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Daily Star sacks all its Page 3 topless models

The job market is looking bleak for topless stunnas. The Daily Star says it will no longer feature pictures of topless women on Page 3, following the Sun’s move to end its Page 3 feature 2015. Readers looking for tit-bits of news will be lost to the web.

page 3

“The Daily Star is always looking to try new things and improve,” says the paper’s editor, Jonathan Clark. “In that spirit, we’ve listened to reader feedback and are currently trialling a covered-up version of page 3.”

Do Daily Star readers do feedback in anything other than sales?

daily star sex
No Page 3 in the Star means readers will need to use their imaginations – and phones
You could see tit but not say ‘tits’ in the Sun

How different things were when the Sun sacked Dannii from Basildon. “The Daily Star is proud to continue the great British page 3 tradition,” announced the paper. “It brightens the day for our readers during tough times and has launched many successful careers. We will continue to listen to what our readers want and put a smile on their faces with our lovely, bright, talented and independent young ladies. Page 3 is as British as roast beef and Yorkshire pud, fish and chips and seaside postcards. The Daily Star is about fun and cheering people up. And that will definitely continue!”

What the Star is about now is unsaid. Maybe it’ll be about a different kind of hard news?

Posted: 12th, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Upskirting still legal in the newsagents

Pippa naked Kate Middleton upskirt

It is illegal to take photos up a person’s skirt or other items of clothing without their consent. Upskirting is a crime if “the offender has a motive of either gaining sexual gratification or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim”. What about if you’re an underwear researcher for M&S? What about if it’s newsworthy?

The Daily Star once alerted us to the “clea-vadge”, a happening so rich it was hailed as “The FILTHIEST celeb trend yet”. Female celebs had taken to wearing very small knickers and skirts with long slits. Men wielding very long lenses with endoscopy attachments were taking photos of the ‘trend zone’. You’ve seen 90% of the star’s naked flesh but the contest to reveal the remaining portions is keenly fought in panting PR agencies and on the kerb.

You say ‘flashed’ they say’ cheeky’

Following the arrival of the new anti-upskirting law the questions for editors are: when are knickers being “flashed” and when are you just gawping at a woman’s crotch?

In 2014, the Express brought us: “Top 10 knicker flashes including Kate Middleton, Susanna Reid and Emma Watson.” Flashing suggests an act of free will. But in its article the Express said these leading flashers were “blundering”. BBC TV presenter Alex Jones was a flasher because she “had unwittingly showed off her brown polkadot pants as she crossed her legs in front of the camera, giving viewers a little more than they bargained for.”

Upskirting

The paper went on:

Kate Middleton proved that not even royalty can escape the embarrassment of an accidental flash. The mother-of-one ended up victim to a bluster of wind during a nine-day Canadian tour with Prince William, and showed off bottom when the breeze lifted up her yellow summer dress…

Emma Watson revealed more than she intended when she made a quick dash to the shops in 2011.

“For the second time, the 42-year-old star gave viewers an eyeful thanks to a tight, short dress”

Is it now the case if a celebrity accidentally “flashes” her knickers that if no police action follows the gusset exposure was accidentally-on-purpose?

Just what is the message police and media are presenting us with? Now magazine once looks for meaning in Britney Spears’ gunties – and found some:

We now await the first paparazzo tried in court for upskirting who solicits the defence: “If I’d spotted early stage of cervical cancer, she’d be thanking me.”

Posted: 12th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Barking teenager extorted millions from porn users

Zain Qaiser
The Tosser’s Tosser

Zain Qaiser was quite the bedroom entrepreneur until the law caught up with him. Qaiser, a student from Barking, London, is estimated to have made £4m blackmailing pornography enthusiasts. Hit the wrong site, press the wrong button (often disguised as an advert on a legal porn site) and trigger malware to download. You read the message demanding money on pain of never being able to access your computer / aide to masturbation again, which has suddenly frozen. Habitual onanists might see this as a blessing.

For added punch an on-screen messages would issue an additional threat, saying something like: “HALT! This is the FBI. You have broken the law. Face jail or pay a fine. We have webcam footage of your disgusting self-abuse and will not hesitate to use it in a court of law and publish details in the Rotary Club newsletter”

Fearful of being exposed as a tossers, the threatened victim pays up and stays schtumm. And that was where the sophistication ended. Qaiser was, of course, the biggest tosser of the bunch (you have to know your victims’ flaws intimately to be an adept blackmailer) spending his cash – estimates are that he cleared £550,000 – on a vulgar and predicable Rolex watch, prostitutes (natch.), drugs and gambling, including around £70,000 at a casino in what one site calls “an upmarket shopping centre”.

Can it happen again? Not if we get our porn licences and everyone knows that everyone else is looking at smut. Of course, we already do know. Take this from 2011, in which Craig Brown harks back to the 1960s, spotting Harold Pinter, Vivien Merchant, Peter Cook, Wendy Cook, Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret watching a post-prandial porn movie at Kenneth Tynan’s pad. The film, for you buffs, is Un Chant d’Amour by Jean Genet:

Peter Cook saves the day by starting to speak over the images. Tynan is thankful: ‘He supplied a commentary, treating the movie as if it were a long commercial for Cadbury’s Milk Flake chocolate and brilliantly seizing on the similarity between Genet’s woodland fantasies and the sylvan capering that inevitably accompanies, on TV, the sale of anything from cigarettes to Rolls-Royces. Within five minutes, we were all helplessly rocking with laughter, Princess M included.’

No sex tape was made. Or was it? Send £250 to the usual address and await further details.

Posted: 9th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Hollywood PRs weep as Felicity Huffman admits guilt

Felicity Huffman

In a move that has sent a chill wind through the offices of the Hollywood PR industry, actress Felicity Huffman offered no sympathetic backstory or refreshingly dishonest non-denial denial as she accepted “full acceptance of my guilt” in buying her daughter a place at college. She is in a state of “deep regret and shame” over her actions.

“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community,” says Huffington, the voice barely audible over the din of wailing spokespersons.

“I want to apologise to them and, especially, I want to apologise to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly… In my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public, I will carry for the rest of my life.”

Says one Hollywood PR: “Maybe therapy can save her – and us! I think she must be ill.”

Posted: 9th, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Fire Brigades Union official censured for using antisemitic phrase ‘rootless cosmopolitans’; Corbyn escapes

The Wandering Jew by Samuel Hirszenberg (1899).

Fire Brigades Union official Paul Embery must stop all social media activity at some point in the future or else, reports the Jewish News. His offence is to have used the phrase “rootless cosmopolitans”. He tweeted: “I fear this encapsulates the divide in our society – between a rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle-class … and a rooted, communitarian, patriotic working-class.”

A spokesperson for the Fire Brigades Union goes on the record: “Racism in all its forms weakens and undermines trade unionism. The FBU has a longstanding history of standing up to and challenging racism. These traditions are not reflected in the recent comments made by someone who is an official of the FBU, whether this was done knowingly or not. We sincerely regret the use of this phrase (“rootless, cosmopolitan”) by an FBU official, and have requested that the person in question ceases all activity on social media until our executive council is able to meet to discuss. The FBU will deal with any potential abuse of policy in accordance with our organisational rules.”

In case you are not au fait with the phrase and why it is anti-Semitic – and, I know, there are so may rich, snide, sneaky and varied ways to insult Jews (see Book of Corbyn) that knowing them all can be testing. Jews are pretty good at spotting it.

Labour MP Alex Sobel explained all in a tweet: “Literally an antisemitic trope used by Stalin the culmination of which saw many good bundists imprisoned by East European Communist regimes (including my grandfather) just what I needed to see after the @JewishLabour AGM. Stop othering Jews.”

Embery tells Jewish News: “My remarks were directed at a section of Britain’s middle-class liberals and were made during a discussion that had absolutely nothing to do with Jews, Jewishness or race in general. How some can construe this as antisemitism is beyond me. The fact that Stalin might have used similar words in a derogatory way a century ago does not mean that everyone who ever uses those words in the future intends them to be heard in the same way. Normal people are not obsessed with communist history in that way. It’s a shining example of how Twitter sometimes goes all hysterical and is desperate to take offence at innocent comments. If people are ‘offended’, it can only mean they were looking to be offended.”

It can also mean that ignorance is no defence. Which brings us to Jeremy Corbyn. And his words are relevant because the FBU supports the Labour leader – and, boy, does Jeremy have a problem with Jews.

Let’s look beyond Corbyn’s schilling for Holocaust-denying Iran, liking a huge anti-Semitic mural painted on a wall in London, honouring Jew killers with a wreath, his reluctance to sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, and for purposes of this article focus solely on what he told two unnamed British Jews. They “clearly have two problems,” said Corbyn. “One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either … So I think they needed two lessons, which we can perhaps help them with.” That is blatantly anti-Semitic. That is othering. And Jezza is still on Twitter. He’s still leader of the Labour Party. In 2018, he told one and all: “I am proud to lead a Labour Party that is supported by the FBU and its members campaigning for worker’s rights, social justice and defending our public services.”

The union never did upbraid Corbyn for his bigotry. But Embery, who has no previous, is, reportedly, fair game. Context matters. Embery has explained his phrasing, and why not accept his words at face value? Corbyn on the other hand, should get no pass. If the FBU wants to make a stand against racism, it can start by calling out the man it supports.

Lead image: The Wandering Jew by Samuel Hirszenberg (1899).

Posted: 8th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Shami Chakrabarti to Jews: don’t panic Corbyn won’t be leader forever

The Jeremy Corbyn and Jewdas Seder abridged
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour turn things upside for Jews

Shami Chakrabarti, given a seat in the House of Lords and made a Dame after telling us there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, was on the telly this morning telling the Jewish Labour Movement they should remain in Labour because Jeremy Corbyn “won’t be the leader forever”. True. But have you see who they want to follow him?

Raus!

“My plea to the Jewish Labour Movement is to stay in the Labour movement and to tackle racism together, not to personalise it and make it about Jeremy Corbyn, because he is one person and he won’t be leader forever.”

You can tackle racism with the rest of Labour just as soon as, er, the leader Shami fully supports and wants to govern the nation has gone. In the meanwhile, your presence in Labour is an endorsement of the Party accused of being rife with Jew hatred.

Don’t worry, turkeys, says the turkey farmer looking at his full Christmas order book, next year we’ll all be vegans and things will be great.

Time for Jexit.

Posted: 7th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment


Desperate poacher killed by elephants and eaten by lions

rhino poacher elephant

Shall we unpack the story of the poacher killed by an elephant then eaten by lions? Do you want to hear about the dead man’s impoverished, brutal life, his dear relative’s cancer diagnosis and her urgent need to pay for life-saving treatment, and how having already sold all his duplicate organs, a Chinese investor offered the man a few rand and a gun loaded with a single bullet to slaughter a rhino in a region patrolled by massive elephants and man-eating lions?

Up in the chap seats at the Twitter Colosseum, there’s much baying for blood:

Let’s just smile at events in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and display the human skull and a pair of trousers (very possibly soiled) found after story of death-by safari park hit the police radios as a triumph of animal wit over human greed. Human death and misery is ok by us. One man’s hideous death might even be a sign of God’s love:

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise,” says the park’s MD. said. “It holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that. It is very sad to see the daughters of the diseased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”

Note to poachers: steal a van.

Spotter: SanParks

Posted: 7th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True | Comment


State steals Teagan Appleby’s cannabis medicine; the Dark Web beckons

Walk down most streets in London and you can small skunk, the strong, hot-house grown cannabis. The Mail says cannabis is so commonplace throughout the UK that police don’t bother nicking people for smoking the stuff.

Daily Mail cannabis

But if you want to use marijuana to treat your sick child, the authorities will get you. Emma Appleby schlepped to The Hague to buy £4,000-worth of TGC oil capsules, a form of medical cannabis, for her daughter Teagan, 9, who has severe epilepsy. When the family arrived at Southend Airport, boarder guards confiscated all of it. It’s pretty clear that Mrs Appleby is neither weed dealer nor pot head. A quick chat with Anorak’s slacker division reveals that you can get all this stuff delivered to your door via the dark web or ‘Malc The Talc’, who has a mate in ‘The Dam’ who can post it. Next time, eh…

Mrs Appleby had tried to get the treatment with a prescription. UK doctors can issue the drug legally. But she was refused because the medics say THC is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis and might be detrimental to Teagan’s wellbeing. So Emma asked for help via a crowdfunding campaign, raised some money and arranged to collect the blow at a Netherland’s pharmacy.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” she said after the drugs were seized. “They just took everything. This is our last resort. There’s nothing else. We’ve tried all the medications at home. If there’s a single, slight chance that this medication will help and save her I’m going to be here.”

A government spokesman goes on the record: “The decision to prescribe cannabis-based products for medicinal use is a clinical decision for specialist hospital doctors, made with patients and their families, taking into account clinical guidance, which is based on the best international evidence. The Border Force has a duty to enforce the law and stop the unlawful import of controlled substances into the UK.”

And what’s a mother’s duty – to accept that guff and watch her daughter suffer? The drugs seems to help. This from December 2018:

A young girl with a severe form of epilepsy is back at home after receiving cannabis-based medication in a London hospital. Teagan Appleby of Milner Crescent, Aylesham, had up to 300 fits a day but her life-threatening condition has now stabilised. Doctors at the Evelina Children’s Hospital have successfully treated the nine-year-old who was born with the rare condition Isodicentric 15, a chromosome abnormality that has led to Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a form of acute epilepsy.

Teagan spends her days in a wheelchair. Would you take her medicine away and turn her mother into a criminal?

Posted: 6th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Cannabis is full of good shit, bad shit and the smuggler’s diarrhoea

Leira-Cannagars cannabis cigar

Anyone buying cannabis in Madrid should know that it contains “dangerous levels of faecal matter”. What safe levels of human shit are in your good shit is unsaid. But the fact is that traces of e.coli bacteria and the Aspergillus fungus were spotted in cannabis tested by experts in such things. Apparently the poo is a byproduct of how the cannabis is brought into the country – the smuggler swallows the stuff and then once in Spain takes laxatives to enact a dose of Montezuma’s revenge. Drugs runners, indeed.

Spotter: Forensic Science International

Posted: 4th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Brexit: Hurrah for Corbyn’s “Marxist, antisemite-led government”

Brexit has coughed up all manner of MPs whose names are new to many of us. Meet Caroline Johnson, Tory MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham since the by-election on 8 December 2016. She says Theresa May talking Brexit with Jeremy Corbyn represents “ushering in a Marxist, anti-semite led government”. Just as Rowan Atkinson is always a “rubber-faced comedian” and gauntlets are always tossed down, will Corbyn be forever known as “the anti-semitic Labour leader”? And for how many people will Jew hatred be the hook that finally convinces them Communism is the right way?

The New Statesman says Johnson’s surmising of Corbyn’s politics offers no comment on the man. It simply “reflects just how weak a hold Downing Street has on party discipline”. The magazine considers the comment unworthy of investigation.

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

May duly explained her current position:

“When we suffered a chemical weapons attack on the streets of Salisbury, it was me as Prime Minister, this government that stood up against the perpetrators of that attack. [Mr Corbyn] said he’d prefer to believe Vladimir Putin than our own security agencies. That is not the place of somebody that should be prime minister… I want to ensure that we deliver Brexit, I want to ensure that we do it in an orderly way, without fighting European elections. But to do that we need to find a way of this House agreeing the Withdrawal Agreement and agreeing the way forward. And it is on that basis that I have been sitting down with members across the House and will continue to do so in order to ensure that we can find a way forward that this House can support.”

The Times quotes one “veteran Tory MP” who says Mrs May is isolated from mainstream party opinion: “She’s like a prisoner on death row, getting another two-week reprieve. The truth is she is no longer in control of events.”

May’s on Death Row, then, although the date of her execution is not yet fixed. Like racing snails, would-be Tory leaders jockey for position. See the person not the MP, goes the message. But whoever commissioned Parliament to be televised, and created entire channels for the purpose, should have known that familiarity breeds contempt. The smart move is to hand the show to Simon Cowell. Cut-away shots of the public galleries, where an emotionally corralling mix of the physically handicapped, telegenic and whooping can direct us at home to which way our sympathies should bend.

“I cried when Boyzone, split up,” says one audience member, before turning to Theresa May and asking “How do you feel?”

Posted: 4th, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


They’re playing Michael Jackson in Selfridge’s but he’s ‘banned’ on the BBC

michael jackson

They were playing Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall in Selfridge’s department store in London today. BBC radio DJ Craig Charles says there’s no “official ban” on the singer but they’ve not played a single Jackson song on his show since the TV show Leaving Neverland aired last month. The show featured accusations that Jacksons was a paedophile.

The accusations were compelling and convincing. But, then, they can be unchallenged because Jackson remains dead. So it comes down to taking sides: do you believe guilt should be proven or is an accusation enough to try and convict?  The lawyer for the two men who detailed the abuse they says Jackson subjected them to said the singer “was running the most sophisticated child sex operation the world has ever known”. If sophistication is a grown man putting on a sing-song, girlie voice and inviting kids over to ride his Ferris Wheel, then a Florida bride in hot-pants is the stuff of monarchy.

Circumspection is overrated.

In 2014, a top copper said said officers had spoken to a man known as “Nick”, who said he was abused by a paedophile ring, and that his account was “credible and true“. This year Nick was charged with 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud. Radio stations have banned his music.

So what of journalistic standards and the BBC not playing Jackson? Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini was falsely accused of sexual abuse. Gambaccini has presented shows on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4. He accused BBC bosses of persecuting old presenters in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. Last year Gambaccini spoke to the Times. He called the Metropolitan Police “the most dishonest organisation I have ever encountered”, adding:

“The Metropolitan police of Bernard Hogan-Howe was a third-rate Stasi. If the police are allowed to do what they did to me, and to so many other people in the witch hunt, this country is now unliveable.”

If it can happen to one of your own, the BBC should reserve judgment. Presuming guilt is a travesty. If we need to wonder and investigate something, let’s marvel at how a man as rich as Jackson could get away with what he’s accused of and why big media never saw it?

Posted: 3rd, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit: tabloids hail detectives May and Corbyn

Brexit

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will join forces to solve Brexit, forming the kind of made-for-ITV drama partnership mouth breathers will love. In episode one of Chalk ‘n’ Cheese / Marx and Narks / Remain & Remain we see the intrepid duo meeting for “national unity” talks. The tabloids preview the show:

The Sun (front page): “PM TO CORBYN: HELLLLPP!!” May’s locked in a room with scented Liam Fox and Geoffrey Cox’s Voice of God. Can Corbyn get into Number 10? “After 7 hours of Cabinet lockdown, May’s gone soft over Brexit mess,” says the Sun. May’s “bright idea” is to think Corbyn can help. His face appears superimposed on a screw-in lightbulb, evoking the time the Sun did the same to then Labour leader Neil Kinnock, telling readers to turn the lights off if he got into power. Kinnock lost that time but soon trotted off to a massive salary in Brussels, from where he and his ilk will be soon controlling the UK post-Brexit. Votes, who needs ’em?

But in Brexit terms it’s earth hour, says the Metro. The lightbulbs are about to go out across the UK if a deal with the EU cannot be done. Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill says a no-deal Brexit will “make the country less safe, cause food prices to rise by ten per cent and lead to a recession”.

Daily Mail (front page): “May delays Brexit AGAIN and kills off No Deal — Boris leads Tory fury as Corbyn invited to ‘compromise’ talks”. The talks have been compromised! If you don’t know which side the Mail is on get a load of the billing: only Boris Johnson is on first-name terms with the paper’s readership. Johnson arrives on page 2 to accuse “Mrs May of betrayal”. But Michael Gove backs May. He backs lots of things and so long as you don’t back into him, all is good.

Johnson is all over page 6: “You’ve handed Brexit deal to Corbyn, bitter Boris tells May.” He’ll vote against any deal with the Labour leader. One page on and Henry Deedes gives his verdict, employing language familiar to anyone who spends afternoons chemically coshed in front of reruns of the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip and howls with laughter at Readers’ Digest ‘Life’s Like That’ anecdotes.

Daily Mirror (front page): “HELP ME JEREMY,” says a “despairing Theresa May”. Jeremy will rescue things. “Jezza says he’ll talk”. But wait a moment. Might it be a trap?

Page 5: Jason Beattie, who writes beneath the marvellous title “head of politics”, says Corbyn is “well aware he’s being lined up for a fall”. “To keep his party together his minimum request should be for a customs union and a second referendum,” he advises. Will May agree to Remain? Will her successor rip-up any agreement? Will Brexit detectives Fudgeit and Snubs get to the bottom of things?

Daily Express (front page): “It’s Time For National Unity…Over To You Mr Corbyn.” Mr.. Not just ‘Corbyn’. By page four the language is back to basics. The Express phone poll asks: “Should Corbyn be entrusted with final Brexit deal?” That’s the Brexit-supporting Express asking its readers to spend 50p on a referendum that may carry less weight than, well, the referendum in which 17.4 millions of voted to leave.

Vote now and vote often.

Posted: 3rd, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Danny Cipriani in a mum’s ‘hallway’ and trailing Caroline Flack’s Love Island

Danny Cirpriani sex Flack

And to think they said it wouldn’t last. Days after “rugby ace” Danny Cirpriani was linked with Stanislavsky-honed Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, the Sun, the paper that broke the news on its front page, says he’s “bedded” a mum of two.

Meet Amy D’Ambrogio, whose kids will be the toast of their school playground as she tells the paper of her alleged shagging. Amy’s fluent in the kind of language that requires no work from the Sun’s busy subeditor’s, revealing: “After sex he was saying, ‘I feel really bad now. I feel guilty’ and told me he had cheated on someone.” Who? No matter because we get to the maul, tackle and ruck, which according to the scummy mummy (come on, Sun subs) went like this:

  1. Amy follows Danny on instagram
  2. Amy asks Danny for a “birthday kiss”
  3. “To her surprise [he] later arrived at her home”
  4. They spend 90 minutes “exchanging intimacies” in her “hall”
  5. His breath was a bit garlicky,” says she
  6. “I really needed that release,” says he

Another alleged shag is explained: “He stopped outside my bedroom, took all his clothes off and folded them in a neat pile.”

No word from ‘Copping some’ Flack, but after Danny and she were “caught” together at Babington House, a members’ club in Somerset, where spotting a frotting celebrity and their PR is akin to spotting the sky, we look forward to another series of Love Island very soon.

Posted: 3rd, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Peta circumvents porn ban with lactating cow filth

Peta lactating cow

Hold the internet. You can ban routine porn but the niche stuff you’ll never catch. Bearskins doffed to Peta, then, for their latest drive to be noticed, which features a cartoon cow breastfeeding a Joe Biden look-alike. CILF porn is proper dark web content, down there with SILF, GILF and for Australians who can find one DBPILF.

Posted: 2nd, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


Brexit: Tory leadership hopefuls duck indicative votes

boris johnson

How’s this for leadership: of the four Brexit-style options chosen by the Speaker to be voted on later tonight, not one was suggested by any potential Tory leader. Two motions put forward by Tory MPs are up for grabs, but neither are from leadership hopefuls and both amount to a remain vote: avuncular Ken Clark wants “a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU”; and Nick Boles, the one with the looks of the head of year who cycles to work at an underperforming county prep school, wants the UK to remain part of the EU single market.

Theresa May has agreed to leave No. 10. So you’d think the likes of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson would have seized the moment to propose their Brexit solutions and win the country, the day and the new house. But both of them only run in circles around the park: Gove on hairless, pale legs and clutching a mobile phone like he’s waiting for his wife to ask him if he bought the right sort of cherry tomatoes (clue: he forgot last time); and the priapic Johnson dressed in clothes picked for their ghastliness in the hope that any secretary, maid or lap-dancer within breathing distance and possessed of a muon of fashion nous will order him to get them off.

Nothing too from Amber Ruud or Dominic Raaaaaaab or Sajid Javid or Andrea Leadsom or David Davis or Jeremy Hunt. But special mention must go to John Baron, the Conservative MP who put forward not one but two ideas for indicative votes, both rejected by the Speaker. Can Baron be the next Tory leader? He’s one more rejection away from being every bit as successful as Theresa May. If he campaigns for the Tory leadership vote in a field of one, as May did, the job’s his. How’s that for democracy?

Vote now and vote often. And keep voting until you indicate something MPs approve of and can make happen.

Posted: 1st, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Danny Cipriani and Caroline Flack collide in the Celebrity Petri Dish

Danny Cipriani and Caroline Flack

Love Island presenter Caroline Flack and “rugby’s bad boy” Danny Cipriani “shared a romantic getaway” in… Somerset. The Sun peers into the Celebrity Petri Dish and spots the “smitten rugby ace” and Flack sharing a “passionate goodbye kiss” after a “raunchy” weekend. An anonymous source adds: “They did start tongues wagging quite quickly.” Wagging Tongue might be the celebrity sex aide we need, one up on Love Island’s‘ Under Duvet Hand Assister and rugby’s maul, ruck, scrum, praise of the “nice tackle”, lots of “playing with one another” and a “hooker” pressed on with cries of “heave” – to think they broadcast that stuff before the watershed.

The Sun sees romance but perhaps this was an audition for the much-awaited Celebrity Love Island, in which Cirpriani, a man whose entire rugby playing career appears to be an audition for the moment he shares a televised hot tub with drip-dry incarnations of Kate Price, and Flack, a woman whose genitals are often accused of being a PR stunt – Flack, presenter of an X-Factor spin-off show enjoyed a “romance” with a teenage Harry Styles (who he?) enacted before anonymous sources and passing paps. Celebrity Love Island is the show we need.

That Celebrity Love Island line-up in full:

Caroline Flack

Danny Cipriani

Nigel Farage

Edwina Currie

Sarah Ferguson

Katie Price

The Teletubbies

Terry Waite

Shamima Begum

Uri Geller

Posted: 1st, April 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie predicted it all (video)

Brexit negotiations were written by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie:

Meanwhile… Jacob Rees-Mogg is on Newsnight:

PS: Anyone got any tapes of Alas Smith And Jones so we can know what Tusk and Junker talk about?

Posted: 1st, April 2019 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Brexit: Jon Snow is scared of white people

Muslims, Jews, blacks, Asians and you mixed-race types, Jon Snow, the Channel 4 news anchor, sees only white Leave voters for Brexit. In the age of narcissism, Snow sees only people who look like him. And he sees them as hateful. They terrify him. Analyse that!

“We’ve just got these pictures in which were taken nearby. Police are now wearing riot gear,” Snow told viewers as he slipped on the blinkers and observed last Friday’s pro-Leave demonstration in Westminster. Police in riot gear is de rigueur at football matches, student fees protests and pretty much everywhere where crowds mass. There were five arrests at the demo. There was no riot.

“Police dogs are patrolling. The mood has changed,” Snow continued. “We cannot confirm whether any arrests have been made. It has been the most extraordinary day. A day which has seen… I’ve never seen so many white people in one place. It’s an extraordinary story… there are people everywhere, there are crowds everywhere.” More white people than you see at Glastonbury, on the high street or at family dinners, Jon? Thanks to Wikipedia, we see a bit more of Jon’s snow white genes:

Snow was born in Ardingly, Sussex, the son of George D’Oyly Snow, Bishop of Whitby [a former master at Eton,] and Joan, a pianist who studied at the Royal College of Music. He is a grandson of First World War General Sir Thomas D’Oyly Snow (about whom he writes in his foreword to Ronald Skirth’s war memoir The Reluctant Tommy) and is the cousin of retired BBC television news presenter Peter Snow

He saw the whites and a race riot-in-waiting. And the whites turned to their brown friends and together saw the class war and the fear in the eyes of their betters.

Posted: 31st, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit protest: five arrests outside, 184 ‘lying’ MPs escape inside

The newspapers mostly ignore yesterday’s Brexit rally outside Parliament. Thousands of Leave supporters gathered at Westminster on the day the UK was scheduled by law to leave the EU. But laws are made to be mangled in Parliament. Hours earlier 184 MPs had voted in favour of revoking Article 50. So we got very little.

Brexit

Only three newspapers lead with the crowds. The i (team: Remain) presents a picture of confrontation. There were five arrests for allegedly being: drunk and disorderly; wanted in connection with an offence in Hertfordshire; assaulting a police officer; assault (x2). “Brexit march,” says the Standard’s (Remain) headline, “five arrests as Leave supporters clash with police in Westminster.” Is five a lot? How many constitutes a rebellion? It’s enough for the paper’s main story on the protest. If you fear Leave voters and seek to portray them as the products of a Tommy Robinson dry toss, then five typifies the 17.4 million of us who to voted to leave in a free and fair vote approved by all MPs, the 184 anti-democrats included.

In a liberal democracy, a free and open society needs tense debate and verbal conflict to survive. Suppression is wrong and foolish. Rational argument and public opinion are lifeblood. The vote is all most of us have to express out views. Reject the vote and give the intolerant a foothold.

So those five arrests to breaching the limits of society’s tolerance. How do five arrests compare to the number of suspects pinched at the pro-Remain march staged last October? The Guardian told us at the very end of an article headlined “Huge crowd turns out in London to demand a ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit”: “A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police said they were not aware of any disorder nor were there any significant arrests.” Number? Dunno. But in July 2018, police arrested six anti-Trump protesters at a protest. Six might be significant.

The Express (Leave) sees the people behaving peacefully.

The Telegraph (Leave) evokes the spirit of Churchill.

Last week, MPs rejected 8 alternative solutions for Brexit. They then rejected Theresa May’s deal for the third time. No arrests have been made. But we can agree on one: the country is split not because the EU inspires and destroys, rather because it’s so utterly mediocre, nebulous and dull. How bothered are you Britishers about staying in the EU: 50-50. Meh.

Posted: 30th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Maddie’s 10 birthday cakes

mccann

Madeleine McCann: an at-a-glance look at the missing child in the news.

The Sun: “BIRTHDAY WISH Madeleine McCann’s mum Kate still throws her a birthday party each year with cake and presents in the hope she’ll come home.” This is news? No. It’s voyeurism. The story contains one fact: child vanishes. But ever since Madeleine McCann vanished in 20017, we’ve been gawping at the parents. “Nearly 12 years of presents and cards are waiting in her unchanged pink bedroom in Rothley, Leics,” says the Sun. Is the cake uneaten, stored in Tupperware?

“Ex-GP Kate” – the tabloid rules dictate that the parents’ jobs then and now must be mentioned in every no-news update – said: “I do all the present buying. I think about what age she is and buy something that, whenever we find her, will still be appropriate so there’s a lot of thought goes into it… There are gifts people have sent – from teddy bears to rosary beads – and photographs and pictures Sean and Amelie have drawn for her pinned on the walls.” Stuffed toys, god and purgatory. “She also has a keepsake box in which the twins leave little things for her: the last sweet in their packet, a new drawing, sometimes just a leaf that has taken their fancy. Everyone sits in there from time to time to feel close to her. The children sometimes borrow toys to play with for a while but they always return them for Madeleine.”

The Express also wants its readers to hear those words. It presses f9 on the keyboard and creates another ‘Our Maddie story. “Madeleine McCann: How Kate McCann STILL keeps birthday presents in hope of Maddie’s return,” says the paper’s headline.

We’re not watching Madeleine McCann. We’re not looking for her. We just stare at the familiar. We’re being asked to look at woman who appears to have been buried alive. Can the New Zealand Herald offer relief from the mawkish and claustrophobia of a child’s bedroom without a child?

NZ Herald: “Insider: What I think really happened to Madeleine McCann.”

Oh, go on, then, tell us. It turns out we already know what “I” really think. The man revealing the contents of his mind to deadline – aka speaking – is Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ media handler. “Now he has revealed what he believes really happened, saying the investigation points to an abduction but still shares hope she could be alive.”

Believes. Points to. Hopes.

No facts. Opinions are all we have. The single thread story feasted on by a voracious media is a nagging dry cough with no product.

And here’s De Montford University journalism lecturer Lee Marlow to share his opinions, which you might have caught on the recent Netflix documentary the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The university’s website quotes him:

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to be involved in the documentary, to be honest. I didn’t know if people would be interested and I was a bit doubtful of their intentions. But I met with the producers. They told me what they wanted to do. They outlined their plans and seemed thorough and decent and they reassured me it wouldn’t be a garish, sensationalised, tabloid hatchet job. They were true to their word, too. It wasn’t that.”

What was it? It looks a lot like bald entertainment. Says Mr Marlow:

“I know the parents didn’t want to get involved and I can see, journalistically, that weakens the documentary. But it’s their choice. They were asked and they said no. The people behind the documentary respected their decision, which is also entirely right, I think. Should it have been shelved because the parents didn’t want to be involved? No, I don’t think so. Most of what was in the documentary is a matter of public record. All they did was collate it, re-tell the story and try to fill in as many gaps as they could.”

Madeleine McCann documentary
The Imagining

Most of it? All of it. The show offered nothing new on the case. We’ve learned nothing since she vanished.

Posted: 29th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment


Russian spy Maria Butina to be sentenced

Mqria Butina

Amid all the talk of Russian collusion in the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the Western world and how former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin worked Brexit to give Jacob Rees-Mogg a routine slot on the telly, meet an actual spy. Maria Butina, 30, has admitted to trying to infiltrate the NRA and working towards getting inside the Republican machine. On April 26, she’ll be sentenced for her crimes. What will she tell?

Butina could be sentenced to five years in prison. She could also avoid jail terms entirely or be out within six months because of a plea deal. Her defence attorney, Robert Driscoll, told NPR: “I think our minds fill in lots of things when you see a tall redhead with a Russian accent.” Most of think of two things: corruption and sex. Men are ovine and obvious. Spies go for the obvious. It’s why a depilated Putin likes to be seen filmed from the ground up. It’s why the New York Times refers to her as “a redhead from Siberia”.

Russia’s Tass news agency is ticking by their fellow Russian:

“Our citizen, who fell victim to a provocation by US authorities, holds her head high. Maria is optimistically minded despite the prison conditions she has to endure,” the press-service said. Russian diplomats “congratulated Maria upon International Women’s Day and conveyed the warmest wishes from all those who are not indifferent towards her fate. We keep pressing for Butina’s release and her soonest return home,” the embassy said.

The New Republic was taking sides, too:

“The government’s case against Butina is extremely flimsy and appears to have been driven largely by a desire for publicity. In fact, federal prosecutors were forced to retract the most attention-grabbing allegation in the case—that Butina used sex to gain access and influence. That Butina’s prosecution was launched by the National Security Section of the District of Columbia federal prosecutor’s office, led by Gregg Maisel, is telling in itself: According to a source close to the Mueller investigation, the special counsel’s office had declined to pursue the case, even though it would have clearly fit under its mandate. Despite the lack of evidence against Butina, however, prosecutors—abetted by an uncritical media willing to buy into the idea of a Russian agent infiltrating conservative political circles—were intent on getting a win.
”

Reuters has the low down on where we are now:

Butina, a former graduate student at American University who publicly advocated for gun rights, pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Russia. She has remained in custody since her arrest in July 2018.

The 30-year-old native of Siberia wore a green jail jump suit during the brief hearing in Washington, but said nothing.

Chutkan said during the hearing that sentencing memos from prosecutors and Butina’s defense team will be due a week before the sentencing date. Prosecutors and defense lawyers approached the bench for a discussion with the judge, but the subject of those talks was not made public.

Butina has admitted to conspiring with a Russian official and two Americans from 2015 until her arrest to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and create unofficial lines of communication to try to make Washington’s policy toward Moscow more friendly. The NRA is closely aligned with U.S. conservatives and Republican politicians including President Donald Trump.

Chutkan in February had delayed the sentencing at the request of prosecutors, who said Butina was cooperating in their ongoing investigation. Butina’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, said at the time his client was ready for sentencing.

Russia in December accused the United States of forcing Butina to falsely confess to what it described as the “absolutely ridiculous charges” of her being a Russian agent.

The thing, of course, is that if a reality TV show hots can be US President, then spies have it easy. Just think of a secret that sounds big enough to be absurd and the job’s done.

Posted: 29th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Border Force detain man who refused to remove ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ badge

Brexit

It’s not yet mandatory for all voters in the referendum to wear a badge advertising which way they voted. But it should me. And lighting the path to a more understanding country is a businessman who claims he was detained at Gatwick Airport for refusing to remove his ‘Bollocks to Brexit” badge at passport control.

Eddie Brinsmead-Stockham was returning from Portugal when he says a boarder guard told him to remove his badge. Border Force then took him to a holding area without his passport, where he was held for around five to ten minutes.

Mr Brinsmead-Stockham tells the BBC: “I had never encountered that sort of belligerence at passport control before. I felt very frightened.” Disputatious behaviour should not be tolerated, says the man in the “Bollocks to Brexit” badge.

Posted: 28th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Stephen Pinker’s 13 rules for good writing

pinker pros writing rules

Want to write well? Harvard Professor of Psychology Steven Pinker has outlined his 13 rules for good writing on Twitter. That Twitter keeps things brief is a clue to what Pinker thinks works best. Editor’s should be like vultures.

  1. Reverse-engineer what you read. If it feels like good writing, what makes it good? If it’s awful, why? 
  2. Prose is a window onto the world. Let your readers see what you are seeing by using visual, concrete language.
  3. Don’t go meta. Minimize concepts about concepts, like “approach, assumption, concept, condition, context, framework, issue, level, model, perspective, process, range, role, strategy, tendency,” and “variable.”
  4. Let verbs be verbs. “Appear,” not “make an appearance.”
  5. Beware of the Curse of Knowledge: when you know something, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like not to know it. Minimize acronyms & technical terms. Use “for example” liberally. Show a draft around, & prepare to learn that what’s obvious to you may not be obvious to anyone else.
  6. Omit needless words (Will Strunk was right about this).
  7. Avoid clichés like the plague (thanks, William Safire).
  8. Old information at the beginning of the sentence, new information at the end.
  9. Save the heaviest for last: a complex phrase should go at the end of the sentence.
  10. Prose must cohere: readers must know how each sentence is related to the preceding one. If it’s not obvious, use “that is, for example, in general, on the other hand, nevertheless, as a result, because, nonetheless,” or “despite.”
  11. Revise several times with the single goal of improving the prose.
  12. Read it aloud.
  13. Find the best word, which is not always the fanciest word. Consult a dictionary with usage notes, and a thesaurus.

Spotter: Big Think

Posted: 27th, March 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment