Anorak

News | Anorak - Part 19

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Madeleine McCann: a bride of Christ, an old story and grief recast as a mental health issue

No word on Madeleine McCann in any of today’s printed tabloids. But there is is news on the web. Following the non-news that the Met might or might not seek money to continue Operation Grange, the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, the Express online delivers: “Madeleine McCann’s father reveals mental health battle in HEARTBREAKING interview.” As ever it was, the Press are watching the parents.

Madeleine McCann’s father will speak about the grief and depression he faced over losing his daughter in a heartbreaking interview on Radio 4, in a bid to remove the prejudice men face when talking about their feelings.

What prejudice? No TV or radio show is complete without a man crying, whether it be over a DNA test on mid-morning telly or a well-baked cake on prime time. “I decided it was a good opportunity to say something about the special bond between fathers and daughters,” says Gerry McCann, “thinking that speaking openly might help other men in similar positions. It feels like the right time.” Fir enough. But isn’t there is a special bond between men and their children, regardless of gender. The sane can surely sympathise with parent whose lost a child, but why is this news? Someone from the BBC explains:

“We look at Gerry’s experiences, his thoughts and feelings, and the wider context in society of mental health issues surrounding a loss. Susan Roberts, our producer, has already interviewed Gerry over the past few weeks, it has been recorded and we are now doing the final edit. It’s very emotional and helps get across the point of view of mental illness associated with a loss or bereavement of a family member or friend, that there is no stigma in men opening up and discussing emotions with someone is important. In our show there is a parallel between the poem of a father’s loss and the real life experience, reflecting the two.”

Eh? Grief and loss is now a form of mental illness? It’s not a human reaction to loss. It’s a treatable condition. As for the tosh about men not emoting and expressing themselves, how may poems has the producer ever read? What about books, films, music and art? Did women write them all? As for facts about the missing child, we’re told: “There have been 8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine in 101 countries, but all of them have been ruled out.”

 

 

Pearl poem

 

Over in the Mail, where the BBC press release is an “exclusive”, we learn:

He will be interviewed by poet Simon Armitage on a special Radio 4 show: Pearl: Two Fathers Two Daughters. The show will weave together two voices of grief: Mr McCann’s and that of an anonymous poet from 600 years ago who laments the loss of his daughter in a poem entitled Pearl.

Mr Armitage, who wrote a poem to mark the 1,000 days of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, has written a new translation of Pearl. We don’t know who wrote the original version about the loss of a child and her father’s pain. The New Yorker reviewed the poem steeped in New Testament imagery and numerology in 2016. In one scene her father sees his lost daughter as the bride of Christ:

In the poem, the narrator visits the spot where a pearl once slipped from his grasp and got lost among “Gilofre, gyngure, & gromylyoune, / & pyonys powdered ay bytwene” (“ginger, gromwell, and gillyflower / with peonies scattered in between”). Swooning into unconsciousness, he comes to in a dream, in a place he has never been before, where cliffs split the sky (“ther klyfez cleven”). Across a river, he sees his pearl again, but now the “perle” is no mere thing—she is a young girl, richly arrayed in an elaborate outfit covered in pearls. Pearl also seems to be her name, or at least it is how the man addresses her: “ ‘O perle,’ quod I . . . ‘Art thou my perle?’ ” In reply, she calls him a jeweller, and he refers to her as a gem (“ ‘Jueler,’ sayde that gemme clene”).

Overcome with joy at finding his lost pearl, and unable fully to understand the complicated things she says to him, the dreamer plunges into the river to swim toward her. He is desperate to “swymme the remnaunt, thagh I ther swalte”—to swim across, or die trying. This angers the ruler of the celestial land, called the Prince: the dreamer does not belong there. He is flung out of his dream as punishment. He wakes up, and the poem ends with a short meditation on the glory of God, and then the words “Amen. Amen.”

The child in Pearl is dead. We do not know what happened to Madeleine McCann, save for her vanishing.

On a final note the Mail tells us:

The doctor’s new-found openness to help others cope with loss comes after Prince Harry, now Duke of Sussex, spoke about his struggles with mental health in a groundbreaking podcast interview on May 2017 with the Daily Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon for her revered ‘Mad World’ series. The young royal spoke openly about bottling up his emotions and being unable to grieve for years after the loss of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.

From Princess Diana to Madeleine McCann. When private grief became celebrity mourning.

 

Posted: 17th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment


Police investigators need to be whiter than white in deciding if ‘whiter than white is racist’

Is “whiter than white” racist? Moreover, does saying “whiter than white” make you a racist? A senior Scotland Yard policeman who used the phrase “whiter than white” in an internal briefing to colleagues is being investigated. Surprisingly, the copper was not being sarcastic when he said police carrying out inquiries needed to be “whiter than white”. He did not tap his nose. But someone didn’t like it. They complained to the Met. And the Met being scalding hot on all kinds of thought crimes, passed it onto the police watchdog for investigation.

The senior copper is now on restricted duties while the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigates the matter. It can take anything up to 12 months. They should then investigate why Star Wars baddies are on the ‘Dark Side’, how Labour “whitewashed” it’s antisemitism and how Snow White was a bigot.

The IOPC states: “I can confirm that as part of Operation Embley into allegations of serious corruption and malpractice within the Directorate of Professional Standards a notice of investigation has been served on an officer informing them we are investigating the alleged use of language deliberately intended to offend and that had racist undertones. A notice is issued to inform an officer at the earliest opportunity following an allegation and to safeguard their interests. It in no way indicates that misconduct proceedings will take place.”

Operation Embley is being called the “largest police corruption inquiry since Operation Countryman in the late 1970s”, which wanted it so that the Met “catches more crooks than it employs”.

The Times explains:

Three Met whistleblowers have approached the IOPC to allege that the unit, known as the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS), has shielded police officers who faced allegations of child abuse, grooming, fraud, physical assault, racism — and, in the case of one police officer, intentionally driving a motorcycle into a member of the public.

Senior Met sources said the DPS had long been suspected of covering up corruption in an attempt to protect colleagues and prevent reputational damage to the force.

The investigation, codenamed Operation Embley, will attempt to bring successful prosecutions in the murkiest area of policing, popularised in the BBC drama Line of Duty.

If we trust no-one and everyone is a suspect, are we pulling up an armchair and wondering why the “whiter than white” case is news now, when the investigation began in June? Is the aim to present us with the most absurd case and thereby ridicule the whole thing? If it is like Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty, whose writing the script..?

Posted: 17th, September 2018 | In: News | Comment


Millfield boys suspended for thrashing boys’ naked bottoms with a cricket bat

Is this why so many top cricketers have been to public school: they’re taught them to keep their eye on the balls from an early age? To Millfield school in Somerset, where two pupils have been suspended, accused of hitting younger boys in the boarding houses about their bare bottoms with a cricket bat and a belt. Teachers no longer engage in six-o-the-best caning. But many were sad to see the practice go, including, as is alleged, some of the student body.

Erica Charles, a mother of three sons from Berkshire, has removed one of her sons, Tok, just a week after he started at Millfield this month. “If this was a teenager who beat another with a bat on the streets of London,” she says “he would be heading for borstal. These are not rituals wealthy boys have to go through in boarding schools to become men. These are damaging and violent experiences.”

And the beating?

Tok allegedly recorded the assault. The Sunday Times, which has heard the recording, says the lads were offered a “choice”: “two lashes on the [boxer] shorts” or “one on the bare backside”. Tok is worried about being seen as a grass. So he left, and his mum and dad spoke to the papers.

“The door was closed in each year-10 bedroom, and several boys from older years crowded into the room to watch. One of the victims said he couldn’t sleep until 2am and another woke up with blood on his sheets. It seems to have been some sort of ‘initiation’ ceremony into the boarding house. Out of 12 year 10s, we believe nine were whipped, with three new boys left out [Tok was one of them].”

According to the school’s website, Millfield “has gained an international reputation for sport”, including, as is alleged, some blood sports.

PS: The school’s response: ‘thank **** it’s not about the drugs and what really goes on.’ No, only joking:

 

millfield spanking
PPS: As for the sporting element to this story, Millfield was created in 1935 by Jack Meyer, a former Somerset cricketer. In the school’s early says, legends has it that pupils were admitted if they could catch a cricket ball thrown at them from behind his desk. Millfield is a school more tuned to brawn than brains.

Posted: 16th, September 2018 | In: News | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn sells Jews a dog covered in feathers

Just bought a new dog. It quacks a lot, waddles and is scared silly of pancakes and plum sauce. A Jewish neighbour popped over and said my dog was a duck. But the man at Jeremy Corbyn Dogs assured me it is a pedigree hound. And if Corbyn says the feathery quaker is a dog, it’s good enough for me. Which brings me to what else Corbyn says, chiefly that he’s not an antisemite and is, moreover, a “militant” enemy of Jew hatred. He knows what antisemitism is better than Jews. And there isn’t any in his Labour Party.

Some will debate this, of course. But they cannot see that anti-Semitism is a mere distraction. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, told a fringe event at the TUC conference that the weird accident of Corbyn finding himself stood alongside Holocaust deniers, Jew killers and Jew haters, gaining endorsements from Nick Griffin and David Duke, and his inability to notice that a massive mural he liked depicting hooked-nosed bankers sat on the backs of their myriad victims was anti-Semitic could be parts of an Israeli plot to smear the Labour leader. As Serwotka said: “One of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party.” Not content with running the media and the banks, and embodying Nazism, those Jews are now after the moraliser-in-chief: Jeremy Corbyn.

Vote Jez, then! You’d be quackers to let the bigots win!

 

JEREMY CORBYN IS UNFIT TO BE PRIME MINISTER

 

 

But author Howard Jacobson thinks “Jeremy Corbyn is Unfit to be Prime Minister”. This is the speech he gave to the debate organised by Intelligence Squared.

Something tells me you’re expecting me to call Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite. There’s been a bit about it in the press, and I… well, you know…

But I’m not going to call him anything. He says he isn’t an antisemite, Hamas says he isn’t an antisemite, the white supremacist David Duke says he isn’t an antisemite, and that’s good enough for me.

Am I being ironical? Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m incapable of irony.

We know what an antisemite look like. He wears jackboots, a swastika arm-band, and shouts Juden Raus; Jeremy Corbyn wears a British Home Stores vest under his shirt and is softly spoken. Antisemites accuse Jews of killing Jesus; Corbyn is an atheist and seems not to mind if we did or didn’t. Whether that’s because Jesus was Jewish and killing him meant one less Jew in the world, is not for me to say. And – and – he doesn’t deny the Holocaust…

Mind you, he knows a man who does. In fact he knows a surprising number of men who do. That he denies ever having been in their company – until photographs turn up of him rubbing noses with them at the gravesides of mass murderers, offering to show them his belief systems if they’ll show him theirs – ‘Gosh, they’re the same size!’ – should come as no surprise. You can’t spend your whole life in the company of blood-libellers and holocaust-deniers and expect to remember them all by name.

If I may quote from Oscar Wilde’s missing play The Self-Importance of Being Jeremy- ‘To associate with one antisemite you don’t know to be antisemitic, Mr Corbyn, may be regarded as a misfortune, to associate with antisemites on a regular basis looks like a predilection.’

Look – when I think of the scoundrels I’ve hung around with, I know how easy it is to get people wrong, even when they turn up to meet you wearing hoods and holding burning crosses. And Jeremy – is it OK if I call him Jeremy? – has never exactly been what you’d call observant.

Take that mural he championed, showing bankers playing Monopoly on the naked backs of the world’s oppressed. You and I, ladies and gentlemen, would look at those greedy, grasping, hooked-nosed, syphilitic, Zionistic financiers and recognize them at once as straight out of the Julius Streicher I-SPY BOOK OF JEWS. But so innocent of antisemitic caricature is Jeremy, that he didn’t see anything remotely offensive. “I didn’t look closely,” he explained later. How many times does he have to say it, for God’s sake! I might have been there but I don’t think I wasinvolved. I don’t remember… I didn’t look closely….

If this reminds you of those who lived downwind of the chimneys of Bergen Belsen claiming never to have smelt anything out of the ordinary, I say you have suspicious natures. Corbyn is a busy man. Busy men must take emotional shortcuts. There’s an image of a bloodsucking Jew. It’s identical to the image of the bloodsucking Jew I already carry in my head. Snap!

Could there, I wonder, be such a thing as an inadvertent antisemite? Jeremy claims to be a peace-maker. A peace-maker brings warring parties together. Why then do we only ever see him taking Palestinians to tea? Could it be that he just can’t remember to ask the Israelis? “Oh, bugger, I’ve forgotten to invite the Jews again.”

Unless – perish the thought – it isn’t peace he wants after all, but the triumph of those he calls comrades and the destruction of those he doesn’t.

According to his supporters, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. Just a question, but what is racist bone and how do you know whether another person has one? There are 64 bones in the human arm alone. Can one be absolutely certain that Jeremy doesn’t feel even the tiniest twinge of bone ache, somewhere between the scapula and the humerus, when he sees an alien figure such as I am, coming towards him on Islington Green, carrying the collected speeches of Benjamin Disraeli and humming My Yiddishe Mama?

And what are we to make – speaking of Corbyn’s unconscious – of his inability ever to disavow antisemitism without reminding us of his lifelong opposition to all forms of racism? Which is like answering the question ‘Are you a wife-beater?’ with an assurance that you always buy The Big Issue.

Because antisemitism isn’t quite a racism. It’s closer to a superstition: embedded in theology, shrouded in medieval irrationality, updated to suit leftist economics, and exhumed whenever a single explanation for all the evils of the world is sought. To talk of antisemitism as a racism is a contradiction in terms for Jeremy Corbyn, since in his eyes Jews are neither downtrodden nor exploited but are – as usurers, colonialists and conspirators – the very source and fount of racism themselves. Once hold Jews to be racist, and Zionism a racist endeavour, then no antisemite can ever be a racist himself. And any definition that says otherwise must be amended.

That’s the psychology: now the science. Corbyn’s political life has been determined by Newton’s First Law of Inertia which states that an object at rest will stay at rest, forever, as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it. In physics the something that might push or pull at it is another object in motion; in socialist politics it is a view contradictory to your own. Corbyn averts his face whenever he hears the word Jew, and rolls his eyes whenever he is asked a question, because he fears the chaos, otherwise known as a change of mind, that might ensue from accepting there’s another way of looking at the world.

I will spend my remaining seconds – I don’t mean in life, I mean of this speech – telling you why it matters to everyone, not just Jews, that a man so spiteful, sanctimonious and obdurate should never be allowed to do to the country what he’s been doing to his party.

Those who revere Corbyn see it as a virtue that he has never changed his views. Mr Chairman, it is only a virtue to stay faithful to one’s views if those views are worth staying faithful to.

To persist in a small erroneousness is the mark of a fool. To persist in a great erroneousness is the mark of a dangerous fool. The ideology in which Corbyn has been pickled for half a century was outworn by the time it reached him. It oversaw the death of millions. That the ideologies he opposes have scarcely done any better is not an argument for his. You don’t have to love the West to refuse the embraces of those whose sole ambition is to blow the West apart … especially if you want to call yourself a pacifist.

This should have been a golden summer for Labour. The nightmare that is Brexit, the hell that is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the out-of-season pantomime that is Boris Johnson – from all these Labour ought to have delivered us. But Corbyn did as much as anyone to make Brexit happen with his feeble non-support for Remaining – “I’m seven, erm, seven-and-a-half per cent in favour.”

That was one to get us to the barricades. The wrong man – ladies and gentlemen – the wrong man at the wrong time espousing the wrong causes.

I am nothing if not fair: people who are limited in everything but the pleasure they take in themselves are ten a penny in all political parties; they haunt the peripheries, like ghosts-of-the-Christmases-they-don’t-believe-in-past, backing losing causes, throwing tea parties for murderers, and looking saintly. Mr Corbyn’s misfortune was to be lifted from those peripheries, and dumped haplessly in the centre.

Not just for our sake but for his, will someone please have pity and dump him back.

Or maybe you’re going to vote for Corbyn, reason that Jew hatred is no big deal. Really..? You’re going to do that?

 

Posted: 14th, September 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Madeleine McCann: Could, May and Perhaps rejoin the hunt

Madeleine McCann is back in the news. And it’s all abut the money.

The Metro tells us that the “hunt for Maddie McCann has cost £11600000 so far”.  Not quite. That’s what Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange has cost. The Met’s investigation into the vanishing of Madeleine McCann began in 2011. Before that Portuguese police were investigating the case of the British child who went missing on the Algarve in 2007.  That wasn’t without cost. And there was the private investigation funded by well-wishers and run by Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The headline figure is wrong. But, then, the story isn’t about the missing child; it’s about us and if British readers can turn her into a talking point. Is she worth it?

The Metro oozes: “Speculation is growing into whether UK police will stop the hunt when the funding ends as no request for more cash has yet been made.” Who is speculating? Hopefully you are. And hopefully tomorrow you’ll tune in for an update on the single thread story spun out of control by a voracious media.

No news on the money means the story has been kickstarted as far afield as New Zealand, where the Herald announces: “Hunt for Madeleine McCann may end within three weeks.” When the word “may” appears in a headline you know your story is in trouble. But she was spotted “in a New Zealand supermarket”, so maybe the story is local to New Zealand after all?

She’s also been spotted in:

Canada,ItalySwedenPortugalSpainMoroccoMajorca,BelgiumBosniaFranceAustraliaBrazil,Wales, MaltaItalyGermanyAustralia, France, IndiaDubaiDorsetUSA and New Zealand (by boat).

In the Daily Record, readers are told: ‘Kate and Gerry McCann have vowed “the search will go on” for their missing girl amid reports police could shelve their hunt.’ Could. Or could not. An unnamed source tells us:

“They will never stop looking for Madeleine or hoping that one day she will be found. More than 11 years on there is still no evidence to suggest that she is dead or has been harmed. If the police search comes to an end, there are other avenues to explore. They have carefully managed the money in Madeleine’s Fund for that eventuality. Whether they choose to employ private investigators or go down another route is something for them to decide.”

To recap: There is no news.

Posted: 13th, September 2018 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: more police, more PR and more money or else

maddie mccann madeleine mccann

 

Stories on Madeleine McCann stories can be divided into two files. There’a huge fat as a skyscraper file marked “Speculation”. And there’s another very slim file marked “Facts”. In this second file are two sections: a) ‘All We Know’ – which can be distilled into the single thread ‘child vanishes; and b) ‘Fees’. Today’s Star leads with news that “MADDIE COPS” are ‘demanding’ more cash in their hunt for the missing child. That police want money is less surprising than a puppy sat beside a pile of poo, but to the Star news that the police would like more cash (not less -shocker!)  is a “reveal” – one right up with the reveal that Sooty did not grow Harry Corbett out of his arse.

We read the usual facts: the Met Police’s investigation into Madeleine McCann has cost “the taxpayer” £11m. We’re hard-pressed to think of any police investigation not funded by taxpayers, but the fact remains unchanged. The story continues on Page 9, where we are told “WE CANT GIVE UP NOW”. If not now, when? NEVER! Not until the mystery is solved. A spokesman for the police says “the investigation continues and we are in dialogue with the Home Office over more funding.”

Back on page 6, Miss McCann is the lead concern in the Star’s editorial column. Point one: does she still sell papers? Point 2: “Police must be given more funds in their search or Madeleine McCann.” Which brings us back to point one, which must be a big ‘YES’ or at least ‘Maddie outsells Brexit’. The paper reasons that the Met’s investigation has found “no definitive answers”. Isn’t an undefined answer just a guess? We are then invited to emphasise with Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The editorial ends: “Someone out there knows what happened to Madeleine and they must be tracked down.” Unless she wandered off and fell down a hole. Can anyone prove that she didn’t?

The only other national newspaper to deliver news on Madeleine McCann is the Express, which tells readers on page 7: “McCanns vow to keep hope alive as Madeleine hunt set to run out of cash.” The parents not the child are the story’s central thrust. They face the “daunting” prospect that the Met’s Operation Grange will end in three weeks – the last tranche of cash is said to run out on September 30. As readers try to work out why this is news – the Home Office tells the Star police have yet to appeal for any more cash – the Express quotes one Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s spokesman. He talks about the money, which is “entirely” a matter for the Met and the Home office. He then says “Kate and Gerry will not be making any comment”. But he might. As might an unnamed “source” who says the investigation running out of cash is a “daunting prospect”.

Madeleine McCann is missing – and there is no news. There are no suspects. If you think you know what happened to her, don’t guess here. Call the police.

 

 

Posted: 12th, September 2018 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Labour: When is it right to vandalize a Holocaust memorial?

When is it right to vandalize a Holocaust memorial? Having debated the meaning of anti-semitism and if calling Jews ‘Nazis’ is righteous, Labour Party delegates will most likely be debating Jews and the Holocaust when Ewa Jasiewicz, 40, addresses a meeting of pro-Corbyn group Momentum at this year’s Labour Party conference. She’s earmarked to speak about the future of trade unions at a festival organised alongside Labour’s AGM.

Jasiewicz is the Times‘ “Warsaw ghetto vandal”, a British anti-Israel activist who decorated the site where 92,000 Jews were corralled and killed and from where a further 300,000 were sent to death camps. In 2010 Jasiewicz and Yonatan Shapira thought it wise, considerate and fair to daub the words “Liberate all ghettos” and “Free Gaza and Palestine” on one of the Warsaw ghetto’s original walls. They are quoted as having said Israel had “co-opted” the Holocaust to serve “agendas of colonisation and repression”. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance centre, said the graffiti was “tainted with anti-semitism”. More condemnation follows. It is a “new low”.  “This is exactly the kind of obsessive anti-Israel hatred and abuse of the Holocaust that is central to Labour’s problem of anti-semitism,” we read. A survivor of the ghetto, tells readers: “I too am critical of my government. Gaza is certainly not a likeable place. But to compare it to the Warsaw ghetto is the height of folly. I know .. I was there.” No word of support and praise for the graffiti is given. But Momentum clearly has no problem with it.

One day on and the Times has more Ewa Jasiewicz news: ‘In 2002 she called for “activists” to “do” the Israeli parliament or “a sophisticated politician bump-off” rather than targeting Israeli civilians. At the time Ms Jasiewicz was living in Jenin, in the West Bank.”

In a 2,700-word dispatch at the height of the second intifada, Ms Jasiewicz wrote that the son of the family she was staying with “went and opened fire on some Israeli civilians in a market somewhere a few months ago”, adding: “I don’t get why activists can’t go and do the Knesset [Israeli parliament] or something, or do a sophisticated politician bump-off like the PFLP?”

Ms Jasiewicz says her remarks were made “in a private email which ended up being published on the PalSolidarity website in 2002 as was the case at times with emailed reports on Israeli occupation activity back then”. Private emails are private. She calls her remarks “flippant”. And that’s an important thing: if you can’t say stupid, ugly things in private, when can you say them? She adds: “I do not and never have, advocated the harming of anybody and this was definitely not the intention of the comment in the email. I apologise for any harm or upset this has caused and I ask people to understand it in the context that it was written, both as a flippant comment in a private email and under conditions of a violent occupation.”

So how did the other big newspapers cover this story? The Guardian: not a word. Daily Telegraph: zippo. Daily Mail: nada. Is it because Ewa Jasiewicz doesn’t matter, her being just another social justice warrior with a media profile? One Times columnist offers a reason:

Where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour differs from almost all other major parties is that it now has supporters instead of spokesmen. The latter are diminishing, shrinking, dissolving away… The trouble, at least for Labour, is that their rise coincides with the near absolute evaporation of anybody else who might appear in public and make a coherent, Corbyn-friendly case about almost anything.

Which reminds me: anyone seen Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary? What is her view on Israel? Or is she just hoping nobody will have time to ask her if enough cheap to hire, mouthy and monocular pundits who aren’t standing to election can fill the media with their to-deadline chatter? that question to you, Owen Jonezzzzzzz…

Posted: 11th, September 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Couple harvest dead son’s sperm to create grandchild

This will strike some as remarkably disgusting, even perverse. A couple lost their son in a car crash so they “harvested” his sperm in order to create a grandson for themselves. Certainly we’d expect there to be calls that they can’t do that – despite the fact that they obviously can. What is meant of course is that they shouldn’t be allowed to do that but then perhaps they should. You see, to have grandchildren is to win.

 

widow-uses-husbands-frozen-sperm

 

Thus this is a story of someone winning:

A wealthy British couple have created a “designer grandson” using sperm taken from their dead son, it was claimed yesterday.

Yes, this is indeed winning. For details you could read the work of Charles Darwin and the like but it’s simple enough. The aim and purpose of life is to have children which go on to have children:

The couple were left devastated after their only child was killed in a motorcycle crash and seemingly ended their chance of becoming grandparents.

But the pair, who are in their 50s, were reportedly desperate for an heir decided to harvest the 26-year-old’s sperm, which was frozen and exported to the US, bypassing strict laws in the UK.

Their grandson is now three and is believed to be living with them in Britain in a case that highlights ethical and legal concerns.

Well, yes, ethical and legal concerns. That’s the voices of those who insist that they shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Who wish to, insist upon, imposing their own morality on the lives of others:

Professor Allan Pacey, a former chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: “If the son in this case wasn’t being treated by a clinic, and had not signed the necessary consent forms for the posthumous retrieval, storage and use of his sperm, then a criminal act has probably taken place.

“The clinician who extracted the sperm is in breach of the law as is the facility which stored and exported the sample.”

Well, yes, except for that winning by the grandparents. That aim and purpose of all life being exactly that, to reproduce in a manner that leads to the next generation doing so and thereby becoming those grandparents. So, despite the difficulties here they’ve done that, they’ve won that life lottery.

The only pity here being that British law, for some unknown reason, would deny them that ability to produce the life which carries them on into perpetuity.

Posted: 11th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Apple Already Manufactures In The US

Donald Trump is insisting that Apple should move its manufacturing over to the United States. The problem with this being that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Apple already does its manufacturing in the United States. Calling for Apple to do what Apple already does isn’t all that useful. What’s being missed is that Apple only assembles equipment in China. And that’s of trivial value so we don’t care where it is done:

Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that Apple should make products in the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.

The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed tariffs would affect prices for a “wide range” of Apple products, including its watch.

Apple’s AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies if the current package of $200bn in tariffs goes ahead as expected in the coming days.

The usual point of trade is to make us better off. So, if having tariffs to block trade makes us worse off – which is what price rises do – then why are we having tariffs? Well, the correct answer is because the President of the United States doesn’t understand this.

But why would we want to do that?

The thing is that Apple already, pretty much, makes things in the US. What it doesn’t do is assemble them there. So, take an iPhone, say it costs $800. About 40% of that – $320 – is pure profit to the company. That’s added in Cupertino in California – yes, the recent tax changes mean that it is, not Bermuda, not Ireland. The expensive parts of the kit itself are the processors and the screens. The screens are made in Taiwan or Japan and no one else in the world knows how to make them – not even Apple. The processors are made in Texas.

All that’s left is the cheap stuff – a few wires etc – and the assembly. And we know how much that costs, about $10 per iPhone. And that’s the bit that’s done in China too. In terms of who adds the value and where then Apple already manufactures in the US. The only bit that’s done in China is that $10 worth of sticking it altogether. And why would we care at all where $10 of an $800 piece of kit is done?

As we started out saying Donald Trump doesn’t understand trade. His ideas about Apple just show this.

Posted: 10th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Technology | Comment


Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds are cosier than an otter’s pocket

carrie symonds boris

 

News that Boris Johnson has been named an “adulterer” in divorce papers comes as a shock to anyone who wakes each day, quints at the sun and asks, ‘What the bloody hell is that?’ To the Sun Johnson’s penile adventures are an alliterative tale of of ‘Bonking Boris”, a “long-suffering wife” called Marina Wheeler and 30-year-old “Tory aide” Samira Mohammed. No, only joking. The alleged other woman is called Carrie Symonds, and she’s not wearing a burqa because we can see her face on the Mail’s front page.

In the Sun we see photos of Johnson in his garden. He’s drinking from a mug – a metaphor perhaps – and looking “grim-faced” at his phone. Both pictures are credited to Simon Jones, aka “Sun photographer Simon Jones”. Might they, you know, be staged? “Explosions aside, Boris is still The One,” states Trevor Kavanagh three pages on in the paper., not exactly discounting the idea that the Sun is presenting the philanderer in a good light.

The photos also appear in the Mirror, but it’s main thrust is not into Carrie Symonds, but Johnson’s Mail on Sunday column in which he said Theresa May had “wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution” and handed the trigger to Brussels. A few Tory MPs are lined up to say how revolting that is. Amid the “fury” the Mirror says it asked one Tory MP “if Mr Johnson had put a bomb under Mrs May’s leadership”. I see Tory MP Tom Tugendhat’s horrific tale of a suicide bomber who maimed and murdered many in the courtyard of his office in Helmland, and notice the bomb detonated below then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which killed five Tories, including one MP, and permanently disfigured many more.

But what’s that? “Show us the totty!” Ok. The Mail obliges with five phots of Symonds – a “fun-loving blonde”. She is “glamorous” – and what more speaks of glamour than shagging Boris Johnson; maybe finding a pre-loved glamour magazine in a bush? – a “Tory party cheerleader”who tweeted as her name rode high on the news cycle: “Sea otters have the thickest fur of all animals.” To say nothing of their pockets – an otter’s pocket being something Johnson finds irresistible.

 

Posted: 10th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Iran’s fascination with local Enfield politics makes Joan Ryan a star in Tehran

How a reporter from Jew-baiting, Israel hating, Iranian propaganda channel and Jeremy Corbyn’s former paymasters Press TV managed to live tweet Labour’s vote of no confidence in Jew friendly Joan Ryan, Enfield North MP and chair of Labour Friends of Israel is down to “infiltration” says the Telegraph.

 

Joan Ryan Iran Labour Press TV

 

You might suppose the story would mention not only the Press TV hacks in the Labour members-only room defying a ban on media reporting but also Yasmine Dar. She’s just been voted onto Labour’s NEC, the governing body of the Labour Party. Dar, a councillor in Manchester, came first in the vote with an impressive 88,176 votes. As reported, she’s attended an annual celebration of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in Manchester. One Times writer notes:

Her speech was followed by a Q&A in which a rather notorious British academic carefully explained, among other things, that Hillary Clinton was a Zionist warmonger and that “80 per cent of the American media is owned by the Zionists”. Dar seemed to be sitting in the front row for this and there was no sign of dissent.

But, no. The Telegraph makes no mention of her. Beneath the headline: “Iranian activists infiltrated Labour and were able to vote in pro-Israel MP’s no-confidence ballot” – this infiltration was presumably facilitated by the cunning plot of joining the Labour Party and voting democratically – we get the facts.

 

 

Ryan tells the Telegraph: “I’m horrified that they’ve infiltrated the Labour Party in this way and I think it needs to be investigated, because it is incredibly serious. I’m proud of my values, and I don’t expect to be the toast of the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime.”

 

jeremy-corbyn-press tv

‘Press TV – First for Jews’

 

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, thinks it “impossible to fathom” how Press TV got in. “This disorder makes a farce of the proceedings and is not how the modern Labour Party should conduct its affairs.”

 

 

The proceedings were nasty. The farce comes from banning the media. When pretty much everyone smart phone and a Wi-Fi signal, why bother? Let them film. Why should only Iranians desperate for party political news from Enfield get to see  the show? One source in Enfield said a few years ago only 15 or 20 people would have tuned up to such meeting; now it’s anything from 200 to 80million. She might not be famous in Edmonton, but Ryan is a mega star in Tehran. Allow for an ad break, and Enfield could be coining it in.

David Baddiel wonders what if Israeli media and not Press TV had been there:

 

 

Ha. Silly stuff. As Jeremy Corbyn knows, “Israeli media is always in the room.”

Posted: 8th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


The Archbishop Of Canterbury is wrong: higher taxes don’t make people happier

There was a time when to become the Archbishop of Canterbury one had to be a decent, if not good, religious philosopher. This clearly isn’t the case today as Justin Welby is a retired oil company executive among other things. And on current evidence not a good logician at all.

For he’s claiming that higher taxes will make us all happier. No, that’s really not the case at all:

Raising taxes will make people happier, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said at the launch of an IPPR report.

Speaking as the think-tank launched its report about finance and inequality on Wednesday, Archbishop Justin Welby said that prosperity was driven by wellbeing as well as income.

He suggested that higher taxes could fund the improvement of the environment and culture, which could improve overall happiness.

That’s an absolutely vital point being missed here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a fundamental rethink of how the economy works, including more public spending and higher taxes on technology giants and the wealthy.

In an interview with the BBC to mark the launch of a major report by the Commission on Economic Justice, of which he is a leading member, Archbishop Justin Welby said the present economy was “unjust”.

It is possible that a larger state will make us happier, that more government spending, more of the economy being disposed of by government, will make us happier. I think it’s unlikely, you might think it’s a great idea or not, but that’s not the same as saying that more tax will make us happier.

As it happens the taxation level is the highest, as a portion of the economy, that it has been for 49 years. If it were true that more taxes will make us happier you might think we’d have voted for them by now. But even that’s just an observation, not a failure of logic.

Taxes are, of course, the cost of gaining all those other lovely things. And we all prefer to have lower costs even while we’ll also argue for greater benefits. That’s why it’s always a shout for them over there to be taxed to pay for something nice for me over here, isn’t it? Further, we’ve even proof. Do all people pay all the taxes they should do because that makes them happier?

Err, no, there’s tax evasion and tax avoidance all over the place, isn’t there? Thus paying more tax doesn’t make us happier, does it? Given that at least some are willing to risk jail not to pay more tax we’d rather have to assume that more tax makes at least some people very unhappy indeed.

So, no, the Archbish fails basic logic, doesn’t he?

Posted: 8th, September 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Free speech loving Labour purges Israel supporters and censors the media as Joan Ryan is voted down

The purge is underway. As Jeremy Corbyn is labeled an anti-semite and the party twists and turns over its attitude towards Jews, Labour Party members called for a vote of no confidence in Labour MP Joan Ryan, The Enfield North MP, who just so happens to chair Labour Friends of Israel. She has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism in the ranks.

She lost the vote. Ryan called the 94-92 result “hardly a decisive victory”, adding in a statement: “It never occurred to me that Trots Stalinists Communists and assorted hard left would have confidence in me. I have none in them.”

Later she tweeted: “I fought the hard left to a virtual draw… This was about anti-Semitism in the Labour party and those of us who have stood by the Jewish community and said ‘enough is enough’. I made no apologies last night for that and I make no apologies now.”

Joan Ryan statement

You can see the vote on Press TV, which filmed and live tweeted the vote. Press TV is the Iranian State broadcaster banned from broadcasting in the UK since 2012. On it you used to be able to watch such presenters as George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley (this might be her discussing an anti-semitic mural with Corbyn) and, of course, Corbyn, the Labour Party leader who reportedly received up to £20,000 for appearing.

 

 

Siddo Dwyer, chair of the Enfield North CLP,  plans to lodge a complaint against Press TV. He says: “No press was allowed to be in that room, nor members of the public, or registered supporters, you had to be a fully paid up member of the Labour party. Photo ID was taken as well as Labour party cards. Everyone was checked and double-checked, but the process isn’t bullet proof.”

Perhaps the Press TV reporter is a Labour Party member? After all, it only cost £3 to join, and look at the mayhem you can cause.

And isn’t banning Press from political meetings foolish? It’s almost impossible to implement. But Labour HQ showsw us its clean hands and says: “Filming of local Labour Party meetings is not permitted, and Enfield North will be reminded of this fact.” Only a few days ago, Labour was stating its commitment to ‘free speech’. Admittedly, it was hard to hear the noble cry over Corbynistas calling for Israeli musicians, speakers, actors, artists, medics, scientists and politicians to be no platformed.

 

Meanwhile, here’s an argument for an uncensored media from Press TV. See if you can spot the lie:

Posted: 7th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Labour updates Macpherson: hating Jews doesn’t make you a racist

If you can be an unwitting racist, is Jeremy Corbyn’s obsession with Jews and his friendships with those who want them dead a hate crime? Is Corbyn’s Labour Party institutional racist? In 1999, the Macpherson Report into the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence by a racist gang and the botched police investigation left us with two legacies. First we got to know what is meant by ‘institutional racism’. Sir William Macpherson defined it:

“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

And in that we got the second legacy: you could be an ‘unwitting racist’. If the injured party thinks it’s racist, then it is racist. Anything that happens to an Asian person, say, can be self-defined as racially motivated. Lord Macpherson demanded that police mark a crime as racist where the incident “is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person, rather than their own conclusion”. The result is that anything can be racially motivated if you think it is. You can have racism without racists.

If racism can be unwitting, perhaps we’re all racists and at some point become “infected” by racist thoughts? Racism was recast as no longer being about real power and police; it became subjective, a study in what lurked within individuals. The State was in the clear. Don’t look at the police. Look at yourself and investigate your fibre. Racism became a moral matter. Depressing stuff, for sure. To see racism everywhere and in everyone and everything was a low view of humanity. And it stuck.

Which brings us to anti-Semitism. Labour is all for unwitting racism – but not if you’re a Jew. Labour has after much agonising adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s international standard definition of antisemitism. Try not to call Zionists – people who believe in a Jewish homeland – Nazis (a conniving slight of the lowest stripe) or label Israel a “racist endeavour”. Labour noted that it’s decision must not “undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of the Palestinians”. Labour loves freedom of expression so much it wants to make misogyny a hate crime, punishing people for what they think.

It’s odd, no, how racism has caveats when it’s about the world’s one Jewish state but for everything and everyone else it can be assumed. Corbyn had wanted to include a 500-word explainer to one and all – including you Jews – that it must not be “regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact”. He’s never said that about any other country. Israel is exceptional. It’s backers – oh, those shadowy ‘Zionists’ who run the media and the banks (whoever can they be talking about? clue: ask the Jew haters) – are uniquely barbaric. Even after the Holocaust, Jews never learn.

So Corbyn sought a definition of antisemitism that allows people to be antisemitic and get away with it. While other minorities gets to see racism in everything, Jews are not allowed to see racism in anything – even when it’s staring them in the face.

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


BBC reporter demands people stop using Instagram, Facebook and their phones to look at the BBC

“How do you deal with smartphone ‘zombies’?” asks the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. You mean people like Mhairi McFarlane (@MhairiMcF), who responds: “What’s wrong with looking at your phone? I have £500 worth of computer in my pocket containing all my friends and the sum of human knowledge but I’m supposed to prefer what, small talk with random johnnies?” Not talk. Listen. Sorry. LISTEN!

The Vine show’s judgemental man at large is Tim Johns who under his @timoncheese handle tweets: “Here is how I spent my morning: using a megaphone to heckle members of the public for having their heads buried in their phones.”

To which my response is: ever been punched?

Johns is wonderfully lacking in self awareness. He says the people with their faces “buried in their phones” are “completely oblivious to the fact I’m walking around with a big microphone”. Tim, mate, they’re not. They’ve seen you. It’s not the 1950s or Wrexham, when and where you’d cause quite a stir. To wit, the first pedestrian (only three are recorded – and one of them’s a Cabbie) he gets to speak with is an Australian woman. There will be emails home.

Johns is a middle-aged man in central London looking to annoy people minding their own business. He’s more in common with a chugger than a happening. He also has a megaphone slung from his neck “to keep them safe” lest they step out into the road and be killed, or not pay him a blind bit of notice. Give it up Instagram and Snapchat – real narcissists have old media credentials. “Life is more important than Facebook,” Johns chides one stranger. But Facebook might be more important than the BBC.

 

Posted: 6th, September 2018 | In: News, Technology, TV & Radio | Comment


Jed Mercurio’s Bodyguard harks back to the Johnson Dick affair

When not giving the ‘go‘ for an innocent man to be shot dead on the London Underground, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick is on the PR trail. Last week Dick popped up on Good Morning Britain, the televised middle-class coffee morning, to discuss, among other things, Jed Mercurio’s BBC thriller Bodyguard.

Dick mistook fiction for fact, praising the show’s “senior” females as “role models”, who are, er, actors working to a script. A woman playing a top copper with five lines on the show is not the actual superior to the lower rank plod who plays the show’s star, the actual Bodyguard.

Cressida did, however, manage to say the show was “ridiculous”, turning off as soon as sexual signals were exchanged between the protector and the protected – in the show the Home Secretary and her Bodyguard shag. But is it so far fetched? No.

 

 

In 2011, the BBC reported on a real-life matter:

A police bodyguard to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has been sacked after an inquiry into an alleged affair with the Labour MP’s wife.

PC Paul Rice, 45, was dismissed by the Metropolitan Police, which condemned him for damaging its reputation.

Mr Johnson quit as shadow chancellor in January as allegations surrounding the affair became public.

The Dick and Johnson Affair – not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Salisbury poisoning madness: Russian spies made getaway on Southwest trains Sunday service

petrov boshirov moscow poison

 

The suspects in the Salisbury Novichok poisoning case are two Russian nationals called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. They are straight out of central casting. Theresa May says the mean are Russian spies.

The Met police says there is “sufficient evidence” to charge Petrov and Boshirov with the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal hi,s daughter Yulia and Det Sgt Nick Bailey in March. Although Petrov might not be Petrov and Boshirov might not be Boshirov – chances are the middle-aged men were using aliases.

If the men are in Russia, the UK will rely on good will and a sound sense of right and wrong for the Russian authorities to send the men here for questioning. The Russian foreign ministry has seen the news and responded by shrugging and saying the suspects “do not mean anything to Moscow”.

 

petrov boshirov moscow poison

Petrov

 

But they do mean something to the families of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, who fund a vial of ‘perfume’ in a charity bin around 8 miles from Salisbury and tried it on. The liquid in the perfume bottle labelled Nina Ricci Premier Jour perfume was Novichok. Ms Sturgess died. Mr Rowley was hospitalised.

The Metropolitan Police said the two men had arrived at Gatwick Airport from Moscow on 2 March and stayed at the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London.

Both travelled on passports issued by the Russian government.

From there, they travelled to Salisbury on 4 March where Mr Skripal’s front door was contaminated with Novichok.

Officers believe a perfume bottle was used to spray the door.

 

petrov boshirov moscow poison

 

And here’s an oddity:

Dame Sally Davies, the head of Public Health England, said that the wanted pair used the London Underground, Aeroflot flights and the South Western rail service.

Can you think of less reliable way to get around the UK if you’re on mission to assassinate someone? The Skripals were found poisoned on March 4 – a Sunday. Yeah, the caper rested on the getaway driver being a south-west trains operative. Daring stuff…

Timeline (via):

They arrived at Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday 2 March, having flown from Moscow on an Aeroflot flight.

It is believed that they travelled by train into London, arriving at Victoria station at about 5.40pm.

They then travelled on public transport to Waterloo station and then travelled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London, where they stayed the night.

On Saturday 3 March, the two men left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at 11.45am. They then caught a train to Salisbury whey they arrived at 2.25pm.

Police believe this visit was for “reconnaissance of the Salisbury area”.

The two men left Salisbury at about 4.10pm and arrived back in Bow in east London at 8.05pm.

On Sunday 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at about 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.

CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and police believe that they contaminated the front door with novichok.

They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo station where they arrived at about 4.45pm. They then boarded the London Underground to London Heathrow airport at 6.30pm.

From Heathrow airport, they returned to Moscow on an Aeroflot flight, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday 4 March.

One rail replacement service (aka: the bus) and the whole thing would have been scuppered.

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


Peak Guardian: fight fatphobia and why being unhealthy is deadly

guardian fat

 

The Guardian’s cover is a thing of wonder – the wonder being did anyone read it before going to print? Having invited readers to “fight fatphobia – ten ways to do the right thing” (well, if it’s a phobia, you should seek therapy or avoid the fat let you feel physically ill), the Guardian tells readers that “unhealthy lifestyles put four out of five adults at risk of an early death”. You’ve got a problem that need fixing if you look at someone whose obese and think them unhealthy – but don’t worry because 80% of them should die before you.

True enough being fat was once a sign of being jolly; whereas now you’re a victim and scourge of the NHS. But the juxtaposition of those competing headlines is dire. An it’s underpinned by those ‘Ten Ways’, including: “A fat activist once said clothing was the alphabet we used to express ourselves – and fat people have fewer letters.” What about XXXXL?

Oh, read it all if you must. But the pick is people praising others for their weight loss:

Make it a rule not to use language that focuses on your own or others’ weight. We have no idea what someone is going through, whether they are dealing with body shame or trying to heal from an eating disorder. When we stop using this kind of language altogether, we create an environment in which people of all sizes can coexist without a sense of weight surveillance.

More evidence of abuse are restaurants which don’t offer “sturdy chairs without armrests”, undoing the myth that the “proximity to fatness bears the threat of contamination” and a medic dishing out “medical discrimination” who failed to spot a fat woman’s cancer (Note: I wasn’t fat when five doctors missed mine.)

 

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


In full: David Remnick’s memo to New Yorker staffers about the Steve Bannon interview

This is David Remnick’s memo to New Yorker staffers about the decision not to interview Steve Bannon at the magazine’s yearly festival. Remnick is the magazine’s editor who intended to interview former Breitbart Media chairman, former Trump aide and former chief White House strategist Bannon before a live audience at a festival of ideas. Remnick had “every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation”. Even if thrice-divorced Bannon is yesterday’s man, it sounds great. I’d never heard of the Festival before now but count me in.

But other notable guests – Jim CarreyJohn MulaneyPatton Oswalt and Judd Apatow – said they’d withdraw unless Bannon was given the elbow. The New Yorker’s Kathryn Schulz  tweeted: “I love working for [the New Yorker] but I’m beyond appalled by this … I have already made that very clear to David Remnick. You can, too.” She provided a New Yorker email address.

To which Remnick said: screw you. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let’s expose the enemy with our wit and democratic values. It’s a Festival of Ideas not a bloody dinner party. And in any case, it’s rude to invite someone and tell them they’re not wanted. Nah. He kiboshed the whole thing.

So Bannon wins. He might have been irrelevant, an opportunistic rabble-rousers, but now banned he becomes a man of substance. And he’s issued a statement: “The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation. In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”

 

Steve_Bannon_new yorker

 

THE MEMO:

In 2016, Steve Bannon played a critical role in electing the current President of the United States. On Election Night I wrote a piece for our website that this event represented “a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.” Unfortunately, this was, if anything, an understatement of what was to come.

Today, The New Yorker announced that, as part of our annual Festival, I would conduct an interview with Bannon. The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him. Some members of the staff, too, reached out to say that they objected to the invitation, particularly the forum of the festival.

The effort to interview Bannon at length began many months ago. I originally reached out to him to do a lengthy interview with “The New Yorker Radio Hour.” He knew that our politics could not be more at odds — he reads The New Yorker — but he said he would do it when he had a chance. It was only later that the idea arose of doing that interview in front of an audience.

The main argument for not engaging someone like Bannon is that we are giving him a platform and that he will use it, unfiltered, to propel further the “ideas” of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and illiberalism. But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism’s leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity. Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we’d be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism. Early this year, Michael Lewis interviewed Bannon, who made it plain how he viewed his work in the campaign. “We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall,” Bannon said. “This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” To hear this was valuable, as it revealed something about the nature of the speaker and the campaign he helped to lead.

The point of an interview, a rigorous interview, particularly in a case like this, is to put pressure on the views of the person being questioned.

There’s no illusion here. It’s obvious that no matter how tough the questioning, Bannon is not going to burst into tears and change his view of the world. He believes he is right and that his ideological opponents are mere “snowflakes.” The question is whether an interview has value in terms of fact, argument, or even exposure, whether it has value to a reader or an audience. Which is why Dick Cavett, in his time, chose to interview Lester Maddox and George Wallace. Or it’s why Oriana Fallaci, in “Interview with History,” a series of question-and-answer meetings with Henry Kissinger and Ayatollah Khomeini and others, contributed something to our understanding of those figures. Fallaci hardly changed the minds of her subjects, but she did add something to our understanding of who they were. This isn’t a First Amendment question; it’s a question of putting pressure on a set of arguments and prejudices that have influenced our politics and a President still in office.

Some on social media have said that there is no point in talking to Bannon because he is no longer in the White House. But Bannon has already exerted enormous impact on Trump; his rhetoric, ideas, and tactics are evident in much of what this President does and says and intends. We heard Bannon in the inaugural address, which announced this Presidency’s divisiveness, in the Muslim ban, and in Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville.What’s more, Bannon has not retired. His attempt to get Roy Moore elected in Alabama failed but he has gone on to help further the trend of illiberal, nationalist movements around the country and abroad.

There are many ways for a publication like ours to do its job: investigative reporting; pointed, well-argued opinion pieces; Profiles; reporting from all over the country and around the world; radio and video interviews; even live interviews. At the same time, many of our readers, including some colleagues, have said that the Festival is different, a different kind of forum. It’s also true that we pay an honorarium, that we pay for travel and lodging. (Which does not happen, of course, when we interview someone for an article or for the radio.) I don’t want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I’ve ignored their concerns. I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind. There is a better way to do this. Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.

— David Remnick

Bannon should write Remnick a thank you note for making him ‘great’ again.

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


Lana Del Rey cancels Israel but lines up shows in BDS friendly Syria

Bad news, pop fans. Lana Del Rey will not be headlining the Meteor Festival in Tel Aviv. She can’t make it because the venue, Kibbutz Lehavot HaBashan, is in Israel and she been cowed by activists and censors working for the quintessentially white, middle-class Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Del Rey did say, “performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there”, adding that “singing in California” does not equate to a support for the government there either. But according to the BDS lobby, Israel is a case apart from all other countries. Del Rey was free to play in Madrid, and thus support the government’s attacks on Catalan separatists. But Israel is out. Israelis – Arabs, Christians and Jews –  are forbidden from hearing Del Rey sing live in a socialist idyll. She tweets:

“It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally. Unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to line up both visits with such short notice and therefore I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival until a time when I can schedule visits for both my fans, as well as hopefully other countries in the region.”

As her managers looks at venues in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the totalitarian, racist hellhole that is Dubai (fly direct from Gatwick), we wonder about the lack of Western campaigns for equal rights in any of those countries. Don’t those Arabs trapped in fascist kingdoms deserve freedom and an alternative to absolute monarchism, misogyny, the persecution of homosexuals and marginalisation of ethnic minorities? Or do they target Israel because unlike lobbying to stop gays from being executed in Iran, demonising Israel might actually get results. Those uniquely barbaric Jews are more likely to listen.

Posted: 3rd, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Unisex changing rooms are dangerous- Chesterton’s Fence again

A new report shows that unisex changing rooms are dangerous. Or at least claims that they are. Which brings us to an important philosophical concept, Chesterton’s Fence. The point being that if we see something then, before we decide to sweep it away, we’ve got to work out why that thing as put there or done in the first place. Only once we’ve worked out that original motivation can we think on whether it is still needed or not:

Unisex changing rooms are more dangerous for women and girls than single-sex facilities, research by The Sunday Times shows. Almost 90% of reported sexual assaults, harassment and voyeurism in swimming pool and sports-centre changing rooms happen in unisex facilities, which make up less than half the total.

Gender-neutral changing is growing as councils seek to cut staff costs and cater to transgender people. But one MP said it risked becoming a “magnet” for sex offenders and increased the danger to women and girls.

GK Chesterton pointed out that if you’re out walking in the countryside an you see a fence, well, you might well think that it doesn’t need to be there, tear it down. This may or may not be an error. In order to work this out you’ve first got to consider why was it built in the first place? Only once you’ve done that can you then go on to think about whether that original reason still holds, still justifies it:

Just under 90 per cent of complaints regarding changing room sexual assaults, voyeurism and harassment are about incidents in unisex facilities.

Hey, maybe we care more about being gender neutral than we do about complaints of sexual assaults. Thus that original reason for the segregation – it being a reasonable enough assumption that it’s going to be men preying upon women – no longer holds.

The point being that whether or not we have gender neutral or segregated bathrooms is a decision we can and should take. But we do need to understand why they were originally set up segregated. Only once we’ve one that can we decide as to whether that reason still holds. No, I dunno either but there’s near no one recommending unisex who seems to have considered the point at all.

Posted: 3rd, September 2018 | In: News | Comment


Police Taser gives boy a heart attack in Coventry

In the US they still kill prisoners by electrocution.  The last use of the chair was on January 16, 2013, when Robert Gleason, Jr., picked the electric chair over death by lethal injection. In the UK, the death penalty is not an option. But the law can still fire a Taser that zaps your body with up to 50,000 volts of power. Senior police officers say there is “an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia and barb penetration in children and thin adults”. Ooomph! The metal punctures the skin – like being shot, right? – and the electricity gives your heart a kicking.

But it’s completely harmless. Really. The City of London police tell us:

Amps can vary in size, to put this into context no more than 13 amps are needed to power a kettle. 32 amps are usually found running around a typical house. Two to three amps are enough to cause a person some harm. Taser runs on considerably less at 0.0021 amps

At the science museum they had a Van de Graaff generator which the public were invited to touch. The generator had in excess of 1 million volts going through it. When the glass ball was touched it caused the persons hair to stand on end. They were able to do this safely because there were no amps carried by the volts.

Good-oh. Unless you die shortly after being Tasered, as some people have done. Police have fired on patients in mental health hospitals. And now to the latest news. Yesterday, police Tasered a 17-year-old in Coventry. He went into cardiac arrest.

West Midlands Police tells everyone:

“A 17-year-old was Tasered in an effort to detain him, but immediately required CPR as he went into cardiac arrest.”

They saved his life!

The boy and three other youths were detained on suspicion of violent disorder and assaulting a police officer. You might wonder which party was the more violent?

 

Posted: 2nd, September 2018 | In: News | Comment


Cosmopolitan stretches its arms wide and embraces obesity

Right now hundreds of skeletal and grey-skinned models are ordering double celery in the hope of getting work. Cosmopolitan magazine has featured a big girl on its cover and the dye is cast. Not only do bigger-boned models fill more of the page, thus negating the need for copy and ads for weight loss, liposuction and cosmetic surgery but the also make the magazine relevant in its ‘Celebration of Diversity and Difference’. This means anyone can be a model because everyone is beautiful. And with bigger pool to pick from , modelling rates are bound to plummet. Whereas ‘super model’ Linda Evangelista reportedly said “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” in the 1980s, today’s tall and skinny bird will be there for 10,000 lira (Turkish) and sleep standing up.

 

tess holliday

Tess socks it to the ‘haters’

 

And so the debate: will Tess Holliday, the Cosmo cover model, prove that we – given that so many of us are fat as the nation reels from an obesity crisis (see all press) – prefer to buy magazines that reflect us as we truly are: fat? Or are mags just a trite form of escapism in which we fetishise other people as celebs and learn how to look like them, dress like them and smell like them?

 

Cosmopolitan Super Diets & Exercise Guide Spring/Summer 1980 cover with Kathy Davis

Cosmopolitan Super Diets & Exercise Guide Spring/Summer 1980 cover with Kathy Davis

 

The encouraging news is that if you’re big you’re more likely to sweat than someone who’s thin, thus making it easier for perfumiers to fill vials with the celebrities’ essence from their scraped sheets and underwear. Look out for a whole range of Tess Halliday scents with names like ‘Difference’, ‘Diversity’ and in a bid to reclaim the word from the haters, ‘Obese’.

In the meanwhile, we can fret about how many children – won’t somebody think of the the children – will be inspired to pile on the pounds by Cosmo mag’s brave stance – the answer being none. Oh, and the rest of you can pick up a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine for free in your – get this – gut-busting gym.

NOTECosmo’s editor in chief is Michele Promaulayko, who got the job “having spent eight years as executive editor prior to her blockbuster run at Women’s Health“. On Women’s Health you can read lots and lots and lots about how to get slim and stay slim.

 

Cosmopolitan

DON’T BE FAT!

 

Cosmo – putting the fat in ‘fatuous’.

Posted: 2nd, September 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Kuwait authorities shut down fishmonger selling old fish with googly eyes stuck on to make them look fresh

Kuwait’s Ministry of Commerce has closed a fishmongers that was sticking googly eyes on fish to make them appear fresher than they were.

 

fake fish googly eyes kuwait shop

fake fish googly eyes kuwait shop

 


 

Kuwait has issues with fish. I July this year, the Kuwait Times reported on fishmongers selling fish with nails into increase their weight and price. women complained of crunchy fish, the seller was convicted of fraud.

More facts should we get them. (How we hope the story of the googly fish is true.)
 

Spotter: 

Posted: 1st, September 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Don’t panic: gamblers are deserting Corbyn’s nasty party

The Guardian’s headline is suggestive: “Antisemitism row ‘risks chances of Labour government’.” Jew hatred only increases doubt that the electorate will vote Labour and so get Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10. How fair we are, eh. Racism should obliterate the combatant’s chances of winning the popular vote.

Bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 4-1 on Corbyn becoming Prime Minister after Theresa May. Given that the respective leaders of one of the Conservatives or Labour are shoo-ins for the top job, 4-1 is remarkably generous – all the more so when you realise you can get 5-1 on Boris Johnson, current leader of his TV’s remote control and little else (even his shorts seem to be working independently).

 

corbyn odds prime minister

 

The other things that stands out is that seven Tories are seen as having a better chance of replacing Theresa May in Number 10 than the towering figure who can replace Corbyn: Keir Starmer.

Is William Hill alone? Let’s see what Paddy Power is offering:

 

prime minister odds

 

Granted the question is skewed towards who will replace May. The odds on her being toppled from within are 1-3 (Corbyn is at 2-1). So you’d expect more Tories to stand a better chance than anyone from Labour becoming the next PM. However, May hasn’t gone. There is no leadership challenge. And the odds on Corbyn becoming the next PM are 6-1. One year ago Corbyn was favourite to become the next Prime Minister. He’s drifted.

Back in the Guardian, the aforesaid headline is rooted in the opinion of a former Labour MP. Look out for Ivor Caplin being trashed on twitter by Corbyn fans in 3…2…

Caplin, a former defence minister under Tony Blair who chairs the Jewish Labour Movement, tells the paper:

“It’s been depressing for members of the Jewish community, but not just for us, for members of the public as well, because they want to see the Labour party as an effective opposition to this shambolic Tory government, and particularly on Brexit, the NHS, schools.. I think that, for Labour, it is a very dangerous position to be in. It will affect any chance of a Labour government…

“I went to a CLP [constituency Labour party meeting] in deepest east Sussex the other week. A lot of them were very concerned about how we had got into this position. They weren’t saying it was smears. And a majority for them had voted for Jeremy to be leader.”

Interesting. Move away from the nastiness and toxicity on social media and you see people seeking not the weakest point in an opponent’s argument but the strongest. These people want to understand the other side’s argument before engaging with it. This is out of kilter with the mood around Corbyn, in which his monocular supporters cast any opponent as either mentally negligible or malicious. Caplin adds:

“In some constituencies, the constant aggressive nature of some people is wearing on activists and that is not right. One of the founding traditions of the Labour party is we are able to have different views but walk out and go for a drink afterwards, because that is what Labour is about. It is not about aggressive, nasty behaviour.”

If the bigots win the day, then Labour is spent. If you can’t engage with an opponent without branding them too old, too thick, too Jewish, too immoral, too racist (if they express concern over immigration) and discount them as a fascist for voicing any opinion not aligned to your own, you’re not ready for the big debates. You’re not fit to govern.

 

Posted: 1st, September 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment