News | Anorak - Part 4

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Octogenarian pizza delivery driver Derlin Newry is coining it in

Derlin Newey works a 30-hour week as a pizza delivery man in Utah. He’s 89. The Valdez family recored Newey delivering their pizzas and loaded the interactions on TikTok. A fanbase grew and people asks why Derlin was working? The answer is that he needs the money – social security payments aren’t enough to cover his bills. A cry for help went out and $12,069 was delivered to Newey’s house. “How do I ever say thank you? I don’t know what to say?” he responded.

This is, says CNNproof of goodness of humanity. But the Guardian it’s a problem. The paper asks, “What sort of social security net forces an 89-year-old man to have to run around delivering pizza in his old age just so he can make rent?”

And then came the maths:

Americans who are his age and make the average US yearly income of $35,977, can expect to receive about $1,579 a month in social security payments; barely enough to make the average rent – or roughly the same amount as what Donald Trump pays in taxes across two years.

So you make around $36,000 a year in wages PLUS around $18,000 in social security cheques? The Guardian means “made” not “make”, of course. And with that one error the entire story changes meaning. And Mr Newey? He’s doing pretty well, no, enjoying life and working into his dotage? As for the pension (what the paper actually means), well, just under 50% of the working wage in the retirement years is not abysmal.

Posted: 30th, September 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment

Madeleine McCann: no body of evidence against Christian Brueckner

“German police ‘don’t need Madeleine McCann’s body to prove suspect murdered her’,” declares the Mirror. The more depraved killers, often take their victims’ whereabouts to the pit. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley never pointed police nor bereft relatives to Keith Bennett’s remains. It took 23 years for the child rapists, kidnappers and killers to confess to Keith’s murder. Brady confessed to newspaper reporters from his prison cell where he was serving life for three other murders. Police believed the pair had done it. But belief is not what the law deals in. A confession was all the police had. Neither Brady nor Hindley were prosecuted for Keith Bennett’s murder.

The justice system needs evidence to prosecute. The Mirror’s headline is rooted in the to-deadline thoughts of German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters. In one of this many TV appearance, this one on Portugal’s RTP show Sexta as 9, Wolters offered: “To indict someone we don’t need a body. A person can be convicted without a body being found but we have to be convinced a person is dead.” And you are convinced Madeleine McCann is dead? And don’t you also have to have some evidence that your suspect, Christian Brueckner, killed the person whose body is missing? Don’t you need evidence to hurdle all those barriers to justice?

You begin to wonder is what Wolters is on the telly? What does he know? What does he merely think he knows? Asked if he had any forensic evidence placing Brueckner inside the flat where Madeleine was sleeping, Wolters added: “I have an answer but we have decided not to divulge this information. I can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as that would bring a thousand other questions and I cannot go into details. But you have to believe me when I say we have more evidence. Here in Germany our Public Ministry only divulges things when they are solid.”

Which is why Christian Brueckner has not been charged with any offences linked to the vanishing for Madeleine McCann. We can believe Wolters has “more evidence” but we do not know what he has evidence of? And his appearing on the telly, points to it being a fishing expedition, a warning to criminals that Wolters and his team are on to you so it’d be best if you confessed now.

Maybe you called him Brueckner? Someone somebody you know called Bruckner while he was in the vicinity of the Ocean Club complex shortly after Madeleine McCann disappeared? That call lasted around half an hour. “We have the number that called him but we haven’t managed to attribute that number to anyone at the moment,” says Wolters. “We don’t know what the conversation was about and we don’t know the relationship between the people who spoke. We are searching for a witness to establish the content of the conversation which lasted nearly half an hour and so was quite a long conversation. We hope someone remembers that conversation. We don’t have any reason to believe that person could be involved in what happened that night to Madeleine.”

They’re searching for the witness – any witness will do. So Wolters is on the telly in Portugal and in the tabloids in the UK. His profile rises. But we learn nothing knew.

“Christian…must remain in jail until 2024 at least after losing a legal challenge last week,” says the Sun. “He was convicted in Germany of the 2005 rape of an American OAP in Praia da Luz.”

The clock ticks.

Posted: 28th, September 2020 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment

Scottish government bans students from going home for Christmas – handing parents your dirty washing is a crime

Looks like you kids are stuck with that mouldering bag of filthy clothes and sheets for longer, maybe until it be comes an ambulatory life form and sickened by its own stench washes itself in your sink. Matt Hancock, the feeble health secretary, is chewing over the idea of banning students from returning home at Christmas to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Appearing on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme, Hancock says he has “learned not to rule things out”, “we have to work on all contingencies at the moment” and: “I don’t want to have a situation like that and I very much hope we can avoid it. We have said throughout that our goal is to suppress the virus, whilst protecting the economy and protecting education. And protecting people in education whether it’s school or university is obviously critical as is protecting the economy.”

The Scottish government’s national clinical director Jason Leitch says students in Scotland are forbidden from returning to their parents’ homes due to new restrictions that stop residents visiting other households.

He tweeted:

“Was asked last night whether students in halls and flats can go back to parents’ homes. To clarify, they are a separate household. There are exceptions, e.g. caring responsibilities, but the law is clear: they can’t meet indoors with another household – even mum and dad. Sorry.”

Locked out of pubs, clubs and classes – and often locked into their expensive halls of residence after 8pm – students are now locked out of retuning home. Or else:

Merry Christmas.

Posted: 24th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Scottish government bans students from going home for Christmas

Looks like you kids are stuck with that mouldering bag of filthy clothes and sheets. Matt Hancock, the enfeebled health secretary, is chewing over the idea of banning students from returning home at Christmas to limit the spread of Covid-19. Appearing on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme, said he has “learned not to rule things out”, “we have to work on all contingencies at the moment” and: “I don’t want to have a situation like that and I very much hope we can avoid it. We have said throughout that our goal is to suppress the virus, whilst protecting the economy and protecting education. And protecting people in education whether it’s school or university is obviously critical as is protecting the economy.”

The Scottish government’s national clinical director Jason Leitch says students in Scotland re already forbidden from returning to their parents’ homes due to new restrictions that stop residents visiting other households. He tweeted:

“Was asked last night whether students in halls and flats can go back to parents’ homes. To clarify, they are a separate household. There are exceptions, e.g. caring responsibilities, but the law is clear: they can’t meet indoors with another household – even mum and dad. Sorry.”

Locked out of pubs, clubs and classes, students locked into their over-priced halls of residences after 8pm are now locked out of returning home. Students returning home will be branded criminals. The higher education bubble must burst soon.

Posted: 24th, September 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment

Covid-19 curfew and lockdown: Government Vultures are controlling our lives

The Government is controlling things it should be controlling. Why is your loved one’s funeral, a wedding or birthday party any of their business? Are you forming the opinion that the only business thriving in the Covid-19 pandemic – well, aside from online supermarkets, Netflix and makers of hand disinfectant – is Government?

New rules are that: pubs and restaurants close at 10pm. Dally at your table – it’s table service only – after the 10pm lockout and Covid Cops will issue fines. Bar staff, non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters must wear a mask or else pay a £200 fine. Weddings will include no more than 15 people, including the happy couple (yeah, 13 guests for the feast – what can go wrong?) Up to 30 of you can hook up at funeral – but only if you remain in groups of six. This is part of the so-called ‘Rule of 6’, an arbitrary rule that says that when seeing friends and family you do not live with you should meet in groups of 6 or less.

Look out for VULTURE APP, a service that alerts the bored and isolated to funerals with spare capacity.

And what of your chances of dying from Covid? Well, the Office for National Statistics notes:

The coronavirus (COVID-19) did not feature in the top ten leading causes of death in August 2020, in England or Wales. In England, COVID-19 was the 24th most common cause of death and in Wales it was the 19th most common cause of death, for deaths registered in August 2020.

Should we focus on something else? No say all the politicians of every stripe. The London Mayor wants more curfews, social distancing and mask wearing. In Scotland you cannot visit anyone in another home. Leading politicians are outdoing each other in a bid to exert more control. But…:

The leading cause of death in August 2020 was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in England (accounting for 10.9% of all deaths) and ischaemic heart disease in Wales (11.0% of all deaths); both leading causes of death were the same in July 2020.

The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (“develops, promotes and disseminates better evidence for healthcare”), tells us:

While we found that roughly one in thirteen (7.8%) deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate did not have the disease as the underlying cause of death, this proportion has risen substantially to 29% (nearly a third) for the last eight weeks of reporting.

Is our Government panicking? And why are we so supine in the face of rules and laws that need to be challenged and held up to scrutiny?

Posted: 22nd, September 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Christian Brueckner is innocent because circumstantial evidence is not enough

Christian Brueckner is innocent of any involvement in the vanishing of Madeleine McCann. If you doubt that statement is true, prove that it isn’t. That’s the challenge facing German prosecutors who believe the convicted peadophile stole the child and murdered her. “The disappearance of Madeleine McCann: Have they got the right man this time?” asks Martin Brunt, the Sky News reporter who has been hot on the heels of rumours. trolls and not a single meaningful development since Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007 and became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’. Brunt has been speaking to lawyers. After a few paragraphs telling us who Christian Bruekner is, Brunt sums up the entire case against the infamous criminal:

The case against him is circumstantial – he is a convicted paedophile, he lived in the area, and on the night she disappeared, his mobile phone was in use nearby. The next day he changed the registration of one of his vehicles.

“Have they got the right man this time?,” ask Brunt seven paragraphs into his feature. Around 60 short paragrapahs later, Brunt concludes:

In fact, one source told me that Christian B may be no better a suspect for Madeleine’s abduction than two other principle targets.

They are the unnamed suspect, who may still be the subject of an undercover operation, and Euclides Monteiro, a sacked Ocean club waiter and thief who died two years after Madeleine vanished and was later eliminated from the inquiry.

The Mirror has a few words on the investigation. “Madeleine McCann investigators have ‘no smoking gun’ to charge Christian Brueckner,” trills the headline. Its worst than that. They have no gun. They have no smoke. They have a belief, an idea. German Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters is doing the rounds, telling Portuguese media:

“All I can say is this is like a puzzle and there are many pieces that lead us to believe Christian B is responsible.”

Hold the book deal, Hans. You’re going to need more.

“One of the pieces is the signal from the mobile phone he was using at the time Madeleine McCann disappeared and has been shown to have been in the area of the Ocean Club resort where she was staying.”

You’ve 20 more chapters to fill, Hans. What else you got?

“The result of our investigation does not point in any way to the possibility the suspect might have kept Madeleine alive. We have nothing to indicate she could be alive. Everything we have points to her being dead. We have no margin of manoeuvre.”

Is that lost in translation – “no magian of manoeuvre”? Is that Google Translate for ‘we have no open mind’? Of course any good blockbuster needs a good plot. Goncalo Amaral is the Portuguese coppers who wrote a book about the case. Will any book Wolters writes reach a firmer conclusion, give us the definitive story?

Mr Wolters also rebutted claims made by disgraced former police officer Goncalo Amaral, who met with Brueckner’s defence lawyer Friedrich Fulscher last week in Portugal, that the German was being “scapegoated.”

A scapegoat?

The controversial ex-cop, who was removed from the initial Madeleine McCann investigation for criticising British police, is involved in an ongoing legal battle with her parents Kate and Gerry over his insistence she died by accident in their apartment and they covered it up…

German Belief v Portuguese Insistence? Or to put it another way: German Insistence v Portuguese Belief. Wolters continues:

“I know this former inspector speaks a lot and comments on our work. We’re not going to get into a war of words. All I will say is that we have carried out a very serious investigation and there is no indication whatsoever Madeleine McCann’s parents are linked to her disappearance. On the other hand we have a lot of evidence pointing to Christian B killing her. Goncalo Amaral knows how he reaches his conclusions and that’s not up to us to judge.”

To which the Sun thunders:

Maddie McCann

Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects. They are on the record in the Star, sort of:

But Kate and Gerry “won’t believe she’s dead” until a body has been found, it is claimed. A source close to the family said: “Until a body is found and it is proved to be Madeleine’s, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope. These latest ‘she’s dead but there’s no body’ theories have been repeated over the past three-and-a-half months but in all this time there appears to be no significant new development.”

At least someone is dealing in facts. The unnamed source – why unnamed and not on the record? – wants facts not theories.

Over to the Mail:

A German drifter and partner-in-crime of Madeleine McCann prime suspect Christian Brueckner has branded him an ‘evil psychopath’ who is ‘capable of taking a child’.

Manfred Seyferth, 64, said 43-year-old Brueckner was known as ‘The Climber’ for his ability to break into homes, and was robbing apartments in Praia da Luz the year the young girl vanished.

Seyferth, who acted as a key witness against Brueckner when he was jailed for the rape of an American woman in 2018, believes the peadophile is guilty of taking thee-year-old Madeleine from her parents’ holiday apartment in 2007.

He tells the Sun:

“Christian is a bad, bad man. He is evil. I never liked him and he is a psychopath. He is obsessed with small children and I didn’t like it. He always had a young girlfriend with him and I think he is easily capable of taking a small child.”


“I think he may have something to do with Maddie.”

What of that rape case? Says the Sun:

Christian was convicted of attacking a 72-year-old woman in her own home at Praia da Luz in 2005.

Says the Mirror:

Brueckner, a German citizen, is currently in Justizvollzugsanstalt Kiel prison, where he is trying to overturn his sentence for raping a woman, 73, in Portugal.

Madeleine McCann is missing. It’s pretty much the only fact media and theorists can agree on.

Posted: 21st, September 2020 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Christian Brueckner for hire, puppies and imaginary babysitting

Christian B Maddie McCann

Last week Sky News presented an exclusive news feature on Madeleine McCann and the man German police suspect of kidnapping and murdering her, the convicted paedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner, oddly dubbed ‘Christian B’ in an internet-denying spot of Teutonic legalise. The report revealed nothing. Martin Brunt reviewed the hunches and theories, but could not shake that we only know one thing for certain: child vanished. Today the Sun has more developments. The suspect’s lawyer has “admitted” something. Oh, yes, you think. Has he broken client-brief confidentiality and given us the word on the depraved criminal? No.

The lawyer of prime Madeleine McCann suspect Christian B has admitted he would not trust his client around his kids. Friedrich Fuelscher “insisted that if he had a daughter he would not let the convicted paedophile look after her”.

Before we demand he adopt a girl and test the theory, we wonder what other jobs Fuelscher could admit his client is unsuited to. I’d go for the obvious (kindergarten teacher, toilet attendant and paediatric nurse) and then consider the more exotic (UN Special Envoy to Thailand). The jury is out on whether Brueckner would make a decent BBC presenter of family TV shows in which he makes children’s wishes come true. There’s been a vacancy at the Beeb ever since Jimmy Savile gibbered his last and was subsequently ruled to have been the biggest paedophile who ever lived.

The Sun’s story is based on what the daughter-less lawyer told the Mirror. “I’d let him look after my dogs but I wouldn’t let him look after my children or my daughter – if I had them,” says Fuelscher. “He could be my dogsitter, yes, but because of his record I would not let him look after my own daughter.”

As to the value of giving a convicted paedophile a puppy, well, Charlie has something to say about that:

Posted: 16th, September 2020 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment

Chinese won’t buy Jo Malone candles from John Boyega – Star Wars actor censored in ‘racist’ China

Do Chinese people living in China not buy scented candles from black people, like the actor John Boyega? The London-born star has resigned his role as “global ambassador” for scented candle-makers Jo Malone because he wasn’t a global ambassador at all. He was the face of melted wax in the UK and some other places but for Chinese consumers he was replaced in an ad he made for them called ‘London Gent’ by Chinese actor Liu Haoran.

The company has apologised for the “misstep”. Not an error, then? Surely this was a plan, the brand appealing to their target market, doing its best to shift product in China. Ads are usually products of market research. Did Jo Malone poll the Chinese and find they like Liu better than they do John? Do they rate Liu as the celeb more likely to deliver a full-nosed blast of candle fumes? Can we see the marketing reports and questions asked?

Boyega says Jo Malone was “wrong” to have used another actor “without my consent or prior notice”. Well, quite. What’s the point of hiring the Star Wars actor to be your global ambassador if you don’t employ him globally?

“We deeply apologise for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” says Joe Malone in a mealy-mouthed statement. Does it suppose Chinese consumers are racist against black people? And did it just use John Boyega to show us that it isn’t?

Posted: 15th, September 2020 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment

Emma Barnett – interrogating the sins of the father

Emma Barnett is the new presenter of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. She’s a terrific interviewer, possessed of that that rare knack of coming over as warm and intelligent whilst her interviewee blinks in the crosshairs. The Indy calls Barnett the “feminist champion set to breathe new life into Woman’s Hour.” By way of a bonus to tabloid readers, Barnett’s backstory contains lurid tales. The Observer lays it out:

Her mother, Michelle, trained as special needs teacher, while her father, Ian, was a businessman who then became the centre of a sensational drama briefly in 2010 when it was revealed that he had run a series of brothels, with the tacit if grudging consent of the Greater Manchester Police.

You might want to know more about that. The Mail says the places at names like “Dolly Mixtures, Foreign Touch and Angels”. But having reported the broadest facts, the Observer is dismissive of anyone showing more interest:

Understandably perhaps, Barnett, who has otherwise spoken of a happy childhood, does not talk about this doubtless painful subject. It has, however, provoked a recent flurry of internet shaming attempts since the Woman’s Hour job announcement.

Internet shaming? Only a fool would blame to a woman for their father’s criminality. And then:

It is the kind of history-trawling, blame-gamery that will now shadow every move that Barnett makes.

When does research, which is useful, mutate into history trawling, which sounds bad? Does any of it affect her ability to do the job? Might it not help Barnett when the discussion turns to sex, crime and parents?

The Sun notes:

During her second year of university at Nottingham, Emma returned to Manchester to find her family home had been raided by police.

It was then that Emma discovered that her father, Ian Barnett, had suffered a dramatic financial change when she was aged 14 and this had driven him to become involved in illegal massage parlours.

Some sympathy for Mr Barnett from the Sun, then. In 2011, the Manchester Evening News’ headline was punchier:

Given the title “brothel baron”, the paper reported that he had “made more than £5m” from the business. Selling sex pays well. But what of the women working in the brothels in Shudehill, Cheetham Hill, Levenshulme and Altrincham? We hear of only one:

He was charged following a report a 19-year-old woman from Lithuania had been forced to work in the Shudehill brothel after being trafficked to Britain by an Albanian gang. She was rescued by police following a tip-off in 2005. Mr Barnett was jailed for three years and eight months in 2008 after he admitted keeping a string of brothels, controlling prostitution and conspiracy to control brothels.

An earlier proceeds of crime hearing was told clients would be charged £40 for an hour, with £25 going to the prostitute and the remainder to Mr Barnett. He made more than £5m over six years.

The Mail noted:

Barnett had been arrested after a Lithuanian teenager known as Rita was illegally smuggled into the country by an Albanian gang and ended up working at one of his brothels.

Police discovered that a photograph of her posted on the internet to advertise her services had been taken by a camera identical to one found in his Rolls-Royce.

Mr Barnett were ever arrested let alone charged with anything to do with smuggling or people trafficking. And neither was his good lady wife. The MEN again:

A TEACHING assistant has been convicted of laundering thousands of pounds made by her husband’s string of brothels.

Michele Barnett [sic], 55, a £7,000-a-year special needs teaching assistant at King David School in Prestwich, was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years.

Manchester Crown Court heard mortgage payments on the mum’s lavish five-bedroom home in Ingledene Avenue, Broughton Park, were made with cash from the brothels of her husband Ian Barnett.


Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London upheld a claim that a Manchester judge had wrongly ordered the confiscation of £4.2 million of brothel earnings made by Ian Barnett, 60, from Prestwich. Mr Barnett had already forfeited £21,000 in the first of his two convictions for operating brothels, preventing a judge from confiscating immoral earnings from the previous six years, under a legal technicality. He is now liable for £873,010 of immoral gains made after 2005.

The court heard that Mr Barnett’s prostitution businesses, “whilst not condoned by the local police, did receive a measure of tacit approval over a period of time.” Mr Barnett claimed that Greater Manchester Police gave a kind of legal permission to run his brothels in return for co-operation and assurances that his businesses did not involve drugs or under-age girls.

You can read the findings of Barnett v Regina online. And if you want to pour over one thing, how about this bit from the Mail’s report. Mr Barnett represented himself at the assets confiscation hearing at Manchester Crown Court:

From the witness stand, he repeatedly criticised police and insisted he had been a victim of an abuse of the judicial process.He questioned Judge David Hernandez, saying: ‘You have been a judge for what – a year?’ The judge responded: ‘I have told you, that line of argument does not assist you.’

Tenacious. Unflinching. And unafraid to back himself in a tight spot. Emma Barnett might well have something to thank her father for.

Posted: 14th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

The topless Extinction Rebellion protest – photo

Go topless to prevent the extinction of all life on Earth. The Extinction Rebellion protesters did it because something “Can’t Bare the truth”. That’s a pun. But it’s not quite true – they were only half bare. And all women. The motto isn’t as effective as the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” coined by Peta. But it’s less chaffing than the naked bike ride. why do people go naked to make point about Gaia – and what are sot of us looking at?

Posted: 12th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Shere Hite explains the female orgasm and how to have one – no s.hite

Shere Hite Olivettit sexist

The Times obituary on Shere Hite (nee Shirley Diana Gregory; November 2, 1942 – September 9, 2020) looks at the career of the “controversial sexologist and feminist who shed new light on the female orgasm and once posed for Playboy”, noting: “she gave an even greater hostage to fortune by using s.hite as the first part of her email address.”

Her research conducted by a survey led her to a key finding: “I was making the point that clitoral stimulation wasn’t happening during coitus. That’s why women ‘have difficulty having orgasms’ – they don’t have difficulty when they stimulate themselves.”

Shere Hite olivetti

Her career began with a campaign:

A Seventies advert for Olivetti typewriters depicted a sexy blonde at her typewriter, legs seductively crossed, red-lipsticked mouth pouting provocatively at the camera. “The typewriter that’s so smart that she doesn’t have to be,” crowed the caption. Members of the National Organisation for Women were so furious at this blatant display of sexism that they protested outside the company’s offices in New York.

One of their number was a striking, pale-skinned blonde who eventually admitted to the sisterhood that she was the model in the advert. It was a significant moment for the women’s movement: the not-so-dumb blonde was Shere Hite…

The biography on a site dedicated to her work, has more:

In her report, she posited a radical and utterly far-out theory: that women didn’t need men to give them an orgasm. From the time of Freud, it was widely accepted that women could only climax through penetrative sex – “the great male thrust” – and if they couldn’t, there must be something wrong with them. For frustrated women faking orgasm, the report was a godsend, alerting women to their own sexual power, and informing men of the existence of the clitoris.

But rather than welcoming Hite’s book, a serious academic study based on interviews with more than 3,000 women, the American male population saw it as an attack on their virility. Hite was cast as the witch queen of feminism, out to steal men’s mojo and turn women into onanistic she-devils. Playboy magazine dubbed it the “Hate Report”, but those who dismissed Hite as a Birkenstock-wearing militant man-hater were in for another shock when they discovered that Hite was actually a bit of a looker, and had posed naked in Playboy while studying at Columbia University. She had also posed provocatively in a typewriter ad to earn money for her college fees, but when she read the ad’s strapline, “The typewriter is so smart she doesn’t have to be”, she joined a feminist protest against the very ad she had appeared in.

The report went on to sell more than 50 million copies.

Sex sells. Olivetti and Shere Hite could agree on that.

Posted: 12th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Operation Moonshot: Matt Hancock is wrong about his own Covid-19 tests

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is talking rubbish when he says it’s “inappropriate” for people in England to seek a free Government Covid-19 tests when they don’t have any symptoms. The online system for getting tested has crashed. UK labs have reached capacity, meaning people are unable to book tests or being sent a long way from their home to get one.

In his ham-fisted attempt to blame to the very people seeking to do the right thing and get tested, Hancock cited the example of a school year group that all went for tests. It was “not appropriate” said Hancock. Also wrong are people who want a test before going on holiday, says Hancock.

Inappropriate is not a rule. It’s a judgement made by a man who can see his system failing and knows we can see it, too.

A few hours later, the British Journal of Medicine reported:

The UK government has drawn up plans to carry out up to 10 million covid-19 tests a day by early next year as part of a huge £100bn (€110bn; $130bn) expansion of its national testing programme, documents seen by The BMJ show.

The internal correspondence reveals that the government is prepared to almost match what it spends on the NHS in England each year (£130bn) to fund mass testing of the population “to support economic activity and a return to normal life” under its ambitious Operation Moonshot programme.

A briefing memo sent to the first minister and cabinet secretaries in Scotland, seen by The BMJ, says that the UK-wide Moonshot programme is expected to “cost over £100bn to deliver.” If achieved, the programme would allow testing of the entire UK population each week.

A separate PowerPoint presentation prepared for the government by the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, also seen by The BMJ, says the plans had the potential to grow the UK’s testing capacity from the current 350 000 a day to up to 10 million tests a day by early 2021.

Operation Moonshot, indeed. What planet are Hancock and Johnson from and how did they reach this one?

Covid tests

The BBC then makes a half statement of fact:

The free tests are available to people with symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, new and continuous cough or a loss or change in sense of taste or smell.

Right. But that’s not all. Free tests are also available for people with no symptoms. As the Government site says:

Covid test rules

But Hancock says:

…in the last couple of weeks we have seen an increase in demand, including an increase in demand for people who are not eligible for tests, and people who don’t have symptoms.”

You don’t need to have symptoms to be eligible for tests. He needs to read this own Government’s website. But still be blathers on:

“We have seen an increase of about 25% of people who are coming forward that don’t have symptoms and aren’t eligible. They don’t have a reason for it. I’ve even heard stories of people saying, ‘I’m going on holiday next week, therefore I’m going to get a test’. No – that is not what the testing system is there for. We’ve got to be firmer, I’m afraid, with the rules around eligibility for testing.”

You want a test to get on with your life but Hancock says you can’t have one because it is inappropriate. It isn’t. It’s spot on. The fault lies entirely with the Government’s lack of preparation.

Posted: 10th, September 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

British commuters get free doses of murderous adrenaline with every train ride – study

commuiting adrenline

According to the TUC, the total average UK commute takes up just less than an hour per day (58.4 minutes). Londoners having the longest commute (81 minutes). So does it figure that Londoners make for the better fighter pilots?


Dr Lewis, a fellow of the International Stress Management Association who led the HP research, observed: “The difference is that a riot policeman or a combat pilot have things they can do to combat the stress that is being triggered by the event. But the commuter, particularly on a train, cannot do anything about it at all. So it is this sense of helplessness combined with the stress that is perhaps the most worrying aspect of it…

“At best it’s a dismal experience; at worst it may well have health consequences. How much harm it is doing would depend on how robust your physical system is anyhow and how high your blood pressure goes. We have measured a systolic pressure [the force blood exerts on the artery walls when the heart beats] in the region of 170-180 in some people. These have been occasions when the person we’ve been monitoring has lost their temper and had a serious row. And under those circumstances you can have a heart attack.”

Source: The Times

Posted: 6th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Prince Harry and Meghan new Netflix series revealed

The Daily Star is upset. “Show us the money!” it demands. It’s a story about the LA-based Dook and Dutch-ass of Sussex-shire. The paper says they must repay the £2.4m British taxpayers forked out to do up Frogmore Cottage, their official UK residence. They have the cash, having secured a £75m Netflix deal.

The tabloid is outraged. But online, before you read about the Star’s demands for the greedy feckers to pay us back our dough, we read about those, er, trolls unable to appreciate the good work done by the minted hereditary titled toffs’ tireless campaign for equality. A pox on those “nasty keyboard warriors”:

In the tabloid world, Harry and Meghan are now people who you either like or don’t like. You cannot ignore them. It’s not allowed. And the Sussexes would not have it any other way.

“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” says the couple. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.” Words that surely chime with many new parents pointing a phone camera at their little ‘un and dreaming of a £250 windfall from You’ve Been Framed.

Those Harry and Meghan TV schedules in full:

The Woke Awake Club – rise and shine with Archie

Harry’s Half Hour – Live cam footage of Harry trying to work out how you can be a hereditary peer and a champion for equality without being conflicted. Much hilarity ensues

Grandma’s Army – a look at various weaponry used to maintain social order in the UK, Commonwealth and British protectorates

Palace Break – Harry Windsor plans to bust his brother Wills Windsor out of a prison of living hell

The Frown – Meghan looks disapprovingly at footage of the Royal Family

Posted: 5th, September 2020 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment

Christopher Killick: man sentenced for voyeurism in a story that terrifies

In 2015 Emily Hunt woke up in a strange room with a stranger beside her. She was naked. She had not recollection of how she got there. She had never met him before. Five years on and Christoper Killick has been sentenced for voyeurism. His crime was to have filmed his naked and unconscious victim and kept the footage on his phone to masturbate to later. She thinks he drugged and raped her. The Crown Prosecution Service did not pursue that line of enquiry due to what they saw as lack of evidence. Also in the hotel room in London was a rucksack containing “condoms, Viagra and what was thought to be the hallucinogenic drug LSD”, says the Sun. Used condoms were found in the room.

At Stratford Magistrates’ Court, Killick was not sent to prison. He was ordered to pay £2,180 in fines and court costs. He must pay £5,000 in compensation to his victim. He must never try to contact her. He must undertake a 30 month community order, including completing the Horizon program to develop victim empathy skills and 30 days of rehab activity to perform as directed. But he’s free to walk the streets.

“I am very pleased with the sentence passed by the court today and the powerful comments made by the judge,” she says. “The recognition that this was a serious sexual offence, and the acknowledgement of the devastating impact it has had on my life, is the most important thing to me. It is appalling that it has taken five years of fighting to get to this point. I hope that in future no other victim of a sexual offence has to go through what I have experienced.”

Filming a partner during sex without consent is voyeurism. Until this year the CPS had stated filming someone naked in a private room did not constitute an offence if they had consented to being looked at naked. But Emily Hunt had no recollection of having given consent. She did recognise the man beside her. It’s a truly sinister story.

Posted: 4th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Jessica Krug is not black

Jessica Krug, a professor teaching history at George Washington University has apologised for claiming a black identity. She is not a “child of the ‘hood”, as her author bio claimed.

The Telegraph has read Krug’s mea culpa published on Medium, noting that Ms Krug is an “expert on Africa, Latin America, African-American history, imperialism and colonialism.” But less expert on self-awareness, it would seem.

“I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech,” she says. She blames her “cultural appropriation”, at least in part, on “mental health demons” triggered by “severe trauma”. She sounds more than tad unhappy as she notes, “I have lied in every breath I have taken.” “I can’t fix this. I have burned every bridge,” she adds.

“We are aware of the Medium post and are looking into the situation,” says Crystal Nosal, a spokesman with George Washington University. “We cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

Jessica Krug bio black

Sky notes:

Many attested to meeting Ms Krug under the name Jess La Bombalera. A video posted online under the pseudonym shows her as she criticises “all these white New Yorkers who waited four hours with us to be able to speak and then did not yield their time for Black and Brown indigenous New Yorkers”.

In over 1000 words of ‘me’, she begins:

To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness. I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.

So she taught whilst black, drove whilst black, shagged whilst black, wrote whilst black and all those other things that being black mark you for for special group status amongst white liberals. And academia lapped it up. And , no, she’s not a black Jew.

Previously: meet Rachel Dolezal – and him.

Posted: 4th, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Soup and Shakes to fight the calorie counting hordes

When all else fails, attack fat people. It’ll take more than prodding to get the chubsters into shape. And the Guardian says, “It’ll take more than a soup-and-shakes diet plan to tackle obesity in the UK.” Such is the demonising of fat people you wonder why border patrols haven’t yet introduces a Hole In the Wall-style admissions policy. If you can slide though the right-sized gap, you can enter the UK.; if you can’t you can head to the USA. As the Telegraph notes, Britons “more likely to ‘fat-shame’ obese people than Americans.” That’s the power of guns for you – plus memories of the Dust Bowl and potato famine. A nation of immigrants remembers why it arrived, and over a stack of pancakes and syrup vows never to return.

Julian Baggini is unimpressed with all that ready grub. He wants to tell us about the “twin scourges of processed foods and food poverty”.

The human body is such a homeostatic, self-regulating system. Deprive it of calories and it starts to burn fewer of them, and tries to horde away any excess as fat. So all the time the dieter is congratulating themselves on their weight loss, their body is wondering what the hell is going on, and doing all it can to reverse it.

Hordes of calories – the one attacking your dinner plate?

‘Hordes of fat’?

…we have lots of evidence that people get fatter when they eat more highly processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates. They are also slimmer when they eat more home-cooked meals. So a serious anti-obesity strategy would require the government to take on the food industry’s promotion of highly processed foods.

He supports the government controlling what you can put inside your own body. To become the correct shape he wants “controls on business and greater redistribution of wealth”. Limit choice and the proles will thank their betters. One size fits all.

Posted: 2nd, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Je Suis Charlie: Charlie Hebdo republishes Mohammed cartoons

Remember all that ‘Je Suis Charlie’, the outpouring of solidarity after the deadly attack by Islamists on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The mag published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. On January 7 2015, in response Islamists murdered 12 people. This week Charlie Hebdo republished those cartoons, all 12 of them. “Tout ça pour ça,” says the headline – “All of that for this.

Je suis charlie

Very soon 14 people will go on trial accused of helping the two Islamist attackers carry out their massacre. Hebdo has honoured the victims in the best way it can, by championing free speech and the right to cause offence – by mocking oppressive piety in all its guises, showing us how dumb humanity can be and that what we revere might just be another human with an active imagination. That does not mean you can be gratuitously offensive and rude. You need to make a point about shared humanity for satire to work best.

Too many who marched beneath the banners “Je Suis Charlie” are less champions of free thought and speech than they are against Muslims, possessed of monocular vision and the ugly inability to treat people are individuals, lumping all Muslims as something uniquely other and wrong.

People have asked the magazine to republish the images. And many doubtless just delighted in poking Islam and would be upset where their own beliefs caustically lampooned. But, as the magazine’s editorial says, the time was not right. There was no point.

“We have always refused to do so, not because it is prohibited – the law allows us to do so – but because there was a need for a good reason to do it, a reason which has meaning and which brings something to the debate,” it says. “To reproduce these cartoons in the week the trial over the January 2015 terrorist attacks opens seemed essential to us.”

cover anniversary hebdo

Lead image: Pallbearers carry the casket of Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Bernard Verlhac, known as Tignous, decorated by friends and colleagues of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the city hall of Montreuil, on the outskirts of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

Posted: 1st, September 2020 | In: News | Comment

Adele: Bantu Knots fail to distract editors from singer’s stomach and breasts

Jerry Sadowitz once told a rude joke about Princess Diana, lampooning the obsession with women’s looks and fashion choices: “Breaking News – Princess Diana has put her hair in a bun and her **** in a toaster.” The singer Adele has put her hair in Bantu knots and her body in a bikini. “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London GBJM,” said Adele as she brought a bit of carnival to her garden in Beverly Hills.

First the hair, which has upset a few people on Twitter. Billboard says, “The singer’s hair was intricately twisted in a style similar to Bantu knots, adorned with bright yellow feathers behind her head.” Sky tells readers that there were Bantu Knots, “a traditional African hairstyle in which the hair is twisted into a series of small coiled buns.” Just the thing to join in the celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture in the UK. Unless you have the blinkers on:

That tweet from the “CEO of Ernest Media Empire” was out of kilter with most people, whose views can be summed up best by Ciku Muiruri:

Adele Bantu knots

And in the UK, Adele’s bikini and hair a political matter:

The Times now steps in: “Cultural appropriation describes borrowing styles or items which are significant in a culture that is not theirs.” Did Adele seek permission to put her hair in Bantu Knots and wear a Jamaican flag bikini? And if she did, which body did she submit her outfit to for official approval? Says Naomi Campbell: “She looks hot. As a Jamaican girl myself, my girl has grown up in black culture. People forget she’s from Tottenham.” What if Adele was from rural Hampshire? Would that not give her a pass?

Matthew Phillip, executive director of the carnival, tells The Observer: “Yes, we say black lives matter, but it’s about promoting unity and inclusion. That’s why it was set up in the first place, to bring different communities together from different backgrounds.”

But bigger news than Adele’s hair is her weight:

What price Adele used her hair to distract attention from the media obsession with her weight? Look out for the Mail article, “Why Bantu Knots are slimming.”

Posted: 1st, September 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment

Harry Dunn: Coward Anne Sacoolas continues to evade justice

The wheels of justice turn slower than the wheels on the car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas when it hit Harry Dunn and killed him. Mr Dunn was just 19 when he died in a crash outside RAF Croughton last August. In the aftermath, American suspect Anne Sacoolas fled the UK.

The teenager’s parents have pushed for justice. But nothing has been done. They did moot plans to sue the USA. But now they’ve given up on that. The US state department says it is looking for a “reasonable resolution”. But nothing about the US actions in this matter have been reasonable. They have shielded one of their own. It stinks.

Sacoolas was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December. The Home Office put in a request for her extradition. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo binned it. The US protects Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US spook who claimed diplomatic immunity as Harry Dunn’s loved ones dealt with their intense grief. The right thing was for her to stay in the UK and help. But she ran. The US spirited her away.

UK Attorney General Suella Braverman is apparently considering the possibility of a virtual trial or a trial in Mrs Sacoolas’s absence. But that’s not justice. The accused needs to defence themselves. Anne Sacoolas will not do the right thing. She should be made to. She should be arrested.

Harry Dunn’s parents, Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, say they “can now see that the US government are working towards” Mrs Sacoolas facing the UK justice system. They can? Mrs Charles tells the BBC: “We are going through a living nightmare and we need closure. We will only get that when Mrs Sacoolas faces our justice system. We can now see that the US government are working towards that end.”

We can feel their pain. And we can see the futility of their campaign.

Posted: 31st, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

John DeBerry Jr. is right: from Kanosha to Portland Washington, America needs guts not violent segregation

Kenosha has been burnt and looted by what the Times calls “Black Lives Matter riots” – “parts of the city looking more like Syria than Wisconsin.” Anger and violence spread after Jacob Blake, an unarmed father of six with warrants for his arrest, was shot in the back seven times by a policeman as he opened his car door. Police say they found a knife in his car. But not on him. Jacob Blake is now paralysed and struggling to live. Police thought it fit to handcuff him to the hospital bed. The shooting of John Blake looks murderous. And in the streets, there’s trouble.

The Times quotes one local: “When you wrap yourself in that flag of BLM and you burn cities to the ground, people will remember. There’s a quiet majority out there.” Another adds: “It’s right that people are out here protesting. But the people burning shit? Nah. That’s all out-of-towners… It’s a mistake, because they make it about the destruction, not the message. Why would we burn our own shit down? The only store where you can get hair products for black folk, it’s burnt up. Why would we do that to ourselves?”

One voice on the HuffPo counters: “…rioting and looting are effective at growing a movement and making an issue come to the forefront. And these riots are destroying what last shreds of credibility President Trump had left, that and his terrible mishandling of the coronavirus, of course.” Adding: “That all of those people came into the streets because of rioting and looting, they participated in rioting and looting – that is the movement. And to say that it distracts from the movement or it’s what the state wants, I think reflects at best a really intense confusion, and at worst an innately anti-Black and anti-liberatory perspective.”

Winning heart and minds in Washington DC. The dignity of Blake’s family is in stark contrast to the childish demands of some protestors

Add to the mayhem Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old heavily armed vigilante. The teenager described in many bulletins as a ‘fan of the police’ is accused of murdering two unarmed men and shooting another. One of the men killed courageously attacked Rittenhouse with a skateboard. You can look at the alleged perpetrator and wonder why anyone sane thinks driving 15 miles to walk around the streets with a huge gun slung over your shoulder is a good idea. Or you look at the victim and shape the narrative to fit an agenda:

The Guardian notes that Rittenhouse has been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by someone under the age of 18. And then we get two facts which appear at odds with each other:

  1. “Under Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse, who is 17, was too young to legally posses the rifle he was alleged to have been carrying as he confronted protesters.”
  2. “Under Wisconsin law, anyone 17 or older is treated as an adult in the criminal justice system.”

One thing to note: Kyle Rittenhouse and his alleged victims are all white. Is that important? The epithet white is usually used to denigrate. Isn’t it time to stand as individuals?

John DeBerry, Democratic member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, wants people with “enough guts, enough integrity, enough citizenship and love of country” to stop focusing on race:

He’s right.

Posted: 30th, August 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

Daily Express Megan Markle obsession makes Princess Diana statue blush

“Brought back together by mum,” says the Daily Mirror. It’s a story about Prince Wills and Harry Baseball Cap. A royal insider says moves to erect a statue to Princess Diana to mark what wold have been her 60th birthday will “help to heal old wounds”. The Express guesses that Wills and Harry will both be in attendance when the statue is unveiled. And Meghan Markle might be there, too. Today the Express has a scoop: “Meghan Markle’s obsession with Princess Diana exposed by former childhood friend”:

Meghan Markle Daily Express

That just one of many Meghan Markle stories published by the Daily Express today – move that cold be called obsessive:

No fewer than 13 stories today on Meghan Markle – that’s not including the many more Express articles than namecheck her for SEO purposes.

As for being obsessed with Diana, well…

princess diana daily express

Such are the facts…

Posted: 29th, August 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment

Tump for Coronavirus and ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’

How Journalism Works, courtesy of the Washington Post.

On August 28, 2020 at 4:37 a.m., the WaPo noticed a “crowded White House” for Donald Trump’s latest address. The crowd was “largely devoid” of Covid-19 precautions – “few masks, little distancing.”

President Trump celebrated his renomination Thursday with a crowded party at the White House that offered a jarring contrast with a nation that is still widely shut down over fears of the coronavirus pandemic whose spread remains uncontrolled.

On August 28, 2020 at 5:26 p.m the WaPo spotted another crowd at the ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ march for racial equality:

If the topic is Covid-19, then one crowd looks very much like another crowd, right? The story on the march begins in a different tone to the one on Trump:

Thousands of protesters gathered Friday at the Lincoln Memorial to call for criminal justice reform and racial equality while honoring the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” address from the same location.

Planning began in June after the funeral of George Floyd. Organizers say they want to highlight the civil rights issues of today and bring well-known speakers to address the crowd while also mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus with strict safety protocols.

It’s not until paragraph 31 in the paper’s live blog, readers learn:

In some cases, there was little social distancing as the crowds moved closer to the Lincoln Memorial and the calls for justice boomed louder from the speakers. Most participants, however, did wear masks.

“Some cases” and “most” Or “few and “largely”? Pick your news. Fed your prejudice.

Posted: 28th, August 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

Ten years of looking for Kyron Horman

kyron horman

Kyron Horman was last seen on June 4, 2010. Him step-mother, Terri Moulton Horman, dropped the seven-year-old at Skyline Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. He made it to the science exhibition. Moulton reportedly posted a picture on Facebook of Kyron standing in front of his tree frog exhibit. But he never made it to class. He was marked as absent. When he failed to arrive home on the school bus, Terry Horman called 911.

There have been no arrests. There has been no sign of him. We cannot be certain if any crime befell Kyron Horman. There are only theories and hunches.

The investigation is stuck, as it has been from day one. Only time moves on. This June, Kyron would have graduated from high school with the class of 2020.

Kyron Horman
In this June 11, 2010 file photo, the family of missing 7-year-old Kyron Horman, from left, Tony Young, his mother Desiree Young, his stepmother Terri Horman and his father Kaine Horman stand together during a news conference, in Portland, Ore.

Terri Horman was married to Kyron’s father, Kaine Horman, for six years. They divorced in 2013. Kyron’s mother, Desiree Young believes Terri Horman played some part in her son’s disappearance. But there is no evidence to support her allegation. And Terri Horman says she is innocent.

“Ten years is hard. I hope we aren’t here in a year,” says Desiree Young. “I want Terri to do the right thing and I want her to end this torture. We just want to bring Kyron home.”

Did he wander off? Says Desiree Young in a TV documentary:

“Kyron does not have very good eyes. He can’t see, so he’s not going to wander around. He’s also very shy and doesn’t trust people right away. That’s just not his style. I know that was a theory from the very beginning. But that’s not Kyron. He wouldn’t do that. He’s a pretty shy, timid child. He has a great wit and a sense of humor, but he doesn’t show it very often to people he doesn’t know. He doesn’t trust strangers. He prefers to be around his family.”


“The last day I saw Kyron was actually two weeks prior to June 4th. He was going to his father and stepmother’s house. But he didn’t want to go back. He wanted to stay with me. It was an emotional exchange. He had to actually be talked into going back. I tried to talk to him a little bit about what was going on, but he was not very forthcoming about what was upsetting him. I even talked to his father about it, but I was dismissed and told I was just overreacting. It was really upsetting and it was the last exchange I had with him. But he knew that I love him and that I was trying everything I could to remedy the situation within my power.”

If you know what happened to Kyron, you might be in line for a $50,000 reward. You can call The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office on 503-261-2847.

Posted: 28th, August 2020 | In: News | Comment

Boris and the Bookshelves – books have been reduced to props

Boris Johnson books Michael Gove

Did you see the books arranged behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Castle Rock school in Coalville, Leicestershire. Was the school librarian making a point in their choice of books to backdrop Boris? Titles on the top shelf included: Betrayed, The Resistance, The Subtle Knife, Fahrenheit 451, The Toll, Oliver Twist and Terry Pratchett’s genius Guards! Guards! What could it all mean asked the assembled hacks. “No comment,” said the school, which is, of course, a comment.

“Books seen behind Boris Johnson tell their own story,” says the Guardian headline. “Has a savvy school librarian or English teacher snatched a golden opportunity to have a pop at the PM in front of the nation?” asks a reporter from the TES. “Are the books behind Boris artfully arranged with a secret political agenda and commentary on the current government?” mused the Indy.

What you might not also have noticed is the PM’s words on the exams results fiasco. “I’m afraid your grades were almost derailed by a mutant algorithm,” guffed Boris. “I know how stressful that must have been for pupils up and down the country. I’m very, very glad that it has finally been sorted out.”

That mutant algorithm was coded by human beings. Sally Collier, the head of England’s exams regulator Ofqual has resigned. Jonathan Slater, the most senior civil servant in the Department for Education (DfE), is ‘stepping down’. But Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, aka The Mutant, remains. Look for codes and symbols of defiance by all means, but in so doing try not to miss the obvious. Nearly 800 libraries have closed since 2010. Johnson holidayed amid the exam disaster-class, popping up to tell us that he was reading Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things.

Johnson, that school librarian and political pundits dialling in opinions from seats positioned in front of their bookshelves – watching on for signs of wrong-thinking by their peers and enemies – all assure us that books matter. But schoolchildren suffer through the lack of books and formal education. The local library has gone and there’s no longer a free space to sit, read the think. Books have been reduced to props. And that is telling.

Posted: 27th, August 2020 | In: Books, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment