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News | Anorak - Part 12

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Charlene White gets the Poppy Day row right

The usual mouth breathers have been having a go at Charlene White over her refusal to wear a poppy onscreen while reading the news. She’s made an entirely fair point about this, has Ms. White, but she’s not in fact correct about the poppy wearing either. Really, rather the point of the whole exercise is to remember those who fought so we’d have the freedom to wear a poppy or not as we wish. This is something the Royal British Legion at least understands.

The mouthbreathers:

ITV News presenter Charlene White has explained why she will not wear a poppy while on screen after receiving a wave of online abuse.

The 38-year-old was most recently called a “f*****g disrespectful c***” this week after she didn’t wear a poppy while delivering the news.

One person on Twitter said: “If @CharleneWhite isn’t willing to wear a poppy she shouldn’t be on our TV screens. She’s more than happy taking a wage out of this country. F*****g disrespectful c***.”

Yes, quite, delightful isn’t it. By the way, it’s not the country that pays her wage, it’s the advertisers, the people who cough up the money to put those little bits inbetween the programs.

Charlene White as responded on Twitter:

 

The explanation is that she supports a number of charities. And she’s not allowed to support them on air, wearing the right ribbon for this or that. The poppy, yes, that can be worn, that has a special exception. But she’s not happy with supporting just the one – if she can’t support all, then none.

No, we don’t have to agree with this but we do have to understand it. But then, as the Royal British Legion says, that choice is rather the point in the first place:

A spokesperson for The Royal British Legion said: “We take the view that remembrance honours the sacrifices and contributions our Armed Forces community have made in defence of freedom, and so how people choose to remember, or not to, must be a matter of personal choice.

“If remembrance became compulsory it would lose its meaning and significance.”

Quite so. Or, as we might put it, Charlene White is exercising the freedom those fought and died for by deciding for herself whether to wear the poppy or not, when and where. That’s actually the damn point.

Posted: 6th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Madeleine McCann: The European Court of Human Rights has the final say on Amaral’s pay

McCann amaral

 

Madeleine McCann returns to the fore with news that Gonçalo Amaral, the “poisonous, grazing, shambles” ex-copper, has made money from her story. How much the Sun has made from ‘Our Maddie’ stories is not calculated, but the missing child is on the paper’s front-page once more so her face must shift copies. Amaral has apparently made £350,000 from his book, the Truth of the Lie, and a DVD. This, says the paper, is a “fortune” – the kind of money that buys a studio flat in a decent bit of London.

On page 7, we spot the McCanns, Kate and Gerry. The Sun says they’re challenging the Amaral decision at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). They are taking on the Portuguese State not Amaral, as the Portuguese Resident website notes. The McCanns won a libel case against Amaral’s book but saw the decision reversed on appeal – a move supported by Portugal’s Supreme Court. Contesting that ruling at the ECHR is, says the Sun, the McCann’s “final effort to avoid paying £750,000 compensation to the man who cruelly claimed Maddie’s parents covered up her death” in May 2007. The McCanns deny any part in their daughter’s disappearance.

Can the ECHR come good for the Brits? Let’s see what the Sun has had to say about the court in the past:

A third of those who have won against Britain at the European Court of Human Rights are terrorists, prisoners or criminals, figures show.Among claimants the court found in favour of since 1975 are murderers, terrorists in Iraq and IRA gunmen. It [the figures] is a response to criticisms of the Strasbourg court by Tory ministers and The Sun… Commons Justice Committee chairman Bob Neill MP said: “This is well beyond what any sensible person would say is real human rights. It’s mission creep, law made by judges who are not judges and many from countries with questionable human rights and very little judicial experience.” – “European Court of Killers’ Rights”, the Sun 2016.

 

 

Via ‘The Sun gets regulator reprimand and publishes correction for misleading on European human rights’ – read more about the story and the apology from Adam Wagner

 

Jon Henley wrote in 2013: “Why is the European court of human rights hated by the UK right?”:

Grayling said last week the ECHR did not “make this country a better place”. David Cameron has said the court risks becoming a glorified “small claims court” buried under a mountain of “trivial” claims , and suggested Britain could withdraw from the convention to “keep our country safe”.

An unnamed source tells the Sun: “Kate and Gerry have full confidence the European Court of Human Rights will find in their favour. It hasn’t altered their determination to carry on searching for their daughter.” Best of luck. The Sun seems to doubt the court’s trustworthiness. The paper says it could be an 8-year wait for the case to be heard. The Express says the cost could be “astronomical”.

An ECHR spokesperson is quoted in the Sun: “The case McCann and Healy v Portugal is still under consideration and there is no fixed time for examining it. There is no date fixed date for any judgement or decision to be delivered.” And so it goes…

  • If you have evidence about the search for the missing child contact the police. Or you could call Amaral – the Sun says he might be planning a sequel. Meanwhile… a child is missing.

Posted: 5th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment


Super Mario Segale is dead – long live Super Mario

Mario Segale in 1952

‘Super’ Mario Segale in 1952

 

There aren’t that many of us who don’t know who Mario is. You know, the plumber in the video games for those whose memories are fading? Yes, that’s the one, on the Nintendo. The thing is, he’s now dead.

Well, no, not the character, but the character the electronic one is named after. Hey, we’ll all take whatever immortality and fame is on offer, right?

So, the background is that Nintendo was trying to break into the US market and they had an office in Seattle. Their character already existed but he was called “Jumpman.” Obviously, if they were renting an office then they were renting it from someone, and when they needed a better name for the character then why not the name of the guy they were renting from, the one who always gave them such a hard time about being late with the rent?

The story goes that in the early 1980s, Nintendo was setting up their U.S. headquarters just outside of Seattle. The owner of the office they rented was Mario Segale, whose name they used as the main character for their signature series. He made quite the impression on them when he came in demanding overdue rent payment, and the rest is history.

Up to that point, Nintendo’s character had been known as “Jumpman,” so we have to say “Mario” was quite the improvement.

Well, quite so, why the hell not?

As told by his family in the obituary, Segale was the only child of Italian immigrant farmers. He started his own construction business soon after graduating from high school in 1952, and later began focusing on real estate and property development, establishing the Segale Business Park in the 1970s.

It was then that Segale leased warehouse space to the still young U.S. wing of Nintendo. He reportedly made such an impression on the video game company that the company decided to use his name for its hero, NPR reported.

Quite the joy of this is that Mario Segale did indeed do construction and did pretty much everything in construction, from digging through to owning the business park at times. Except, except, the one thing he never did do was plumbing…

 

Posted: 5th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


The war for an independent Barcelona (1976)

grises barcelona

 

February 1 1976: three months after the death of dictator Generalísimo Francisco Franco (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975), the Assembly of Catalonia (Asemblea de Catalunya) marched in Barcelona under the banner ‘Libertat, Amnesty, Estatut d’Autonomia’ (Freedom, Amnesty, Autonomy).

 

Barcelona indepedence

 

Local residents’ associations, Trade Unions, political parties (many illegal), along with members of cultural and artistic entities participated. Initially it was peaceful. There was a sit-in on the Passeig de Sant Joan, at the corner of Carrer de Provença. But the Civil Guard and riot police police-threw smoke bombs at the seated protesters and charged them. Later, numerous groups marched through the streets of the Eixample to reach the Modelo prison, where they sought the release of political prisoners.

The Civil Guard waited. They were armed with rifles. Manel Armengol had a camera.

 

PG. DE SANT JOAN/PROVENÇA; CAMI DE LA PRESO MODEL, A LA MODEL C.ENTENÇA

 

See many more on flashbak.

Posted: 5th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


CCTV saves bouncer: Kierah Lagrave did not strike a blow for feminism

kierah-lagrave

A (la)grave error

 

Who says chivalry is dead? Surely not 22-year-old Kierah Lagrave, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., who is accused of choking a nightclub bouncer into unconsciousness. Lagrave thought he’d slapped her backside. He hadn’t. Her friend had – the friend who when the attack was taking place appeared to do nothing to stop it.

The odd bit is in the reporting by NBC News: “Newly released video shows a 5-foot-1 New York woman choking a much taller nightclub bouncer unconscious…” That makes it sound like Lagrave is some kind of hero. She isn’t. The bouncer says he didn’t defend himself because at the Five1Eight Nightclub because he “thought it was a friend playing a joke on him”.

Others also present the story as a blow for womenkind: “Woman Knocks Out Bouncer After She Thought He Groped Her,” says iHeart.com. How about “Woman Accused of Attacking Innocent Man”? The Independent makes her a “5-ft woman”, reducing her height for extra power. The bounce’s height is not given.

Lagrave has been arrested and charged with strangling. The bouncer can be thankful for CCTV. As the NY Post notes:

LaGrave, of Plattsburgh, later admitted to police that she choked the bouncer, telling investigators she did so because he had grabbed her. Surveillance footage, however, proved otherwise.

 

Posted: 4th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


David Cameron and Hilary Clinton reprise The Aristocrats – a joke in many parts

Memoirs written, shed built, David Cameron is now so “bored shitless” there’s nothing left to do but to return to his old job. The Sun quotes a mate of Dave’s telling us that the former prime minister who quit when his campaign for Britain to remain in the EU failed thinks the role of foreign secretary will fill his days. Good job Dave has private means because one former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, told friends his minister’s salary of £141,405 a year was not enough to live on. He now muddles along on less, having selflessly resigned his post. If Johnson does become leader let’s hope his fellow toff Cameron isn’t insulted by the derisory sums on offer.

Over the water, another upper-class politico, Hillary Clinton, was asked about her return to the fore. “Well, I’d like to be president,” she told the Recode podcast. Many would. But why you, Hillary? “I think, hopefully, when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in January of 2021, there’s going to be so much work to be done… The work would be work that I feel very well prepared for, having been at the Senate for eight years, having been a diplomat in the State Department, and it’s just going to be a lot of heavy lifting.” With the CV filed, Tom Slater reminds us, “She is still, believe it or not, less popular than Donald Trump“. If she stands, they’ll be no Democrat in the Oval office in 2021.

Another Clinton. Cameron redux. They never leave. Incidentally, Tom’s post is entitled ‘The New Aristocrats”, which made me think of this. It’s NSFW.

 

Posted: 4th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Predictive Policing perpetuates racism and makes us all suspects

Predpol is, according to it website, “the market leader in predictive policing”. Predpol collects data and uses it to show police where future offences will take place. Crime is contagious, the thinking goes – the same offenders target the same people in the same area. Pump in the bald facts for ostensibly objective analysis and an efficient police service. “PredPol is currently being used to help protect one out of every 33 people in the United States,” says the company. Really? The facts are unclear. But predictive policing is here in the UK.

Predictive police has many fans. Jeff Brantingham, an anthropology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who helped to develop the Predpol algorithm, says: “If you are victimized today the risk that you’ll be a victim again goes way up.” Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, a law teacher at the University of the District of Columbia, warns that “under current Fourth Amendment doctrine predictive policing will have a significant effect on reasonable suspicion analysis”. Lindsey Barrett agrees: “These algorithms have the potential to increase accuracy and efficiency, but they also threaten to dilute the reasonable suspicion standard and increase unintentional discrimination in a way that existing law is ill-equipped to prevent.” It’s not the coppers who are racist; it’s the robot.

If past data is the barometer of future crime, how trusty is that data? For instance, if police spend more time in, say, black neighbourhoods nicking people for weed possession will they just repeat past patterns and mistakes? Can Predpol tell us where most white collar crime takes place and prevent it?

…civil liberties groups and racial justice organizations are wary. They argue that predictive policing perpetuates racial prejudice in a dangerous new way, by shrouding it in the legitimacy accorded by science. Crime prediction models rely on flawed statistics that reflect the inherent bias in the criminal justice system, they contend—the same type of bias that makes black men more likely to get shot dead by the police than white men. Privacy is another key concern. In Chicago, Illinois, one scientist has helped the police department generate a list of individuals deemed likely to perpetrate or be victims of violent crime in the near future; those people are then told they’re considered at risk, even if they have done nothing wrong.

Corey Doctorow took a look:

An anonymous security researcher recently contacted me with what may be a list of Predpol’s customers. This researcher had seen that Predpol assigns easy-to-guess subdomains to each Predpol customer, in the form of CITYNAME.predpol.com, for example, baltimore.predpol.com.

This researcher wrote a script that combined the name of every US city and town with “.predpol.com” and checked to see whether this domain existed. The full list of cities that had Predpol domains is both short and confusing:

longbeach.predpol.com
indianapolis.predpol.com
hollywood.predpol.com
albany.predpol.com
southjordan.predpol.com
berkeley.predpol.com
frederick.predpol.com
baltimore.predpol.com
pleasanton.predpol.com
modesto.predpol.com
tacoma.predpol.com
elmonte.predpol.com
elgin.predpol.com
livermore.predpol.com
reading.predpol.com
merced.predpol.com
haverhill.predpol.com

Predpol itself was tight-lipped in the extreme: they initially ignored all press requests, then sent a terse “neither confirm nor deny” response to my questions about this list. They wouldn’t even confirm whether the login forms at these domains were secure, despite repeated warnings from me that I would be making them public, requesting that they ensure that these forms require strong logins and passwords to avoid exposing sensitive policing data.

Robocop’s watching you. What can go wrong?

 

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the new Wilfried Zaha

When Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha claimed he’d been racially abused, the i paper illustrated the story with a photo of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Maybe the abuse was a case of mistaken identities?

 

 

 

Posted: 1st, November 2018 | In: News | Comment


After Pittsburgh the righteous and fair blame the Jews

After the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, hollow minds scout around for someone to blame. You can blame the web, rabid anti-Semitism now rife in British politics – we’re told never to forget, but it never went away – the prime suspect’s hatred of Jews, Israel (how the righteous and not-in-the-least-bit racist love to apportion collective blame on all Jews for events in a foreign country) and the Chief Rabbi. So here are Jenny Tongue, a member of the House of Lords, and Katie Hopkins, a member of the twitter doghouse, doing there bit for peace and harmony:

 

 

 

Posted: 29th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


‘Disgusting’ and ‘greedy’: what they said about Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Praise for Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Leicester City chairman killed in a helicopter crash. Jamie Vardy, the club’s striker, calls Srivaddhanaprabha the club’s “soul”. “He was a billionaire – a very wealthy and successful man,” said BBC Leicester’s Ian Stringer. “But also so humble and lovely.”

But when he oversaw the “ruthless” (talkSport) dismissal of Claudio Ranieri, the manager who led Leicester to the Premier League title, bouquets lobbed at the great man had thorns to the fore. Picking up on the “wave of shock, outrage and disgust” (BBC) was Gary Lineker, a former Leicester City and England striker now hosting BBC TV’s Match of The Day. He tweeted:

“After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad.”

Daily Mirror columnist and former Leicester player Stan Collymore called it “disgusting”. Beneath the headline “Claudio Ranieri’s sacking was absolutely disgusting – it was modern football in a nutshell”, he opined:

…when Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha did wield the axe on Thursday it was such a joke.

Although, sadly, the act was ­symptomatic of the greedy and ill-thought-out nature of the game. It was modern football in a nutshell…

The fact that Ranieri has been sacked is disgusting, absolutely ­disgusting.

And Ranieri wrote:

“Yesterday my dream died. After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions all I dreamed of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always. Sadly this was not to be. I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester.”

Jurgen Klopp provided context:

“It is not only football. For me there have been a few strange decisions in 16/17: Brexit, Trump, Ranieri.”

The Guardian:

This is the part of the story that shines a light on football’s deceit and two-facedness almost as much as the fact that barely a fortnight earlier, only two days before deciding they had to cut him free, the people in charge at Leicester promised Ranieri their “unwavering support”. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the club’s chairman, and his son, Aiyawatt, clearly find it easier to employ others to carry out their dirty work. Yet, after everything that has gone before, was it really too much to think they might have afforded Ranieri the common decency of a first-hand explanation?

Jose Mourinho added:

“I thought last season, when I was sacked as a champion, it was a giant, negative thing. Now I recognise it’s peanuts compared to Claudio.”

Forbes looks at the money:

In his book The Billionaires Club, James Montague says Leicester’s shock title win in 2016 also helped shield owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha from some of the turbulence of Thai domestic politics. Owning a team in the Championship doesn’t have quite the same effect.

As for now, well, Lineker noted:

“A quiet, unassuming man who will always be remembered with great fondness and respect. He also helped to bring the most magical, miraculous title win in the history of football. Thank you, Chairman for all you did for our football club. #RIP”

It was incredible.

 

 

 

Posted: 29th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment


After Pittsburgh the internet bans Gab

gab paypal medium pittsburgh

 

In response to the massacre of 11 Jews and police officers at the Pittsburgh synagogue, PayPal will no longer be processing payment to Gab. It’s a social network a bit like Twitter. The main suspect in the synagogue shooting, Robert Bowers, operated a Gab account where he displayed the neo-Nazi code-phrase 1488. He told other Gab users that refugees being helped by a Jewish organization were “invaders”, and that he was “going in”. Gab has been called a “hate-filled echo chamber of racism and conspiracy theories” (The Guardian), and a “safe haven for banned Twitter trolls, Gamergaters, Pizzagaters and high-profile white nationalists” (Mic).

PayPal told Gizmodo: “PayPal has canceled the Gab.Ai account. The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions. When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action.”

So long, Gab? The outfit made a statement on Medium:

Gab.com’s policy on terrorism and violence have always been very clear: we have zero tolerance for it. Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence. This has always been our policy. We are saddened and disgusted by the news of violence in Pittsburgh and are keeping the families and friends of all victims in our thoughts and prayers.

Gab’s lament is no longer on Medium. Gab is no longer available – the site tweeted a message saying it web hosting provider, Joyent, has told it to get thee hence. “We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers and several payment processors,” says Gab. Private companies can take money from who they like. That’s free speech.

Gab continued:

“Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people. Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity. Free speech is crucial for the prevention of violence. If people cannot express themselves through words, they will do so through violence.”

People remain free to talk. Radicals will lampoon ideals and gods. Nothing will be beyond criticism, open debate or public ridicule. Gab just needs to find a partner willing to host it. In the meanwhile, the internet, an online version of life you can turn off and on, will continue…

Image: Gab’s now retired logo.

Posted: 29th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


After Pittsburgh Jews advised to build militarised homeland to deter attacks

 

President Donald Trump says mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue would have been “better” if the Jews had been armed.  “They had a maniac walk in and they didnt have any protection and that is just so sad to see,” said Trump. “The results could have been much better.” One day when Jews return to their homeland after millennia of persecution they can invest heavily in the military. Then no-one will be attack them. They will be treated with respect and murderous anti-Semitism will end.

As for now, we’re told that Robert Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue during Shabbat service and shouted “All Jews must die” before shooting dead 11 people sand wounding many more.

“This has little to do with it,” said Trump when asked what role US gun laws played in the massacre. “If they had protection inside the results would have been far better. This is a dispute that will always exist I suspect. But if they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a much different situation. But they didn’t and he was able to do things that unfortunately he shouldn’t have been able to do.”

It’s all too much like when an adviser to Poland’s president said Israel was ashamed “at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.”

Jews have sometimes been described, often for the purpose of assigning blame or inflicting humiliation, as having acted passively in the face of the Holocaust. Key acts of resistance contradict the trope, most notably the Warsaw Uprising of 1943. Smaller revolts took place in death camps, including Sobibor and Treblinka, where starving prisoners without weapons faced heavily armed German guards.

Image: Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944), Camp Synagogue, Saint Cyprien, 1941. (Via)

Posted: 28th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Philip Green and my part in his downfall

Judging by the reaction to Peter Hain’s outing of Philip Green as an alleged sex pest, law matters not a jot – it’s a matter of like or dislike. People who view Green as a bastard deserving of opprobrium will think it good the sitting Lord used parliamentary privilege to repeat the claim the Top Shop boss was using NDAs and big money pay-offs to quieten several members of staff at his Arcadia Group from going public with claims of sexual harassment or bullying.

If you like Green or are indifferent to him, you might be more circumspect, trusting the judges who approved requests for an injunction banning journalists from naming the tycoon or revealing details of those aforesaid allegations more prudent than Hain. You might wonder if being super-rich can be a double-edged sword: sure, you can afford the best legal teams but in the court of public opinion people delight in the worst and are entertained by downfall.

Sky News doorstepped Green in a hot and sunny Arizona. “He’s now miles from parliament,” says the reporter, offering viewers a mix of shock and snark that a billionaire would chose to spend the week at an exclusive resort rather than at a B & B in Bridlington. It’s alright for some, eh.

And what of the alleged offences? An ‘insider’ alleges in the Guardian that Sir Philip gave women lingering hugs, asked if they were “naughty girls”, wondered if they “needed their bottoms slapped”, said a woman “must be a lesbian because no man would marry her”, responded to one woman who asked Green to use her name rather than “sweetheart” by telling her to “shut the f*** up”, and asked an Asian woman if she had been “eating too many samosas”. The Times says it’s been reported that “several” claims reached a settlement of at least £1,000,000. “It is not known if these cases were among the five subject to the interim injunction that kept the billionaire’s identity secret until he was named in parliament by Lord Hain on Thursday,” says the paper. “It is thought a number of the complainants signed non-disclosure agreements.”

Facts are thin on the ground. There are lots of claims and allegations. Green says he’s done nothing wrong, issuing a statement: “I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in parliament. To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful or improper sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations… Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.”

We can wait. And the lawyers can run a tab. Green plans to issue a formal complaint to the House of Lords. “As many people have said,” says Green, “Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgement made by three senior judges is outrageous.” The Times adds more layers of intrigue: “The Labour peer failed to mention that he had worked for Gordon Dadds, the law firm employed by The Daily Telegraph to fight the case. Adding:

The former Tory attorney-general Dominic Grieve said that he was alarmed by the link. “I would make a formal complaint if I were a member of the House of Lords,” he said, adding: “That there is now a suggestion that it might have been in the solicitors’ firm’s interest to do it [reveal the name] rather than a disinterested decision by him [Lord Hain], even if one which I think is completely wrong, makes me even more alarmed.”

Says Green:

“When Lord Hain made allegations about me in the House of Lords … he failed to disclose that he has a financial relationship with the law firm, Gordon Dadds, who represent the Telegraph.

“I have been advised that his actions are likely to have been a breach of the House of Lords Code of Conduct. As many people have said Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgment made by three senior judges is outrageous.

“If he hadn’t read the judgment, on what basis was he apparently talking about it. If he had, Gordon Dadds’ name is on the front page.

“I will be lodging formal complaints with the relevant authorities in the House of Lords.”

Lord Hain and Gordon Dadds deny any wrongdoing. Says Hain:

“I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House of Lords. I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising The Telegraph regarding this case… I stand RESOLUTELY by what I’ve said and neither retract nor apologise for standing up for human rights.”

A spokesman for Gordon Dadds adds – and best to include this because big lawyers can ruin you:

“Peter Hain is a self-employed consultant who provides occasional advice to the firm, relating principally to African affairs. Any suggestion that Gordon Dadds LLP has in any way acted improperly is entirely false.

“Peter Hain did not obtain any information from Gordon Dadds regarding this case. He has no involvement in the advice that we provide to The Telegraph newspaper, and he had no knowledge of any sensitive information regarding this case.”

From dealing with allegations of abuse of power and laws skewed against the little people, we’re all being entertained by the rich and powerful pulling each other to pieces. Meanwhile, the conversation in many households amounts to: if a rich man offered you a £1million quid to not tell anyone he’d committed an allegedly criminal act on your person, would you take the cash? Wonder if anyone’s got any dirt on the Royal Family they’re forbidden to tell us about – are they the only billionaires who never do wrong? And will women now stop spending at Top Shop?

 

 

Posted: 27th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Pipe Bombs, Donald Trump and the surge in Demophobia

The rush to blame President Trump for the nut job posting pipe bombs to leading Democrats has been notable for its haste. Do you really believe that a vote for Trump was a vote for terrorism? Blimey, the man’s a berk possessed of all the diplomatic nous of a puppy sat by a pile of poo, but to jump on the link that banging on about ‘fake news’ and locking up Hillary Clinton leads to acts of potential murder is a leap onto a convenient lily pad.

Did we all rush to blame Islamism for the attacks on Paris, London, Barcelona, Nice, New York, Berlin, Toulouse, Brussels, Manchester and Madrid? The advice after those attacks was to look to ourselves for signs of Islamophobia. It wasn’t the loons we need worry about. The real danger was non-Muslims reacting with phobic-born violence towards Muslim mates, work colleagues, family, nurses, doctors, pot heads, cab drivers, lawyers, postmen, Lords, politicians, waiters, victims of crime, victims of Islamist terrorism and any other Muslims who after mass murder would surely mutate before our lizard brains into the enemy unless we were monitored. After Manchester was attacked, we got candles and pledges to unite and remain united. But after pipe bombs in the post, the message is get Trump because the man on the trigger for millions of dangerous fools.

If you want to politicise extreme violence and terrorism, then allow all terrorism to be openly debated. There have been no renditions of ‘Love is All you Need’ in response to the pipe bombs posted to George Soros, Baraka Obama, CNN and Hillary Clinton. We’re not warned to look out for Demophobia and fight it when he see it. Why? Because it’s safe to attack what we believe we can change. Trump can be undone by linking him to acts of violence, hope his decriers ; but confronting the issues that drive a radical, murderous form of Islam, well, best light a candle, create a hashtag and hope for the best.

Let’s not bury debate and allow the berks and bigots to fill the void. Don’t do it if you want to get rid of Trump and stop empowering the likes of Tommy Robinson…

Posted: 26th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Southampton student leader regrets vow to destroy art painted by Jewish ‘white man’ Sir William Rothenstein

Do we believe in redemption? And is redemption only possible after punishment, preferably one meted out by the court of public opinion, or something more brutal, like ‘Frothing at the Mouth With Rage, of Twitter’? Emily Dawes, student union president at Southampton University, has apologised after she told her twitter followers of her plans to paint over a “mural of white men”. For those of you not paying attention, “white men” is now an insult.

emily dawes

 

The mural Dawes wants destroyed was painted by Sir William Rothenstein in 1916. It’s a memorial to British students who served in the First World War. The Echo tells us the mural “depicts an academic procession and an unknown soldier being presented with a degree”. On planet Student Union, it seems that laying down your life for democracy and positive freedom – freedom to – is a sin if the perpetrators of this heinous act were white men.

 

Ban this sick filth

 

The Times cites another of her tweets:

She posted an image of the mural with the caption: “One of the women just said, ‘It’s nearly Armistice Day so are we covering up this tapestry??’ And Holy Shit. F*** Yes. Grl Pwr.”

A quick note about that swine Rothenstein (29 January 1872 – 14 February 1945):

William Rothenstein was born into a German-Jewish family in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire where he was educated at Bradford Grammar School. His father, Moritz, emigrated from Germany in 1859 to work in Bradford’s burgeoning textile industry…

Rothenstein was principal of the Royal College of Art from 1920 to 1935, where he encouraged figures including Edward Burra, Evelyn Dunbar, U Ba Nyan and Henry Moore. Moore was later to write that Rothenstein “gave me the feeling that there was no barrier, no limit to what a young provincial student could get to be and do”.

 

Jews Mourning in a Synagogue 1906 Sir William Rothenstein 1872-1945 Presented by Jacob Moser J.P. through the Trustees and Committee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in commemoration of the 1906 Jewish Exhibition 1907

Jews Mourning in a Synagogue 1906 Sir William Rothenstein 1872-1945 Presented by Jacob Moser J.P. through the Trustees and Committee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in commemoration of the 1906 Jewish Exhibition 1907

 

An utter swine, then. His works must be defaced and destroyed. And there’s more. The Tate tells us about the panting above – Jews Mourning in a Synagogue:

This is one of eight paintings of Jewish ritual which Rothenstein made over a two year period, following a visit to the Spitalfields Synagogue in Brick Lane, in London’s East End. The artist describes in Men and Memories (II, pp.35-6) how he chanced to visit the Machzike Hadaas Synagogue…

Rothenstein was excited by the unusual scene: ‘Here were subjects Rembrandt would have painted – had indeed, painted – the like of which I never thought to have seen in London … It was the time of the Russian Pogroms and my heart went out to these men of a despised race, from which I too had sprung… Not permitted to draw in the synagogue, which would have been a violation of the Law, and ‘determined not to waste a subject so precious’, he took a room nearby in Spital Square and persuaded some of the men to sit for him. They were initially reluctant, as they feared he might sell the pictures to churches. The first of the paintings Rothenstein made was The Talmud School, 1904. In Jews Mourning in a Synagogue, Rothenstein has perhaps misunderstood the ritual, as Jews would not have been mourning in a synagogue, and the scene is posed in a studio, in any case.

What a nasty sod, eh. My mother’s Sephardi ancestors fled the pogroms in Russia and settled in the East End. Thanks to Rothenstein’s work, I can be transported to that time. Art has power. Great art has presence. Anyone who destroys it is a fool.

Emily Dawes can be forgiven for thinking that in the binary world of identity-driven student politics, where pioneering figures are trashed and their deeds poured down the memory hole, she’d get an agreeable audience when she tweeted: “Mark my words – we’re taking down the mural of white men in the uni senate room, even if I have to paint over it myself.”

After a lot of blowback, Dawes deleted the Tweet and apologised for her words.

“Firstly, and most importantly, I would like to apologise for the offence and upset I have caused with what I have said. I never meant the disrespect to anyone past, present and future. I had no intention of the tweet being taken literally, and upon reflection have realised how inappropriate it was. My intention was to promote strong, female leadership and not the eradication of history. I do not believe that to make progress in the future, we should look to erase the past. Once again, I would like to apologise for the offence and upset I have caused.”

Students, eh, they do go to the school to learn. Ignorance isn’t always bliss…

 

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vows to find Jamal Khashoggi killers

crown prince saudi arabia

 

Good news for police investigating what on earth happened to Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist killed on a visit to the country’s consulate in Turkey. His King’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is on the case. At the so-called “Davos in the Desert” – what is with the rich and extreme climates – getting them used to Hell? – the Crown Prince vowed to get to the bottom of things, possibly by drilling through the spinal column and using a bone saw to reach the insides of the matter before burying the mess in an unmarked grave in, say, a Turkish woodland.

What say the guests at the big do in the sand as the Prince accepted a standing ovation before the great washed?

Some who did attend said they were there just to do business and dismissed the Khashoggi situation.

“It’s just noise to me,” said Michael Slater, who runs the Middle East and Africa investment business for Northern Trust and is based in Riyadh. “The people I need to see are here, and that’s what I care about.”

Meanwhile, in Yemen…

Spotter: Seattle Times via Boing Boing

 

Posted: 24th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The British #MeToo and other #iBelieve witch-hunts

me too NDA

 

The Daily Telegraph has been legally gagged from publishing allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse made against a top businessman. Is that fair? We usually get to know the name of the accused in such case but not the name of the accuser. the BBC once hired a helicopter to get to the accused first. The paper’s story is billed, rather unappealing, as the “British #MeToo scandal”, what many see as a divisive movement, one rooted in sexual misconduct allegations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. It was ‘Time’s Up’ for sexual aggressors – time to divide leering men who use power to abuse, belittle and intimidate women from, well, the rest of us.

The writer Lionel Shriver said #MeToo was “important to begin with to expose some of these real malefactors”, but then as she told an audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival:

“Then it took a turn and suddenly we were talking about bad dates and bad taste or making crass remarks and it trivialised itself and I thought that was really regrettable. I don’t like the feeling that now everyone has to have their story of some kind of terrible sexual abuse in order to be able to have an opinion about any of this stuff. I don’t want younger women to locate their sense of power in their weakness, in their fragility. I think the movement has run its course and we can pretty much call time on it now.”

Whereas feminism was once about women seeking equality and opportunity through their resilience, strength, modern feminism is about seeking victimhood and demanding special zones and rights. Shriver says MeToo encourages women to “locate their sense of power in their weakness, in their fragility”.  She also said: “I am concerned that we are increasingly wont to confuse genuine abuse of power in the workplace with often distant memories of men who have made failed – ‘unwanted’ – passes.”

The Telegraph would love to tell readers the accused man’s name. But maybe not knowing is better than knowing because it allows the Telegraph to make a cause from could otherwise be a good bit of gossip. “The public have a right to know when the powerful seek to gag the vulnerable,” says the paper’s leader. We learn that the accused man spent “close to £500,000 in legal fees”. Who knew that saying nothing could cost so much?

The paper lines up the guns:

A businessman has used NDAs [Non Disclosure Agreements] in at least five instances to pay employees substantial sums to stop them accusing him of sexual harassment and racial abuse. He has used considerable resources to fight disclosure, achieving an interim injunction preventing publication.

Interesting to know what pressure was applied on the alleged victims to take the money? A QC tells the paper: “A lot of claimants are forced to enter NDAs because of the sheer cost and unpredictability of litigation.” To nothing of the huge stress of going to court. But the rich can afford it. So is it one rule for them and another for us?

And what of gender? Christina Hoff Sommers, host of The Factual Feminist noted:

Powerful men are falling left and right – but not because women are second-class citizens. Just the opposite. Girl Power is real. Instead of carrying on about how frightened and degraded we are, maybe it’s time to acknowledge the truth: in 2017, we can destroy almost any man by a single accusation.

To believe the women without thinking and circumspection is surely no good. To call out illegal behaviour by pathetic men is good.

Back to the scoop, then, and there’s an inkling that however much the Tele wants to tell us the alleged cretin’s name, not telling us puts it on the side of the angels:

A High Court judge had refused to grant an injunction. But the Court of Appeal has overturned that ruling and imposed an injunction which remains in place pending a full hearing in the New Year. We have, in other words, been gagged, contrary to the age-old principle against prior restraint of the press. If the businessman had used defamation laws to block publication, he would not have been granted an injunction since this newspaper would have declared its readiness to prove the truth of the allegations.

The paper ekes four more stories from the gagging order: “Schillings: The ‘attack dog’ firm that acted for Giggs, Terry and Ronaldo”; “The day press freedoms received a devastating blow”, “How gagging orders became the MeToo war’s weapon of choice” and “This decision will discourage exposure of oppressive workplace cultures”. A huge deal. Papers need a campaign and the Telegraph has one.

Stop Press – this is important: “it is now illegal to reveal the businessman’s identity or to identify the companies, as well as what he is accused of doing or how much he paid his alleged victims”. How this pans out on twitter and areas outside the judiciary’s control remain to be seen. In 2011, the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming “used parliamentary privilege to name Ryan Giggs as the footballer identified on Twitter as having brought an injunction to prevent publication of allegations he had an affair with a former reality TV star.” They might do it there. But don’t do it here.

The Telegraph says there is “a clear public interest in publishing the claims, not least to alert those who might be applying to work for him.” But innocence is presumed, of course. And if what we read is true, well-fed lawyers working for him were not mired by the accusations. And to repeat this to make it no less true: believe what you like, but innocent must be presumed.

 

Posted: 24th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Julian Cole Truth Campaign: Family want to know who broke his neck?

No criminal charges have been brought in the case of Julian Cole. His family launched the ‘Cole Family Truth Campaign‘ to achieve seven things. All we do know is that Julian Cole’s neck was broken during a night out in Bedford back in 2013. Mr Cole suffered a serious spine injury. He was unresponsive. He went into cardiac arrest. Julian Cole is paralysed. He has brain damage. He lives in a care home because he needs 24 hour nursing care.

 

julian cole

 

The Cole Family Truth Campaign adds: “Julian had suffered a spinal injury called a ‘hangman’s fracture’. This kind of injury, as the name suggests, is associated with the sudden and violent pulling backwards of the head, usually when there is a counter force against the body.” We know he was twice taken to the ground, once by bouncers at a night-club held been asked to leave and was trying to get back into, and once by police officers. Three officers involved in that incident have been sacked after being found guilty by a misconduct panel.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) referred its findings of an earlier investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service, which weight up the facts, such as they were, and decided that no criminal conduct had occurred. IOPC Regional Director Sarah Green told media: “It will never be known exactly how his neck was broken, or if swifter care could have prevented the awful consequences of the break.” Can we guess?

Bedfordshire Police have a report on their website.

Julian Cole suffered catastrophic neck injuries in an incident outside Elements nightclub on 6 May 2013. None of the officers were accused of causing the injuries following lengthy investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC now Independent Office for Police Conduct – IOPC) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

But “lessons have been learned”. Why is that good news or news at all? The rules were in place before the incident.  Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire does on the record:

“At the centre of our thoughts today are of course Julian Cole, his family and friends. This case is an absolute tragedy, which has had a devastating effect on a young man and his loved ones, and we should not forget that.

“That said, there are a number of things to highlight about this case. Firstly, it is entirely right that proper independent investigations were carried out, to collect and review all of the evidence impartially and decide whether there was any criminal conduct, professional misconduct, or any actions which could have prevented this awful situation and, crucially, whether any lessons could be learned to prevent such an occurrence happening in the future.”

An “awful situation”. An unfortunate event.

“This hearing in essence reviewed a seven minute encounter which took place more than five years ago, and I agree with the panel that the length of time the IOPC and CPS enquiries have taken to get to this stage is simply unacceptable to Mr Cole, his family, the officers concerned and the force. On far too many occasions investigations such as these take years to come to a resolution and this cannot be right.”

So lessons were not leaned from the handling of past investigations. Why will this one prove to be any different. Mr Cole is the one person who cannot tell us what happened.

“It is clear that no evidence was found that any of the officers involved were in any way to blame for the catastrophic injuries suffered by Mr Cole. This misconduct hearing focused on the actions of our officers in the care given to Mr Cole and their honesty and integrity in the events following his injury. I apologise that their conduct following the incident fell well short of what we expect at Bedfordshire Police.

“Honesty and integrity is vital in policing. The public should be able trust that officers will always be truthful and open and act professionally at all times. Police officers must display the highest standards of integrity and truthfulness and three of our officers have faced the consequences of being found not to have done that today.”

The CPS put it in 2017:

“CPS lawyers considered charges of misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice and breaches of health and safety law. They have now concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any of the officers and no further action will be taken.”

Cole’s mother Claudia responded:

“Today, I learned the CPS have decided that there is not sufficient evidence to bring any criminal charges against any officer. Their decision makes no sense to me or Julian’s family.  The CPS letter says that the case cannot go ahead because of conflicting medical evidence. But it seems clear to me that, even if it is not possible to say who in the group of people injured Julian, their complete lack of care for his welfare when he was so obviously injured was a criminal offence. I have instructed my solicitors to seek a review of this decision.”

Here are the seven question the Cole family are seeking answers to:

To find out what happened to Julian on 6th May 2013 after he was seized by officers of the Bedfordshire Police Constabulary.

To find out who in particular was responsible for using the force on Julian that caused him to suffer a broken neck.

To see the individual responsible for breaking Julian’s neck held to account in the criminal court.

To see the officers who failed to take basic first aid measures to immobilise Julian’s neck at the scene, or call for an ambulance held to account in the criminal court.

To see the officers who dragged Julian and bundled him unconscious/paralysed handcuffed with his neck unsupported into the back of a police van held to account in the criminal courts.

To see the officer who diverted an ambulance at the scene away rather than calling on the paramedics inside for assistance to be held to account in the criminal court.

To see the officers who attempted to cover up what had happened by falsely alleging that Julian was ‘chatty’ in the police van, and that he had consumed a lot of alcohol, held to account in the criminal court.

The test is simple: would you expect a criminal charge if you tackled a man and his neck was broken? on he Just for Julian website, we’re told that on the night of the incident: “Family informed two bouncers have been arrested on suspicion of assault.” No-one else was. Or how about this: if Prince Harry was taken down twice n night out and wound up in a persistent vegetative state, do you suppose a criminal trial would follow?

It took over five years for part of the truth to emerge. If anything else does happen, once thing is certain: it won’t be quick…

You can help the campaign here.

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Saudi Arabia ‘dressed Jamal Khashoggi look-alike in dead man’s Western clothes’

Did Saudi Arabia use a body double to pose as Jamal Khashoggi, the US-based Saudi journalist last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey around three weeks ago and now dead, presumed murdered? Is this footage of a body double wearing the newly dead man’s clothes?

 

 

And vitally, what does it mean for the moralising West, which can turn a blind eye to mass killing, murderous homophobia, a virulent and open anti-Semitism to which the Labour Party can only aspire, misogyny and slavery, but is aghast at the death of one man ?

For their part – and let’s be fair – the Saudis say Khashoggi was not tortured – did not have had his fingers cut off before being dismembered by a team of Saudi agents armed with a bone saw. He left the place fully intact and in good health, they said. Then they said he perished in a “fist fight”. Khashoggi was at the consulate to finalise his divorce. Those things can be tough, and when the other party’s lawyers look like trained killers, it might be time to let her keep the house and car.

The Saudis reviewed the matter and decided Khashoggi was offed by “rogue” Saudi agents – a hard bunch to find in an absolute monarchy. But thanks to Turkey’s vigilance and Saudi Arabia’s burning desire for justice, 18 men had been arrested in connection with the incident and two senior officials dismissed.  “The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has got a few servants to wash his hands and embarked on an urgent review of Saudi intelligence. He’ll have the report into his actions ready for his own desk to review very soon.

Fingers stuck back on and crossed it can be proven that the Crown Prince is an okay kinda guy. “I would love if [he] wasn’t responsible,” said Donald Trump, showing that he possesses the power to duck the big decisions.

As we await the result of the whitewash, sorry, investigation, into a man’s vanishing, the world’s super-rich are shunning the meeting, the so-called Davos in the Desert which they signed up to when Saudi Arabia was merely killing Yemenis, executing people for such crimes as “incitement to protest”, “chanting slogans hostile to the regime”, “attempting to inflame public opinion” and “filming protests and publishing on social media”, and having lifted the ban on women drivers, arresting the campaigners (aka “traitors”) who campaigned for that very change.

So which side are we supporting: the women and men who want democracy – or the Divine Right of Kings to murder at will in it role as go-ahead partner against Arab nationalism and Iranian power?

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Julian Cole: after five years of waiting police sacked for lying over paralysed man

julian cole

 

Julian Cole was on night out at Elements nightclub in Bedford on May 5 2013. He was 19. Things went badly wrong. Having been asked to leave the club, which he did, Julian Cole asked for a refund. He was refused. He tried to get back into the club. A bouncer ‘took him to the ground’. Police were called. He was then “taken to the ground” – that’s a police term –  by PCs Nicholas Oates, Sanjeev Kalyan and Hannah Ross. Julian Cole was handcuffed with “his face down on the ground”. The three coppers pulled him off the ground and dragged him to the police van.

At the station, Mr Cole was not breathing. Paramedics were called. Julian Cole had a broken vertebra. He is now brain damaged and paralysed.

 

 

Today an independent panel found all three officers guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed them:

The panel found that PC Ross “made up her account” of Mr Cole moving his legs in an “attempt to demonstrate she had taken Mr Cole’s report of neck pain seriously when she had not”. The hearing was also told that PC Kalyan tried to “shift responsibility” over what happened to the student.

He was found to have lied in his statement when he stated that he had heard PC Ross ask Mr Cole if he could move his legs, and that he moved them in response.

PC Oates had also said that Mr Cole had walked to the police van during his arrest, which the panel said he knew was not true.

PCs Ross, Kalyan and Oates “did not ask any basic questions concerning his welfare”. However, the panel added this was “most unlikely to have changed the outcome for [Mr Cole]”…

The panel also said that Sgt Andrew Withey failed to make “any enquiry” when PC Ross asked whether Mr Cole should go directly to hospital or custody, and failed to “react” to hearing Mr Cole say his neck hurt.

A crime? No:

None of the police officers were accused of causing Mr Cole’s injuries and The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no criminal conduct following lengthy investigations…

“Julian Cole was a young athletic man whose life was changed forever. It will never be known exactly how his neck was broken, or if swifter care could have prevented the awful consequences of the break,” Independent Office for Police Conduct Regional Director Sarah Green said.

“The panel today have concluded however that the officers failed in their duty to provide adequate welfare checks, and worse, that three of them were dishonest in how they presented their version of events.

“This dishonesty has only added to the anguish of Mr Cole’s family.”

No crime?

Posted: 22nd, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The Peoples’ March was futile: 700,000 demand the impossible

There’s really only one explanation for the Peoples’ March today in London – an advertising of personal virtue. For absolutely nothing else will be achieved at all, that time and money has been completely wasted.

 

people's march

Big media pretty much ignores the futile march

 

But out they came, to march through the streets of London:

No one knows where negotiations over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union will end up. (Things are not looking great.) But it’s now obvious that no one heading to the polls in 2016 could possibly have grasped the full implications of this misguided decision — and that the British people deserve another say.

That’s not an entirely ridiculous claim. I say this as a committed Leaver too – rethinks are indeed part of responsible governance and democracy. There are two good arguments against another vote though:

Organisers say more than 600,000 people rallied in central London on Saturday to call for a referendum on the final Brexit deal
People’s Vote march: ‘more than half a million’ rally for new Brexit referendum

That’s part of the battle over numbers. Don’t trust that count for a moment:

Protesters seeking a referendum on the final Brexit deal have attended a rally which organisers say was the “biggest” demonstration of its kind.

Young voters led the People’s Vote march to London’s Parliament Square, which supporters say attracted more than 600,000 people.

MPs from the main parties backed the event calling for a fresh referendum.

This is something which has already been ruled out by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The People’s Vote campaign said stewards on the route estimated 670,000 were taking part.

Scotland Yard said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd.

No, really, do not believe that number.

Still, why shouldn’t we?

The first reason is that we’re British dammit. It’s the Europeans, the continentals, who keep having referenda about the European Union until the proles vote the right way. As was done in Ireland, France, Denmark. Admittedly, that’s an argument unlikely to find favour with those who like the EU.

So, the killer one. We’re out the door on 29 March next year. The deal, whatever it is going to be, is not finished yet. Reasonable people – that is others than me – think it might actually get sealed on March 28 at 11.59 pm. But even if it were sealed today then what?

British law insists that there be a 6 month run in to a referendum. Which is, of course, what a peoples’ vote is.

Our own laws say that we cannot have a Peoples’ Vote therefore. So why were half a million people pissing away their Saturday?

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Police escape and race riots averted as Huddersfield rapists jailed

At Leeds Crown Court 20 men have been found guilty of raping and abusing 15 girls as young as 11 in and around Huddersfield between 2004 and 2011. One of their victims had the mental age of a seven-year-old. Who are the criminals? We’ll get to that, just as soon as the BBC has told us their nicknames, like “Dracula”, “Bully”, “Beastie” and “Nurse”. The ringleader was Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, a married father of two. He’s starting a life sentence. He’ll be in prison for a minimum of 18 years. The other child rapists “are all British Asians mainly of Pakistani heritage”, says the BBC.

 

 Amere Singh Dhaliwal

Amere Singh Dhaliwal

 

Deeper into the BBC story we get to the police. One victim told police: “Every time I went out something bad happened. I risked my life every time. I was a mess.” Another escaped only by moving home, saying: “It was the best thing I ever did, and that’s bad saying that burning your house down is the best thing you ever did.” How did police view the victims – as fair game? As someone once said of teenage girls: “If you think they’re doing it, they’re doing it.”

So after the stories of rapes and abuse by men mainly of Pakistani heritage in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, Derby, Banbury, Telford, Peterborough, Aylesbury, Bristol, Halifax, Keighley, Newcastle we get to Huddersfield. Is that the end of it?

 

Top row left to right: Amere Singh Dhaliwal (Pretos), Irfan Ahmed (Finny), Zahid Hassan (Little Manny), Mohammed Kammer (Kammy), Raj Singh Barsran (Raj). Bottom row left to right: Mohammed Rizwan Aslam (Big Riz), Abdul Rehman (Beastie), Nahman Mohammed (Dracula), Mansoor Akhtar, (Boy) and Mohammed Irfraz, (Faj). Photograph: West Yorkshire police/PA

Top row left to right: Amere Singh Dhaliwal (Pretos), Irfan Ahmed (Finny), Zahid Hassan (Little Manny), Mohammed Kammer (Kammy), Raj Singh Barsran (Raj). Bottom row left to right: Mohammed Rizwan Aslam (Big Riz), Abdul Rehman (Beastie), Nahman Mohammed (Dracula), Mansoor Akhtar, (Boy) and Mohammed Irfraz, (Faj).

 

And one question pervades all others: why didn’t the police and authorities act sooner? The BBC’s Home Editor Mark Easton has a theory:

The grooming gangs of provincial England tend to operate where the disinfectant of public scrutiny struggles to reach – poorer neighbourhoods on the edge of town, around the mini-cab ranks and fast food joints, the twilight zones of urban life.

Public scrutiny wasn’t needed. Local media might have got wind of something ill, but local newspapers are dying. The BBC has reach and resources but it missed the scandal as it failed to notice its in-house paedophile Jimmy Savile, preferring to focus on innocent men with higher profiles. So what then of the local child minders, councils, schools and police? Huddersfield is not hundreds of miles from civilisation. Oxford is no cultural wasteland. Easton adds:

Child abuse thrives in such dark corners, where people look the other way, not asking questions or following concerns because the subject matter is uncomfortable and scrutiny is potentially damaging. But when we look, we find.

 

Top row left to right: Nasarat Hussain (Nurse), Sajid Hussain (Fish), Faisal Nadeem (Chiller), Mohammed Azeem (Mosabella), Wiqas Mahmud (Vic). Bottom row left to right: Manzoor Hassan (Big Manny), Niaz Ahmed (Shaq), Mohammed Imran Ibrar (Bully), Asif Bashir (Junior) and Mohammed Akram (Kid).

Top row left to right: Nasarat Hussain (Nurse), Sajid Hussain (Fish), Faisal Nadeem (Chiller), Mohammed Azeem (Mosabella), Wiqas Mahmud (Vic). Bottom row left to right: Manzoor Hassan (Big Manny), Niaz Ahmed (Shaq), Mohammed Imran Ibrar (Bully), Asif Bashir (Junior) and Mohammed Akram (Kid).

 

This was child rape on a huge scale. It wasn’t behind closed doors, within the family, where child abuse can go undetected. This was on the street. People knew. Did the wives of these men suspect? If every time we look we find, as Easton says, why don’t “we” look more often? Or is it that the “we” – police, social workers and other State employees – are scared of what “we” might find? Are they less bothered about the rule of law and teenage girls being abused than they are scared of the white working class, a group the State views as a race riot-in-waiting? So crime is allowed to fester. One rape become countless rapes. One rapist tells his friends the fun he’s having, and a gang is formed. So who suspected and knew, and why was nothing done earlier?

During the trials, the court heard girls would be driven up to remote moorland late at night and abandoned if they refused the men’s sexual demands. A sheep farmer told the BBC how he found distressed girls on the doorstep of his isolated home on a number of occasions…

At house parties, girls would be plied with alcohol and drugs before being sexually abused “one by one” by the men, sometimes without contraception.

The court heard they were abused in cars, car parks, houses, a snooker centre and a takeaway, often with other defendants and fellow victims watching on.

And now the hammer blow:

Victims and their families said they repeatedly told West Yorkshire Police what was happening but no arrests were made until years later.

Who police’s the police? Drive over the speed limit, smoke a joint or fail to pay your TV licence and the law is all over you. Rape a vulnerable child and, as is alleged, the police ignore it. Why?

Detective Chief Inspecor Ian Mottershaw tells one and all:

“The investigation into this case has been extremely complex and the investigative team have worked tirelessly for the past five years to ensure that no stone has been left unturned. We welcome the convictions and sentences which have been passed down throughout the year to these depraved individuals, who subjected vulnerable young children to unthinkable sexual and physical abuse.”

But the victims’ families say the police knew. Now the police tell us how hard they worked. But did they listen?

Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield, nails it: “Let’s be honest: no-one, local authority leadership, police, many of the people that should have been taking this more seriously earlier did not. But also, what happened in Rotherham and the publicity of Rotherham galvanised the action.”

So this is huge news, right? Wrong. Only the Guardian leads with the story. It mentions the men’s ethnic heritage only once, in paragraph 18. The paper quotes Judge Geoffrey Marson QC we’re told:

“Amongst the aggravating factors are that these girls were young when the abuse started, they were targeted because of their extreme vulnerability. They were threatened and intimidated and plied with drink and drugs often to insensibility and often in order to facilitate sexual abuse. These were planned offences by a large group of Asian men.”

But as with the BBC’s report, there is space to mention the criminal actions of Tommy Robinson, former leader of the anti-Islam English Defence League. The BBC injects its report on depraved criminality to tell readers:

In May, the former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson was arrested for reporting on the case live on Facebook during the second of the trials.

He was jailed for contempt of court but his conviction was quashed because of a number of procedural errors. He faces a fresh hearing in relation to the alleged breach.

Anyone doing what Robinson did would have been arrested. As Luke Gittos notes:

The men he targeted are entitled to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Robinson was not arrested because of what he said. He was arrested because of when and how he chose to say it…

Free speech is too important for us to allow it to be consistently warped and slandered by both left and right. Free speech is about allowing a free and unhindered exchange of ideas. But, at the same time, we must recognise that the reason Robinson has a career is that we have become overly sensitive as a society to the kind of arguments he makes. He is a product not of too much free speech, but of too little. His arrest is not symbolic of a state conspiracy to shut him up. But it is at least connected to our continuing discomfort with discussing certain ideas.

Which brings us to how so many vulnerable children came to be raped by so many men over such a long period? Were certain lines of investigation taboo? Was there a cover up? In the absence of transparency and honesty, censorship grows, legitimate concerns are sidelined and damned; conspiracy theories fester, seeping to the surface.

There are no race riots. Huddersfield is not an outpost of the Fourth Reich. Trust us with the truth. We can handle it.

The Criminals:

Amere Singh Dhaliwal, 35, of Holly Road, Huddersfield, guilty of 54 counts, including 22 counts of rape, sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years

Irfan Ahmed, 34, of Yews Hill Road, Huddersfield, guilty of one count of sexual assault and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to eight years

Zahid Hassan, 29, of Bland Street Huddersfield, guilty of six counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual assault, one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, two counts of child abduction, two counts of supplying class A drugs sentenced to 18 years

Mohammed Kammer, 34, of West View, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 16 years

Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, 31, of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 15 years

Abdul Rehman, 31, of Darnely Drive, Sheffield, guilty of supplying a class C drug, one count of rape, one count of assault and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to 16 years

Raj Singh Barsran, 34, of Caldercliffe Road, Huddersfield, guilty of rape and two counts of sexual assault, sentenced to 17 years

Nahman Mohammed, 32, of West View, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to 15 years

Mansoor Akhtar, 27, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to eight years

Wiqas Mahmud, 38, of Banks Crescent, Huddersfield, guilty of three counts of rape, sentenced to 15 years

Nasarat Hussain, 30, of Upper Mount Street, Huddersfield, guilty of three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, sentenced to 17 years

Sajid Hussain, of 33, of Grasmere Road, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape, sentenced to 17 years

Mohammed Irfraz, 30, of North Road, Huddersfield, guilty of child abduction and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, sentenced to six years

Faisal Nadeem, 32, of Carr Green, Huddersfield, guilty of rape and supplying class A drugs, sentenced to 12 years

Mohammed Azeem, 33, of Wrose Road, Bradford, guilty of five counts of rape, sentenced to 18 years

Manzoor Hassan, 38, of Bland Street, Huddersfield, guilty of administering a noxious substance, inciting child prostitution and supplying a class A drug, sentenced to five years

Mohammed Akram, 33, of Springdale Street, Huddersfield, guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation and awaiting sentencing

Niaz Ahmed, 54, of Woodthorpe Terrace, Huddersfield, guilty of sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and awaiting sentencing

Asif Bashir, 33, of Thornton Lodge Road, Huddersfield, guilty of, rape and attempted rape and awaiting sentencing

Mohammed Imran Ibrar, 34, of Manchester Road, Huddersfield, guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation and assault and awaiting sentencing

Posted: 20th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Brexit 1 Nick Clegg 0: Facebook seduces Mr EU to Leave for California

See ya, Nick Clegg. The man who wants a second EU referendum in the hope the great unwashed will vote for the status quo has opted to leave for the US, where he’ll work for Facebook. The former Deputy Prime Minister is now Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications.

On Facebook, natch., Clegg told us: “Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl [Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg] over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large.”

A journey…to Luxembourg to pay less taxes? Clegg continues his travels into X Factor speak:

“I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey. Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Instagram are at the heart of so many people’s everyday lives – but also at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society: the privacy of the individual, the integrity of our democratic process, the tensions between local cultures and the global internet, the balance between free speech and prohibited content, the power and concerns around artificial intelligence, and the wellbeing of our children.”

Maybe. Or you could just, you know, disable the app? Life will go on. But Clegg’s already at work, it seems, assuring us that Facebook is life itself. It’s not a company geared to make money from a leisure activity; it’s part of who we are.

 

nick clegg facebook

 

He adds: “I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions – not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organisations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.”

Or as he put it in a 2017 column: “Other critics of Silicon Valley are just plain disingenuous: traditional newspaper groups vilify social media companies for scooping up the lion’s share of advertising revenue. What do they expect? Social media companies – notwithstanding their occasionally pious New Age slogans – are profit-making companies, not charities.”

Good job he’s gone for the betterment of humankind and not the money.

Spotter: Financial Times 

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Technology | Comment


Brexit 1-0: mature student waves adieu to insignificant Englanders

Warned of impending doom, dropping off a “cliff” and “crashing out” of the European Union, it’s a relief to see the rosy-fingered dawn breaking in the Guardian, which reports, “Top linguist: ‘I’m leaving the UK because of the disaster of Brexit’.” Alex Rawling was 27-years-old when he was named the UK’s “most multilingual student” in 2012. He’s taking his mastery of 15 language and moving to Barcelona. “Just booked a one way flight out the UK,” said Rawling on Twitter in English. “Not an easy decision to leave family and friends behind, but there’s a bad atmosphere in the country and I need to get out.”

Ta-ra, Alex. The Observer sees him off. “This whole country is on the brink of the worst disaster since the second world war, and everyone is just sipping coffee, going about their daily business as if nothing is happening,” says Alex, who is “half-Greek”, but not the half, perhaps, vigorously shafted by the EU.

“One of the things I was always most proud of in the UK was that this is a place where anyone can belong, which is an amazing achievement,” he continues.” That is now being threatened by the populist rhetoric of politicians and the laziness of the media in not challenging it.” So he’s taking his dictionaries to live in Catalonia, a part of Spain where lots of people campaign for the right to protect their wealth from the tentacles of austerity the EU’s technocrats enforced on the country.

Says Alex by way of a parting shot: ““I have huge faith in the people of the UK to sort this out eventually. It will take a generation… and in the long term, it will be good for the country to realise its own insignificance.” Anyone else think that last part would sound better in German?

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: News | Comment


Fugitive Daley Smith lets Madeleine McCann do his PR

Daley Smith is getting to be quite famous. On the run from police, Daley Smith has now upped his game by comparing his escape to the police search for Madeleine McCann. On Facebook, Smith says he’s going to throw a party when he reaches the milestone of 100 days at large. It’s been 88 and counting. But this is about the media’s favourite missing child, and the Sun says, “Smith has sparked fury with his sick posts about Madeleine McCann”. Do we need to hear the man’s sickness?  Apparently, yes. He is “claiming: ‘It’s my personal opinion that her mum and dad covered the whole thing up’.” If the police don’t get him, doorstepping journalists, internet trolls or the McCanns’ lawyers might. (Just to state: the McCanns are not suspects.)

And now he’s added to the sickness with a poem:

“Cheshire police have got more chance of finding Madeleine Mcann [sic], I may as well be in Japan, they’ve even been harassing my nan, but everything hasn’t gone to plan. They’ve fucked with the wrong man, I feel like Peter Pan. So far I don’t know how far I’ve ran, but it’s been mad since this Journey began.”

Daley, who has been charged with possession with intent to supply class B cannabis and concerned with the supply of cocaine, according to police, seems fully aware of how using Madeleine McCann can further his own career, such as it is. Last night his account featured this ‘sick joke’:

 

daley smith mccann

Speech bubble ours

 

That message was posted after Smith found a message from someone claiming to represent ‘Kennedy News’. All the photos in the Sun’s story carry the ‘Kennedy News and Media’ watermark, which seems odd given that you can see the same images for free on Facebook.

 

daley james sun maddie mccann

 

Madeleine McCann is missing. Daley James Smith is in the papers, on tour and on Facebook.

Posted: 18th, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment