Rishi Sunak has taken a second job as a waiter. There’s the chancellor on the front pages serving meals in a London branch of Wagamama. “Sunak serves up £30bn rescue,” says the Times. That’s the figure for Government spending on coronavirus support (it outstrips last year’s health budget) and not the revised bill for side orders of pickles, PPE or his family’s bank balance.
No mask for Rishi as he serves up a plates of swill, just a smart tie and name badge and a broad beam for the cameras. “Come dine with me,” says the Telegraph.
Sunak says the State will pay half the cost of a meal out for everyone. This will support the hospitality industry. The paper’ says Sunak “shows his backbone” with a bold statement. It is, of course, the “Rishi Dishi”, a twist on Dishi Rishi, the nickname the chancellor earned before coronavirus and the Government’s lack of preparedness kiboshed fiscal spending plans.
The upshot is that dinners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August. The meal deal means you can get up to £10 off per head if you eat out from Monday to Wednesday. Alcohol is not included, so liquid lunchers are not part of the deal. Also included is that if in going out to eat in the middle of a pandemic you get ill, the Government will off you food, bed and toilet facilities in a hospital (beds permitting).
Like many of you, I too have been creating flowcharts of the wildlife I see around me. Charts on the lives of daddy longlegs, house flies and silverfish have been compiled in A4 pads for future generations to study. If like two aquariums in Japan you have more exotic household guests, you can do as they have and publish flowcharts that track the relationships of their penguins.
Penguins, the way they waddle around and protect their eggs, are often thought of as cute, cuddly and romantic. But those who observe them for extended periods know they have a dark side. Two aquariums in Japan, Kyoto Aquarium and Sumida Aquarium, keep obsessive tabs on their penguins and maintain an updated flowchart that visualizes all their penguin drama.
As Kyoto-based researcher Oliver Jia points out, penguin drama can include serious crushes and heartbreaks but also adultery and egg-stealing. And these Japanese aquariums have it all charted in a flowchart that can be studied for hours.
To Ipswich Crown Court, where Labour MP Eric Joyce, 59, has admitted making an indecent ‘Category A’ image of a child. Joyce was Labour MP for Falkirk between 2000 and 2012. He was Labour shadow minister for Northern Ireland. He left the party to serve as an independent. Joyce was also major in the British Army. He will be sentenced next month.
Pretty much every report includes the same phrase from the presiding judge. The story has broken over the newswires, so the shared phrasing and quotes are to be expected. (Although the news is not yet on The Times website; Mr Joyce is an a relationship with a Times columnist). Judge Emma Peters said that the single 51-second movie, found on a device, “depicts a number of children. Some are quite young, one is said to be 12 months old. Clearly a category A movie.”
How can this be editorialised? So much has been written about alleged child abuse in high places that many publications could be tempted to throw all manner of allegations into the blender and restart old conspiracy theories. Let’s hope not. Let’s stick to the facts:
She [Judge Peter] said Joyce, who appeared at court in person, “says he accesses it via an email which he says was a spam email”.
“At the time he was drinking heavily and he has now undergone work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and a psychotherapist,” the judge said.
She ordered that a report be prepared before Joyce is sentenced on August 7.
Judge Peters warned the former shadow minister, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, that the offence crosses the custody threshold.
“It’s going to be a question of whether it’s immediate or suspended,” she said.
“You will be required to sign paperwork today acknowledging that you are immediately on the sex offenders register,” she said.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation says of itself:
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse. We work closely with frontline workers and professionals such as police officers, social workers and education staff to ensure children are as safe as they can be.
More to follow on the man who in the past has been nicked for drink driving, abusing an airport worker and assaulting four fellow politicians in a House of Commons bar.
Madeleine McCann: an at-a-glance look at reporting on the missing child.
The media continues to look at Christian Brueckner, which given his status as a prisoner of the German state is a news beat light easy on shoe leather.
The Star kicks things off by telling readers that the man suspected of kidnapping and murdering Madeleine McCann once live next to a British policeman in Portugal. Do you know your next door neighbour? Do you know what they’re up, if they have a criminal record for child abuse or work for an organisation some see as institutionally racist?
The insight into life on Brueckner’s street comes via Austrian couple Oliver and Karin Stenard. They tell a telly show in Portugal that they employed Brueckner as a handyman. He lived opposite them with his girlfriend. “The next door neighbour at the time’s an English policeman,” the Star quotes one saying. “He’s working for Scotland Yard.” The Sun watches the same show. The Sun presents its review of the show as an “exclusive”.
What of this copper? Was he sent to Portugal to watch the suspect? That seems unlikely because he is said to have already owned the property in 2007 when Brueckner was there and Madeleine McCann vanished. “Scotland Yard detective who lived next door to Madeleine McCann suspect in the Algarve ‘is working with police to find her’,” says the Mail. Now he is or then he was? The Mail adds:
The British police officer owns a house next door to a property where the German paedophile worked following the youngster’s disappearance, the drifter’s former Algarve bosses say.
We’re then told the suspect allegely exposed himself to children:
…angry parents revealed he had escaped trial in the Algarve despite exposing himself to four young children in a playground while he was on the run from German police for a separate sex crime. One of the parents fought back tears in an interview last night as she admitted: ‘If he had snatched one of the children and put them in his van, we might never have seen them again.’
He didn’t snatch the woman’s child. And as far as the evidence goes we do not know if he has ever snatched a child. “Madeleine McCann suspect ‘could have snatched another child’, say parents of young girl he allegedly exposed himself to.” says the Telegraph. Well, he could have. And then again, he might not have. As for snatching “another child”, well, police have yet to charge him snatching any child.
Nelia Bras, mum of one of the youngsters Brueckner allegedly pleasured himself in front of, added: ‘My daughter was eight at the time. He spoke to her in English and asked her, ‘What’s your name?’
‘It’s very traumatic knowing that someone who’s been linked to so many cases and is perhaps a very dangerous man was so close to my little girl and spoke to her and could have snatched her or any other child who was there.’
And then the speculation is cranked up.
“Christian Brueckner was living in the house in Foral when Madeleine McCann disappeared,” says Karin Stenard. “Foral is a big area and there was no-one around at the time. I say he killed her and there was a lot of space to bury her. I think her body may be buried there and I told the police that.”
The report below the TV show on Portuguese broadcaster RT’s website tells us (via Google Translate):
Germany knew that Christian Bruckner had been a pedophile since 1994, found him twice in Portugal and never associated him with the disappearance of Madeleine Mccann. Nor do the Portuguese authorities, although they have extradited him twice for sexual crimes against children. The first in 1999, the second in 2017.
For 22 years, this man lived among us and traveled without any motorhome control in Europe, benefiting from the free movement guaranteed since the Schengen agreement.
Burckner was last extradited in 2017, after being caught in the act of committing a crime that today qualifies as sexual abuse against four Portuguese children, all of them girls under the age of 14.
Despite the flagrant crime in a playground in São Bartolomeu de Messines, this crime by Brukner against Portuguese children was never prosecuted and remains unpunished.
What news of Madeleine McCann, the innocent child famous for being missing since May 2007? The Mail kicks off today’s round-up of news and in the main no news of Madeleine McCann with the line: “The lawyer for Madeleine McCann’s kidnap and murder suspect Christian Brueckner has insisted his client is ‘no psychopathic monster’.” Fair dos? But is he a murderer?
We know Brueckner is a paedophile and a rapist. But did he kidnap Madeleine McCann and murder her, as German authorities suspect he did? He is no monster says his brief. He is a man. Good. They’re easier to spot and punish. And what do we mean when we label someone a psychopath? Do we mean a predator lacking in all empathy? If we do, do we assume that they can be cured. Do they see them as victims of biology or nurture?
The American Psychological Association says psychopathy is characterized by “exploitation of others, deceitfulness, impulsivity, aggressiveness . . . [and] accompanied by lack of guilt, remorse and empathy.”
In 2017, research by New York-based psychologist Paul Babiak’s suggested up to 4% of business leaders in the US could be psychopaths. A study of supply chain managers found between 3% and 21% had clinically significant psychopathy, compared to 1% of the general population.
And they can pull. “Psychopathic men are really good at pretending to display what women are attracted to,” says Kristopher Brazil, one of two researchers at Brock University in Canada who led a study into why women love a psychopath. “They’re really good at putting on this mask, and making themselves look attractive… You exude a larger-than-life presence, and give off an impression of greatness.”
The Mail broadens its position, relaying the words of Brueckner’s suit:
Friedrich Fulscher described the 43-year-old serial paedophile as a ‘friendly conversationist’.
He went on to claim: ‘The prosecutor’s office seems to have shot at our client and is now trying to correct their lack of evidence by any means possible.
‘I experience him as a very calm and friendly interlocutor, and the atmosphere between us has always been very pleasant.’
The suspect’s innocent must be presumed. And as for the suspect coming across as decent bloke, well, if all paedophiles and rapists were easily identifiable the judiciary would have a far simpler time of things.
Fulscher was talking about his client to Germany’s RTL. The IBT notes:
This account of Brückner’s demeanor follows other reports that have surfaced in recent months about his behavior behind the scenes. Not only did a former roommate state that he had once been “obsessed with the dark web,” but others claimed that he had once “freaked out” when McCann’s name was mentioned.
And..? Not much. Such are the facts.
The media term for Ghislaine Maxwell is “British socialite”. Even when the elite are nicked for their alleged parts in heinous crimes we doff the cap and present them as something above the norm. A socialite translates as someone who likes to mess about and have fun whilst being stinking rich. Do the same whilst poor and you might be called a party animal, piss-head or shameless. Maxwell is the ‘British socialite’ accused of helping her former lover, the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, abuse of minors. It’s alleged she helped to recruit and groom victims known to be underage. Ghislaine Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing.
The Daily Mirror, the paper Maxwell’s dad used to own, leads with that familiar photo of one of Epstein and Maxwell’s pals with his arm about the then teenage Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Roberts Giuffre. She says Epstein abused her and made her have sex with another of their social circle, the ‘British socialite’ Prince Andrew. Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was trafficked to London and forced to have sex with the duke in Ms Maxwell’s Belgravia home. Like Maxwell, Randy Andy has denied any wrongdoing. Prince Andrew also says he was too honourable to break off his friendship with a convicted paedo who put him up whenever he was in New York.
The media is excited. How we enjoy seeing the high and mighty taken down. Papers are as aroused as a toff in a harem of desperate young women. But let’s stick to the facts. Everyone is innocent until proven otherwise.
The Times says the Duke of York has been drawn further into the Jeffrey Epstein story. The Telegraph says Prince Andrew is in the crosshairs. The Guardian says Andrew must be feeling the pressure. Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, says to Andrew, hey, “come and talk to us”. God bless America, where even a pampered prince can be RSVP-ed. “We would like to have the benefit of his statement,” says Strauss, “our doors remain open and we would welcome him coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement.”
Andrew ‘s people say he’s cooperating fully. But it can be hard to see the Prince through the ranks of lawyers and PR handlers surrounding him. Does the US Department of Justice want to question the toff in person, under oath, in a magistrates’ court? Will Andrew do that? Has he anywhere to stay for the night in NYC now that Epstein is dead? Problems mount for the Queen’s favourite son.
“Crowds defy crackdown” says the Guardian. “COURAGE,” declares the message on a protestor’s T-shirt. His eyes, stinging from tea gas, are closed. Around him are three police officers in marks, goggles and helmets, their faces impassive.
But there is hope. Three million Hong Kong residents are eligible to work and live in the UK. “Escape to the UK” says the i. Well, you can if the Chinese let you. And what’s to say theta they will?
Hong Kong was once a British colony. In 1842, China ceded Hong Kong island to Britain after the First Opium War. In 1898,China leased the New Territories together with 235 islands to Britain for 99 years.
In 1997, it became a special admin area for China, functioning under the rule of “one country, two systems” – unlike mainland China, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy and democratic economic and social systems. The contract securing those rights last until 2047.
But China is making plans. It’s playing a long game. They’s introduced a nw law. Under the new law, inciting hatred of China’s central government and Hong Kong’s regional government are offences. You are a criminal if you protest against the Chinese government. You cannot speak freely. You cannot think freely.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Mirror says Christian Brueckner, the man suspected of murdering Madeleine McCann, “‘made [a] all from ‘same place” where she vanished about an hour later”. He did? Well, so it is “claimed”. And why is ‘same place’ in inverted commas? The teaser is more precise – sort of: “Paedophile Christian Brueckner allegedly used a mobile phone outside the Ocean Club about an hour before Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family’s holiday flat at the same complex in May 2007.”
The news is alleged. And the source is an entertainment TV show in Germany:
Rudi Cerne, the host of Aktenzeichen XY… Ungelöst (Case number XY… Unsolved), told Focus: “The call came from the same place where the little girl was last seen alive. I get the impression something important is happening now.”
Rudi gets the impression… More after the ads… Stay tuned… Cerne shared his thoughts in a trailer for tomorrow night’s TV programme. “The only thing I can say at the moment is that this also includes the telephone number of the Portuguese prepaid card that was called from the German suspect’s cellphone,” he says. “Not even an hour before Maddie disappeared. The call also came from the same place where the little girl was last seen alive, in Praia da Luz in the Algarve.” Lest you mistake the toothsome, tanned TV host for a detective, he then note: “I’m not an investigator.”
In another of its myriad stories on the missing child, the Mirror announces: “Madeleine McCann suspect had rape case bungled by police two years before she vanished – Christian Brueckner, 43, could have been jailed for the brutal rape of a US woman in 2005 – almost 18 months before Madeleine McCann was taken – but blunders by Portuguese police kept him free until 2017.”
In December 2019, Brueckner was convicted of rape. He is appealing the conviction. Says the Mirror:
A rope, hair and some clothes from a house where Brueckner, 43, raped an American woman in 2005 didn’t get tested for DNA, leaving him at large until 2017 when he was caught.
The villa the rape took place in is a 10-minute stroll from the Praia da Luz apartment where Madeleine, who was three at the time, vanished in May 2007.
What other heinous crimes took place in the area in 2005, when the American woman was raped, are not said. As for that crime scene being a “stroll” from the place where Madeleine McCann vanished from, well, she vanished in May 2007. You can walk slowly.
The Mail repeats the story, observing that the suspect could have been caught two years BEFORE the innocent child went missing. In which case… if he did do it, she would not have gone missing. We’re told:
The 2005 rape case inquiry was abandoned five months after the horrific attack, while neither a red T-shirt stuffed in the victim’s mouth nor a nylon rope used to tie her hands together were DNA tested, according to The Sun.
Over to the Sun, then:
After her disappearance Portuguese police failed to seal off the McCann family holiday apartment for almost 24 hours.
It led to a crime scene contamination by up to 50 people. Cleaners washed bed sheets and ash from officers’ cigarettes was found in evidence samples. The 2005 rape inquiry was abandoned after just five months.
Is there a source for new that Portuguese police made a hash to the rape case?
Official documents show Carlos Farinha, then Director of the Judicial Police’s Forensic Science Laboratory, wrote in a letter dated November 28, 2009: “We have learned by telephone that the examination is no longer necessary. We are therefore cancelling the tests and returning the material sent to us for analysis.”
German prosecutors are now convinced the mistakes made by Portuguese police in the 2005 rape case left child sex offender Christian B free to snatch Madeleine.
They might be convinced. But they don’t have any evidence to charge the depraved criminal.
The New York Times regrets the error. The paper has issued a correction to an article in which it stated that when released from Covid-19 induced lockdown, albeit partially, the British flocked to swamps.
They did, of course, flock to Bournemouth – which they left in a condition many swamps enthusiasts would consider unfit for human habitation.
Next F1 season will feature Mercedes cars painted black. This is “a signal of their commitment to greater diversity and inclusion in motorsport”. This does not mean everyone driving a black car is on the side of angels, nor that white van man is a racist sod. It’s all about changing the colour to fit the mood. Mercedes racing cars are usually silver. Mercedes said the Black Lives Matter movement had “shone a searching light on how much we need new measures and actions in the fight against racism”. So a black car will show how Mercedes is not racist and is anti-racist.
This is the board at Mercedes:
The Mercedes board is white but the racing team has one high-profile black employee: F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. He says driving in a black car is an “important statement we are willing to change and improve as a business”. Mercedes F1 team says “just 3% of our workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups and only 12% of our employees are women. This lack of diversity shows that we need to find new approaches to attract talent from many areas of society we do not currently reach.”
Come, come. The talent is already attracted. Is he saying that less blacks, Kurds, Jews, gypsies and Turks want to work for a company that celebrates speed and spends the best part of the year travelling the planet in search of it? If he is, he’s talking rot. The barrier is in the hiring and opportunity, not the application.
Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff adds: “Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes. But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn’t enough if we remain silent. We wish to use our voice and our global platform to speak up for respect and equality, and the Silver Arrow will race in black for the entire 2020 season to show our commitment to greater diversity within our team and our sport. We will not shy away from our weaknesses in this area, nor from the progress we must still make; our livery is our public pledge to take positive action.”
All well-intentioned and commendable, I’m sure. But until the faces making the decisions and owning the capital change, everything else risks looking like a marketing exercise.
Note: The F1 team is named Mercedes Petronas. Petronas says it is “the custodian of Malaysia’s national oil and gas resources”. It is wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia. Mahathir bin Mohamad served as the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 and 2018 to 2020. He is a member of the Parliament of Malaysia for the Langkawi constituency in the state of Kedah. He is, by his own definition, “proud to be labeled antisemitic” and who told the Cambridge Union: “I had some Jewish friends, very good friends. They are not like the other Jews, that’s why they are my friends.” He said a Jewish cabal “ruled the world”.
In his 1970 book The Malay Dilemma, he described Jews as being “not merely hook-nosed, but understand[ing] money instinctively,” sentiments he repeated in a BBC interview last year, when he also questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Here he is being hailed by Petronas.
Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister, took on an advisory role at Petronas after stepping down in 2003.
Dear Mercedes. You’ve got a lot of work to do…
Says limp and custard Education Secretary Gavin Williamson: “Unless there’s a good reason for absence… we’d be imposing fines on families.” Fail to ensure your children are in school from next September and face a fine.
Given that children of toffs and the middle-classes are well equipped for school and all the extra-curricular activities that goes with it (and cost a bomb), the fined are most likely to be the less well off who can least afford to pay.
Having locked everyone indoors for months, shut schools and told people they can get takeaway food, go on protests and hang out in the parks but kept schools shut to all but children of key workers, the Government now says get back to school or else. And the ‘or else’ is money – it’s always about the money.
If children have leaned anything during the past three months it is that the adults don’t know what they’re doing.
Khairi Saadallah has been charged with the murders of James Furlong, 36, David Wails, 49, and Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, on 20 June. It’s alleged that Mr Saadallah stabbed the three men to death in Forbury Gardens, Reading. Police have called the attack a terrorist incident. The Crown Prosecution Service says: “The Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised Counter Terrorism Policing South East to charge Khairi Saadallah, 25, with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.” So how is it being reported? A man has been charged so reporting guidelines are firm. The CPS adds:
“Criminal proceedings against Mr Saadallah are now active and he has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
The BBC says the attack has been linked to terrorism but fails to mention to which ideology the alleged terrorist might adhere. We know that Saadallah arrived in the UK from Libya in 2012 and was granted asylum in 2018. We also know MI5 suspected he could be thinking of travelling overseas to commit acts of terrorism. The attack was declared as a terrorism incident by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, senior national co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing. But we are not told why he did so.
The BBC tells of a candlelit vigil to the killed. It quotes the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, James Puxley. “Who knows what they would have achieved in life had they lived to an old age,” he says. “Doubtless they would have achieved many good things that the community is now deprived of benefiting from.” We also hear from Martin Cooper, chief executive of Reading Pride, a local councillor and the family of one of the victims (all three victims were gay). Not one voice expresses any sense of anger to what the Sun’s headline calls a “bloodbath”.
The Guardian calls it a “knife attack”, which it was, of course. There is no mention of terror in its report. We do hear that two MPs lit candles. And Thames Valley police chief constable John Campbell said the victims were “cared for and comforted by my officers and others who came to help them in in their final moments”. He says Reading should take “pride” in how it had responded. It was a “coming together of a diverse community, joined by the bond of humanity and a shared sense of injustice”. To say nothing of terrorism. Which the report does not. Like the victims, Saadallah also lived in Reading.
As we continue to search for motive, or even speculation as to why he might have done it, the Times tell readers that Saadallah volunteered at a church before “converting” to Christianity. We’re told: “His sister said he was motivated by a wish to ‘marry a British girl’.” We are not told what religion or belief he converted from.
Mr Saadallah, who was referred to the government’s Prevent counter-extremism programme, is understood to have suffered from mental health problems. However, Stewart Johnston, operations manager for the church, said he had not picked up any indications of this.
Mr Saadallah volunteered from June to September 2018 while living in a hostel. “It was unclear that he had any sort of faith,” Mr Johnston said. “He would be stacking chairs, putting chairs out, helping in the kitchen, that sort of thing.”
Friends have said that he drank and smoked cannabis, and showed no Islamist leanings. One said she did not believe he had chosen Christianity for a woman. “I never heard that,” she said. “He converted because he wanted to change his life and get away from the life he was forced to live in his home country.”
Islamism? Is that why the police have linked the alleged murders to terrorism? Why does the Times mention Islamism in its report if the police and CPS have not?
The Mail leads its coverage by telling readers: “Police investigating Reading terror attack charge Libyan refugee, 25, with three counts of murder and three of attempted murder.”
Is the suspect’s refugee status relevant? The Mail presents it as key part of the story. There it is in the headline. The paper mentions that the suspect is a refugee one more time in the story. Is that fair? Is it inviting its readers to guess and form an assumption?
Madeleine McCann: an at-a-glance look at news of the missing child.
Christian Brueckner could be out of prison next week, says the NY Post. The convicted peadophile and rapist suspected to murdering the missing child has applied for parole having served two-thirds of a sentence for drugs.
In the Sun we hear from an unnamed source “close to the German investigation”. “If the superior court decides to free him then it will severely impact the case,” says someone. “He could vanish and then we will not be able to put him on trial. We are fighting for him to be kept in court.”
How likely is it that if he is released from prison the man suspected of killing the child who has obsessed media for over a decade will vanish and not be closely watched by a million reporters, police, members of the public and bounty hunters keen to get their hands on the scoop and the reward money? And there’s the matter of his conviction for rape.
Christian Brueckner was pinched in 2018 on a warrant issued for a drugs offence in 2011.
But he was subsequently put on trial and convicted of raping a 72-year-old American woman at her villa in Praia da Luz in 2005. He was sentenced to seven years in December. But because he is appealing against the rape conviction, under German law the sentence is yet to be imposed.
So he will walk “free”? No. He won’t.
The Mirror looks at the child’s parents, as ever it has done. “Madeleine McCann parents face more pain as police say suspect could escape justice.” This headline pivots on your concept of justice. The teaser nails its:
“German authorities are convinced paedophile Christian Brueckner killer Maddie but prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters sais the investigation ‘could be stopped if we fail to find the missing evidence'”
In the dash to scream “no news” first, the Mirror makes two typos in one line. But worse than that is the interpretation of what justice is and if you can achieve it without evidence. German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters tells German newspaper Braunschweig Zeitung: “You have to be realistic that the investigation may not lead to a charge for the murder of Madeleine. It could be stopped if we fail to find the missing evidence. But we are still convinced of the guilt of the accused and hope for further promising investigative approaches.”
May. Could. If. Missing evidence. The German prosecutors case looks watertight, in the same way a sieve makes a good lifeboat.
The Metro chips in with: “Madeleine McCann suspect might not be charged despite ‘concrete evidence’ of murder.” When “concrete evidence” is couched in inverted commas it’s not all that concrete. Says Wolters: “I am currently unable to predict the outcome of our investigation but we are still convinced of the guilt of the accused and hope for further promising investigative approaches.” But is there to convince a judge and jury?
Is the suspect about to walk free, then? Wolters explains: “Of course, it is always good to know where a suspect is to be able to access them if necessary. And, of course, detention always offers a certain guarantee that the detainee will not commit any further crimes.”
And on it goes. But wait. The Manchester Evening News has news!
“Lawyer who represented Madeleine McCann parents wants to turn village pub into nursery.” In Rochdale.
Such are the facts.
To Bournemouth, Dorset. There was “Chaos on the beaches” says the i. A major incident was declared at Bournemouth beach due to overcrowding and gridlocked roads. It was very busy. Mobbed.
The Mirror and Express lead with Bournemouth beach. Their sister title, the Star, looks at the rubbish and blames “drunken louts” for the dirt and mess left on the sand. But that’s not right. There were plenty of empty beer cans and wine bottles left on the sand, and lots of broken glass on the promenade. There were turds in burger boxes and plastic buckets. There were syringes in the park above Westcliff. There were nappies left in hedges, bags full of rubbish dumped by the kerb, disposable barbecues – with wire trays – all over the shop, broken chair and inflatables left on the beach, and thousands of empty plastic bottles for water and non-alcoholic juices pretty much everywhere. Most people did aim at the bins. But they are full. And what cannot fit inside them is left by it.
The mess was not fuelled by alcohol alone. Seagulls play their part. A lack of facilities, too. You go to the beach but no cafes are open. Toilets are few and far between. Hotels and guest houses are shut.
And the police? Well, one police car drove past scores of vehicles parked on the pavement and drove away. Police did not get out their car. People in wheelchairs and pushing prams were forced to walk in the roads. The police were notable by the ineffectiveness and absence. Some drivers did get parking fines pinned to their car windscreens. As one told me: “It’s only £30-odd quid between four of us.”
Rebecca-Long Bailey, the Labour MP who scored Jeremy Corbyn 10/10 for his leadership, has been sacked from the shadow cabinet. And you can thank the Jews for getting shot of her. I can reveal that there really is a Jewish conspiracy. Come closer. The plan is that Jews expose anti-Semites and pray to our brutal God that they get a sound re-education. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party says Long-Bailey gave a big thumbs up to an article that “contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory”. An article, you’d wager, that appeared in some far-Left outlet published on the outer reaches of the web. No. This was a story in the mainstream Independent.
The title of the article is the not pithy: “Maxine Peake: ‘People who couldn’t vote Labour because of Corbyn? They voted Tory as far as I’m concerned’.” After the snootiness, Peake, an actress, looks at the alleged murder of George Floyd at the hands US police. We read:
“Systemic racism is a global issue,” she adds. “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”
Can it be that Mossad and those pesky Jews killed George Floyd? And why Israel and not another nation to have hosted US cops? Nietzsche told us that anti-Semitism is used by people hoping “someone must be to blame for the fact that I do not feel well”. Jews are “scapegoats for every possible public and private misfortune”. Labour lost. George Floyd was killed. Make the link…
In a correction to its story, the Indy notes: “Our article also implied that this training could have included neck kneeling tactics.” Oh? “There has been no suggestion that this training involved the tactics referred to in the article.” So who suggested it did? The Indy’s correction contains no time stamp so it might look as if it’s no correction at all and might have been there all along. In the Indy’s original version of the article, Peake’s comments included a link to an Amnesty International article that talked about US police departments training in Israel. Peake didn’t put it there. The Indy did. That link was later removed. The revised article fails to mention the presence of any link.
And so to the politician, a leading MP in a party under investigation for institutional anti-Semitism who saw an interview with someone she admires and retweeted it with high praise. “Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond,” said the now former Shadow Education Secretary. The Indy’s nastiness and Peake’s factoid should be more widely read. Peake later said that stuff about secret Jews training US police to kill blacks by kneeling on their necks was “inaccurate” .
Labour MP Stella Creasy tweeted that the interview was “textbook casual antisemitism”, adding that “being antiracist means countering, not indulging, such tropes”.
Should Long-Bailey get another go at education she can help pick which textbooks the youth read. “I think secondary school education should include a module on conspiracy theories,” tweets writer Matthew Sweet. “How to spot them, how to resist the way they seduce with simple explanations for complex phenomena and their appeal to prejudice and confirmation bias.”
“I retweeted Maxine Peake’s article because of her significant achievements and because the thrust of her argument is to stay in the Labour Party. It wasn’t intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article.”
Jeremy Corbyn likes some bits of an anti-Semitic mural. Long-Bailey likes some bits of apparently anti-Semitic articles. You can read Mein Kampf and admire the writer’s use of grammar.
John McDonnell, who was shadow chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn, was critical of the decision to sack his ally, saying: “Throughout discussion of anti-Semitism it’s always been said criticism of practices of Israeli state is not anti-Semitic. I don’t believe therefore that this article is or Rebecca Long-Bailey should’ve been sacked. I stand in solidarity with her.” What about if the criticism is based on a falsehood? What if linking an alleged racially-driven murder in the US to a training programme run by secret Jews in a foreign land is a bit iffy?
The sane might think it indecent to debate the pros and cons of the Indy giving space to such things, adding police brutality in Minneapolis to the list of evils and ills that Israel is uniquely responsible for. The journalist wrote it. The sub-editors fact-checked it. The editor approved it. They all thought it fine. The Indy published the interviewee’s views uncontested. Labour List, the website funded by Unite the Union and UNISON, wants to see if Peake has a point. Says Labour List:
‘A 2016 Amnesty USA article states that law enforcement officials in Baltimore, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York and other places “have all traveled to Israel for training”.’
So what? So nothing. It just’s there, dangled like low-hanging fruit for readers to lick and sniff, to sense and find meaning in the sickly scent.
But facts, what of them? George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is not known if Minnesota sent a secret cohort of police to Israel to learn how to murder black men by kneeling on their necks. But until we see evidence to the contrary, we should keep open minds. And if the Indy wants it, I can press f9 on the keyboard and bang out 500 words about how the world’s only Jewish state did it and is behind everything else that spoiled your day.
Statues are coming down across the country. Oriel College, Oxford, is readying to remove a statue to colonialist Cecil Rhodes. In Bristol, a statue to slave trader Edward Colston was rolled into Bristol Harbour. A statue to slaveholder Robert Milligan has been removed from view in London. Statue of racists are coming down all across America. So is it time to get rid of Karl Marx statues, including the huge headstone that sits atop his grave in London’s Highgate cemetery?
In 2019, the words “doctrine of hate” and “architect of genocide” were painted on the Marx Highgate cemetery memorial. One onlooker was quoted in the Guardian: ““I wouldn’t like to say who or why someone did it but it was clearly someone very critical of Marx and that part of history. I am just surprised that somebody in 2019 feels they need to and do something like that.” No contrary view was quoted.
Spoof news website Babylon Bee quips: “Looking to protect their statues and other municipal monuments, cities and towns across the country have begun disguising their statues as Karl Marx. City councils all over are ordering Karl Marx wigs and putting them on Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and other statues.”
Marx was a champion of the masses and the oppressed, say some. Other says he was a hardcore anti-semite who called for “the emancipation of mankind from Judaism” and fed the 2,000-year-old prejudice that Jews were all about the money and behind every ill, writing, “Money is the jealous god of Israel.” As Jonathan Freedland notes:
The historical explanation for this enduring linking of Jews and money is that Jews were pushed into financial roles by a church that barred Christians from, say, lending money for interest, and barred Jews from doing much else, such as owning and farming land. As Anthony Julius – whose Trials of the Diaspora is the definitive history of English antisemitism – puts it, in a feudal society in which Jews could be neither peasants nor lords, there was “no other niche” available. But psychological explanations also suggest themselves, starting with the notion that Christian society was able to split off that aspect of itself it regarded as sinful – its pursuit of wealth and profit – and project it instead on to a hated other: the Jew.
Bob Seely adds:
…Karl Marx’s conspiratorial view of the world is at the rotten root of both hard Left and Right. Marx helped provide the intellectual base for both the Holocaust of the Jews…
In his 1843 essay, The Jewish Question, Marx, whose father converted from Judaism to Protestantism, equated emancipation from capitalism and Judaism as being one and the same. “Money is the jealous god of Israel” Marx wrote. “The god of the Jews has become secularised and has become the god of the world.” He jumbled together hostility to private property and capitalism, and his personal hatred of Jews as self-interested, rootless and enablers of secret control, updating miserable medieval tropes for the modern world. Once society succeeded in the preconditions of Capital, “the Jew will have become impossible [Marx’s italics],” perhaps the most profound example of bastardised pseudo-science in modern political history.
Frederick Engels addressed Marx’s racism in a letter date April 19, 1890:
…you might not be doing more harm than good with your anti-Semitism is something I would ask you to consider. For anti-Semitism betokens a retarded culture…
In North America not a single Jew is to be found among the millionaires whose wealth can, in some cases, scarcely be expressed in terms of our paltry marks, gulden or francs and, by comparison with these Americans, the Rothschilds are veritable paupers. And even in England, Rothschild is a man of modest means when set, for example, against the Duke of Westminster. Even in our own Rhineland from which, with the help of the French, we drove the aristocracy 95 years ago and where we have established modern industry, one may look in vain for Jews.
Hence anti-Semitism is merely the reaction of declining medieval social strata against a modern society consisting essentially of capitalists and wage-labourers, so that all it serves are reactionary ends under a purportedly socialist cloak; it is a degenerate form of feudal socialism and we can have nothing to do with that. The very fact of its existence in a region is proof that there is not yet enough capital there. Capital and wage-labour are today indivisible. The stronger capital and hence the wage-earning class becomes, the closer will be the demise of capitalist domination. So what I would wish for us Germans, amongst whom I also count the Viennese, is that the capitalist economy should develop at a truly spanking pace rather than slowly decline into stagnation.
In addition, the anti-Semite presents the facts in an entirely false light. He doesn’t even know the Jews he decries, otherwise he would be aware that, thanks to anti-Semitism in eastern Europe, and to the Spanish Inquisition in Turkey, there are here in England and in America thousands upon thousands of Jewish proletarians; and it is precisely, these Jewish workers who are the worst exploited and the most poverty-stricken. In England during the past twelve months we have had three strikes by Jewish workers. Are we then expected to engage in anti-Semitism in our struggle against capital?
Nietzsche noted that anti-Semitism was used by people hoping “someone must be to blame for the fact that I do not feel well”. Jews were “scapegoats for every possible public and private misfortune”.
Let’s get the racists and chop down statues to them. Marx must fall! Right?
Remember when Bernd Leno, the Arsenal goalkeeper, suffered a “horror injury (Mail) in a match with Brighton? So horrible was the injury that the Sun told us that BT Sport refused to show it in a replay.
As I pointed out, Arsenal fans are made of sterner stuff than those BT softies and could watch the gore fest on their club’s family friendly official website.
As the world prayed for Leno, the Sun looked at five goalies Arsenal could sign to cover for Leno should be be out for year with what could be cruciate knee ligament damage.
And then prayers were answered. It turns out that Leno had merely sprained his knee. He will walk again! There will medical journals telling of Leno’s knee. Religionist will will point to Bernd ‘Lazarus’ Leno as evidence of god’s love.
Nigerian Dillibe Onyeama was the first black person to obtain a school-leaving certificate from EtonCollege, graduating in 1969. He arrived in January 1965, aged 14, his name put on the recruitment list at birth by his father, an eminent Oxford-educated Nigerian judge.
Onyeama became persona non grata to the school for toffs when he wrote a book about the racism he experienced there. The school’s great and good asked him such questions as: “Why are you black?”, “How many maggots are there in your hair?” and “Does your mother wear a bone in her nose?” He writes: ““I swung a powerful right-hander at his chin… He dropped to the floor like an inert sack and lay there crying. The happy faces of his friends distorted with shock, and next they were shouting at me with disapproval.”
As a black person, the for vocal and blinkered members of the jeunesse dorée expected him to be sporty but mentally negligible. He scored 7 O’Levels, was decent at games but never did play rugger for England. He says that “colour prejudice was the most outstanding feature of my experiences.”
How this differed from treatment meted tout to black children at other British schools in the 1960s is moot. It was far from abnormal. But Eton is for the elite, land-owning class. These people set the rules at their private clubs and family dos. To date, 20 British prime ministers have attended the school, as did Princes William and Harry, the latter moving on from his days as recreational Nazi who once referred to a mate as “Paki” to marry mixed-race American Meghan Markle.
The school’s current head, Simon Henderson, has apologised for the sins of the past and says he’d like Mr Onyeama to return “to make it clear that he will always be welcome at Eton. We must all speak out and commit to doing better – permanently – and I am determined that we seize this moment as a catalyst for real and sustained change for the better.” Mr Onyeama says the apology “compels the recognition that prejudice on the grounds of colour or race dehumanises its victims in a way that ordinary forms of prejudice do not”.
How did James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett die? The three men were at a pub in Reading when someone stabbed them to death. Khairi Saadallah, 25, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
In the BBC’s profile of the suspect we learn that Saadallah was arrested under the Terrorism Act. Can we guess why he might have attacked three white, middle-aged gay men? If we see everything through the prism of gender and race, as those on the far-Left and far-right insist that we should, isn’t the men’s identify relevant? Does the identity of victims and the alleged perpetrator play a role in the way political leaders and media respond to attacks? Let’s see what the BBC says about the heinous crime.
We’re told that Saadallah arrived in the UK from Libya in 2012. The police noticed him. MI5 had him marked as a person who might travel abroad for terrorism purposes.
Why? What is driving such thoughts and suspicions?
The BBC cites someone who knows Saadallah. They say the suspect suffered from “post-traumatic stress from the civil war”. We read that his “long-standing mental health problems had been exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdown.” Last year he threw a TV from his top-floor flat window. He had a “mental health key worker”.
If this is a care in the community or health issue, why has the suspect been arrested as a suspected terrorist? If he is a terrorist, can we guess at his ideology? The BBC notes that police are “keeping an open mind as to the motive for this attack”. Keep an eye out for news that he played video games or watched ‘video nasties’.
The head of counter terrorism policing, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, says the attack was “unrelated to a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest held hours earlier in the park”.
So what is it related to? In the language of identify politics, was it a homophobic attack? Was it a racist attack? Was it a revenge attack?
BBC’s home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford reports that Saadallah seemed to be a “normal, genuine guy” who smoked cannabis. Did normality or marijuana drive him to it?
In his analysis of the horror the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani says: “Saturday’s horrifying killings may be another example of what security chiefs call a “lone actor” attack where a single individual turns extremist beliefs into murderous actions.”
What beliefs? Religious beliefs? We’re not told. Why not? The Mail says Saadallah was on the MI5 watch list “because of a tip-off that he wanted to join Islamic State”.
Conservative chairman of the defence select committee Tobias Ellwood stated:
“At the time of the Bali bombing there were 26 proscribed organisations by the Home Office, that number has risen to 86. It isn’t just a problem for the UK, but we need to look wider afield. The reasons why these things are happening is because there are fanatics working in ungoverned spaces, preying on vulnerable individuals, promoting a false interpretation of Islam. We pat ourselves on the back to say we defeated Daesh, but that’s only territorially, that ideology lives on and continues to grow. The threat is there and until we address this wider picture, the threat of terrorism in the UK will continue.”
So, about that cannabis…
Another days and with it another injury to an Arsenal player. This time it’s Bernd Leno, the talented Arsenal goalkeeper who jarred his knee in a match against Brighton. So bad was the “horror injury” that according to the Sun, broadcaster BT Sport “refused” to show it on the telly. Dead bodies, war, famine and George Floyd having his neck sat on by a policeman for nearly nine minutes in America (he was pronounced dead not long after) are all suitable items for tea-time watching. But the German goalie jarring his knee is unacceptable to Arsenal fans who have seen in recent years two players (Euduardo and Ramsay) carried from the pitch with badly broken legs and another (Diaby) badly hurt.
For anyone keen to see the incident help is at hand because you can watch Leno jarring his leg on the official Arsenal website. Elsewhere you can see Leno cussing at the Brighton player who clattered him, contributing to the injury and leaving the ground on crutches. We can assure viewers that Leno will walk again. In other news: 60,000 people are dead from Covid-19. As you were…
This incredible photograph shows children jumping onto a pile of mattresses at the Ashfield Valley estate in Rochdale in the 1980s. We don’t know the people in it. We don’t know who took the photo. But we’d like to. Known to residents as ‘The Valley’, the estate was largely demolished in the 1990s, with the remaining buildings renamed Stoneyvale Court.
Spotter: British Culture Archive and FlashbakShop
Simeon Francis, 35, died in a police cell on 20 May. He’d been arrested in Exeter and for reasons unclear sent to a police station in Torquay, around 20 miles away. A post mortem was unable to settle on a cause of death. Devon and Cornwall Police issued a statement on May 21, 2020. Mr Francis’s death triggered a mandatory investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell stated:
“An independent investigation by the IOPC will always be carried out following a death in police custody. The force made this referral immediately and has co-operated fully with the IOPC ever since, this will continue in the coming weeks and months.
“Our thoughts and condolences remain with the family and friends of Mr Francis and we remain committed to a wholly appropriate, independent and thorough investigation into the events surrounding Mr Francis’ death.
“As this matter remains subject to an IOPC independent investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time, but our communities can be rest assured that Devon & Cornwall Police will always operate with integrity, honesty and transparency.”
So says the police. Regional Director Catrin Evans said:
“Our thoughts are with Mr Francis’ family and friends following his death. We will be keeping his family updated during the course of our independent investigation. Our investigators have begun gathering evidence and statements from officers. We are analysing a considerable amount of CCTV footage from the custody suite. We are looking at the level of care provided during the period of detention, including the frequency and adequacy of checks carried out.”
Mr Francis was a persistent offender. In 2017, a report into his arrest and conviction for car crime noted that it was his 175th offence. A report in 2018 says Mr Francis was addicted to Class A drugs and had threatened prison offices but not physically hurt them. The presiding Judge observed: “If any one of the people sitting here in court had been through that childhood, we would probably be in the same position as he is now.”
The purpose of noting that is to illustrate that Mr Francis was known to the police. So when he was arrested in Exeter in July 2019, police might well have known who he was. Given his lengthy criminal record for theft and drugs, they might also have assumed he’d be non-violent. But someone took a video of that arrest. In it we see three police officers sitting on Mr Francis, who is on the pavement – one by his head, one by his midriff and one on his legs. Two more officers are very close by. In all, ten officers were on the scene. “Do you really need that many officers on him?” says an onlooker. Says Mr Francis: “I can’t breathe.”
And with those three words, the mysterious death of a black man in police custody becomes news. They were the words uttered by George Floyd as he was being murdered by police in the US, as is alleged.
Desmond Jaddoo is Mr Francis’s family spokesman. He says: “I have written to Shaun Sawyer, the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, lodging a formal complaint of racial discrimination, use of excessive force and intimidation. This video raises concerns of the actual treatment of Mr Francis by Devon and Cornwall Police. It has caused his family further and extreme distress during this difficult time.”
So here’s the key question: was Mr Francis’s death preventable? We might also wonder if had a white aristocrat died in a police cell, people would be satisfied when the State says it is unable to say how he died? A family statement notes: “The news of the death of another black man whilst in police custody raises again the concerns regarding the disproportionality of black people dying in custody.” His siblings add: ” No matter Simeon’s past, he was our brother and well loved. We want answers as to why he died in these circumstances. We are devastated at the news of his death and now seek justice for him.”
So there it is. Had it not been for the death of George Floyd, Simeon Francis would be just another statistic. Now he’s news. Good.
Barcelona’s Liceu opera house reopens on June 22 with a concert for 2,292 plants. Humans will have to tune in on YouTube. Concert for the Biocene will feature Puccini’s “Crisantemi” on strings.
Eugenio Ampudia, the artist behind the concert, explains: “At a time when an important part of humankind has shut itself up in enclosed spaces and been obliged to relinquish movement, nature has crept forward to occupy the spaces we have ceded. And it has done so at its own rhythm, according to its patient biological cycle. Can we broaden our empathy and bring it to bear on other species? Let’s start by using art and music and inviting nature into a great concert hall.”
Not so much invited as carried in and unless they’re triffids, incapable of voting with their feet. But they’re quiet and don’t fidget. So play on…
The BBC has a story on racism in the British police. I’ve seen police racism myself. The police seems to attract more than its fair share of bigots. Stood at a bus stop in north-west London with friends in the 1980s, police pulled up and decided to question us over nothing. Only one us was black. They hit him. At the football, hundreds of jubilant fans ran onto the pitch after Arsenal had won the title – remember those days? A black teenager next to me was smiling broadly. One copper punched punched him square in the head. Why him?
Things are better than they were. In 1981, Manchester police drove riot vans through Moss Side, banging their armour shouting “Nigger, nigger, nigger, oi, oi, oi’ and chasing the kids all over.”
Lewis* is Asian and currently working as a police officer.
“One of my first experiences was when I overheard a senior ranking white officer tell new recruits that if they see a well-dressed black man – it’s ‘game on’.
Is it as bad now as it was? Has nothing changed? The Macpherson Report into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence redefined racism as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”. You can be an “unwitting” racist. We were directed to look at the individual rather than the deliberate wielding of power by a racist state apparatus. Is that about to change again? What drives racism? And how do we crush it?
To coincide with the resumption of the football season, the Mirror leads with a photo of Madeleine McCann in her Everton kit. The news is that convicted rapist and peadophile Christian Brückner / Christian Brueckner says he didn’t dit not kidnap and murder the missing child. Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher says his client “denied any involvement”.
As the suspect denies all and wallows in solitary confinement in a German prison for depraved and violent crimes, the Mail looks at the vehicle he drove back and forth between Germany and Portugal. Says the paper:
It is not clear when Brueckner bought the 30-year-old Tiffin Allegro but he was known to be driving a vehicle matching its description in 2007, when Madeleine, three, vanished.
People who knew him described a ‘large cream-coloured Winnebago campervan,’ which he allegedly bragged could hide ‘drugs and children’.
Police have located the van on land owned by the suepct. According to Spiegel, police found the van when they investigated the vanishing of five-year-old Inga Gehricke.
Germany’s Spiegel TV reported that during a six-day search of the site detectives found numerous items of children’s clothing, most of them ‘small swimsuits’ in the motorhome. Brueckner does not have any children.
The convicted rapist has no children.
Police also found six memory sticks with more than 8,000 files, mostly containing pictures and videos of child abuse. They were in a bag in a hole in the ground, underneath the body of his dead dog. Brueckner, now 43, was convicted of possessing the child porn but not charged in relation to Inga. He was identified as a suspect in the McCann case in recent weeks and police near Hanover have reopened the file into Inga’s disappearance, looking again at Brueckner.
A bloke called Dieter tells the Mail that he once looked around the van:
“Brueckner told me again, ‘I have 50kg of grass, and I transport it around Europe’. I thought he was joking at the time. He said, ‘In my van, I can take 50kg of grass – nobody can see it … I can transport children, kids, in this space. Drugs and children, you can transport them in this van – it’s a safe space in the van. Nobody can find them. Nobody can catch you’.”
The Sun picks up more of the Spiegel report:
While living in Braunschweig, Christian B ran a kiosk between 2013 and 2015 and he was pictured inside wearing dark sunglasses.
Bjorn told the documentary how Christian B had been contacted in 2013 by police investigating Madeleine’s disappearance.
He said: “One day I came into the kiosk and he was a little bit distraught and said, ‘Hey, look what I’ve got here’ — and he showed me a subpoena for the Madeleine McCann case.
“You could see it churned him up a bit but he wasn’t panicking and he wasn’t saying ‘they are on my heels’.
“I think he said he had been there but that he had nothing to do with it and that was that.”
Such are the facts.