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500,000 Go Missing At People’s Vote March

The figures were in: 700,000 people had walked the streets of London in a demand for a second EU referendum, a so-called People’s Vote. Numbers matter when you’re marching. The bigger the better. Numbers are a key propaganda element in a demonstration. But counting march numbers can be tricky. You either give everyone a numbered ticket (so much for freedom) or count the numbers in a given area and multiply it by the length of the march; or count marchers as they pass a set point.

The number is the headline

The Guardian went big on the numbers. Its writers cheered on the “funky and fun” marchers. The belief was that a second referendum could only produce one victor: remain. The numbers do not lie. “It’s becoming ever clearer that Brexit is a far-right project. No wonder so many people are taking to the streets,” said one columnist. “Approaching 700,000 people marched on Saturday for a People’s Vote – from London’s Marble Arch to Parliament Square. The crowd seemed endless,” said another. A Labour peer “joined 700,000 people on the streets of London to demand a people’s vote on Brexit”. “So the will of the people was important until we discovered they lied to us,” says a child holding a ‘People’s Vote’ placard in the paper’s cartoon. The number stuck.

One month after the march, another columnist again linked Leave voters to the far-right: “Just over a month ago, 700,000 people marched for a people’s vote. Another Europe is Possible has, along with a series of prominent left figures, called for an explicitly anti-Brexit mobilisation on 9 December, which will build numbers for a joint general anti-fascist protest. If remainers mobilise, they could dwarf the pro-Brexit far right.” To say nothing of the pro-Brexit Tory centrists and working class would-be Labour Party voters, which he didn’t.

Like minds in agreement

The Independent told its readers: “More than 700,000 protesters and celebrities join second largest protest in UK this century.” What’s a protest by the people without a few famous faces? I confess to the joy of spotting a celebrity. “Demonstrators from across the UK heard speeches from household names including television presenter Delia Smith and London mayor Sadiq Khan.” Is the London mayor a celeb? The owner of Norwich City FC certainly is. Conservative MP Dominic Grieve might not be.

Brexit

The Guardian placed a hand over one eye and added perspective. “The scale of today’s protest places it in the upper echelons of protests since the millennium,” readers learned. “A march organised by the Countryside Alliance in 2002 calling for Liberty & Livelihood reportedly attracted more than 400,000 people, while the TUC’s March for the Alternative anti-cuts protest in 2011 also saw around 400,000 people take to the streets.”

But then the truth seeped out – or at least something approaching the truth. The Telegraph cites a document by the Greater London Authority. It puts the number of people on the march closer to 250,000. Although it might be fewer if you don’t count the people caught up on the throng on their way to Hyde Park (i.e. me).

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


Arsenal fans support Spurs Yid Army

 

We’re back talking about the ‘Yid Army’ and Spurs fans right to sing what they want to. This week something called The World Jewish Congress – I’ve not been invited to attend – and the Board of Deputies of British Jews – not been invited to that shindig, either – politely requested that Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have a word with their fans. They must tell them to stop freely referring to themselves as ‘Yids’. And that goes for the club’s Jewish fans, too.

Robert Singer, the CEO of the World Jewish Congress, stood in the pulpit and opined: “[The use of the word ‘yid’] by fans in the stands, either as a self-designated nickname or as a slogan against rivals must not be tolerated in any way. We would also ask Tottenham Hotspur to take a stand against the use of ‘Yid Army’, ‘Yid’ and ‘Yiddos’ by their fans. Such a long overdue action is important to kick antisemitism off the pitch and create a welcoming environment for all.” To which the reply from this Arsenal fan is: “We’ll sing what we want to.” 

If Spurs fans want to self-identify as Yids, let them. It’s self-determination. The Yid Army is not the least bit anti-Semitic. What is bigoted and censorious is telling people what they can and cannot say about themselves. Singer and his ilk should spend more time calling out genuine acts of anti-Semitism than disabusing ‘Yids’ of their language. Most anti-Semites I’ve encountered are more subtle than to give full throat to the Yids. They speak of those “clever Jews”, those “rich Jews”, and those Jews who are loyal only to one another and don’t get “English irony”. 

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Carl Benjamin versus the bowdlerized Web

carl benjamin

‘Validate me’

 

Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, is no longer appearing on Patreon, the funding platform self-explained as: “Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid.” Or not. You only get on if you’re the right sort of artist making the right sort of art. And Benjamin is the wrong sort. He’s been booted from the platform for breaking the “community guidelines” on hate speech. And here’s the hook: the verboten content was found in an interview Benjamin gave to a YouTube channel. He’s heard calling a sneer (is that the word?) of alt-right trolls “niggers” and “faggots”. Patreon published the transcript of the video. Benjamin explains why he doesn’t like the alt-right crowd and compares them to “white niggers”.

Patreon added: “As a funding platform, we don’t host much content, but we help fund creations across the Internet. As a result, we review creations posted on other platforms that are funded through Patreon. Sargon is well known for his collaborations with other creators and so we apply our community guidelines to those collaborations, including this interview.”

Benjamin is tainted. In conversation with Fraser Myers, of Spiked, Benjamin says: “Ever since I started my YouTube channel, I’ve always been politically incorrect – it is what I do. I had never had a problem with Patreon before because its terms of service were quite specific. They said it had rules around hate speech on its platform, which I think is quite fair and so I didn’t want to break them.” Isn’t anyone who sets out to be politically incorrect less a champion of free speech than a narcissist trying to cause offence, defining themselves by what they are not rather than what they are? He adds: “I think Patreon is trying to sanitise its platform and looking to remove people who the mainstream politically correct establishment find offensive. (I am offensive, of course!)” 

Free speech isn’t about being rude and seeking to cause offence for the sake of it. That’s puerile, crass and cheap. Free speech is simply speaking your mind and testing your thinking. Sharing only increases the goodness. But increasingly, the web is being divvied up into echo chambers. If Patreon isn’t for you, where is? 

Fox has more:

A pair of influential Internet social and political commentators are putting their money where their mouths are, ditching crowd-funding site Patreon over its hate speech rules despite not having any viable alternative.

Dave Rubin raised money for his YouTube show, “The Rubin Report,” through Patreon until recently when he decided to fight back after the crowd-funding site banned participants who used language deemed offensive by the service. Best-selling author Jordan Peterson, a frequent Rubin guest whose lectures draw millions of views on YouTube and who gets funding from the service, joined Rubin in walking out on Patreon.

“The reason that Dr. Peterson and I are leaving Patreon on January 15, despite it being something like 70 percent of my company’s revenue, which I’m voluntarily giving up, is that it is time for someone to take a stand,” Rubin said Thursday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Surely the open market will create a new space:

“Dave Rubin and I (and others) have been discussing the establishment of a Patreon-like enterprise that will not be susceptible to arbitrary censorship, and we are making progress, but these things cannot be rushed without the possibility of excess error,” Peterson wrote last month.

As ever: follow the money. 

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Bob Einstein tells a funny and a revolting joke

Bob Einstein has died aged 76. Best known for playing Marty Funkhouser in Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Einstein is seen here telling a joke at a show Q&A.

 

 

And this – which is “revolting” and is very NSFW:

 

Here he is pulling over Liberace for playing too fast. Einstein is Officer Judy, the character who made his debut by lip-syncing to a Judy Collins record.

 

 

And not forgetting Super Dave:

 

 

Bob Einstein – November 20, 1942 – January 2, 2019.

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Wayne Rooney arrested for swearing – US police hunt bear who shat in woods

wayne rooney mug show

 

Wayne Rooney has been arrested and fined in Virginia, USA, for being intoxicated in public and – get this – swearing. A footballer swearing is an offence? Is the Vatican going to nick people wearing funny hats? 

The former England and Manchester United captain, who now rocks up for Major League Soccer’s DC United, was arrested on 16 December “on a charge of public intoxication stemming from an arrest by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police… He was later released on a personal recognizance bond.”

According to reports, Rooney was nicked at Dulles International Airport after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia – where drink is illegal but swearing is fine. Rooney paid a $25 fine and $91 costs on 4 January. A small contribution to the swear box, then, in the land of the free.   

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


Twitch fans demand life ban for alleged domestic abuser

Luke Munday twitch

 

Australian Fortnite player Luke Munday apparently streamed himself on Twitch rowing with his wife off-screen. Noises were heard. We did not see what occurred. He was arrested, charged with assault and banned from the Amazon-owned service. But after 14 days in gaming purgatory (a, er, fortnight), Twitch thought Munday had suffered enough and restored his account. 

Twitch and Munday and Munday’s attorney didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.

Munday, who goes by “MrDeadMoth” on Twitch, was a small-time streamer until the night of Dec. 9. That’s when his pregnant girlfriend, unhappy that he had missed dinner with his family, asked him to stop playing Fortnite and chatting with his Twitch fans.

Angered, Munday went off-screen, but kept the camera running. After Munday left the stream, a slapping sound could be heard on the video, while his girlfriend cried and their two children, both toddlers, were heard screaming.

All a bit weird, no? A grown man with children calling himself MrDeadMoth. The assumption that a corporation should police its users – does it vet all users for criminal records and nastiness? And where does privacy kick in? It’s worth noting that Mr Munday hasn’t been tried in any court of law. His innocent must be presumed. Kotaku notes:

After being apprehended on December 9, Munday was charged with common assault. He was then given a four-week court date adjournment to seek legal advice. On December 30, Munday apparently decided to use some of that time to resume his streaming career, announcing a return stream with the words “let’s be positive.” 

Innocent til proven otherwise, right? But gamers are unimpressed:

“The man who beat his wife on stream (MrDeadMoth) is currently live streaming from your platform,” said Hazz, a member of popular gaming organization Faze clan, on Twitter. “How have you allowed this to happen bruh @Twitch? 30 day ban for saying prohibited WORDS on stream. 14 day ban for literally BEATING your wife on stream.”

“What’s there even to say about this MrDeadMoth guy?” said popular streamer Ellohime. “Dude abused his wife in front of his kids live on stream and is back streaming, but what do I say? Don’t abuse your wife? Don’t let him back? How is this not the MOST common of sense? What am I even typing? This is so absurd.”

“It’s so great as a survivor of domestic abuse & content creator to see a streamer that beat the shit out of his wife while streaming still alive and well on Twitch with 7000+ follows & affiliation,” said streamer Saucy837, who moved from Twitch to Mixer. “Way to send the right message.”

On top of all that, Munday’s return to Twitch netted him a healthy viewer boost, with some presumably there to gawk and others even expressing sympathy. All of the new viewers helped line his pockets, as well as Twitch’s.

Yesterday the Verge added:

Today, the Australian Fortnite streamer MrDeadMoth — otherwise known as Luke Munday, 26 — was banned again from Twitch for an indeterminate period of time, after an outcry from the gaming community. 

What if he’s found not guilty? Will Twitch law trump social justice? 

Posted: 5th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment


North Korea’s ambassador to Italy waits an age before defecting

At what point did North Korea’s man in Rome decide to stay in god’s own county indefinitely? I’d wager it’s about a microsecond after the diminuative nutjob Kim Jong-un told him he’s to be posted to…Italy, land of the dolche vita, manbags worn with confidence and food that’s been exported to every Western high street. News that North Korea’s man in Rome, one Jo Song-gil (‘but you can call me Toni’) “may have defected” is shocking only for the uncertainty. Why “may”? You might not flee a Stalinist dictatorship for Hull or Texas. But when Italy beckons you run.

Mr Jo, 48, was despatched to Rome in October 2017 when Italy expelled the previous ambassador in protest over North Korean nuclear testing. His tenure in Italy ended in November – about the time of his vanishing. South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper claims Mr Jo is seeking asylum in an unidentified western country . Italy is keeping him in a “safe place” her no-one will find him – like Rome’s branch of Gregg’s the bakers. 

The Times:

If he is plotting to defect, Mr Jo will be following in the footsteps of Thae Yong- ho, a former deputy ambassador at the North Korean embassy in London who claimed asylum in South Korea in 2016, claiming he wanted his sons to avoid a “miserable” life in North Korea.

Pyongyang described him as “human scum” and accused him of embezzlement and child rape. 

A public shaming or profiteroles? No contest. Bring on the mad dogs!

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


How to make money from immigration without a boat

Who makes money from jailing asylum seekers? Of the UK’s 10 immigration removal facilities just one is run by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. G4S, Mitie, Serco and US-owned GEO Group operate the other nine. So there must be money in it, right? The Government’s Contracts Finder site reveals the value of contracts when they were awarded – but not all figures are shown. But by way of an example, in 2018 Mitie secured a 10-year deal worth £525m to escort immigration detainees on removal flights to detainees’ home countries and manage airport holding rooms, reporting centres and two short term holding facilities. Mitie declared itself “delighted” at the deal. 

The Daily Beast looks at how outsourcing immigration to private companies in the US pays:

“In 2018 alone, for-profit immigration detention was a nearly $1 billion industry underwritten by taxpayers and beset by problems that include suicide, minimal oversight, and what immigration advocates say uncomfortably resembles slave labor.”

Of course, that’s not to say no problems existed when the state ran immigration centres. It’s useful to ask why the service was outsourced in the fist place. But profit margins seem very generous. In 2017, the Guardian noted a 20.7% profit margin at Brook House in 2016. Brook House at London’s Gatwick Airport is run by G4S. The same company runs Tinsley House, also in Gatwick. The margin was a whopping 41.5%.

The Beast adds: 

Expanding the number of immigrants rounded up into jails isn’t just policy; it’s big business. Yesica’s employer and jailer, the private prisons giant GEO Group, expects its earnings to grow to $2.3 billion this year. Like other private prison companies, it made large donations to President Trump’s campaign and inaugural.

GEO is involved in prison design and electronic tracking:

Pinning down the size and scope of the immigration prison industry is obscured by government secrecy. But the Daily Beast combed through ICE budget submissions and other public records to compile as comprehensive a list as possible of what for-profit prisons charge taxpayers to lock up a growing population, and how many people those facilities detain on average. The result: For 19 privately owned or operated detention centers for which The Daily Beast could find recent pricing data, ICE paid an estimated $807 million in fiscal year 2018.

Those 19 prisons hold 18,000 people—meaning that for-profit prisons currently lock up about 41 percent of the 44,000 people detained by ICE. But that’s not a comprehensive total, and the true figures are likely significantly higher.

Prison pays. Why shouldn’t it? Profits are not guaranteed. In 2015, profit margins for operators in the UK fells to between 5 and 7 per cent.

Richard Garside, director at the charity Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, takes a view: “If the state is going to detain someone, it should be under the auspices of state agencies, not the private sector.” Cynics would argue that Governments grew tired of botching immigration on their own so seduced private firms into the mess. The profits are compensation for reputation damage.

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


The American doctor who will give Jews the wrong medicine

doctor jes cleveland

Screengrab: http://www.cleveland19.com

 

Dr Lara Kollab, 27,  reportedly says she will “purposely give all the Jews the wrong meds”. Dr Lara Kollab, 27, a former resident at The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, allegedly wrote: “Allah will kill the Jews.” The Jerusalem Post says she referred to Jews as “dogs”. Knowing how much the British love dogs, this news should upset Daily Mail readers tuning into Sarah Malm’s rehash of a Jerusalem Post story based on an investigation by the Canary Mission, a website, which “documents people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses”.

The sources say that in January 2012, Dr Kollab wrote – was her account hacked? – “ill purposely give all the yahood the wrong meds…” And in August 2013: “May Allah take back [end the lives] of the Jews so we stop being forced to go to those unclean ones.” 

The Cleveland Clinic has issued a statement: “This individual was employed as a supervised resident at our hospital from July to September 2018. She is no longer working at Cleveland Clinic. In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system.” NBC says Kollab was fired as a first-year resident in September after the clinic was made aware of her social media posts.

As for Kollab, the Times of Israel says she hasn’t issued a response to the reports about her. Having been publicly shamed, what should she do? To have your entire life evaluated by a few tweets and the internet is unenviable. Has punishment already been meted out?

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


The death of Lord Haw-Haw

william-joyce-death

 

On this day 1946, William Brooke Joyce (24 April 1906 – 3 January 1946) was hanged. Lord Haw-Haw, as he was known, was the last person to be executed for treason in the United Kingdom. 

On the cold and damp morning of 3 January 1946, a large but orderly crowd had formed outside the grim Victorian prison in Wandsworth, the main gates of which aren’t more than a stone’s throw from the more salubrious surroundings of Wandsworth Common in south London. Some people had come to protest at what they considered an unjust conviction; others, albeit a handful, came to demonstrate about the use of capital punishment; while some, rather morbidly, wanted to be as close as they could to what came to be the last execution of a person convicted of high treason in Britain.

About 500 miles away, as the crow flies, at Joyce’s old school called St Ignatius, in Galway, a mass was taking place. The consecration of the Eucharist was timed for exactly the moment that Joyce was due to be executed. In the end the planned timing was in vain. It was at one minute to nine, an hour later than initially planned, when the governor of Wandsworth prison entered the condemned man’s cell to inform him that his time had come.

 

Daily-Mail-Lord-Haw-Haw

 

William Joyce had woken early that morning. He washed, but didn’t shave, and changed from his prison clothes into the blue serge suit he had been wearing at the time of his arrest in Germany. He refused any breakfast but he drank a cup of tea. For the last few months Joyce had actually been eating relatively well and while in prison his weight had increased substantially. When he was first brought to Wandsworth in the autumn he weighed 135 pounds (61 kg) but was now 151 pounds (68.5 kg). This wasn’t incidental information at the time; the weight gain was of more than passing interest to Albert Pierrepoint, the man who was to be his executioner.

The weight of every prisoner for whose death he would be ultimately responsible, he carefully noted in a leather-covered diary or ledger. It carried the details of all the executions for which he had been responsible and contained the dates, ages, heights, weights and, most importantly, the ‘drop’ for each hanging. Part of the hangman’s craft was to calculate the exact length of rope required to instantly kill the condemned man or woman. If the rope was too long, the criminal would be decapitated; too short, and it would be an agonising death of several minutes by strangulation.

Pierrepoint’s calculations were worked out from grim advice given in an official 1913 government document called the Table of Drops. It had been put together after a series of failed hangings at the end of the nineteenth century, including those of John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee, also known, not surprisingly, as ‘the man they couldn’t hang’. Lee survived three attempts to hang him at Exeter Prison in 1885 after which the Home Secretary commuted his death sentence. He was released twenty-two years later in 1905 and died in the USA in 1945. A committee, chaired by Lord Aberdare, was formed in 1886 to discover and report on the most effective manner of hanging, the results of which were published three years later. After a few more unfortunate incidents, a significantly revised edition of the Table of Drops was published in 1913.

In 1917, as a twelve-year-old, and twenty-eight years before he came face to face with William Joyce in the cell at Wandsworth, Albert Pierrepoint had been asked at school to compose an essay about his future ambitions. He wrote: ‘I would like to be public executioner as my Dad is, because it needs a steady man who is good with his hands like my Dad and my Uncle Tom and I shall be the same.’ Young Albert had only found out about his father’s macabre profession the year before, although he didn’t know that, after carrying out 107 executions, he had been dismissed from his post seven years previously after arriving drunk at Chelmsford prison to carry out a hanging. Albert’s Uncle Tom, however, went on to work as a hangman for thirty-seven years before his eventual retirement in 1946 after a dispute over compensation for a cancelled hanging.

When Albert Pierrepoint met Lord Haw-Haw, Albeit Rather Briefly – Flashbak – and Beautiful Idiots and Brilliant Lunatics by Rob Baker

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


Manchester Knife Attack: Allah off the hook in Co-op ‘terror’ stabbing

manchester knife allah

 

Now we get to know why the BBC and Sun chose to tell us where the man who allegedly knifed three people in Manchester on New Year’s Eve and his family pray. It seemed an odd fact to include in a crime report. but today the BBC declares: “Manchester stabbings: Suspect’s family offers prayers for victims.” Granted the BBC doesn’t tell us where the man’s family pray, but we can assume it’s most often in a house of prayer rather than in the potting shed or bath.

The man’s family say their “thoughts and prayers” are with the three victims. As for their relative, well, he’s been detained under the Mental Health Act. A Greater Manchester Police spokesman says, “There is nothing to suggest the involvement of other people in this attack, but confirming this remains a main priority for the investigation.”

The BBC adds:

People detained under the Mental Health Act need urgent treatment and are at risk of harm to themselves or others. Police officers can take someone who they believe is in need of immediate care or control to a place of safety (a hospital or, sometimes, a police station) and detain them under Section 136 of the act

The detained person is then assessed by an approved mental health professional and a doctor and can be held for up to 72 hours – during which time a decision will be made as to whether further detention (of up to six months) under the act is necessary

Detention under the act means someone can be medically treated against their will, but protects them from being questioned by police, as they are deemed unfit for interview.

So mental illness might have been the driver? The Sun suggested something else, editorialising the man’s alleged cry from “Allah”, as heard by an eyewitness, to “Allahu Akbar”, as heard by no-one.

Meanwhile… in Manchester today:

A teenage boy and two men were taken to hospital with stab wounds following a stabbing close to The Co-op headquarters. Police were called to reports of men making threats to use a firearm, on Dantzic Street, near to the NOMA building, just before 7pm on Tuesday night…

One eyewitness said: “Just driven through what felt like a war zone – 20 off police vans, 10 ambulances at least. Just behind the NOMA building.”

Where the men pray has not been revealed.

Posted: 2nd, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Police tasers make everyone more violent

If you carry a weapon are you more or less likely to use it? Silly question, right? A new study tells us carrying Tasers increases police use of force. Cambridge University looked at use the use of Tasers by the City of London police. It found that “the presence of electroshock devices led to greater overall hostility in police-public interactions”. It’s the “weapons effect”. What of a police truncheon, then – although they now prefer the Casco baton constructed of carbon steel coated with a black chrome finish? Is the threat of being electrocuted greater than that of being beaten? 

Last October, an investigation ruled that a police officer who Tasered a man shortly before his death should not have held the trigger for such a long time. The man died of cardiac arrest. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that the officer extended the use of a Taser longer than the automatic five seconds. 

The study:

A new study has found that London police officers visibly armed with electroshock ‘Taser’ weapons used force 48% more often, and were more likely to be assaulted, than those on unarmed shifts.

However, while use of force can include everything from restraint and handcuffing to CS spray, the Tasers themselves were only fired twice during the year-long study period.

“We found that officers are more likely to be assaulted when carrying electroshock weaponry, and more likely to apply force,” said lead researcher Dr Barak Ariel from Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology. “It is well established that the visual cue of a weapon can stimulate aggression. While our research does not pierce the ‘black box’ of decision-making, the only difference between our two study conditions was the presence of a Taser device. There was no increase in injury of suspects or complaints, suggesting it was not the police instigating hostilities. The presence of Tasers appears to provoke a pattern where suspects become more aggressive toward officers, who in turn respond more forcefully.”

Adding: “If the presence of weapons can lead to aggression by suspects, so its concealment should be able to reduce aggression and increase officer safety.” 

What if the police officer is aggressive? A Taser can be a hands off way of assaulting the target – and less potentially fatal than shooting them. This video is from the USA shows what happens when you’re a 72-year-old woman who allegedly sped thought a construction zone:

 

 

 

The BBC tells us:

Black people are three times more likely than white people to be involved in Taser incidents, government figures suggest.

Electric stun guns were drawn, aimed or fired 38,000 times in England and Wales over a period of five years.

In more than 12% of cases Tasers were used against black people, who make up about 4% of the population, Home Office figures suggested…

Don’t be black, young and thin:

…the body which represents senior police officers admits there is “an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia and barb penetration in children and thin adults”.

But you can hit people with a baton and leave no bruise – allegedly.

Spotter: University of Cambridge

Posted: 2nd, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Let’s make 2019 the year ridicule trumps being offended by rubbish

gingerbread_men

 

Naomi Firsht wants 2019 to be the year we stop being so easily offended. I’d argue that the feeling offended is bad enough but it’s more than that: it’s the whining and shrill extempore demands for validation that irk and demean us; the pursuit of victimhood and to be defined by it; the summoning of police and other instruments of State control to salve your ego and crush your opponent, or to use Twitter parlance “destroy” the other side; the confusion between free speech and plain rudeness; the willingness by police to portray themselves as therapists and come running, seeking out muons of criminal intent in the dust of the offence industry; and the narcissism that backs it all. If you want the State to intervene in everyday discussion, to tell you what you can and cannot see, to protect you from ideas other than those which give you a sense of unchangeable foundation in the complex, hypocritical and contrarian world of human relations, then you need to get a grip.   

Firsht wants us to wise up:

The war on sexism was also behind a particularly mad policy that came out of the Scottish parliament before Christmas. Gingerbread men in the Holyrood café have undergone something of a transition and are now known as gingerbread persons, thus putting an end to the gendered biscuit tyranny. Our suffragette sisters would be proud…

Make no mistake, 2018 was a bumper year for invented problems and manufactured outrage. The year began with millennials moaning about how “problematic” the anodyne 90s sitcom Friends was, after Netflix added it to its library: apparently it was too white and had undertones of homophobia, transphobia and fat-shaming…

When did we become a nation of humourless, offence-taking whingers, eager to waste our time on this rubbish? My one wish for 2019 is that as a nation we rediscover the stiff upper lip and stop prioritising a few hurt feelings over common sense. This year, let’s call out superficial nonsense for what it is.

Well said. Let’s make 2019 the year we don’t take offence at nonsense – The Times.

Posted: 2nd, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Top-Ho, Jeeves: Happy Public Domain Day 2019 – what you can use for free

public domain day

 

It’s Public Domain Day, the moment when lots of old works become free to use. It’s a biggie this year because for 20 years nothing new has been released. In 1998 Disney and other copyright holders got the State to impose copyright restrictions for an additional 20 years. The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act is a horror. Works from 1922, including James Joyce’s Ulysses, turned copyright free in 1998 but anything published the following year was protected. But from today music, book, posters, art, films and plays published in 1923 will be free of intellectual property restrictions. Dig in. Go create.

Jennifer Jenkins, director of the Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, explains:

But now the drought is over. How will people celebrate this trove of cultural material? Google Books will offer the full text of books from that year, instead of showing only snippet views or authorized previews. The Internet Archive will add books, movies, music, and more to its online library. HathiTrust has made over 50,000 titles from 1923 available in its digital library. Community theaters are planning screenings of the films. Students will be free to adapt and publicly perform the music. Because these works are in the public domain, anyone can make them available, where you can rediscover and enjoy them. (Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print—see herehere, and here.) In addition, the expiration of copyright means that you’re free to use these materials, for education, for research, or for creative endeavors—whether it’s translating the books, making your own versions of the films, or building new music based on old classics.

Here are some samples from the American Public Domain Day List, as compiled by Jennifer Jenkins and Jamie Boyle at the Duke Center for the Public Domain.

Films 

* The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney
* Short films featuring Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang
* Animated films including Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown
* Safety Last!, directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, featuring Harold Lloyd 
* The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille 
* The Pilgrim, directed by Charlie Chaplin 
* Our Hospitality, directed by Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone 
* The Covered Wagon, directed by James Cruze 
* Scaramouche, directed by Rex Ingram

Books 

* Joseph Conrad, The Rover
* Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”
* Nikolay Gogol, Dead Souls
* Rudyard Kipling, Land and Sea Tales for Boys and Girls
* Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan and the Golden Lion 
* Agatha Christie, The Murder on the Links 
* Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis 
* e.e. cummings, Tulips and Chimneys 
* Robert Frost, New Hampshire 
* Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet 
* Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay 
* D.H. Lawrence, Kangaroo 
* Bertrand and Dora Russell, The Prospects of Industrial Civilization 
* Carl Sandberg, Rootabaga Pigeons 
* Edith Wharton, A Son at the Front 
* P.G. Wodehouse, works including The Inimitable Jeeves and Leave it to Psmith 
* Viginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

Music 
* Yes! We Have No Bananas, w.&m. Frank Silver & Irving Cohn 
* Charleston, w.&m. Cecil Mack & James P. Johnson 
* London Calling! (musical), by Noel Coward 
* Who’s Sorry Now, w. Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby, m. Ted Snyder 
* Songs by “Jelly Roll” Morton including Grandpa’s Spells, The Pearls, and Wolverine Blues (w. Benjamin F. Spikes & John C. Spikes; m. Ferd “Jelly Roll” Morton) 
* Works by Bela Bartok including the Violin Sonata No. 1 and the Violin Sonata No. 2 
* Tin Roof Blues, m. Leon Roppolo, Paul Mares, George Brunies, Mel Stitzel, & Benny Pollack (There were also compositions from 1923 by other well-known artists including Louis Armstrong, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, WC Handy, Oscar Hammerstein, Gustav Holst, Al Jolson, Jerome Kern, and John Phillip Sousa; though their most famous works were from other years.)

Spotter: Aleteia , Boing Boing

Posted: 1st, January 2019 | In: Film, Key Posts, Music, News | Comment


Manchester Knife Attack: Allah implicated in ‘terror’ stabbing

manchester knife

 

Terror in Manchester as three people are stabbed. Well, so they say. So little is said about the murder of 23 people at an Ariana Grande concert in the city back in 2017 that you suspect the news media will downplay notions of militant Islamism in this latest attack. 

So what happened?

Police are investigating the stabbing of three people at Manchester Victoria station last night. They, says the Times, are treating the attack as terror-related. There’s no mention of what motives the alleged terrorist held or was attempting to promote. Maybe he’s a militant vegetarian?

The Guardian says it might be terror related but doesn’t speculate on cause. “Manchester police scour Victoria station after triple stabbing,” says the paper. “Counter-terror police involved in investigation of New Year’s Eve attack on three people.”

Or as the Sun puts it: “TERROR RAMPAGE Terror cops raid suspect’s home after knifeman screaming ‘long live the Caliphate’ stabs cop and couple in New Year’s Eve rampage.”

A 25-year-old man from Cheetham Hill, north Manchester, has been arrested. The BBC tells us:

Resident Nousha Babaakachel, 40, said a Somali family live at the address, a mother and father of five, in their 40s, who came to live in the street around 12 years ago from the Netherlands.

She said two of the four sons are at university, one works at Manchester Airport and the youngest is back in Somalia. They also have a daughter.

Both parents attend the local Khiza Mosque.

 

manchester attack

 

The BBC mentions a mosque but does not mention Islam. One without the other is bit like saying the alleged knifer subscribes to Netflix and shops at Asda. It’s a big ‘so what?’ But it’s enough for the Sun to copy and paste the BBC’s lines and pass them off as their own:

 

manchester knife

The BBC and the Sun agree – word for word. The Sun’s URL makes it clear what the alleged knifer said is important but no-one says he cried “Allahu Akbar”, just “Allah”.

 

A witness claims the suspect shouted “Allah” during his attack with a long kitchen knife. The Sun editorialises this into an “Allahu Akbar” in the URL to its story (see above). Why not just stick to the facts? 

The witness is Sam Clack, a BBC producer. “It was pretty scary. It was just me on the platform and as I was standing there I heard the most blood-curdling scream I had ever heard from a woman near by. It looked like there was a fight going on. I heard the guy shout ‘Allah’ distinctly. I didn’t hear the rest of the sentence…The guy started backing up towards me. And he got to within seven or eight feet of me and was looking around very skittish. I saw that the man had a kitchen knife with a long 12in blade.”

Mr Clack said that he heard the attacker say: “As long as you keep bombing other countries this sort of shit is going to keep happening.” Which countries? The BBC says he was shouting about god being great in Arabic as he was hauled away. 

But don’t worry. Manchester’s Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts tells us: “Tonight’s events will have undoubtedly worried people but I need to stress that… there is currently no intelligence to suggest that there is any wider threat at this time.” At this time. Mr Clack is less certain, adding: “It was scary. I have never been so scared in my life. Someone with a knife six to eight feet away, he had just stabbed someone. It was the proximity. It just highlights the fact that it can happen anywhere.”

Before the horror, a look at the coppers who help us. Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan, of British Transport Police, tells media: “I am incredibly proud of the four officers who were immediately on scene last night, detaining a man who was wielding a knife. They were fearless, running towards danger and preventing further harm coming to passengers. Unfortunately however, one of our police officers suffered a stab injury to their shoulder and we’re all relieved that this is not more serious. It is good news that he has now been discharged from hospital, we are all wishing him a speedy recovery.”

Sure thing. But what of the alleged attacker and his motives? More to come…

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


Transfer balls: Arsenal fans rejoice at new signing as Ramsey heads for Italy, Spain AND France

aaron ramsey

Bullshit.com reports

 

Arsenal’s one-goal-a-season man Aaron Ramsey is off to Juventus. In Italy the player who promised so much without ever quite nailing it will earn a decent £7m a season in Italy on a four year contract. The Press are spinning his departure. The Mirror thunders: “‘Good riddance, sign Banega!’ – Arsenal fans react to Aaron Ramsey’s reported Juventus agreement.” Banega is Ever Banega, the occasional onanist and attack-minded midfielder. Or as the Sports Bible website puts it: “Arsenal On The Verge Of Replacing Aaron Ramsey, Fans Are Fuming.”

Such is the nature of internet reporting that everything must have a hot take – and you can make it whatever you choose. So no sooner has the Mirror waved goodbye to Ramsey and stuck him in the black and white of Juve than it’s reporting: “Aaron Ramsey considered by PSG for January move with £9m offer prepared for Arsenal star.” What of Juventus? They are “monitoring” the situation. 

And here comes the BBC to tells us that Ramsey is in talks with – deep breath – Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. “Contrary to some reports, he has not yet made a decision,” says the Beeb. So he’s off to Spurs, right..?

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


What Jose’s hotel cost Manchester United in rent

lowry hotel mourinho

 

Freshly sacked by Manchester United, surly Jose Mourinho is back living at his London home. The Riverside Suite at Manchester’s Lowry Hotel, where he stayed since July 2016, is available to any new manager unwilling to commit to living in the city. But what was the bill for Mourinho’s stay?

The Sun: “Jose Mourinho hotel: Inside the exclusive Lowry where axed Man Utd manager lived for 895 days and spent £779,000 on rent.”

The Mail: “Jose Mourinho finally checks out of the Lowry Hotel… after 895 days and an astonishing £537,000 bill.” Although the Mail also notes: “What’s so special about the Special One’s £600,000 hotel suite? That’s the bill Jose Mourinho ran up in nearly three years.” Are we including tips?

Does the Lowry charge the Sun’s holidaymakers more than Mail guests? But the bill could have been higher. In January 2018, 442 magazine told us: “If Mourinho stays at the Lowry until July 1 2021, it will have cost him £1,489,200.” That figure is based on the rooms costing £816-a-night. But the Guardian can get the same digs for £600-a-night. 

It pays to shop around. 

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Money, News, Sports | Comment


David Dimbleby and why the Posh live in a meritocracy

Are you posh? I’m asking for David Dimbleby, the hereditary BBC journalist, former Bullingdon Club member, pal to Prince Charles and whose son attended Eton College. His fellow BBC lifer John Humphrys asked Dimbers if he was a posho. Dimbleby thought the question not rhetorical and replied: “I come from Wales, as you do.” So he is Posh, then, at least as privileged as his nation’s prince. Of course, what Dimbleby’s doing is denying his poshness. The old sod pitches himself as an outsider, a man of the valleys and so very unlike those entitled and titled toffs in Berkshire (Thatcham) and London (Newham). 

Kenan Malik cites Dimbleby’s egotism – that stated belief in success founded on merit rather than dumb luck and membership of an elite tribe – in his article on the rise of meritocracy and those who can afford to live in one. Dimbleby is the product of talent and hard work. His rank played no role. Now read on:

So entrenched as a social aspiration has meritocracy become that we often forget that the term was coined in mockery. In his 1958 satire, The Rise of Meritocracy, the sociologist Michael Young told of a society in which classes were sorted not by the hereditary principle but by the formula IQ + Effort = Merit.

In this new society, “the eminent know that success is a just reward for their own capacity”, while the lower orders deserve their fate. Having been tested again and again and “labelled ‘dunce’ repeatedly”, they have no choice but “to recognise that they have an inferior status”.

Young’s dystopian meritocracy doesn’t (yet) exist, but we have something perhaps worse: the pretence of a meritocracy. The pretence that talent will achieve its just rewards in a society in which class distinctions continue to shape educational outcomes, job prospects, income and health.

Malik argues that rank is now based on education. Is admission to top colleges a meritocratic process? It’s competitive. How do you get the edge? How do you know where the edge exists if you’ve no access to it?

Today, we simultaneously deride poshness and want to be seen as having the common touch (hence Dimbleby’s outrage at being called posh), while also showing contempt for those who are deemed too common and whose commonness exhibits itself in the refusal to accept the wisdom of expertise and in being in possession of the wrong social values.

Trump supporters, wrote David Rothkopf, professor of international relations, former CEO of Foreign Policy magazine and a member of Bill Clinton’s administration, are people “threatened by what they don’t understand and what they don’t understand is almost everything”. They regard knowledge as “not a useful tool but a cunning barrier elites have created to keep power from the average man and woman”. Much the same has been said about Brexit supporters…

Too true, of course. Tory MP Michael Gove says a second Brexit referendum would tell voters that they’re “too thick” to decide on issues. Labour MP Mr Sheerman, opined: “The truth is that when you look at who voted to Remain, most of them were the better educated people in our country.” 

 

 

Matt O’Brien finds evidence that  “poor kids who do everything right don’t do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong”:

 

meritocracy

 

You can see that in the above chart, based on a new paper from Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s annual conference, which is underway. Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom — 14 versus 16 percent, respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne’er-do-wells. Some meritocracy.

What’s going on?

Well, it’s all about glass floors and glass ceilings. Rich kids who can go work for the family business — and, in Canada at least, 70 percent of the sons of the top 1 percent do just that — or inherit the family estate don’t need a high school diploma to get ahead. It’s an extreme example of what economists call “opportunity hoarding.” That includes everything from legacy college admissions to unpaid internships that let affluent parents rig the game a little more in their children’s favor.

David Dimbleby’s dad worked at the BBC, where he hosted the long-running current affairs programme Panorama. David succeeded his father as presenter of Panorama in 1974. Maybe knowledge and know how is inherited, like cash and connections?

Posted: 30th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comment


London cinema shows Holocaust film for babies

kiln theatre holocaust

No parents came leaving less independent babies disappointed 

 

To Kilburn’s Kiln arts centre in London’s Brent, where the “parent and baby” film screening of  holocaust documentary Back to Berlin has attracted one punter – and she’s not allowed to watch on account of her being unaccompanied by a baby. All viewers must be carrying a babe in arms or entry will be denied.

And babies should love the story of eleven modern day motor bikers on a mission to carry the Maccabiah torch from Tel Aviv to Berlin. As the synopsis informs next-year’s kindergarten intake: “Each destination on the way to Berlin holds a chilling resonance for the riders as they discover and share how their families perished, or managed to survive. They find themselves heavily protected by police in 21st century Europe where anti-Semitism once again rears its ugly head particularly in countries like Greece, Hungary and Poland. En route to Berlin, the bikers meet much diminished Jewish communities clinging on to plaques and memorials as symbols of a time gone by, and once again fearful.” 

Patrizia Diemling fancied watching the film. But the 68-year-old was vorboten. She tells her local paper: “Staff told me nobody is allowed to come to the screening unless they have a babe in arms. They said I would make them [parents] feel uncomfortable.” Women und children zis vay! The elderly must go to zer exit.

A Kiln Theatre spokesperson goes on the record: “The parent and baby screenings are something we are trialling – our first was this Monday and they have been programmed in response to requests from parents within the local community.” Babies hackling their mums’ accounts, we’d wager.

Posted: 30th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Meghan Markle’s risky sister Samantha prepares to tell nothing in a new book

samantha markle

Samantha Markle not embarrassed by family links to Prince Andrew

 

No-one sane cares if Princess Meghan is black or mixed-race. What we appreciate far more than skin tones is a family rift and gossip. Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle has been making extempore efforts at reconciliation. She promises much but can she deliver?

She’s putting in the hard yards. Samantha has issued a Christmas message of peace. She rocked up at Kensington Palace uninvited and unwelcome. Reportedly, this has earned her a spot on the Palace’s “fixated persons list”. Compiled  by the police royalty and specialist protection unit, the list reportedly flags Samantha as someone capable of causing  “reputational risk” to the royal family. What, riskier than Prince Andrew and his dalliances with known paedophiles and Prince Charles’ dreams of being his mistress’s tampon

Samantha, 53, is rumoured to be working on a book  – working title:  In the Shadows of the Duchess; previously: The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister. Here’s hoping for a story to make Sarah Ferguson’s Budgie the Helicopter blush. 

Scotland Yard’s Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) defines fixated people as “those who have an obsessional preoccupation (often delusional) with a person or a perceived grievance, which they pursue to an irrational degree”.

A Scotland Yard source tells the Sunday Times: “You can’t protect someone like the Duchess of Sussex without knowing the background of her family. But someone like Samantha presents a risk rather than a threat. She is not committing criminal offences, but she is causing concerns for the royal family.”

Says Samantha Markle: “I would only say that is ludicrous. I’m not a reputational risk.” Of course, it depends what your reputation is?

Prince Andrew is away.

Posted: 30th, December 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family | Comment


Ruth Strauss: donate and help to cure cancer

Thoughts are with Ruth Strauss, who has died. Married to former England captain and director of cricket Andrew Strauss since 2003, Ruth was just 46 when she succumbed to lung cancer. She was diagnosed last December. Ruth leaves behind a loving husband and sons Sam, 13, and Luca, 10. They’re old enough to remember her. It’s not much. But you grab hold of what you can get. And you try not to let it go, or at least keep a whiff of life’s substance beneath your fingernails. What else gets you through the injections and organ galvanising drugs but a desire for a legacy? Faith. Yes. If you’re lucky enough to believe. There’s the excuse for a huge fry up, of course, and the hope that the pillock talking of it being a “battle” to experience something less sympathy inducing and commercialised, like erupting piles and towering genital warts. 

“It is with great sadness and immense grief that we have to announce that Ruth passed away today as a result of her rare lung cancer,” says Andrew Strauss in a statement. “Sam, Luca and I will miss her terribly. Anyone who has met Ruth will know how loving, caring and passionately protective she was of her family and it gives us huge comfort that she was in Australia, the land of her birth, surrounded by those who love her, in her final moments. We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to those that have helped with her treatment over the last 12 months, in particular the wonderful team at University College Hospital in London. Ruth desperately wanted to help those affected by this terrible disease and we will be launching a foundation in due course to raise much needed funds to aid research and also to offer support to patients and their families.”

I know UCLH well. Too well, perhaps. The Macmillan Centre is wonderful. But it can only do so much. I saw Ruth there. She was warm, vivacious and charming. If you want to help, please donate here. It matters. Your money really matters. The people who set up foundations want it to. 

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


Clickbait horror: how to SEO the Strasbourg massacre

strasbourg shooting

 

Solid clickbait work by the Daily Express which managed to make an SEO-friendly tourism guide to Strasbourg in the wake of a murderous attack on a Christmas market in the French city. The suspect, one Cherif Chekatt, is helping police with their enquiries. Let’s hope the coppers have better luck establishing facts than the Press, parts of which can’t even wok out what country Chekatt’s from.

As the papers debate his roots, the Express produces a handy article entitled “Strasbourg shooting : where is Strasbourg”. This is a clickbait trick de rigueur among newspaper websites. The drones spot a tending story and then dice it up into its elements – ‘Man bites dog : what is a man?’ / … what is a dog? / …what do we mean by bites? / …do dogs bite?’

So a nutter murdering five people near a Christmas market in Strasbourg becomes a chance to rank for the trending word. As people are mourning loved ones, the Express tells readers and the more important Google bots: “Strasbourg is a city in the capital of the Grand Est region, which was previously known as Alsace, in northeastern France. The city is also the formal seat of the European Parliament and sits near the German border.”

What is a barrel – and how do you scrape it?

 

 

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


Thick and Williams pays millions in tribute to Marvin Gaye

blurred lines marvin gaye

Jackie Wilson, George Michael and a friend

 

Fools and wannabes borrow. Geniuses steal. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are now millions of dollars lighter in the trousers after Marvin Gaye’s family proved beyond any doubt that the pair’s hit song Blurred Lines owned much to Gaye’s 1977 song Got to Give it Up. Thicke and Williams appealed the ruling and lost. Yesterday a new amended judgement confirmed the settlement.

The singers jointly owe damages of $2,848,846.50. Thicke must pay an additional $1,768,191.88. Williams and his publishing company must pay a further $357,630.97. 

The Gaye family is also entitled to prejudgment interest on the damages award and respective profits against each of the signers, totalling $9,097.51. They are also entitled to 50 per cent of the songwriter and publishing revenue. 

Marvin Gaye died in 1984. According to reports, when he was killed Marvin’s estate was $9.2 million in debt. 

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: Money, Music, News | Comment


Bigots use Raheem Sterling racism row to control football fans

No Chelsea fans were at the Etihad last night to see Raheem Sterling and the rest of his Manchester City team beat Hoffenheim in the Champions League. No-one called Raheem Sterling a “fucking black cunt”, as is alleged, or a “Manc cunt”, as is claimed. (Lip-readers are on the case.) No tabloid today links Sterling with rising sea levels, knife crime and the unravelling of Brexit. The Mail does, however, say that some of the visiting German fans gave City’s German flyer Leroy Sane, scorer of both of City’s goals, “some stick”. Sane “appeared to be the subject of a verbal volley”. Tsk! Calling people names at the footy. Whatever next?

On Tuesday, the Mail told us Watford striker Isaac Success “was subjected to aggressive behaviour by local supporters” against Everton. Both Sane and Success are black, like Sterling – the player who illustrated his claim that racism is fueled by media bias with two stories from the Mail. The paper denied the allegation, and appears to be at pains to show readers that other players not in its crosshairs also get shouted at. There’s no claim that Sane was racially abused, and the Everton fans in the photo the paper used to illustrate its story aren’t even looking at Success. They were appealing for handball. 

 

daily mail racism

Hand balls!

 

 

The overriding impression is that football fans are thugs in need of control. That taps into an age-old tale that portrays them as a race-riot in waiting. It also fuels the bigotry that casts people who read and enjoy the tabloid press as violent fools. If Sterling was racially abused – and it’s still alleged that he was – it’s the rarity of the incident that makes it newsworthy. In the 1970s and 1980s, racism was the norm. At Chelsea FC it was condition of entry for many. And, for what it’s worth, nobody else at Chelsea claims to have heard racist language, including a black fan near Sterling’s abusers.

Racism still exists, of course it does. But this singling out of tabloid readers and largely working-class football fans as the root and result of the problem is to pander to other prejudices. 

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


After Strasbourg: Chérif Chekatt is a Moroccan, an Algerian and a Frenchman in Syria

cherif chckatt

 

A “gunman” shot three people dead and injured 12 others at Strasbourg’s Christmas market. The Guardian says gunman is “a 29-year-old born in Strasbourg”. And that is all. Any idea why he did it? One day on and the paper tells us the wanted man is what the French call “gangster-jihadists”. His name is Chérif Chekatt. He is from a family “with Moroccan roots”. He moved into “Islamic extremism”. What else do we know?

 

 

 

At what point do you report that the suspect is an Islamist? 

The Express makes it plain on its page 2, the headline reads: “Massive hunt for Islamist who shot three dead.” He’s a career criminal (paragraph 1) and “radical Islamist” (paragraph 2). He is “of Algerian descent”. Not Moroccan? Or is it all the same – British, Irish, German – all much of a muchness? Another report tells us Islamic State terrorists target shoppers, including those in Britain.  

The Mirror features the story on page 11. The headline tells of the “gunman who killed two”. He is an Islamic terrorist (paragraph 1). He “screamed Allahu Akbar” before opening fire (paragraph 3). Again we read of the fear that Islamic State supporters will attack shoppers in the UK. The threat is ranked as “severe”. what he said and why he said it appears to be relevant. 

The Sun calls Chekatt a “French terror fiend” He is a “butcher”. We read that he yelled Alluahu Akbar in paragraph 5. He is of “Algerian decent”. He’s been jailed in Free, Germany and Switzerland. 

 

chekatt

Facts – where did you say he was from?

 

The Daily Mail calls him the ‘Xmas killer”. In paragraph 5 we learn that Allah Akbar man ‘god is great’ in Arabic. Only the Mail mentions the victims. One is a Thai tourist called Anupong Suebsamarn. We’re told Chekatt “was radicalised in a French jail”. But we don’t know that to be true. The Mail then adds a touch of Brexit, noting, “Free movement rules  mean he would not have to show a passport” if he closed the border into Germany. The paper says Cherkatt’s parents are Algerian. At no point does the Mail use the words Islam, Muslim or Islamist or Islamism. Chekatt’s religion is not mentioned.  

In “Strasbourg shooting: What we know so far”, the BBC refers to Chekatt as a “gunman”. It is only in paragraph 7 we get a possible motive: “Along the way he opened fire several times and also used a knife to seriously wound and kill people, Mr Heitz added, saying the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic) during the rampage.” His religion is not mentioned. 

The Telegraph finds space to add: “Investigators are trying to establish whether Mr Chekatt travelled to Syria or Iraq to join an Islamist group, or whether he was radicalised entirely in France, according to sources close to the case.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 13th, December 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment