleep on a newspaper than buy one, enjoy a favourable Press. No, say bleeding hearts. As the Standard reports:

Calls to have him kicked out of the university have quickly gathered momentum with more than 19,000 people signing a change.org petition by 5pm on Sunday.

Students always did have too much time on their hands.

 

Posted: 16th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool bans the Sun but the elite escape and fans remain suspects

What are we to make of Liverpool Football Club’s ban on Sun journalists attending matches in an official capacity and press conferences? The Sun is also banned from conducting exclusive interviews with Liverpool FC managers or players.

The ban is rooted, of course, in the Sun’s infamous front-page coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which the paper amplified the State’s and the police’s lies that the 96 people killed at the match were architects of their own demise. The dead were framed and defiled when the media and police colluded in the State’s assault on football fans.

 

hillsborough the sun the truth

 

A spokesman for Total Eclipse of the S*n – the group states ‘It is our belief that the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster should never be forgotten. It is our belief that The Sun newspaper should never be forgiven’ –  tells the Liverpool Echo: “Further to conversations with LFC directors we are happy to inform you that S*n journalists are no longer enjoy access to all club premises.”

The Sun behaved badly. But did we swallow its lies? Did we believe the police? Did the ‘working class scum stuffed into cages’ by the State, paying for a “slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums” take it as fact that police had been urinated on, the dead had been robbed and the Liverpool fans were guilty?

 

Hillsborough-daily-star

 

In 2012, a Guardian its told readers:

There is no bitterness on my part that the public took 23 years to wake up to our nightmare. Their ignorance was their faith in the media and in the police. This has suffered a huge blow and the fact surely cannot go unnoticed by Lord Justice Leverson. I also hope, as a southerner, that the people of Liverpool will no longer be subjected to the lazy, callous stereotypes peddled off the back of the Sun’s lies.

Lies become reasons for censorship and to slap the tabloids down. Tabloid readers must be protected from their own ignorance. And – irony of ironies – the Guardian is happy for the State to police the liars it fed. Hillsborough did not happen in a bubble. The Sun was appalling but it did not have a hand in the killing. It did not send for the dogs instead of the ambulances. It was not the coroner declaring people dead before they were dead.

The deaths were accidental. But they were the result of a top-down policy that portrayed and treated football fans as scum.

 

The Sun the truth Hillsborough

 

Margaret Thatcher’s Government wanted fans – what one Tory called “the yob class” – to carry ID cards. (One doctor present at Hillsborough said the only difference ID cards could have made that day was to make it easier to identify the young corpses.) In June 1986, Thatcher gave ‘thanks to the police’ for ‘bringing good behaviour and good crowd behaviour to football over this last year’. Baron Peter Hill-Norton, admiral of the fleet, said football was “a slum game played by louts in front of hooligans”. Football fans were the Untermenschen on which all new methods of control could be tested. The police and State presented football as a public order issue.

One week after the horror The Economist told readers that the ‘common view’ of football was of a sport ‘irredeemably tied to the old industrial north, yobs and slum cultures of the stricken inner cities – everything, in fact, that modern Britain aspires to put behind it.’

Knowing that Hillsborough happened in the context of so many wrongs, you still want the State and its police force to control the Press, to dictate the message?

 

Hillsborough home

 

Have the elites apologised for demonising football fans? Did you think it odd that the United Nations – no kidding – voiced its worry when Chelsea fans stopped a black man from boarding a train in Paris? On the day that story broke, the Guardian produced nine stories on it. One of the Guardian’s myriad reports on the nastiness said it was typical of football and football fans because it’s  ‘all about feeling that you’re part of one group and are opposed to another group, [which is] the mentality of the racist’.

Bash the Sun by all means but ask yourself what’s changed? Why are football fans still treated as suspects?

In 2012, the Sun apologised for its ‘blackest day’. But it failed to put the results of the inquest into the disaster that cleared the dead of blame on the front page. The victims had been “unlawfully killed”. A mere 27 years of campaigning for justice by their families, the victims had been forced to prove their innocence. Hideous. They still await justice in any true sense of the word. All the dead, the injured, the hurt and their loved ones got was to see the police lies demolished in a court of law. Time ticks on and still no-one has been placed in the dock.

As we await justice, maybe Liverpool FC should ban the police and all politicians from the ground, the people who ask not what they can do for Hillsborough but what the disaster can do for them? Maybe Liverpool should ban the Sun’s publisher’s, too? That would mean banning News Corp., the company that owns 39.1% of BSkyB, which in February 2015, successfully bid £4.2bn for a package of 120 premier league games across the three seasons from 2016. News Corp wants to take control of BSkyB. If it does, will Liverpool ban it, too?

Banning the Sun is easy. It costs nothing. Banning the cameras costs big.

 

hillsborough

 

A Sun spokesperson has responded to the ban: “The Sun and Liverpool FC have had a solid working relationship for the 28 years since the Hillsborough tragedy. Banning journalists from a club is bad for fans and bad for football.”

Banning things is par for the course at football grounds today. Don’t sing that. Don’t stand up. Put that down. The cages are gone but the fans are watched even more closely.

Posted: 15th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, News, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Oh Do F**k Off: Piers Morgan is not Trump’s Goebbels

piers morgan hitler

‘Guten Morgan Britishers’

 

When Piers Morgan was told to ‘Fuck off’ on the telly by Australian comedian Jim Jeffries, right-thinkers on twitter loved it. Morgan, who identifies himself without invitation as Donald Trump’s mate, pointed out that there is no ban on Muslims entering the USA and that Trump is not Hitler.

Morgan’s correct. To say so does not mean you like him or Trump, it’s just to acknowledge the facts. Trump is not Hitler. Piers Morgan is not Trump’s Joseph Goebbels, the Reich’s Minister of Propaganda.

This anti-reason shrill denial of basic facts normalises the Second World War and diminishes the Holocaust into a routine event. If Hitler is the now and the everyday, the actual Hitler, the man who wanted to make Germany greater again and triggered the murder of 6 million Jews is not all that extraordinary. Isn’t this what anti-Semites say in their effort to denigrate the great crime, that the Holocaust was not that big a deal? In pointing at Trump and yelling ‘Hitler’, history is subverted. The innocent dead are demeaned and their guilty murderers exonerated.

For the infantile Hitler shriekers, engaging with Trump and, in turn, listening to the 62 million who voted for him means ushering in the embodiment of human evil’s reincarnation. People who protest the illiberal, kak-handed and cruel attempt to ban people from seven Muslim majority countries as something Hitler would do think they are making a principled suppression of Trump’s prejudice. They’re wrong.

Trump, the authoritarian and illiberal enemy of free-speech, is not rounding up Muslims, transporting them to ghettos and concentration camps in a plot to kill every last one them, as Hitler did with the Jews. To use that monumental crime in order to give any campaign against Trump some weight is hideous.

Encouragingly for Trump and any other modern-day Hitlers, things can turn around pretty fast. The New Statesman, which in 2013 branded Angela Merkel ‘the most dangerous German leader since Hitler’, now in the post-Brexit world – it wanted the UK to Remain – calls her ‘the defender of liberal values in the post-truth age’, while the Independent, Raw Story, the Daily Beast and The Australian call Frau Hitler the ‘leader of the free world’.

The ‘free world’ being the undemocratic EU, purveyors of the Germany-biased euro currency, whose technocrats colonised the mismanaged Irish and Greek economies, belittled and harried the Irish for rejecting the Nice Treaty and made second-class Europeans of Romanians and Bulgarians who having joined the EU in 2007 had rights to work and claim benefits limited for their first seven years of membership. Merkel the evil or Merkel the great hope? Everyone gets to decide but her.

As for Jeffries, well, he was playing to the crowd and hitting a soft target. Disliking Morgan’s to-deadline pomposity is easy. When I worked as a reporter one way to get people to talk was to ask them not what they liked but what they disliked. People are far more comfortable listing and detailing their pet hates than their loves. They will tell you don’t like the phrase ‘Oh My God’, when someone with whom they disagree says they’ve been ‘owned’ and the sound of a stranger’s sniffing. Ask them what people they dislike and the flood gates really open. Right now it’s safe to say in public that you dislike Trump. Disliking him – and, boy, is that an easy task – is the quick and easiest way to define yourself and be ‘on the right side of history’. It’s much the same with Morgan. Say you don’t like him and you’re playing to a sympathetic crowd.

And that’s what struck me about Jeffries’s negating of reason and debate in taking a verbal pop at Morgan. It was safe. No-one on the TV show was going to hound him for calling out Morgan, much less Trump. In his rules of modern comedy, Jeffries told us: “You can’t do jokes about black people or Asian people, but you can do a rape joke onstage now and there’s not a problem.”

And you know who was really good at playing to the crowd and hitting soft targets who couldn’t hit back?

Let’s not make the world a safe space, where dissent is censored, disruption mobbed and naysayers shackled. Let’s debate, consider the details, listen and hold things up to the light.

Posted: 12th, February 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Politicians, Reviews | Comment