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News | Anorak - Part 20

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Arsenal balls: Wenger threatens to stay for one more season

Arsenal players are “turning” on Arsene Wenger says the Mirror. The Frenchman is being “Frozen Out”. He’s also being paid a huge £10m a year to oversee a mediocre team. Blame Wenger by all means, but the board hire him. The absentee owner is unable to see beyond the next jackpot dividend.

If the owners had a clue they’d have sacked Wenger when Arsenal were beaten 8-2 at Old Trafford or lost 10-2 against Bayern Munich or went down 2-1 to Östersund Football Club – a Swedish team from a town whose population is smaller than the capacity of the Emirates stadium. “We could not compete on conventional terms in Swedish football, said Östersund’s manager Graham Potter. “We’ve got no history, no tradition, no culture [of football] here. You’re looking for the ones that have been discarded, the ones that conventional football has regarded as being not good enough.” You know, the kind of players Arsenal reject by the dozen.

Potter had more to say. For all those who say Arsenal outside the Champions’ League will struggle to recruit the top talent and thus compete, well…

“We’re up here in the woods. It’s very, very difficult to attract players from the south of Sweden… We’re not going to have the resources, we’re not going to have a reason for people to come here. Then we started to get players that were maybe either released or not considered good enough for the conventional sort of way. Pick those guys up, and then to do that you have to play to their strengths So we got the ones that were maybe too small or not strong enough to play typical, conventional football if you like. That helped us evolve towards more possession, more controlling game.”

Belief and vision can do wonders. Arsenal have neither. Under Wenger, the team of entitled, cosseted mouth-breathers possess less presence than Lord Lucan. They’d be outfought and outthought by the zip on Wenger’s jacket.

Why are Arsenal so lacklustre and witless given that the team earn fortunes and throughout their careers must have shown some signs of skill and drive? Is it to do with trial by transfer fee, whereby average players, especially the English ones – £40m for the limited Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!; Jack Wilshere thinks £120,000 a week not enough to sign a new deal he is, we are told, desperate to agree!!! – think they’ve won before a ball has been kicked.

And at the top of the flaccid, gilded lump is Wenger, a man rewarded for perennial Premier League failure. Look, his longevity says, you can be a bit stylish, talk a good game and come nowhere near winning the title and still earn shedloads of cash and new contracts. This current Arsenal side of journeymen are the embodiment of the manager’s last decade in charge.

The test is now. Wenger says he has always honoured his contract. The current deal has a year to run after this summer. The paper talks is that Arsenal will once more turn to Monaco, where Wenger managed. Leonardo Jardim is the name in the frame. Arsenal, if they’re serious about change, should get him now.

 

Posted: 1st, March 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Trump voters least likely to stomach smell of other people

“Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes,” said Anna Quindlen in her Short Guide to a Happy Life. In a shorter guide: if you want to smell the linen and Alpine air, avoid Lefties. They stink and don’t much mind.

Jonas Olofsson at Stockholm University, Sweden, has linked a person’s response to smell to their politics. The less tolerant you are of another’s person’s stench, the further to the right you veer. Your attitude to personal hygiene can influence which political crowd you run with.

A test group of volunteers responded to questions about how revolting they found exposure to someone else’s sweat, the urine, faeces and more. Paired with responses to such statements as “Our country needs a powerful leader, in order to destroy the radical and immoral currents prevailing in society today”, Olofsson noticed that respondents most disgusted by other people’s smells tended to score more highly for authoritarian views. “Those that were most supportive of Donald Trump had the highest body odour disgust sensitivity,” says Olofsson. “People who react strongly to odours might claim to have a sensitive nose, but when we test them, they are average.”

Adding: “We think that olfaction might be at the root of the pathogen detection system, so body odour disgust might be the most primitive, most fundamental way to detect pathogen.”

The study, which can be read in full here, speaks of Trump:

Only a few studies have investigated the relationship between disgust sensitivity and voting preferences. In Study 3, we found positive evidence in favour of a weak relationship between disgust sensitivity to body odours and attitudes toward the Republican candidate Donald Trump. Importantly, this relationship is fully explained by authoritarian attitudes which were stronger among participants supporting Trump, a result that confirms the notion that in our study sample, Donald Trump was capable of attracting the sympathies of authoritarian voters.

Anyone else see a line of Trump-endorsed scent-free perfumes?

In fact, it can be argued that Trump’s firm stance against immigration, especially from groups viewed as culturally unfamiliar, might meet an implicit need of protection from pathogen threats from people perceived as either potential carriers of unfamiliar pathogens, or groups whose behaviours in disease-avoidance relevant behaviours (e.g. hygiene or food preparation) was perceived as deviant. Our findings suggest that high reactivity to pathogen threats signalled by body odours is part of an ideological disposition towards authoritarian candidates, because of the link between disease avoidance and authoritarianism.

Build a wall and stick some fans on the top of it. An ill wind blows…

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


Haven’t We All Got So Much Richer?

This little statistics rather surprised me. I should have known it but didn’t:

The average house price has soared by 7,578 per cent, from £2,100 in 1952 to £161,937 in 2012, according to Halifax. But in the 1950s, prices were much lower relative to earnings — around 3.5 times the average salary compared with 4.8 times over the past decade, so it was more affordable to get on to the property ladder.

OK, well I did know that. Houses have got more expensive relative to wages. It’s one of the ways in which you can say that we’ve not actually got richer over the generations: sure, wages have risen, but we’ve got to spend it all on a house.

It would have cost around £160 a year over a 20-year mortgage term to buy a typical home in 1952, but at that time around two thirds of properties had no hot water.

And that’s the important point. Sure, houses have got more expensive: they’re also less shit than they are. Central heating didn’t become even a luxury until the 1950s either, widespread adoption only coming in the 1960s. Which brings us to another complaint. We’re often told that a generation back one income could feed and house and raise an entire family. Now it takes two: so we’re no better off at all.

To which I would say bollocks. You can live a 1950s lifestyle on one income in the UK no problems. A house with maybe an inside lav, more likely than not no hot water, almost certainly no actual bath in a bathroom. And certainly no central heating: mebbe a coal fire in one or two rooms. Shitty food, no foreign holidays at all (this is still the era of a week’s camping at Scunthorpe). No meals out of course: it’s not just that no one could afford them, restaurants, other than those in expensive hotels, just didn’t exist (seriously, the expansion of Berni Inns in the 50s and 60s was the first experience of restaurants for many).

You can very easily live a 50s lifestyle on one single earner these days. The problem is that we all like being a great deal richer than that.

Posted: 28th, February 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Max Mosley and the right to ask offensive questions

Most of us have never met press reform campaigner Max Mosley (and I’m including some members of the spanking community in that) nor his father, the fascist Oswald Mosley who married Diana Mitford in Joseph Goebbels’ drawing room. She was a woman dubbed “Hitler’s Angel”. Max knew her as ‘mum’. My own ancestors living in London’s Stepney and Whitechapel did have a run-in with Mosley Senior a while back, chiefly when in his guise as leader of the Black Shirts, the aristo and former Labour Party government minister wanted to march his gang of booted anti-Semites through Cable Street in East London. The aim was to intimidate the local Jews. Back then lots of people who didn’t much like the Nazi-styled Black Shirts disobeyed the law by turning out in force, blocked the march and won the day. Officialdom did sod all to protect them. “It was a victory for the united people of the East End.”

Our bloodlines, however, have not crossed since. I know what I know of Mosley and his family by reading and hearing about them. Eventually, I might even form an opinion on Max from looking at the press, TV and books. “The questions raised by the desire to know are in principle all answerable by common-sense experience and common-sense reasoning,” wrote Hannah Arendt. We read a lot of things. We think about them, debate them and, through reason, try to reach the truth.

And today we get to know a bit more about Max Mosley. He’s back in the news. The Times says Mosley “is facing questions about whether he lied to the High Court after the discovery of a racist political leaflet published in his name”.

The 1961 document links leprosy, venereal disease and tuberculosis to “coloured immigration” and argues that Jamaicans should be sent back home. Mr Mosley, the former Formula One boss turned press reform campaigner, was questioned about the leaflets during his 2008 High Court privacy case against the News of the World.

Under oath, he said that he did not recall putting out election literature urging voters to send black people home. He also explicitly denied that any leaflets from the 1961 campaign accused immigrants of bringing leprosy, syphilis and TB, saying: “That is absolute nonsense.”

Confronted with a copy of one of the leaflets last night, he rejected the “offensive suggestion” that he lied under oath and appeared to question if it was genuine. “If it is genuine, it doesn’t reflect my views today,” he said during a combative live appearance on Channel 4 News. “This was in 1961. I ceased to have any involvement in my father’s movement in 1963.”

Here he is on Channel 4 news:

 

 

The part about Tom Watson is of interest.  The Deputy leader says a Labour Government would set up Leveson II and enforce state-backed press regulation. So much for a free press. The State will decide what is and what is not fit and proper for you to read. No need for reason when the State does the thinking for you. You’ll be free to think about other stuff, like ‘How the hell did this happen?’, ‘Isn’t it great that we all agree on everything’ and “Why is fake news now the only news?’

Spotting error is essential to solving problems and progress. Stymie expression – the right to make mistakes – and we are all isolated from one another and diminished. As the philosopher Karl Popper noted:

In spite of everything, and although we have had so many failures, we, the citizens of the western democracies, live in a social order which is better (because more favourably disposed to reform) and more just than any other in recorded history. Further improvements are of the greatest urgency. (Yet improvements that increase the power of the state often bring about the opposite of what we are seeking.)

 

Max Mosley racism

 

The story is on the cover of the Mail. It begins with a question. And for what it’s worth, I’d cede to Betteridge’s Law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no’.”

The Mail focuses on Mosley’s relationship with the media:

He has bankrolled Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and Impress — the State-approved media watchdog which critics say opens the door to statutory control of the Press…

Mr Mosley has also pledged £3.8 million via a family trust to fund Impress, the controversial Press regulator which is underwritten by statute and supported by Mr Watson and the pressure group Hacked Off, but shunned by the newspaper industry which views it as a threat to freedom of expression.

The Guardian notes the response:

“It appears that the historical investigation pursued by the Daily Mail is yet another misconceived attempt to intimidate and deter me. I will continue to campaign for the vital reforms needed to protect ordinary people against the bullying of newspapers like the Daily Mail.”

In response to the leaflet, Watson told the Mail: “My views on press regulation are well known and have not changed. The views expressed by Max as a young man are not the views he holds now, just as the Rothermere family no longer uses its newspapers to support fascism.”

 

Max Mosley racism

 

And so there it is. A free Press is the right to report things people of power and influence don’t want you to know. It’s the right to cause offence. More power to it. And more power to anyone who can prove it wrong by establishing their facts as authentic and true. After all, our desire is to know the truth and therein become better.

PS:

 

If we are now all citizen journalists – something Jeremy Corbyn is keen to foster as he invites “non-journalists” from outside the hated mainstream media (see Trump. D) to ask him questions – will each of us with a social media account need to sign up to State regulation for our right to publish tweets and Facebook posts? A vibrant field of open debate will end when the State is the only one holding the mic.

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


North Korean leaders travelled the world on Brazilian passports

If you think the North Korean leader’s hair is an area of special scientific interest, you should see his bikini line. Reuters says Kim Jong-un and his dad, former North Korean Number 1 Kim Jong Il, each owned a Brazilian passport.

Everyone needs a break from the killing, torture and that oh-so tiresome issuing of most terrible threats. And the Kims are mostly human (source: CNN@WinterOlympics). So they used illegal documents to jet about the globe, selflessly exposing themselves to the horrors of plentiful food, back rubs and horrific US-sponsored imperialism. And, yes, I fear that includes a Brazilian.

 

 

Apparently, Jong Un was listed on one passport as Josef Pwag. Educated at an international school in Berne, Switzerland, where “he pretended to be the son of an embassy chauffeur”, Jong Un’s birthplace is given as Sao Paulo, Brazil. Big Kim was called Ijong Tchoi.

 

 

We don’t know where the Kims went, nor if they ever spent a busman’s weekend in East Glasgow. And we can’t know for certain why the Kims chose to play at being Brazilian, over, say, South Korean or German. Maybe it’s because Brazil has a rich history in giving sanctuary to murderous foreign loons (see Germans).

Anyhow, if you’ve any beach shots of the Kims getting waxed off, keep them to yourself and your nightmares.

Posted: 28th, February 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn’s goes full Blair: for the EU not the many

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tilted his head and told us that the Labour Party will seek a customs union with the European Union. Total balls, of course. The European Union won’t go for it. To keep the country trading in cahoots with the EU stomps on the votes of 17.4 millions of us who got off our arses and voted for Brexit. But the EU won’t have an independent UK negotiating trade deals with them as equals.

Corbyn knows it’s nonsense, of course. This is all about him getting into power. If you still sue for Remain, then a vote for Corbyn is being presented as your best chance of securing it. The working class who voted Leave are getting stuffed. But with a Tory Party mired, who else do they vote for?

Meanwhile, Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) offers an insight into how the media Corbyn seeks to gag will behave and be treated under his government:

This just happened at a Jeremy Corbyn speech Q&A:
Rebecca Long-Bailey (ignoring multiple journalists’ raised hands): “Do we have any questions from non-journalists?”
Activist: “I want to say, please will you hurry up and be our Prime Minister”.

Maybe that’s the way to go: just abandon the established Press and go with citizen journalism and twitter? Everyone with an opinion and a social media account could sign up to Max Mosley’s state-approved regulator? Labour want it so that news organisations that don’t sign up to a the State’s regulator will have to pay all the costs of libel and privacy cases even if they win. Yeah, even if you lose, you win. It’s a Remainer’s paradise.

Posted: 26th, February 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Americans Are Odd – Why Execute A Terminal Cancer Patient?

There are times when it appears that the transatlantic cousins are more than a little odd. Their preoccupation with guns puzzles many this side of the Pond for example, their continuing love affair with executions meets with the approval of the vox populi over here if not with those who rule us. But seriously, who tries to execute a terminal cancer patient?

Part of this they did get right:

An execution in the US was aborted last week after the inmate was left with 10 puncture wounds when medical personnel were unable to find a vein after two and a half hours of trying. The failed attempts left behind a bloodied death chamber, the inmate’s lawyer said.

No, that’s getting it right. The purpose of the death penalty is to put the Fear of God into those who might commit a serious crime. A blood spattered execution chamber aids in doing that so why not? In fact, there’s a good argument that if a death penalty we’re going to have then the more public and gory it is the better. Why go with private and peaceful like a lethal injection in a prison when we could have breaking on the wheel in the public square? Evisceration perhaps? Either would be more of a deterrent.

But then there’s the part that they got wrong:

In court filings in the days before the planned execution, Hamm’s lawyers said he had terminal cancer and a history of intravenous drug use that had severely compromised his veins.

Yes the drug use will have made the injection more difficult. But the terminal cancer would make it unnecessary as well. In fact, why bother with the rigmarole at all?

It’s fairly well known that a death from cancer isn’t a pretty nor enjoyable one. That’s why those who die that way tend to go out on a cloud of morphine – these days perhaps the much stronger fentanyl. A prisoner whose veins can’t be found isn’t going to be getting useful amounts of either of those drugs now, is he? So, why bother with the execution?

Why not just with hold treatment for the cancer, including pain relief, and allow nature to get on with the rest of it? Possibly film it as an example to others?

For if we’re going to have death as a disincentive to crime then let’s make those deaths as awful as possible so as to increase the disincentive, the precautionary effect. And if we’re not doing it so as to dissuade people, as gorily as possible, then why in hell are we doing it in the first place?

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


Ian Wright: when the Arsenal striker tore a Man City star’s foreskin

As a powderpuff, toothless, guile-free, limp Arsenal lose 3-0 to Manchester City in the League Cup final, minds turn to how it used to be when players actually ran and looked like they were living the dream. You know, when Ian Wright played for the Gunners.

Wright is the player who grow up on Honor Oak council estate in Brockley, south London, whose mother told him “I should have had a termination”;  who left school at 14; who at age 18, whilst working as a labourer, became a father; who after countless rejections became at 22-years-old a professional footballer with Crystal Palace; who ran and ran and ran and ran.

“I spoke with Arsène for a few hours during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” says the former Arsenal star. “He is such a fascinating man to talk to. During our conversation he said he accepts whatever criticism I make comes from a place of love. Watching him now is like witnessing the ageing Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes, or watching Brazil’s Ronaldo when he got fat. You are watching the greats in their demise. The problem with Arsène is that there is no one in his corner prepared to throw in the towel.”

Arsene Wenger’s time was up years ago. A combination of loyalty to the man who moulded the club in the modern era, and an asinine board and absentee owner grown fat and complacent on big dividends from the club’s role as perennial Champions’ League also rans, have kept Wenger in situ. His current team are woeful.

Do any of them want it as much as Wright did? Talking to the Sunday Times, he tells a story, which is undoubtedly the most entertaining thing Arsenal fans will have seen today:

“First time I got called up for England. I am amongst the greats. Bryan Robson, Shilton, Butcher, Barnes, Lineker, Beardsley, Gascoigne, Platt. But I’m losing the ball in training and Steve McMahon’s giving me a hard time.

“’F*****g useless, how do players like you get into the squad?’” Horrible he was, and it got me down. Years later he [McMahon] is playing for Man City and we both slide into a tackle. He had to go off. It’s at Highbury and after the game he’s in the doctor’s room being stitched up. It’s his foreskin that is being stitched.

“He says ‘Wrighty, you caught me in the wrong place,’ but is OK about it. I apologise and wish him well for the rest of the season. After we retire I meet him somewhere and he’s saying that every time he pees or has any form of arousal, he feels a little pain and thinks of me. And I’m thinking, ‘ah man, that’s sweet.’”

If you’ve got the time, this is great: Ian Wright meets Mr Sidney Pigden, his old teacher who made him believe he could do it:

 

And this:

Posted: 25th, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment (1)


Donald Trump channels Archie Bunker on gun control

 

Donald Trump surveys the death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, hears the laments of the grief stricken and then tells everyone it’d be good idea to bring more guns into school. You let the teachers have them. “You give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free, you have now made the school into a hardened target.”

More guns equals less crime, then?  No:

The notion [that more guns mean less crime] stems from a paper published in 1997 by economists John Lott and David Mustard, who looked at county-level crime data from 1977 to 1992 and concluded that “allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths.” Of course, the study of gun crime has advanced significantly since then (no thanks to Congress). Some researchers have gone so far as to call Lott and Mustard’s original study “completely discredited.” …

Now, Stanford law professor John Donohue and his colleagues have added another full decade to the analysis, extending it through 2010, and have concluded that the opposite of Lott and Mustard’s original conclusion is true: more guns equal more crime.

“The totality of the evidence based on educated judgments about the best statistical models suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates” of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder, Donohue said in an interview with the Stanford Report. The evidence suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated with an 8 percent increase in the incidence of aggravated assault, according to Donohue. He says this number is likely a floor, and that some statistical methods show an increase of 33 percent in aggravated assaults involving a firearm after the passage of right-to-carry laws.According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 467,321 persons were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011, which includes the 11,000 or so gun-related homicides.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey 2011, 467,321 people were victims of a crime committed with a firearm in 2011, including the 11,000 or so gun-related homicides. Guns are pretty good at threatening people. Bang. Bang. You’re dead.

In 2010 the FBI recorded 12,996 homicides – 8,775 were committed with guns; 1,704 with knives; 540 with blunt objects; 11 with poison. People murder, then, with the nearest most lethal object to hand. Or they become more devious: in 1927, America’s deadliest school massacre was carried out with dynamite.

But what about guns just going off?

In 2010, unintentional firearm injuries caused the deaths of 606 people. From 2005-2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. Over 1,300 victims of unintentional shootings for the period 2005–2010 were under 25 years of age.

Matt Steinglass notes:

Gun-rights advocates often argue that there’s no point taking away people’s guns, because you can kill someone with a knife. This is true, but in practice people are nowhere near as likely to get killed with a knife.

In America, of those 14,022 homicides in 2011, 11,101 were committed with firearms. In England and Wales, where guns are far harder to come by, criminals didn’t simply go out and equip themselves with other tools and commit just as many murders; there were 32,714 offences involving a knife or other sharp instrument (whether used or just threatened), but they led to only 214 homicides, a rate of 1 homicide per 150 incidents. Meanwhile, in America, there were 478,400 incidents of firearm-related violence (whether used or just threatened) and 11,101 homicides, for a rate of 1 homicide per 43 incidents. That nearly four-times-higher rate of fatality when the criminal uses a gun rather than a knife closely matches the overall difference in homicide rates between America and England.

But police having guns is good, right?

Not one but four sheriff’s deputies hid behind cars instead of storming Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., during Wednesday’s school shooting, police claimed Friday — as newly released records revealed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had received at least 18 calls about the troubled teen over the past decade.

Sources from Coral Springs, Fla., Police Department tell CNN that when its officers arrived on the scene Wednesday, they were shocked to find three Broward County Sheriff’s deputies behind their cars with weapons drawn.

Stoneman Douglas had an armed guard who did not engage the killer.

There is no consensus over guns in the US. Maybe the focus should be on the ‘wrong kind of people’ having guns?

 

 

All the talk is of guns. But why do the State and ordinary people own them in the first place? And if anyone needs to be denied gun ownership, why shouldn’t everyone be made gun free?

Posted: 25th, February 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


London Council bans fat children from climbing trees without a ‘reasonable excuse’

London’s Wandsworth Council wants to ban anyone from climbing a tree in the borough. Unless you have a “reasonable excuse”, climbing a tree could cost you a £500 fine. It’s all part of a range of new bylaws being proposed throughout Wandsworth to “protect the borough’s parks from criminal damage, anti-social behaviour and vandalism”.

How’s that Olympic legacy going?

The council says that’s nonsense. It says the new rules are “nothing” to do with “curtailing childrens’ enjoyment in any way and will help the council run its parks effectively as possible for the enjoyment all residents, especially children.”

Councillor Jonathan Cook, Cabinet Member for Community Services, says: “Stopping a child from flying a kite or climbing a tree, as has been suggested in some quarters this week, certainly will not be how we want to see the bylaws used.”

So the rules can be used to stop people climbing trees? The rules are open-ended and vague?

“Council set to ban ‘annoying’ tree climbing and kite flying,” says the Times. Paul Hocker, director of the charity London Play, says: “They are bolstering their huge bank reserves by fining children for climbing trees or flying a kite in the park.”

The council says Hocker et al are “misinformed”. Really?

The London Evening Standard reports:

Along with tree climbing, such traditional outdoor pursuits as kite flying or a knockabout game of cricket – along with other pursuits considered “annoying” to others – could fall foul of the regulations.

The borough’s previous 27-point list drawn up in 1924 will be replaced with 49 new diktats, including bans on metal detectors and remote control model boats on ponds…

The rules will be enforced by civilian park police – who dress like the Met officers with a kit of stab vests, handcuffs and bodycams, but lack their powers.

In the Mail, we hear from an insider:

A council spokesman told MailOnline: “A six-year-old child climbing a tree is one thing but an 18-stone rugby player who might damage the tree by breaking the branches is another.”

What about an 18-stone child? And why can’t a big lad climb a tree? Why do children get more rights than adults?

“That is the sort of behaviour we are trying to discourage. We have had people badly injury themselves in the past.”

So what? Adults knows the risks. Children find ways of working out their limits. We’ll take freedom over banning orders, thanks.

“It’s not about stopping children from playing innocent games or engaging in healthy, outdoors activities, it’s about making the spaces more enjoyable for everyone.”

The Express and Star also rehash the same Times report. But no paper lists the 47 new “diktats”. Under the heading “Wandsworth Council parks and open spaces bye-laws –  Laws governing the use of our parks, gardens and open spaces”, the council tells us what fun we can all have in the fresh-ish air (still free at the point of delivery!).

 

No Running in the non-running zone:

 

Make your babies walk! 

 

 

No Sliding – on ice?

 

 

Vagrants raus! Go to the library. Do not soil the grass:

 

 

Sod it. Safer – and cheaper – to stay in doors and watch it all on the telly. Pass the blankets, mum.

 

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


Jeremy Corbyn sneers at 30 years of Matt’s ‘genius’ cartoons

Daily Telegraph cartoonist Matt Pritchett is celebrating his 30th anniversary at the paper. Plaudits come thick and fast. They’re deserved. The Duke of Edinburgh hails Matt as a “genius”, praising his “ability to think of wonderfully appropriate swipes at the idiocies of contemporary life”. to say nothing of the idiocies of hereditary privilege. And to say nothing at all of people the Telegraph refers to as  – dread phrase – “national treasures”.

Prime Minsters past and present love him.

Theresa May says Matt’s works lets politicos “laugh at ourselves”. David Cameron says he has a Matt cartoon lampooning his time as PM on his wall. Gordon Brown says: “Cartoonists often get far nearer to the truth than other commentators and over 30 tumultuous years Matt Pritchett has consistently demonstrated exactly that.”

Tony Blair calls Matt “brilliant”.

John Major says: “In the 1990s, when I was under heavy press bombardment, Matt produced a cartoon of a newspaper billboard reading: ‘Queen falls off horse: Prime Minister not involved’. It caught the moment magnificently.”

And Jeremy Corbyn, who doesn’t much like a free press, says:

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, was also invited to join the anniversary celebrations. His team politely declined, saying none of the Matt cartoons they had seen about Mr Corbyn were funny.

 

Jeremy Corbyn, folks, the man who prefers to tell not listen, who says a “free press is essential to democracy” and then threatens the media he doesn’t like and who don’t agree with him. He wants more control over the Press. So much for freedom.

Helena Horton says the PMs who did comment are a”a lesson in how to handle being on the receiving end of a joke with good grace”.

Quite so. Corbyn comes across badly. As Tom Jamieson tweets: “It does, but for satirists getting under skin of a politician is very pleasing…”

More of Matt, please. And more cartoons in newspapers.

Posted: 24th, February 2018 | In: News | Comment


God’s own Alan Pardew gives West Bromwich Albion an easy ride and a prayer

Ever since Maradonna attributed his cheating to God, sceptics and religionists have been debating the divine one’s role in the beautiful game. Is Deli Alli lysing down a lot because he’s a modern day Lazarus, rather than a persistent cheat? Are the Red Devils scared of crosses? And here’s Alan Pardew reacting to West Brom’s team-building jaunt to Barcelona last week, which featured four senior players going on the lash, nicking a taxi in the early hours of the morning and joy-riding to McDonald’s before dumping it outside their team hotel.

Gareth Barry (36), Jonny Evans (30), Boaz Myhill (35) and Jake Livermore (28) were each fined two weeks’ wages for breaking the midnight curfew. Such is the tough line at West Brom that Barry and Evans were picked to play in the next match. Pardew explained all:

“He (Evans) has paid a heavy price for [his conduct]. Trust me. It’s like all things in life, if you make a mistake does that mean you are going to have to pay for it for the rest of your life? I don’t think so. I think God teaches us to forgive. On this occasion I wouldn’t say he’s been forgiven. But he’s paid a price and he’s still paying a price with you guys [the media], so he’ll learn that that was an event he deeply regrets as he lives on.

West Bromwich Albion are bottom of the Premier League, five points behind their closest rival. You’d think that arrogant players larking about, boozing and eating junk food less than ideal. But with the Rev. Pardew at the helm, the lads have a prayer.

Posted: 23rd, February 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Kardashian balls: Kylie Jenner’s billion dollar tweet

All power, then, to Kylie Jenner, 20, half-sister to Kim Kardashian, who has issued the first billion dollar tweet: “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?”

Her message was liked more than 250,000 times. Around the same time, shares in Snap, which operates the social media app., dropped 6 per cent ($1.3bn).

Such is Jenner’s power that a role as share tipster must beckon. Kylie tips a few companies for greatness and  – waboom!- their short-term share price rises sharply. You can debate why anyone would follow the advice of a woman who called her first child Stormi Webster later. But they do. So there.

Of course, there’s more to it that just Jenner’s tweet. Citigroup analyst Mark May has seen a “significant jump” in negative reviews of the app’s redesign. Over one million names appeared on an online petition asking Snap to keep the old look.  Maybelline New York asked its followers if it should bother staying on the Snapchat platform.

But the story is out there – “Kylie Jenner’s pop at Snapchat wipes $1bn off value” (Times); “Reality TV star Kylie Jenner wiped $1.3bn off Snap’s stock market value after tweeting that she no longer used its Snapchat messaging app” (BBC);  and “SNAPCRASH -Kylie Jenner wipes £1BILLION off value of Snapchat just by saying she doesn’t use the app any more” (Sun).

When later on Jenner tweeted “Still love you tho snap”. The stock did not rally. Last night shares in Snap closed down $1.13 at $17.51.

Still, it’s good marketing for Jenner and Snapchat, which now appears to be relevant. It’s almost as if – as if! – it was all a spot of PR…

Posted: 23rd, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, News | Comment


Justin Forsyth resigns from Unicef – man loses his job over text messages

john forstyth

 

Another successful hit for the anti-harassment police as Unicef chief Justin Fortyth falls on his (pork) sword and resigns. The former chief executive of Save the Children says his past must not “damage” the charities that allegedly coseted him.

Forsyth was accused of “inappropriate” behaviour towards three female colleagues – a “barrage” of texts and comments about their looks. He “apologised unreservedly” to the three women at the time. Save The Children investigated him twice. He left, scored a new job at Unicef and life rolled on. But when the story became news just a few days ago, his career was mired. Justice in the age of #MeToo is mercilessly swift. He’s gone.

“They were dealt with through a proper process many years ago,” Forsyth says in a statement about the complaints an their handling. “There is no doubt in my mind that some of the coverage around me is not just to (rightly) hold me to account, but also to attempt to do serious damage to our cause and the case for aid.” (For “aid”, read: politics, party, movie, the BBC, TV series,  gender and more.)

Conservative MP Pauline Latham, a member of the House of Commons’ International Development committee, reacts: “But what I’m more concerned about is the fact he has been able to work for as long as he did. It is shocking. The more I hear about it the more shocked I am. It’s terrible for the UK charity sector. It will take a lot of getting over.”

Should we be more shocked that a woman who represents us in the combative world of party politics is shocked by a man sending sleazy tests and making lewd comments? If that shocks her, what does the war in Syria do to her constitution?

Brie O’Keefe, a former employee at Save the Children, tells BBC’s Newsnight: “One of the things that kept many of us from speaking out earlier was a desire to protect the organisation that we loved.”

So much for justice, then. Less #MeToo than #ThoseBastards.

The rest of us might also wonder how one man’s unwelcome comments, for which he apologised, are linked to Oxfam’s depravity? The charity allegedly covered up and protected staffers who aided local women – some allegedly underage (child rape, then?) – escape the horrors of witnessing hundreds of thousands killed and millions made without basic needs following the 2010 earthquake by paying them for sex. The BBC makes the link explicit. In its comment on Forsyth, the BBC slips in the line: “Meanwhile, Haiti has suspended Oxfam GB operations in the country, as it investigates claims of sexual misconduct by staff in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.”

The office creep is linked to Oxfam staff going to a poor foreign country and using their piles of money and power to debase the locals to such a degree that, it’s alleged, they arranged “meat barbecues” (orgies) in which the women wore Oxfam T-shirts.

Forsyth is right about one thing: this amplification of any sort of harassment into a scandal that rides high at the top of the news cycle is creating an unhealthy atmosphere of mistrust. The most authoritarian voices are holding the mic. The rest of us should worry about where it’s all leading?

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


Former Arsenal and Spurs star: ‘I’m one of the greatest minds in football’

Sol Campbell has been overlooked for the Oxford job. No, not the Oxford job that involves big lunches, bigger dinners and students. The other Oxford job – the one as manager of Oxford United FC. Although the former Spurs and Arsenal defender could have done both, probably. As he tells one and all: “I can’t believe some people. I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m wasted because of a lack of experience or maybe he talks his mind too much.”

Instead Oxford are looking at former Wales and Liverpool player Craig Bellamy.

“I did go [for the Oxford Unietd job] and they didn’t accept me,” Sol told Highbury & Heels. “Maybe it was a lack of experience, things like that, but it’s a full circle. Experience? How do I get experience? Well I need a job to get experience. I don’t want to go too low that it’s a struggle, and I don’t want to go too low that I’m under someone and thinking ‘what am I doing here?’ I would rather be managing a club myself.

“I’m confident and it’s not like it’s rocket science to run a football club, especially when you get to that level. If you’re intelligent enough and a quick learner you will learn pretty soon, within two or three games, what the team needs, training-wise, to survive in that league, get better in that league, to get in the play-offs or even win the league.

“I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life. I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m being wasted because of a lack of experience or ‘maybe he talks his mind too much’. Go to Germany, they love people who speak their minds. They got the jobs. I’m sorry that I’ve got a mind, but don’t be scared of that. That should be something you want at your club, but obviously not.”

 

 

Glenn Hoddle is away.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ramsey ready for Carabao Cup final

The Daily Express has news form the twilight zone of spots journalism: “Aaron Ramsey to miss Man City Carabao Cup final because of Arsene Wenger.” Jack Otway has news on just what Wenger has done to Ramsay, dealing a “hammer blow” to Arsenal’s chances of winning the trophy.

Reading on and we discover that Wenger has done…nothing. But we do get this:

The Sun say Arsene Wenger has already decided Ramsey will not be risked against Guardiola’s men.

Over in the Sun, then, for news of the “RAMBLOW”. Ramsey is “set miss Carabao Cup Final”. It’s an “exclusive”.

So Ramsay is out. But, hold on. Whose that training with the Gunners?  The Express identifies him:

 

Spotted? The Express is happy to quote the Sun’s “exclusive” that Ramsay is out – defo – but forgot to mention the bit where the Sun says: “And though he has been working hard in training to prove his fitness for Wembley, boss Arsene Wenger is unwilling to gamble on the Welsh star.”

As the Express mines two clickbait stories from one Sun “exclusive”, Wenger tells media: “Ramsey is not in the squad for tomorrow [Arsenal’s Europa League Cup match]. He had a good training session but he is short for tomorrow. We will see how his evolution goes now until Sunday. I don’t rule him out yet. It depends how well he can improve the intensity of training.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Jennifer Lawrence’s puckered flesh gives Red Sparrow a leg up

Jennifer Lawrence showed some skin as she lined up with her Red Sparrow co-stars for a press call. The men showed no skin. The Mail  says the looks sparked “controversy on social media”. Helen Lewis, for one, was upset by what came to be called – get this – “WarmCoatGate”.

 

 

Not that Lewis, the Deputy editor @newstatesman, was outside to promote a film. Some clothes are best for popping to shops, others are good for gardening or climbing Everest. Some are good at getting attention.

The Mail couldn’t resist editorialising, telling readers that Jennifer Lawrence “appears to be shivering in a plunging Versace dress”. You can tell if someone’s shivering from a still? Maybe the cold is why the four man are all sporting coats and beards. Maybe the beards are viewed as part of what it is to be a man, just as Lawrence’s cleavage is essentially feminine?

Lawrence got wind of people voicing their disapproval. “This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended,” she writes on Facebook. “That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”

Get a load of all that freedom. And then get another big stinky load of the righteous trying to work out if you can have freedom and enforced equality.

In other news: attractive actress in revealing dress gets film lots of attention. Read all about it!

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts, News | Comment


Arsenal balls: Lacazette’s talking knee changes time

With Trinity Mirror’s purchase of the Daily Express and Daily Star, football fans who get their news online can expect a tag-team movement of total balls. All titles use their websites as clickbait farms. The latest tosh involves Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, who has, says the Mirror,  “given an update on his recovery from a knee injury”.

In its dash for clicks, the Mirror tells readers approaching via Google’s bots that Lacazette is bidding “for a quick recovery” (as opposed to hoping for a slow recovery and lots of sick pay and daytime telly?), illustrating the teaser with a photo of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and, er,  Robbie Lyle, presenter of the entertaining Arsenal Fan TV

 

lacazette arsenal

 

Clicking into the story and readers are told Lacazette will be sidelined for “up to five weeks”. Arsene Wenger’s words to BeIn Sports that Lacazette could be out for “four or five weeks” are repeated. There’s no word on any “quick recovery”. That much is utter balls.

And then this spot some time illiteracy:

A return date on the pitch could occur against either West Ham on April 21 or Manchester United on April 28 with a return to first team training likely to begin at the start of April.

Lacazette underwent surgery on February 12. Four or five weeks after that take us up to mid March. Even if you add on a few days from the operation until Wenger spoke, Lacazette still looks likely to return well before April.

But having spun a nonsense story from a single photo of Lacazette’s poorly knee as he work out in the Arsenal gym – one taken by the player and posted to his Instagram page – the Mirror’s clickbait expert needs to hit his word count. So we get this:

Until Lacazette’s return, Wenger will put his faith in Aubameyang, though the Gabon striker is unable to help in their quest to win the Europa League. Despite overcoming Ostersund 3-0 in the first leg of the round of 32 tie, a probable last 16 tie will occur on March 8 and 13, with a potential quarter-final on April 5 and 12.

That means Arsenal’s most probable route back into the Champions League will rest on Danny Welbeck’s form.

No. It won’t because Arsenal are not a one-man team and Lacazettte will be back in March. In addition, the last 16 ties will be played on March 8 and 15. March 12 is a Monday. Europa League ties are played on Thursdays.

Apart from the story being factually inaccurate and based on total balls, it is spot on.

PS: But there is good news. Cop a load of the ads that wrapped around the balls. We counted – get this – 23 ads on this one story.

 

 

 

It’s almost as if the words are just a trick to make you see lots and lots and lots of ads…

Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Save the Children accused of putting business before women

Justin Forsyth resigned his post as chief executive at Save The Children because he made, in his words, “unsuitable and thoughtless” comments to three younger women. The evidence is in a “barrage” of text messages the current deputy executive director at Unicef sent female staff in which he appraised their looks and clothes. Mr Forsyth was never subjected to a formal disciplinary hearing. Save the Children says it did examine Mr Forsyth in 2011 and 2015. And that was it. Back then whatever he did was deemed to be ok. Now it isn’t.

Forsyth is a forgettable looking chap with the looks of a minor public school’s cricket coach. “I made some personal mistakes during my time at Save the Children,” he states. “I recognise that on a few occasions I had unsuitable and thoughtless conversations with colleagues which I now know caused offence and hurt.”

Were they thoughtless? Or was he thinking, you know, with his manhood? It’s pretty hard to bang out a text without engaging any brain power. Unless it was instinctive and Forsyth was operating on the same level as a sponge reacting to the presence of water or a puppy on the vicar’s leg. Where does flirting slide over into sexual harassment? A YouGov survey tells us that over a quarter of 18 to 24 consider winking “always or usually” sexual harassment – the figure falls to 6% for over-55s. Two thirds of the same think the same of wolf-whistling – for over 55s it was 15%. Nottinghamshire police consider wolf-whistling a “hate crime”.

“When this was brought to my attention on two separate occasions,” Forsyth continues, “I apologised unreservedly to the three colleagues involved and my apologies were accepted and I thought the issue was closed many years ago.”

Well, it wasn’t closed. One woman tells the BBC: “The complaints of harassment were not treated with the appropriate degree of seriousness. It seems there was more interest in preventing the exposure of misconduct than in protecting its female employees from predatory behaviour.”

The PR is now in full cry. Following new that Brendan Cox was not best behaved when he worked at Save The Children, the charity tells everyone: “We apologise for any pain these matters have caused and sincerely hope that the complainants feel able to help us with the review in the coming weeks.”

We apologise for the reactions. But not for doing anything wrong. Indeed, we urge the alleged victims to trust us. Only we can get to the bottom of things. Adding: “This is so that we can better support our skilled and highly valued staff as they help change the lives of millions of children around the world every day.” Translation: we’re great. Sure some of your charitable donations will go on staff reviews, PR and guff. But keep giving!

Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Red trolls in Purple States: how Russia defeated democracy

 

The Guardian has a few words on the Russian State-funded trolls accused of swinging the 2016 US Presidential election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Russia saw in Trump, so the allegation follows, a better chance to grow and protect its monocular, illiberal interests.

The Russian regime often looks guiltier than a dog stood by a pile of poo. When the Russian PR machine talks, you’d be wise to hold your nose. It’s a steady stream of bull-made effluent. And it makes you wonder why Russia’s tosh has been imbibed with such power. Did Russian bots and spods really win it for Trump, boost Bernie Sanders and root for the Green Party’s Jill Stein? Is its propaganda so much more effective than the stuff seeping from Western regimes? And why does any of it matter?

The Cold War was won. But look out – the Ruskies have moved on from invasion and armed global socialism to a fearsome social media strategy. They might not be able to hack United States military supercomputers and trigger World War III, but they’ve got some terrific gossip about Clinton having had on-the-clock sex with Trump on a yellowy waterbed as Saddam Hussein drummed out Back in the USSR on Bono’s buttocks. (That was the rumour, right? If not, Oleg, call me, I have ideas and hashtags.) Whatever the truth, mentally-negligible Mary-Sue in a swing state bought it.

The Guardian tell us:

It was from American political activists that they [Russian trolls] received the advice to target “purple” swing states, something that was essential to the ultimate success of the campaign.

Well, quite. You target the area where you can have most effect. You know, like the, er, Guardian did:

To maximise the likelihood of your efforts making a difference, we’ve zeroed in on one of the places where this year’s election truly will be decided: Clark County, Ohio, which is balanced on a razor’s edge between Republicans and Democrats. In the 2000 election, Al Gore won Clark County by 1% – equivalent to 324 votes – but George Bush won the state as a whole by just four percentage points. This time round, Ohio is one of the most crucial swing states: Kerry and Bush have been campaigning there tire lessly – they’ve visited Clark County itself – and the most recent Ohio poll shows, once again, a 1% difference between the two of them. The voters we will target in our letter-writing initiative are all Clark County residents, and they are all registered independents, which somewhat increases the chances of their being persuadable.

Before Twitter, there was the Guardian’s interventionism. Called Operation Clark County, the paper wanted to “help readers have a say in the American election by writing to undecided voters in the crucial state of Ohio”.

Here was one reaction from the mouth-breathing colonials:

KEEP YOUR FUCKIN’ LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN’T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT’S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON’T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS … TOUGH SHIT!
PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!

How the modern Left loves democracy. You can intervene if is means sneaking the demos the right answer to the big question. Noble Obama telling us a vote for Brexit would put us to the back of the queue and helpful Bill Clinton backing Boris Yeltsin with $1bn of aid are great. But a Russian nerd in an out-of-town office tweeting bollocks is a threat to democracy – something so precious that its champions call everyone who voted for Trump and Brexit thick as custard.

So much for confidence in democracy. Because that’s it, no? It’s not about Russian might. It’s about us thinking our way of life is so precarious that a few rogue propagandists can destroy it with a tweet.

Posted: 20th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Wigan beating Manchester City is football at its chaotic best

The Manchester City website leads with a photo of referee Anthony Taylor showing City defender Fabian Delph a red card following the England man’s foul on Wigan Athletic’s Max Power. City says the “red seemed harsh”. The Wigan website doesn’t agree. Over there,Delph was given his marching orders for a late challenge on Power”. No controversy.

Wigan’s manger Paul Cook offers his take: “The dismissal gave us a massive lift. It was a huge factor in the game and I thought the referee got it right.”

The game ended 1-0 to Wigan. The dismissal surely help Wigan’s cause. But Man City failed to score. “Undoubtedly the decision to send Fabian Delph for an early bath was the game’s key moment,” says City. But surely the biggest moment was Will Grigg’s goal.

Pep Guardiola was more circumspect than his club’s press office. He didn’t claim the dismissal had been a decisive factor. “I don’t think it was,” he said. “We played well in the second half. We created more than enough chances to go through but in the end the result speaks for itself. We didn’t score any goals and Wigan did.”

What it all  as, of course, was a stirring reminder of how chaotic and brilliant football is. Away from all the post-match guff, analytics and leading edge software packages operated by IT-illiterate ex-pros, the most expensive squad in football was turned over by a team in which Will Grigg is the Latics’ most expensive player at £1.3m.

Grigg – the best thing to have come out of Wigan since Limahl.

 

Posted: 20th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Police and Travelodge view men as suspected paedophiles

Are we more suspicious of adults then ever? “One minute I was brushing my teeth, the next I was being told I was a paedophile,” says Karl Pollard, whose ordeal began when he checked into a Travelodge with his 14-year-old daughter, Stephanie.

Staff at the Travelodge in Macclesfield, Cheshire, didn’t much like the look of the 46-year-old, in town to visit his ill mother. “When we arrived the receptionist gave me a weird look but I thought nothing of it,” he says. “We went up to the room to get unpacked and ready to see my mum. It was only a 20-minute walk away, which is why I chose the hotel. About 10 minutes later there was a knock at the door. A policewoman was standing there. I thought something had happened to my mum or my wife. But she said, ‘We’ve had a call from Travelodge, they believe you are a paedophile grooming underage girls’.”

The police like to “believe” terrible things are “credible and true“.

“I explained to her [the police officer who interviewed them separately] that I was Stephanie’s dad. The officer had to ask her loads of questions to prove it. My mum has just been diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer. We’re not sure how long she has left. I wanted to take Stephanie down to visit her before she started treatment.”

Mr Pollard’s, Stephanie’s mother, wasn’t with them because she has multiple sclerosis.

“My daughter was in tears. She was so scared – and thought I was going to get taken away,” he adds.

Travelodge then endeavours to explain, offering a classic non-apology apology, containing the prerequisite sympathetic back story and a dash of moral smugness:

“All our hotel teams are trained according to national guidelines supported by the NSPCC. In the past proactive action by our hotel teams has helped to safeguard young people at risk. In this instance we got it wrong.”

And you thought they just operated budget hotels. Turns out they’re an arm of the purpose-seeking police, who view men as potential threats to children. It’s sound and rational to be worried by men.

Cheshire Police then offer: “Police were called at 3pm on Thursday 8 February to reports of suspicious activity at a hotel on Waters Green in Macclesfield.”

Who was acting suspiciously? Mr Pollard and his daughter weren’t. Unless, you’ve invested in the notion that all adults are suspects.

“Staff at the Travelodge did the right thing by reporting what they believed to be suspicious activity to officers, although thankfully there was nothing untoward and it turned out to be a misunderstanding.”

Good to know the police approve of innocent men being treated as suspects first whose innocence needs to be established. don’t trust one another. Trust only in the police and the State.

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


Private Cheryl Cole world to keep the limelight as Liam Payne goes solo again

Like you, everyone else thought Cheryl Cole / Surname and former One Direction extra Liam Payne would spend the next decades together in Instagramed bliss. But, then, we also thought “the nation’s sweetheart” (Cheryl – source: all papers) would hang on in their with her first two husbands.

It turns out that Cheryl and Liam are not getting on well. The pair are “preparing to end their relationship”, in much the same way as mere mortals prepare to end a bath or log off twitter. You know how it is: you pull the plug, see the water circling life’s plughole, call your agent and announce that “crisis talks” with the rubber duck might not work.

A few unnamed “friends” helpfully call the Sun to say that Cheryl is “very private” – see photos of her arse and marriage in OK! – that she is an “amazing” mother to the couple’s child, Bear, has been “left holding the baby”, how she will “battle” on, and open Cheryl’s Trust Centre, a place where “vulnerable young people” can feel her unique brand of love.

No word yet on who gets to keep the paparazzi.

Posted: 19th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Rochdale defy Alli’s dive to earn FA Cup replay with Spurs

Delight for Rochdale as the latest of late goals secured a 2-2 draw with Spurs in the FA Cup. Rochdale fell behind when Harry Kane converted a penalty ‘won’ by the slippery-shoed Dele Alli.

The midfielder has form when it comes to tumbling in the box.

Alli has been booked three times for diving. His is the worst record in the Premiership. He is a persistent cheat. But what about other players not booked for diving outside the box? Pretty much every match features moments when the lightest physical contact sees a player fall theatrically to the ground. Is it fair to pick out Alli?

When Alli burst into Rochdale’a penalty area there was an inevitability about him ending up on his backside. Was it a foul? Should this have been given? Get a load of his legs as he falls over.

 

 

Rochdale manager Keith Hill says Alli was “looking for” the penalty.

“I’m led to believe he [Alli] was looking for it, but why not?” Hill opined. “If players feel there is an opportunity to be gained then brilliant, I don’t hold it against him. I don’t blame him and I don’t have a problem with it. Whether it’s him, Harry Kane or (Rochdale striker) Ian Henderson, it doesn’t matter who does it. If he does that for England in the World Cup this summer then I will definitely be supporting him.”

How times change, eh. There used to be pride in staying on your feet.

The odd thing is that if you cheat and the penalty is given, the FA can ban you for two matches. But the result secured by a converted penalty kick unfairly earned stands. Cheat and fail, and you get a yellow card. Chris Sutton muses: “There are two many players who are looking for contact. Alli is one, Wilfried Zaha is another. They need to be fearful of what punishment they will face.”

So what punishment fits the crime? A red card? A penalty for the other team? Points deducted?

Posted: 18th, February 2018 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3)


Brendan Cox is publicly shamed

Who sets the news agenda that makes Israel the top story, China only newsworthy when our politicians are there for business and the allegation that Brendan Cox sexually harassed two women, a claim he denies, the lead issue on Sky and the BBC? Sky News led with Cox this morning on the telly, and the story is the second most vital on the BBC ‘s website, there after reaction to mass murder at a Florida school. And not that Cox (and, no, it’s not nominative determinism; he denies it) is the main thrust of his own story. The Beeb’s headline is: “Murdered MP’s widower Brendan Cox quits charities.”

The Telegraph pads it out, telling readers that Cox has quit two charities “set up in her memory after sexual assault allegations from his past resurfaced”.

Brendan Cox denied sexually harassing two women while he was married to the late politician, but accepted “inappropriate” behaviour, saying: “I made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women hurt and offence.”

Offence causing is a crime?

He has left posts at More in Common and the Jo Cox Foundation after the Mail on Sunday published accusations made by a former colleague while they both worked at charity Save the Children in 2015.

The Guardian hears from Jo Cox’s sister Kim Leadbeater, who says the family would “support Brendan as he endeavours to do the right thing by admitting mistakes he may have made in the past”. Mistakes he may have committed have been admitted to? Eh?
Well, it looks like they’ve had time to work it out because the Mail first reported the allegations in November 2015. Cox called them “untrue”:
Are they any more or less untrue now they’ve been repeated?
Labour MPs Yvette Cooper thinks some sort of justice has been served. “Hopefully we are seeing a change in climate and culture where people are recognising that those in positions of power should not abuse [those] positions,” Cooper told the Sky News programme Sunday with Niall Paterson.
And Labour MP Jess Phillips added – does she do anything other than talk to media? – “The fact of the matter is that it’s not enough just to say ‘oh, I’m sorry’. You have to show how you’re going to change the way you are in the future and I think Brendan, more so than many I’ve seen in this area, is actually trying to do that.”
One error and you need rewiring. How fair we are.
Public shaming of anyone who’s behaved “inappropriately” is a sad ambition. What happened to the rule of law and the right to defend yourself? When did the British wing of Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice start wathing us?

Posted: 18th, February 2018 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment