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How to die from cancer

Does it sound trite to say that ‘cancer’ is a word and not a sentence? A Samaritan friend uses it. It works. It helps. Jack Thomas, a journalist at the Boston Globe since 1958 responds to his cancer diagnosis:

As the saying goes, fate has dealt me one from the bottom of the deck, and I am now condemned to confront the question that has plagued me for years: How does a person spend what he knows are his final months of life?

Atop the list of things I’ll miss are the smiles and hugs every morning from my beautiful wife, Geraldine, the greatest blessing of my life. I hate the notion of an eternity without hearing laughter from my three children. And what about my 40 rose bushes? Who will nurture them? I cannot imagine an afterlife without the red of my America roses or the aroma of my yellow Julia Childs.

We told each of the three children individually. John Patrick put his face in his hands, racked with sobs. After hanging up the telephone, Jennifer doubled over and wept until her dog, Rosie, approached to lick away the tears but not the melancholy. Faith explained over the telephone that, if I could see her, she was weeping and wondering how she could get along without her dad. Now, she is on the Internet every day, snorkeling for new research, new strategies, new medications. My wife cries every morning, then rolls up her sleeves and handles all doctor appointments and medication. Without her… I cannot imagine.

Spotter: nextdraft

Posted: 27th, July 2021 | In: News | Comment


You legally grow, smoke and carry 28g of marijuana in Mexico

Leira-Cannagars cannabis cigar

As lockdowns end, Mexico’s top court has decriminalised the recreational use of cannabis. You can get stoned in Mexico without fear of fine and worse, just as you can in many US states over the border. In an 8-3 decision, the court decreed that adults will be able to apply for permits to cultivate and consume their own cannabis. But smoking weed in public and in front of children is banned.

With a permit, you can hold up to 28g of marijuana and grow as many as eight plants at home for personal use. At present, it is illegal to carry more than five grams.

Looks like we’re edging towards declaring a winner in the war on drugs.

Posted: 29th, June 2021 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Matt Hancock hot take – Brexit did it

MAtt Hancock affair

Matt Hancock has gone. They waited and waited until Covid was under control then defenestrated hapless Hancock from the health ministry. His sex-life made headlines. But his private life is his own affair, literally.

Although one Guardian columnist who writes about mental health and maybe even body-shaming is one of many to have cast judgement on Hancock:

Hancock was not done for because his sexual style evokes suicidal thoughts, but for his failure to observe social distancing rules, the very thing he thrust on the people. Although looking for a hot take, Will Hutton thinks Brexit is to blame:

After five years, the biggest casualties of Brexit are in plain sight. Integrity and decency in public life are crumbling. Because so much of the case for Brexit is false, the political modus operandi of the Brexiters, now dominating our political culture, has become a refusal to accept responsibility for mistakes, overclaiming, deceit and sometimes outright lies to justify the unjustifiable. Once the electorate can no longer trust what they are told, democratic debate is denied. We have been robbed of a core right of citizenship.

Hancock is shagging his aide and old uni chum because of Brexit.

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


Russia fires on British ship for first time since 1919

Newspapers lead with the British warship HMS Defender, which was shadowed by Russian aircraft and ships as it sailed near Crimea, and fired on. Russia also dropped bombs in its way. Russia is on the “warpath” says an excited Daily Express.

The last time Russia fired on a British warship was in 1919, when a Bolshevik submarine torpedoed a destroyer in the Gulf of Finland

Russia says that the British warship crossed two miles into its territorial waters off Crimea, near Cape Fiolent. But when the Soviet Union broke up, Crimea became part of Ukraine. Russia occupied and annexed it in 2014. So whose water is it?

“British destroyer violates Russia’s border in Black Sea, Russian ship & fighter jet respond with warning shots – Defense Ministry,” says Russian government mouthpiece Russia Today. Russia’s top army chief Valery Gerasimov says NATO naval activity near the Russia’s borders has “significantly increased… Ships equipped with high-precision long-range missile weapons operate almost on a permanent basis in the Black and Baltic Seas.” It’s “clearly provocative”.

Russian Senator Sergei Tsekov, in comments to RIA Novosti, decried the warship’s movements as a “flagrant violation of international norms,” noting that the actions could “provoke a serious conflict.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace tells the no less tame Times that the Navy “will always uphold the international law of the sea and will not be impeded on innocent passage”. The paper also quotes a defence source as saying: “We chose that route and are free to choose it again.”

A Daily Mail journalists was on board. Why? No matter. He saw “bursts of cannon fire rang out” as Russian jets “menaced the UK destroyer”. Sailors frantically pulled on flame retardant suits and body armour. It was the “most alarming escalation” of UK-Russian tensions since the Salisbury poisonings.

So Russia is the enemy, right? The FT, sys it might. not be, well, not if you’re in the EU, which the UK isn’t. The Financial Times says Germany and France have called for the EU to engage more closely with Russia. They could invite President Vladimir Putin to an EU summit. Mr Putin has not attended a summit since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. “We must keep the channels of communication open,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But you’ll have to shout to make yourselves heard over the sound of gunfire.

Posted: 24th, June 2021 | In: News | Comment


A message from Nigeria’s on onion farmers

Aliyu Isa Umar is National President of Onions Production in Nigeria. He has message.

File under: Life Does Seinfeld

More here.

Posted: 9th, June 2021 | In: News | Comment


Regulators and rivals seek new ways to kill Bitcoin

The powers that be are dreaming up new ways to throttle Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, aren’t they? China want users to pick its State-backed coin and approved projects. And won’t someone think of the kids, rare breeds and the planet? Bitcoin’s energy use has more than doubled in 12 months from 55 terawatt-hours (TWh) to 125 TWh – giving it a carbon footprint similar to Poland. In May 2021, West Midlands Police looking to raid a cannabis farm in Sandwell, discovered around 100 bitcoin mining machines running off the electricity supply. One site argues that “for regulatory purposes, bitcoin should be considered similar to the global trade in Chinese tiger parts.”

More than 50 companies dealing in cryptocurrencies could be forced to shut after failing to comply with UK anti-money laundering rules.

The City watchdog said an “unprecedented number” of crypto firms are withdrawing applications from a temporary permit scheme that allowed companies to continue trading while their applications were being assessed.

The Financial Conduct Authority said: “A significantly high number of businesses are not meeting the required standards under the money laundering regulations resulting in an unprecedented number of businesses withdrawing their applications.”

They’ll use the old ways and news ways to regulate he rival.

Spotter: Telegraph

Posted: 5th, June 2021 | In: Money, News, Technology | Comment


Amazon’s Mindful Practice Room makes working there look even worse

Amazon minul prctice room

Amazon’s workers keen to get away from it all can step inside the ZenPod, an interactive kiosk wherein they can watch videos about “mental health” and “mindfulness practices”. They should not use the head box as a toilet or bedroom, however tempting that might be.

Posted: 28th, May 2021 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Alexander Lukashenko, Roman Protasevich and a RyanAir surcharge

President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus for 27 years. The BBC says he’s nicknamed “Europe’s last dictator” – which given the history of Europe looks like an invitation for budding depots to continue an age-old tradition. “Don’t let Alex be the last,” says the recruitment poster at IronFist.com, enrol here. Module 1: How to make up ranks and design medals. Module 2: Blaming the Jews. Module 3: The London property market – is now a good time to buy?

Alex is in the news not because he’s approaching a landmark anniversary or has risen up the list all-time list of depots. It’s because a flight was diverted to Minsk on Sunday and a dissident journalist arrested. Roman Protasevich, 26, was on a flight from Greece to Lithuania which was rerouted over a supposed bomb threat. There was no such thing. The plane landed and Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega were marched off by police.

Western countries accused Belarus of hijacking the Ryanair plane. Ryanair is dismayed – well, with some foresight it would have added a £10 surcharge for non kidnap or a mystery stop.

Protasevich has subsequently appeared in a video, in which he seems to confess to crimes and says he’s never felt better. And the EU has decided to ban Belarusian airlines from skies over the EU zone. What difference this makes to a despot is unclear.

Posted: 25th, May 2021 | In: News | Comment


Time to ban wealthy locals from Primrose Hill

“It’s just incredible, though, isn’t it,” says local resident Amy McKeown, who runs a campaign to keep Primrose Hill open. “There they are,” says McKeown, showing the Observer a group of park life, “drinking…coconut water, perfectly quiet and peaceful.” That choice of drink provides you with a clue as to where Primrose Hill is. It’s in north London, which makes it newsworthy.

The story is that people have been using the park at night for wrong things (noise, drugs, drink, being young, fun, mugging) and others who want it used for other things (writing poetry, seducing the au pair and walking the labradoodlecockapoo) want them not to, including Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, whose constituency includes the park. He agrees with Conservative councillors who have been leafleting the area campaigning for gates.

“Closing and gating Primrose Hill is a nuclear and disproportionate solution for a temporary problem that could be managed by more effective policing,” says McKeown. “To suddenly walk out and see a locked gate in front of me was shocking last night,” says another local. “Where else can people go for free to relax with friends? It could not be a healthier place.”

It’s the lockdown in microcosm. The wealthy, with gardens and space, get to chill and work from home. The poorer don’t.

Posted: 24th, May 2021 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Israel: Leicester deputy police and crime commissioner wants British Jews to condemn Israel

On Twitter, Kirk Master (@KirkMasterLC) has something to say about the fighting in Israel and Gaza. A little background about Kirk from his Twitter profile: “Make the change and change…. Assistant City Mayor/Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Leicester – Free Palestine.” Here goes:

Both politically and as a community member, I will be working on the following:

•A request for all councils to raise the Palestinian flag over their Town Halls in solidarity with the Palestinian struggles.

•Labour and other political parties to condemn the occupation and killings, and the selling of arms to Israel with letters to the Prime Minister and Keir Starmer UN/EU

•The city and other councils to review Israeli products supporting apartheid regimes via procurement trawls.

• Request a joint statement from the Jewish and Muslim faith leaders of the city to condemn the killings of the innocent and Palestinian people.

•Our communities to show their support by displaying the Palestinian flag everywhere.

• Ask our Faith Council to produce a statement condemning the Israelis occupation and apartheid.

•This is not against our Jewish brothers and sisters whom many stand by our sides. This is against Crimes towards humanity that cannot be ignored.

•And for us ALL to not be silent/silenced. We can all Stand up!

Gaza #Standup #Palestine

Cllr Kirk Master

In other news: apologies from British Jews, both secular and rabbinical, for the fighting and bad behaviour in other foreign countries, like Syria, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Burma, are welcomed.

Posted: 17th, May 2021 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Wave-powered Tesla cars reject Bitcoin over climate fears

Elon_Musk_ tesla

When not sotting rockets into space and making cars, Elon Musk is a keen environmentalist. This we know because the man who helped give us PayPal that triggers for a million delivery drivers to ship goods, tells us it’s the reason his Tesla car company is no longer accepting Bitcoin.

“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Mr Musk wrote. “Cryptocurrency is a good idea… but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.”

But the metal cars… The rubber wheels… The huge display screens… The electricity… All created by wind and wave?

“Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues are now a major motivation for many investors. Tesla, being a clean energy-focussed company, might want to work better in the environmental area of ESG,” Julia Lee from Burman Invest told the BBC.

“But a cynic might suggest that this is just another move by Elon Musk to influence the cryptocurrency market, as he has done on so many other occasions,” she added.

In other news: Elon Musk sells cars. And it cannot trust a car dealer, who can you trust?

Posted: 13th, May 2021 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Good Morning Britain eats itself: Tony Blair mouthpiece interviews Tony Blair

blair front pages chilcot

Having sacked Piers Morgan, Good Morning Britain invited Tony Blair’s old spin doctor Alastair Campbell to replace him. This morning Campbell interviewed Blair. They talked about Labour. And looking on you wondered if all it takes to be on telly and in frontline politics is an ability to act?

In unrelated news, the BBC is running a terrific documentary series on the Iraq War. Blair and Campbell both feature. See it here.

Posted: 12th, May 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment


Meme: Leonardo DiCaprio unrecognizable in first photos of new Scorsese film

York Post says: ‘Leonardo DiCaprio unrecognizable in first photos of new Scorsese film.”

As you wonder if DiCaprio is playing a woman or a spoon, others take a guess:

Posted: 11th, May 2021 | In: Celebrities, Film, News, Tabloids | Comment


England Football diversifies the 3 Lions

On Twitter @EnglandFootball think the 3 lions on England football shirts and not sufficiently diverse. Identity politics will eat itself.

Posted: 8th, May 2021 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Survey finds people are too easily offended by speech

Are you bothered by political correctness? Do you watch what you say in public for fear of causing offence? A Pew Research Center survey says most people in the UK, US and France think people today are too easily offended.

In the UK, 53% of us believe people are too easily offended; France – 52%; US – 57%.

It’s quite a close split:

In all three European countries surveyed, respondents are closely divided over whether people today are too easily offended or whether people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others. However, only four-in-ten Americans think people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others, with a majority (57%) saying people today are too easily offended by what others say.

“I think people get scared to be passionate about being British these days because you get labeled as being a racist.”

–Man, 40, Birmingham, Right Leaver

Those ages 65 or older in France and Germany are more likely than those ages 18 to 29 to say people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others, while in the U.S. and UK there are no significant age differences…

In the UK, those who identify as Remainers are much more likely than those who identify as Leavers to say people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others (53% vs. 27%, respectively).

Older and wiser?

Posted: 7th, May 2021 | In: News | Comment


After Hartlepool one Labour MP wants a return to Jeremy Corbyn’s shredded 2019 manifesto

Labour have lost Hartlepool to the Conservatives in a by-election. Jill Mortimer won the vote. She becomes the first Tory MP for Hartlepool since the constituency was formed in 1974. It has returned a Labour MP in every vote since. On Twitter, Labour MP Richard Burgon wants party leader Keir Starmer to go back to the good old days of Labour under his mate Jeremy Corbyn. He’s the bloke who in 2019 led the party to their worst defeat in 84 years. Burgon has a plan:

Maybe if Labour stopped talking less about Gaza and more about Grimsby, appealed to the woking class and not just the middle-class woke, they might attract more votes?

Posted: 7th, May 2021 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


When The Bidens and the Carters met the result was a truly strange photo

Biden carter

The Carter Center (@CarterCenter) tweets the picture of President Joe Biden and the First Lady with the caption: ‘We’re pleased to share this wonderful photo from the @POTUS and @FLOTUS visit to see the Carters in Plains, Ga.! Thank you President and Mrs. Biden!’

The Carter Center was ‘founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter & Rosalynn.’ Yes, that is former US leader Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn in a photo that looks like an outtake from Roald Dahl book abut ventriloquists. More strange than wonderful.

Posted: 5th, May 2021 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Sarah Halimi: Jews are the West’s approved target now

It took the best part of a week for the BBC to pick up the story of Sarah Halimi, the Jewish pensioner murdered in an anti-Semitic attack.

Sarah Halimi was 65-year-old when in April 2017, when convicted criminal Kobili Traoré broke into her Paris flat, beat her and threw her from the window to her death. As he assaulted the retired doctor, Traoré cited the Koran and yelled “Allahu Akbar”. After defenestrating the apartment block’s only Jewish resident, the Muslim declared: “I have killed the devil.”

But the court said this was no murder driven by anti-semitism. Yes, it was an anti-Semitic incident. And he hated Jews. But, you see, the killer had smoked weed. Citing Article 122 of the Penal Code, the judges said Traoré had been in the grip of a “psychotic episode” brought on by cannabis use. His “discernment” had been “abolished”.

His crime was that of a “madman”. Experts peered into the killer’s mind and found that he had no case to answer for. There would be no murder trial. Just stay in hospital for the killer. “The crime was the crime of a madman,” said the experts who examined the killer in a long justificatory piece this week in Le Monde. “And in France we do not judge the mad.”

There would be no justice for Sarah Halimi. Smoke weed and ensure your victim is a Jew and you can escape justice. Because it’s different for Jews.

Bernard-Henri Lévy summed up: “A man who savagely beat and murdered an old Jewish woman while screaming ‘Allahu akbar’ is set free because he was high. Another man in France recently received a prison sentence for killing a dog.”

France has ruled: take enough drugs and you can kill a Jew. These are dangerous times to be Jew in Europe.

Posted: 4th, May 2021 | In: News | Comment


Manchester United: 16 years of Glazer greed boils over

Did you see the Manchester United fans on the Old Trafford pitch before their club’s match with Liverpool and think, ‘Finally!’ After 16 years of ownership by distant, greedy venture capitalists, United supporters were seizing the chance afforded them by The European Super League debacle to demand ‘Go!” It feels like now or never for fans to get rid of the Glazer family. Just as it’s time for Arsenal fans to rid themselves of the no less greedy, remote and abysmal Kroenke clan and Liverpool to get shot of John W Henry. The ESL proved that mistrust of money-obsessed American owners is well placed. Getting the match called off makes the money-men take note. What’s the Premier League without TV?

It wasn’t all good. Far from it. There was violence after fans had left the stadium. One policeman’s face was slashed with a broken bottle. “Those in the stadium were evicted by officers but outside on the forecourt hostility grew with bottles and barriers being thrown at officers and horses,” Greater Manchester police said in a statement. “Two officers have been injured, with one officer being attacked with a bottle and sustaining a significant slash wound to his face, requiring emergency hospital treatment.” There is no excuse for any of that.

Manchester United said “criminal damage” caused by protesters breaking into the ground, and “violence towards” staff, other fans and officers were now a police matter. “The club has no desire to see peaceful protestors punished, but will work with the police to identify those involved in criminal activity, and will also issue its own sanctions to any season-ticket holder or member identified, per the published sanctions policy,” the club said in a statement.

But the protest and the forces driving evens was sound. Not that the greedy, entitled Premier League is listening, offering the pathetic reaction that “fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification”. But no-one’s been listening to fans on Twitter. Now they’re protesting and around the ground, they are.

Lead image: Manchester United supporters demonstrate against a possible takeover of the club by American businessman Malcolm Glazer prior to their English Premiership match against Arsenal at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, in this Sunday, Oct. 24, 2004 file photo.

Posted: 4th, May 2021 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


The Queen’s Beasts commemorative coin

Anyone watching Sky News will be forgiven for not realising when the show ends and the adverts start. Today’s news is peppered with the story of a “giant” gold coin weighing 22lb (10kg) marked with a £10,000 denomination.

Produced at the Royal Mint, this gold coin (cue patriotic-sounding music and posh-toned voiceover by man in waistcoat) “marks the end of the mint’s Queen’s Beasts commemorative coin collection, inspired by 10 stone statues which lined the Queen’s route to Westminster Abbey at her coronation in 1953.” (Coin revolves. Spitfire flies over white cliffs. Queen waves. Hurst scores.) “The coin reunites all 10 beasts in one design, including a lion, griffin, falcon, bull, yale, greyhound, dragon, unicorn and a horse.”

Other beastly creatures not featured include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Posted: 29th, April 2021 | In: Money, News, Royal Family | Comment


The fake ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ and Dubya’s plastic turkey

This April you could read Tatler’s story on the fiancée of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 32-year-old Carrie Symonds, “the most powerful woman in Britain, reportedly shaping her partner’s thoughts on the environment, animal rights and other issues at the front and centre of politics today.” And scatter cushions. Tater’s Anne McElvoy looked at the decor in the couple’s flat above Number 11 Downing Street and noted the “John Lewis furniture nightmare”. They would turn “Theresa May’s John Lewis furniture nightmare into a high-society haven”.

The new lodgers overhauled Theresa May’s “John Lewis furniture nightmare” with a pricey makeover modelled on the work of eco-interior designer Lulu Lytle.

The flat is news because Johnson’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, alleged the Prime Minister once planned to have donors “secretly pay” for the work on his flat. Labour wants the prime minister to reveal the full amount spent and who paid. The Times notes:

The Conservative chairman faces fresh questions about how the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat in Downing Street was funded after leaked emails suggested that a donation to the party was set aside for the project.

Ben Elliot, a nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall who has run the party since Johnson became prime minister in 2019, was told last October that a big donation should be used to fund a redecoration of Johnson’s residence above 11 Downing Street.

But rather than talking about alleged sleaze, greed and a clubby elite running the country, nodding heads at opining about how if John Lewis merchandise is good enough for them and May, it’s damn well good enough for Symonds. But Symonds never called it a “John Lewis nightmare”, a writer did. Never mind the facts. The story is out.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds: “I think a lot of people would look at what’s taken place here with the Prime Minister’s flat really with incredulity. I have to say I really like John Lewis myself, I don’t really see a big problem with John Lewis.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth: “We know he [Mr Johnson] wanted to upgrade his flat because he didn’t think John Lewis furniture was good enough. I think John Lewis furniture is pretty good actually, pretty posh stuff.”

The Indy‘s Kate NG just misquotes:

The Indy in “13 of the best reactions to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symond’s ‘John Lewis nightmare’”: “Wait? John Lewis a “nightmare”? We could scarcely believe it either, and neither did these commenters.”

Such are the facts.

Meanwhile, the media is still tucking into George Dubya Bush’s plastic turkey?

Posted: 28th, April 2021 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Post Office scandal boss Paul Vennells keeps her CBE

Paula Vennells, the former chief executive of the Post Office (2012 – 2019), is to leave her role a non-executive director of the retailer Dunelm and step back from her “regular” duties as an ordained Church of England minister. Vennells was head of the Post Office during the Horizon IT scandal which led to the wrongful convictions of former postmasters. Last Friday, 39 former Post Office workers saw their criminal convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal. What they endured was horrific.

Lord Justice Holroyde said the Post Office “knew there were serious issues” and had a “clear duty to investigate”. But the Post Office “consistently asserted that Horizon was robust and reliable” and “effectively steamrolled over any sub-postmaster who sought to challenge its accuracy”.

Convictions were based on the flawed software system Horizon which showed shortfalls in their accounts where they did not exist. Branded thieves, liars and fraudsters over the missing money, these people and many more – more than 700! – had their lives ruined. Ms Vennells earned big. She was given a CBE title for “services to the Post Office and to charity”.

“It is obvious that my involvement with the Post Office has become a distraction from the good work undertaken in the Diocese of St Albans and in the parishes I serve,” says Vennells. “I have therefore stepped back with immediate effect from regular parish ministry, and intend to focus fully on working with the ongoing government inquiry to ensure the affected subpostmasters and wider public get the answers they deserve.”

She is a member of the government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum. Why a government inquiry only? Why is this investigation into the Post Office’s abhorrent behaviour not a criminal matter? Did they know the system was flawed?

Ms Dawn O’Connell never lived long enough to see her name cleared. Read her story here.

Posted: 26th, April 2021 | In: News | Comment


‘I Love You Earth’ – Yoko Ono is here to rescue us one slogan at a time

“I Love You Earth,” states the legend on billboards in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. Some advertising hoardings bearing those words are illuminated, so you’d suppose the intention is for the message to be seen night and day. You might wonder what ‘EARTH” is, a new banking app, or perhaps the Covid-19 virus has mutated to such a degree it can now speak and has hired a PR firm to win over the masses, perhaps the company that marketed football’s failed Super League project is in need of new more likeable clients. that billionaire football club owners.

It turns out the message is from Yoko Ono, the “artist and activist”. ‘I love you Earth’ was, as you no doubt know, a song on Ono’s 1985 album titled Starpeace. T

he billboards have been erected by the Serpentine Galleries to mark Earth Day. Organisers of the project tell us the phrase is a “reminder to those who see it to ask themselves, do I love the Earth? How am I expressing that love? Could I do more?” A Serpentine source adds: “As communities across the UK return to public places in our cities, they will be welcomed by Yoko Ono’s powerful positive statement for the planet, I Love You Earth.” Most of us would settle for a pint and a hug with friends and family. But Yoko is there to welcome us from enforced hibernation with a something more vacuous than a Boris Johnson press briefing.

The bigger question might be, when Earth has been setting the agenda in the form of a deadly virus, should we love it or pave it over, as The Beatles did with Penny Lane?

Posted: 22nd, April 2021 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Brands not fans killed Super League

Super League

Super League had a naff name and an agenda based on greed. Told the billionaires had been plotting the heist for years, you boggle at how ignorant so many mega-rich people can be. They ignored the fans but didn’t even get Amazon on side. Aside from the greedy club owners, who was backing the big project? The fans rebelled. And the narrative is that fan protests the got the horror show shut down. But the clubs owners’ big failure was in not selling Super League to broadcasters and huge brands. Where was the feature length Nike ad with Lionel Messi and Ronaldo extolling the virtues of Super League and how it would improve the planet / climate change / BLM and whatever noble causes the money machines can latch on to to give their quest for profits some soul? Grace Robertson makes the point:

If you were listing important commercial partners to top European clubs, you’d put Nike pretty high on the list, right? Right. Nike are pretty damn important to the football industry.

Take a look at how Nike’s big splashy ad of the past year, titled “You Can’t Stop Us”.

Let’s read that monologue, delivered by Megan Rapinoe, in full:

“We’re never alone. And that is our strength. Because when we’re doubted, we’ll play as one. When we’re held back, we’ll go farther. And harder. If we’re not taken seriously, we’ll prove that wrong. And if we don’t fit the sport, we’ll change the sport. We know things won’t always go our way. But whatever it is, we’ll find a way. And when things aren’t fair, we’ll come together for change.

We have a responsibility to make this world a better place.

And no matter how bad it gets, we will always come back stronger. Because nothing can stop what we do together.”

…The message is very obvious: “We are a caring company that shares your values. So buy our shit.” …

If a corporation decides to put itself front and centre on a sponsorship deal with the Super League, what brand values is it communicating? Not the values they all seem to want to go for. It’s the brand values of the early 90s and the Premier League. It’s that of greed and wealth. It’s exactly what they don’t want to be associated with.

For years big clubs wielded their power to get what they wanted. Do as we say or else we will leave. Well, they tried it. And – boy – did they fail. In the longterm, football fans could be big winners with better competition and the rise of mid-ranking sides.

Read it all.

Posted: 22nd, April 2021 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Sports | Comment


Are Stan Kroenke and his son Josh the most clueless men in football?

Manchester City have withdrawn from the European Super League (ESL). Chelsea set to join them. When those clubs take the moral high ground you know you’re on a ride to hell’s basement.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal are left in the ESL mire. The pick of the disasters has to be Arsenal. The Gunners are owned by ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke, a distant American billionaire who has placed his charisma-free son Josh in charge of Arsenal – the London office of his empire.

Not only have the Gunners fallen away as a competitive force under Kroenke’s ownership, but Arsenal have now left the European Clubs Association after confirming that they will take part in the doomed European Super League. The move meant that Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham had to resign from his position on ECA’s board. He was only appointed to the ECA’s board in March.

“If you want to win championships then you would never get involved,” said Stan in 2016. “I think the best owners in sports are the guys that sort of watch both sides a bit. If you don’t have a good business then you can’t really afford to go out and get the best players unless you just want to rely on other sources of income.”

Live the dream, eh, Stan. And now he’s cost the club face – to go with the loss of Champions League football and class. But he’ll always have his money. It’s up to Arsenal fans to tell the Kroenkes what they think of them. Time for them to go. But how can it be done? How do you get rid of people who apparently don’t care for the club they’ve turned into a corporate husk?

Posted: 20th, April 2021 | In: News, Sports | Comment