News Category

Having sex through a keyhole with tubby Prince Andrew

The Mail has an “explosive dossier” on Prince Andrew and a woman who claims she had sex with him when she was a teenager, Virginia Giuffre Roberts. It is “a bombshell” Daily Mail investigation circling the claim Roberts was trafficked to London by the prince’s paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein when she was just 17 and forced to have sex with him.

You’ll quickly form the idea that there’s a lot of hearsay and titillation in the Mail’s Whoopee Cushion. But the hope is that the bit about the alleged sex will get readers panting.

And what of the facts? The paper’s headline suggests that the bath Roberts says she and Andrew had sex in might be too small for penetration. The Mail combines sex and alleged sex crimes with looking around someone else’s home. A fetish that might be on the fringes of the web is mainstream.

We’re going prowlin’ and peepin’ because “an exclusive through-the-keyhole view shows the bathroom in Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia.” Don’t worry. She’s not in the tub. Maxwell, another of Andrew’s old muckers, is locked inside the US justice system. She faces six counts of recruiting and grooming girls and young women to be sexually abused by both her and Epstein. Prince Andrew told the BBC that he had first met Epstein through his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in 1999. That’s them and Roberts in the photo above.

Inside the house where Virginia Roberts and Prince Andrew had ‘sex in the bath’ – so is the tub REALLY too small for two people to fit like Ghislaine Maxwell claims?

Dressing up reporters as chickens is one thing but surely the Mail didn’t mock up the Maxwell backroom and encourage two hacks to play the parts of Andrew and his alleged victim? No. Rules on social distancing forbid such things. They just looked at old planning records:

We have found a floorplan of the bathroom, taken from a 1987 planning application. We have also had access to much more recent images of the room. There are two observations. One is that the bathroom is indeed ‘small’, as both sides agree; cramped, if one wished to perform anything other than solo ablutions.

Oh, hark at the language. “One.” Is solo “ablutions” faux posho for masturbation?

The historic plan shows a ‘standard size’ — 5ft 6in by 2ft 4in — alcove bath, boxed in on two sides by walls and on a third by the back of the airing cupboard. The remaining 36 sq ft is largely taken up by a bidet, a lavatory and large sink. It is very bijou.

If size matters, should we also be told Andrew’s dimensions and also those of his alleged. victim? And given what we know about sex, isn’t the sink large enough – or the keyhole?

Andrew denies any wrongdoing. His “only defence against Miss Roberts’ detailed accusations remains blunt denial” says the Mail. Which makes you wonder if the paper’s explosive dossier went off in a confined space, the protected prince would be covered in anything but the stench of his own glory hole.

Posted: 12th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment

China cabin crew advised to wear nappies on flights

Back doors to manual on China’s airlines. A guide issued by the country’s civil aviation authority tells Chinese cabin crew to wear nappies and avoid the lavatory for Covid-19 safety. A full nappy might ensure a softer landing and deter all but the most ardent perverts from seducing the cabin crew, but is it dignified to crap yourself at 30,000 feet whilst serving dinners?

In no way linked to the cabin stink, crew are also advised to wear medical protective masks and disposable rubber gloves.

Passengers are advised to bring their own food; to do as Bill Clinton did and not inhale the moving air; and in case of emergency exit by the rear.

Posted: 11th, December 2020 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment

Dame Barbara Windsor : Carry On and a night with George Best

Actress Dame Barbara Windsor was 83 when she succumbed to Alzheimer’s at a London care home. Dame Barbara is best remembered as the star of nine of the 31 Carry On films, The Rag Trade, Sparrows Can’t Sing and EastEnders. But it was on stage where her talent and effervescence marked her out for stardom.

After a stint at the Aida Foster School in Golders Green, Windsor joined Joan Littlewood’s company at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, east London, appearing in productions of Oh! What A Lovely War and Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be.

At four foot ten and half inches tall with a bawdy laugh and impressive cleavage, ‘Babs’, a native of London’s East End, was a terrific and apparently fearless performer – although as she once cautioned: “I am not like my image,. Everyone thinks I just bounce in, but I study and everything has to be just right.”

Take the memorable bra scene in Carry on Camping (1969), filmed in chilly February and March. Windsor stands in a field with other women. She is dressed in a bikini. Twang! The straps cannot stand the strain. The bra jets off and lands on Kenneth Williams’ face, in his role as the gym instructor. The bra was attached to a fishing rod. On take one the props man pulled. The bra did not come loose and Babs was dragged over and through the mud. “Get her up and mop her down. Let’s go for another take”, Windsor heard as she struggled to her feet.

She married three times, including to small-time criminal Ronnie Knight, and she also dated hymned villains Charlie Kray and his brother Reggie, her Carry On co-star Sid James, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees and the footballer George Best, of whom she said: “There was this vision, this absolute vision. He was so beautiful. He came over to me in the bar and I said, ‘Look, don’t waste your time with me, darling. You’ve got all these lovely ladies after you’. And he said, ‘Well, when do I ever get to talk to somebody like you?’ Well, that did it. That was it. A magic moment.”

Dame Barbara Windsor (nee Barbara Ann Deeks): August 6, 1937 (Shoreditch, London) – December 10, 2020.

Posted: 11th, December 2020 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment

Daily Telegraph launches hatchet into Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre

Look out! Prince Andrew is back. But he’s not the main thrust of Daily Telegraph‘s story. That honour befalls Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the American who says she was brought to the UK from the US aged 17 by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2001 to have sex with his friend Prince Andrew. She told BBC Panorama Prince Andrew was “the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life” and “his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere”.

She says she had sex with Andrew three times: “I knew I had to keep him happy, because it’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine (Maxwell, Epstein’s then girlfriend) would expect from me.”

Andrew then went on the telly and said that he didn’t remember meeting Virginia Guiffre, that photo of him with his arm around her bare midriff taken by Epstein at Ms Maxwell’s London flat might be fake. Oh, and he had a medical condition at the time that meant he did not sweat.

And so the story about an alleged teenaged victim of a very entitled and wealthy middle-aged man being “on the game”. Camilla Tominey raises the hatchet and starts to chip away at the accuser’s image. She is billed as Andrew’s “chief accuser”. Is she really the head of a posse? Aren’t all his accusers of equal weight? But you lop off the head and kill the body, maybe?

Prince Andrew’s chief accuser was a prostitute who lied about her age and was paid “half a million” by Jeffrey Epstein, new court papers allege.

How old was she when she allegedly turned to sex work? She claims she was 17 when Andrew had sex with her. So that would be 16? Or was she 15 when she entered sex work?

Virginia Roberts Giuffre (37), who claims to have had sex with Andrew three times when she was 17, was allegedly “on the game for about a year” before she met Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of sex trafficking her and a number of other young women in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

You might at this point feel some sympathy for Virginia Roberts Giuffre. You might consider sex work a sound career chose for a 15/16-year-old. But the story is presented to shape your thinking:

Ms Giuffre has always insisted she is a victim and was never a willing participant. She claims the men who abused her have been using their wealth and influence to keep her quiet.

Can’t an alleged sex worker be a victim of a sex crime, especially one so young? And then we read a list of accusations against the accuser.

Allegations contained in newly filed legal documents claim that Ms Giuffre was 16, not 15, when she first met Ms Maxwell in Florida. She is also accused of changing a story about meeting Donald Trump and that she confused one of the men accused of being involved in sex trafficking, allegedly a Harvard professor, with another professor. The Harvard professor vehemently denies the allegations.

Teenagers, eh. Some get to plan huge weddings with desirable bachelors, like Andrew’s daughter Beatrice, who for her wedding was plated in the Queen’s Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, made by Boucheron in 1919, featuring brilliant and rose-cut diamonds, pave set in platinum, with six emeralds on either side. They get horses, palaces and maids.

In 2011, Edward Klein wrote in Vanity Fair:

Among other things, Andrew has been accused of hosting a lunch at Buckingham Palace for Mohamed Sakher El Materi, the billionaire son-in-law of the now deposed Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and of accepting a gift of a $30,000 gold necklace for his daughter Beatrice from a convicted Libyan gun smuggler. (A spokesman for the Palace says it doesn’t comment on private gifts to members of the royal family.)

Some teens get the lot. Other teens get to be labelled “prostitutes” in the Press, a word that stings with accusation.

The claims emerged in a transcript of a conversation between Sharon Churcher, the journalist who first revealed Ms Giuffre to be an Epstein victim in a 2011 newspaper interview, and Tony Lyons, a New York publisher.

So she was a victim of Epstein’s. That was “revealed”. Epstein died in mysterious circumstances whilst awaiting trial in New York prison cell. We can’t ask him. So what do we know?

Ms Churcher admits that Ms Giuffre “got paid” for the interview, in which she says she was recruited by Ms Maxwell to become Epstein’s masseuse.

Referring to Ms Giuffre, Ms Churcher said: “She took a year off (her age). Apparently she was 16, not 15, when she was recruited (by Epstein). But she’d be on the game for about a year then.”

“Because you see, Epstein paid her off. She had settled with Epstein. She’d taken half a million, I think,” Ms Churcher said.

So much for what she “admits”. Do we know anything more of Ms Churcher? Do we get to see the entire conversation between her and Mr Lyons, whose “Skyhorse group has published books by Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s former lawyer who Ms Giuffre claimed she was trafficked to six times as a minor.” The lawyer denies any wrongdoing.

Chuck Cooper, representing Ms Giuffre, said: “We look forward to taking Ms Churcher’s deposition under oath.”

Representatives for Mr Dershowitz declined to comment​​. Representatives for Ms Churcher did not respond to a request for comment.

The good things about the writer’s take on the case is that we realise it matters how the story is presented – and we all get to be reminded of a story Andrew would like dead and buried. You know, like Epstein is.

Posted: 9th, December 2020 | In: Broadsheets, News, Royal Family | Comment

This is lovely: 91-year-old British man gives a great TV interview after receiving Covid vaccination in London

A 91-year-old London grandfather spoke beautifully to a CNN reporter after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination at Guys Hospital. “There’s no point in dying now when I’ve lived this long, is there?” he mused. After a “nasty lunch” and trouble finding a place to park his car, the man got his dose.

  • There is no footage of our hero then whipping off his jacket, screaming “I AM IMMORTAL!” before heading off to find his car and the fastest route to Ibiza.

Posted: 9th, December 2020 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment

London pub takes order for one Scotch Egg and 63 pints

Tier 2-ers can order a Scotch Egg and thus legally order alcohol to float it in. According to the rules, a Scotch egg is a “substantial meal”, something that must be ordered if you want to drink in the pub. Pubs can order or make a load of Scotch eggs and lob them at the punters. And it does not have to be large Scotch egg – containing a full hard or soft boiled egg wrapped in pork and breadcrumbs – it can be a Scotch egg of any size.

And so to a pub in London, where an order has gone in for 63 pints of beer, 12 glasses of wine and one Scotch egg:

Yeah, a Chorizo Scotch egg, which sounds revolting.

Posted: 9th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment

Madeleine McCann Watch: German PR Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has 7 more years to nail Christian Brueckner

On the day Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, became the first person in the UK to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, news breaks of Madeleine McCann. As the pandemic begins to end, media press f9 on the keyboard and inject a dose of the innocent child they recreated as ‘Our Maddie’.

And it’s not news at all. It’s on the BBC news website – the second top story. But the story is only that German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters thinks Christian Brueckner kidnapped and murdered the child. Of this he is “very confident”.

Brueckner is in a German prison serving time for drug smuggling and rape. The 43 year old criminal was identified as a suspect in June. And six months on prosecutors do not have enough evidence to charge him.

So Wolters is reduced to guffing out PR and what sounds like a shakedown:

“If you knew the evidence we had you would come to the same conclusion as I do but I can’t give you details because we don’t want the accused to know what we have on him – these are tactical considerations.”

As he looks for evidence that leads to proof and a safe conviction, we turn away from grandstanding Hans to hear from Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, who says Operation Grange is a missing person inquiry as there is no “definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead”.

But Wolters has time to burnish his media profile. Last month the suspect lost an appeal against a further seven-year sentence for rape. So we can expect more of Hans and what he believes for some time to come.

“I can’t promise, I can’t guarantee that we have enough to bring a charge, ” says Hans Wolters, “but I’m very confident because what we have so far doesn’t allow any other conclusion at all.”

Better to keep an open mind, a tad of circumspection, especially when you’ve yet to get any hard evidence and are dealing with circumstantial evidence and an open case. But the TV camera tolls and Hans Wolters is ready for his close up…

Posted: 8th, December 2020 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News | Comment

Roald Dahl was a hardcore anti-Semite – but hating Jews is ok

Roald Dahl is dead. He’s been dead since 1990. He was a brilliant writer for children. Buried on his official website run by his estate is an apology for his brazen and unalloyed anti-Semitism. “The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements,” goes the comment.

Jews, eh, those folk devils for Christian culture. Lots of talented people are and have been Jew haters. It goes with the territory of being a Jew living amongst non-Jews to experience the slights and slurs. It’s part of the culture.

The New Statesman printed this gem from Dahl in 1983, part of an interview with the writer: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews… Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”

That in the New Statesman, which much later came up with this explainer for everything wrong with the world and your life:

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy
The Labour Party supporting New Statesman had a question that might have been rhetorical.

The Dahl family apology adds: “Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations. We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”

But why apologise now, thirty years after Dahl’s death? Is it all about money? They’ve done rather well flogging his stuff, despite of what Dahl said about Jewish power:

“It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – jolly clever thing to do – that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

Hating Jews is ok, say the anti-Semites. It is systemic, of course, because it tells Jews that they are the problem. Sure Hitler was a mass murdering anti-Semite but it wasn’t his fault, see. It was theirs. It is not punching down to hate Jews. It is punching up. It is their differences from the norm, their faces, culture and very being that need correcting. That’s how systemic racism works. It pitches the minority as an ugly otherness in need of fixing.

When two Jewish children wrote to Dahl, his reply was, well, take a look:

Dear Mr Dahl, We love your books, but we have a problem … we are Jews!! We love your books but you don’t like us because we are Jews. That offends us! Can you please change your mind about what you said about Jews. Love, Aliza and Tamar.

Dahl replied that he against not Jews but “injustice”. Jews are fair game. Attacking Jews does not make you racist say the liberal idealists in their Islington town houses and Suffolk parlours. It makes you just and righteous.

But it won’t matter. Shakespeare and Dickens are rife with anti-semitism. Shylock and Fagin are characters that reinforce and pander to the readers’ prejudices. They’re on every classroom reading lists.

“If a person has ugly thoughts,” Dahl writes in The Twits, “it begins to show on the face.” Do we could dig him up, give him the once over and beat him with sticks? No need. No point. Hating Jews is the oldest story in Christendom. And everyone loves a story…

Posted: 7th, December 2020 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment

Tech killed the department store – supermarkets are next

The internet and lack of foresight and nimbleness killed the department store. Them going will have no bearing on our ability to get stuff. It’s just sad to hear of lost livelihoods, empty hulks on the high street and the failure by companies at the top to embrace change. It’s the end of department stores in the UK. It’s the same in the US. Samantha Oltman, editor of Recode, writes:

As we near the end of 2020, the prognosis for the American department store is grimmer than it’s ever been. The reasons extend far beyond Covid-19 or even the continued rise of online shopping, and have more to do with trends in the American economy that have been shrinking the middle class while enriching the already wealthy. That’s why the decline of these retail giants is something to pay attention to. They employ hundreds of thousands of people and occupy an outsize space in our communities; their gradual disappearance, as well as what is replacing them, tells us something about where we’re headed.

It’s about spending money. A corporate-run department store at the heart of a community should not be missed. They were ruthless in their murdering of mom and pop stores. You should open wide and say ‘ahh’ and check if Tesco has opened a branch inside you. Tech killed the department store. The ones still in existence are just roofed concession and franchise stands. And tech will kill supermarkets. Speciality can be delivered to your door at a click.

Spotter: Recode

Posted: 5th, December 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment

Namibia elects Adolph Hitler

Old campaigners and neo-voters will be disappointed to learn that Adolf Hitler has no plans for world domination. Adolf Hitler Uunona, newly elected to represent the Ompundja constituency in the former German colony of Namibia, tells Bild his politics has “nothing to do” with Nazi ideology.

Hard cheese, indeed, on those hearing the news of Adolph Hilter’s victory and thought it the right moment to emerge from their Brazilian hideaways, Austrian bier kellars and, well, Switzerland to march again. (Not that they ever hid – more than half of the leadership of the West German Justice Ministry were former members of the Nazi party, including dozens of former paramilitary SA members.)

Mr Uunona says his father had named him after the Nazi leader, but said “he probably didn’t understand what Adolf Hitler stood for. As a child I saw it as a totally normal name. It wasn’t until I was growing up that I realised: This man wanted to subjugate the whole world. I have nothing to do with any of these things.”

Posted: 4th, December 2020 | In: News, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment

Dr Fauci and the delayed Covid-19 injection that robbed Trump and left people dead

When Dr Anthony Fauci, “the top US infectious disease expert” (BBC), was rolling his eyes and smirking at Donald Tump (easy enough), he was a darling of Twitter. And then he went on Fox News and told everyone that the UK had not checked Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine “as carefully” as US health regulators, who have yet to give their jab their endorsement. He then doubled down, heading over to CBS News to say the UK had “rushed” the approval.

Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized the United Kingdom for rushing through the authorization process for a coronavirus vaccine. He told CBS News that British regulators failed to adequately scrutinize data from drug manufacturers before approving a vaccine…

“They kind of ran around the corner of the marathon and joined it in the last mile,” Fauci told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in an interview for this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast. “They really rushed through that approval.”

Now Fauci says we might have misconstrued his comments. “Our process is one that takes more time than it takes in the UK. And that’s just the reality,” Fauci tells the BBC. “I did not mean to imply any sloppiness even though it came out that way.”

He misspoke? Nonsense, of course. We heard him loud and clear. He painted all the clinicians, doctors, professors and scientists who worked hard to fill the usual white space between each stage of a drugs approval process with hard work, testing and productivity as cheats. And you begin to wonder what role politics plays in Fauci’s to-camera grimaces and opinions. The BBC:

Politics may also explain why the FDA hasn’t yet given the green light. Back in October, President Trump pressured health officials to approve the first vaccine candidates before election day on 3 November but they pushed back, fearing it might become a political football.

The FDA said it wanted to see two months’ extra safety data from the final phase vaccine trials before pharmaceutical companies could apply for emergency approval.

That has inevitably left some arguing the US has got bogged down in a much more detailed review than might have been necessary.

Had Donald Trump been able to hail the vaccine before the US election in which he lost to Joe Biden, he’d have walked it. And wouldn’t faster approval have saved lives?

Posted: 4th, December 2020 | In: News, Politicians | Comment

Gavin Williamson on the Covid vaccine is the most idiotic thing you will hear from him today – probably

Gavin Williamson is the Education Secretary. He might be a child. Here he is on LBC radio explaining why the UK “beat the world” to get the Covid-19 vaccine on order.

Posted: 3rd, December 2020 | In: News | Comment

Covid-19 vaccine: Britain is world leader at panic buying

The Sun says Britain “beat the world to get a vaccine”. The Telegraph says the UK “leads the Western world” and talks of “Covid Liberation Day”. We’re “first in the WORLD” says the Mail. The jab is a marker in “victory over Covid-19” adds the Sun. It is “V-Day” guffs the Metro.

How the UK beat the world is by judging the Pfizer/BioNTech safe for use and ordering millions of doses of the stuff. We bought it first! The UK rules the world at queuing and possibly panic buying – although we’re not told which if any other nations were also standing in line. Was it just us?

Why the UK is first is unexplained. Was it a political decision? Did Brexit make us first?

The Daily Express accuses the European Medical Agency of “sour grapes” for criticising the UK’s “speedy approval” of the vaccine. Ministers say Brexit had “freed” the country from Brussels red tape. The medical regulator insists it had been working under European law. The virus is a propaganda tool. Mass death and fear always hosted political capital.

One minister tweeted that this is the moment Britain “led humanity’s charge against this disease”. Germany’s ambassador to Britain replied: “Why is it so difficult to recognize this important step forward as a great international effort and success.” Britain is governed by EU law, so argument is a specious one.

The upshot is that Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe. So there it is. A vaccine designed in the USA and made in Belgium is billed as a victory for the UK and a jab in the eye to Johnny Foreigner. A medicine passed safe for human use after ten months rather than the ten years a drug typically takes to get approval is fine. You might even get one in time for Christmas, says the Sun, positioning the vaccine as a kind of seasonal gift. Perfume for her. Gadget for him. Needle in the arm for granny.

Health secretary Matt Hancock says the vaccine “is a triumph for all those who believe in science”. Believe. Not trust in human ingenuity. But actually believe in science, like you would believe in a religion. And the UK is science’s most loyal disciple.

And so to the jab. Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton says Boris Johnson would not rule out receiving the vaccine jab live on television. And there’s the rub: it’s a PR matter. The vaccine is coming. But do you want it?

And so to the jab. Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton says Boris Johnson would not rule out receiving the vaccine jab live on television. And there’s the rub: it’s a PR matter. The vaccine is coming. But do you want it?

PS: Maybe they inject Boris with a truth serum?

Posted: 3rd, December 2020 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment

MEP jumps from first floor window as police raid Brussels ‘gangbang’

To Brussels, where tired to screwing the populace en masse, the great and good and having a group shag above a boozer. The Telegraph takes up the story:

An MEP tried to escape through a window after police raided a 25-strong, mostly-male sex party in Brussels’ city centre for breaking Belgium’s coronavirus rules.

József Szájer, a Hungarian politician and founder member of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party, reportedly injured himself jumping out of the first floor of a flat above a bar, where the lockdown orgy was being held.
Belgian media reported two EU diplomats at the sex party,
“We interrupted a gang bang,” a police source told local media

Does diplomatic immunity extend to viruses? Mr Szájer is married to a judge, says the Irish Times, which adds:

Jozsef Szajer apologised for the incident and denied taking drugs at last Friday night’s party, which he did not mention the following day when he announced he was resigning as an MEP for the Fidesz party, which portrays itself as a staunch defender of “traditional” values.

Belgian prosecutors told news agencies that 20 men were caught at the party and fined €250 each. Local press said the event took place in an area of central Brussels that was well known for its gay bars.

Mr Szajer was a close ally of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and an author of a new Hungarian constitution that Fidesz drew up after returning to power in 2010. It effectively banned same-sex marriage…

Whatever can they be getting at?

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

Yellow Journalism: The BBC goes full tabloid over Sir Philip Green and the death of Top Shop

Philip Green BBC Arcadia

Following its article ‘Sir Philip Green: From ‘king of the High Street’ to ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’, the BBC asks readers: “Has Topshop boss Philip Green done anything wrong?” Any question presented as a headline can be answered ‘no’. This is the BBC using tabloid-style clickbait to get readers and pander to prejudice. But the BBC is funded by tax so why bother with this sort of journalism?

Arcadia is a high straight stable. But the high street is dead. So goodbye Arcadia, including its brands like Miss Selfridge, Topman, the fantastic TopShop Wallis and Evans, unless someone buys them. Arcadia has lost to the internet, thumped at the tills by online-only fashion retailers such as Asos, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing.

Philip Green BBC Arcadia
“On Arcadia’s back – not rich off the company he created?

So what of Green, who built the company? This is how the BBC begins its profile on the tycoon:

Business periodically throws up pantomime villains who vault from the financial pages to the front of the tabloids and become the subject of public vilification.

And this deference to lawyers:

But has he actually done anything wrong? Lawyers will argue that the company – not its owners – is the legal entity responsible for maintaining the financial health of the pension scheme.

Green has form, of course. He was “accused of having sold BHS to Dominic Chappell “deliberately to avoid the retirement plan liability, a claim he vigorously denied. He later paid £363m to make good the scheme.”

But citing what lawyers “will argue” in answer to a headline question is nonsense. Lawyers will argue whatever their clients pays them to argue. And on it goes:

As far as is known, Arcadia did not ignore any directions from the pension regulator to mend the pension, and indeed received an endorsement from the Pension Protection Fund for a company voluntary arrangement – a form of insolvency that allows a business to restructure its finances – in June last year.

“As far as is known…” As far as is known the moon is not made of fudge? As far as is known the moon landings were not faked? As far as is known the BBC is the unbiased media of record. And then get a load of this:

There may be no infringement of the law, but what attracts attention to Sir Philip’s case is that he and his wife have become immensely rich on Arcadia’s back.

The writer is at it again. “There may be no infringement of the law…” So flip that about, give it the side eye and you get “There may an infringement of the law”. Is that the writer’s inference? If it is, Green’s lawyers may well have more work in their inbox. Or may not… Fun to guess, though, right?

And to put the BBC’s slack journalism another way: “Has the BBC done anything wrong over its Sir Philip Green report?”…

Posted: 1st, December 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment

Joe Biden breaks foot on dog and plans to get a cat – get ready for President Kamala Harris

Joe Biden, 78, has fractured his foot after slipping while “playing with a dog”, a German shepherd called Major. He will now wear a boot for several weeks, his doctor said. He’ll most likely hobble to the lectern when he gets sworn in as US President in January.

The talk was of having to wheel Donald Trump out of the White House. Now they’ll be wheeling Joe Biden inside.

The other news that should interest Kamala Harris, Biden’s deputy, is that the White House and also plan to get a cat.


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

Prince William needs a German or Greek passport

Prince William Brexit

A new biopic starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana needs a Prince William – and only actors with British-European passport holders can apply. If you’ve only got a post-Brexit British passport, you cannot audition for the tole. Apparently it’s something to do with the film’s financing.

But it doe make me wonder: does the future King William qualify for a German passport?

Posted: 26th, November 2020 | In: Film, Money, News, Politicians, Royal Family, Strange But True | Comment

Whack A Mink – 10 million Danish Mink rise again

Over 10 million mink have been culled in Denmark. The Danes found that the ambulatory fur coats carried a mutation of the Covid-19 virus. The Chinese eat bats. The Danes breed vermin. Who could suspect things would go wrong?

The Telegraph says offed mink have been spotted popping up from their graves. So let’s grab a spade and play Whack a Mink:

As if the Danish government’s rushed decision to cull and bury more than 10 million minks wasn’t a grisly enough story, thousands of the animals’ bloated cadavers have begun to re-emerge from their shallow graves.

The phenomenon was reported by Denmark’s state broadcaster DR on Tuesday after mink carcasses were spotted popping up to the surface at a mass burial site at a military training field on Sunday.

“It is an extraordinary situation,” Thomas Kristensen, a press officer with Denmark’s National Police, which is responsible for the mink burials, told state broadcaster DR.

“In connection with the decay, gasses form, which cause the whole thing to expand a little, and then in the worst case they get pushed out of the ground.”

“It seems like no one really knows the consequences of this,” Susan Münster of the Danish water board told Jyllands Posten. “I must confess I find it worrying.” 

Anyone not find it worrying? It’s like a Guy N. Smith novel made real.

Posted: 26th, November 2020 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment

RIP Sir Diego Maradona – your only crime was not to be born English

1986 World Cup - Quarter Final - Argentina v England - Mexico City - 22 Jun 1986. Diego Maradona scoring the 'Hand of God' goal 22 Jun 1986

Diego Maradona (30 October 1960 – 25 November 2020) was the greatest footballer of all time. He was a true national hero. To mark his death, Argentina has declared three days of mourning. Had he been English, we’d have made it a decade long lament. No, make that 50 years of wailing and gnashing our teeth, the ululating reflecting the many decades since England won the World Cup in 1966.

Maradona was possessed of a sublime blend of rough desire and divine talent, qualities no more in evidence than in Argentina’s match with England in the quarter-final of the Mexico ’86 World Cup. After the “Hand of God” goal, in which he clearly punched the ball into the English net, Maradona scored one of the best goals of all time, slicing and burrowing through the England team at the Azteca stadium to take the game 2-1. The then England manager Bobby Robson called that second goal a “bloody miracle”.

In Argentina, they like the first one best.

Around four years earlier, the United Kingdom and Argentina had fought in The Falklands Conflict, a 10-week undeclared war over two British dependent territories in the south Atlantic. The fighting began on 2 April, when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands, followed by the invasion of South Georgia the next day. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with an Argentine surrender on 14 June, returning the islands to British control.

“In the pre-match interview we had all said that football and politics shouldn’t be confused, but that was a lie. We did nothing but think about that. Bollocks was it just another match!” Maradona wrote in his autobiography. Of the second goal he noted: “I wanted to put the whole sequence in stills, blown up really big, above the headboard of my bed”. And of the first: “I got a lot of pleasure from the other goal as well. Sometimes I think I almost enjoyed that one more. They both had their own charm.”

Two goals. Two fingers. Up yours Inglaterra!

Had he been English saluting the Germans, say, Maradona would have been knighted, feted and hailed a living legend. Maradona, the English national treasure who in media speak had a ‘dark side’, faced ‘his inner demons’ and ‘struggled with addiction’, but who was the best thing ever, the living embodiment of the English bulldog attitude and a ‘great ambassador’ for the spot he loved. He was our hero.

But Argentina had him. And England can only dream.

diego maradona
Diego Maradona with his parents, mother Dalma Salvadora Franco and father Diego Maradona Senior – 1980
diego maradona
Diego Armando Maradona in 2006
diego maradona
Diego Maradona – 1980
1986 World Cup – Quarter Final – Argentina v England – Mexico City – 22 Jun 1986. Diego Maradona scoring the ‘Hand of God’ goal VARIOUS
Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona smokes a Cohiba cigar as he rides a sail boat in waters off Havana April 8. Maradona has been in Cuba since January on a rehabilitation program to try to kick the cocaine habit that almost cost him his life at the beginning of the year. AW/JP
Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane Marriage of Diego Maradona and Claudia Villafane in Buenos Aires, Argentina – 1989
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vittorio La Verde/Agf/Shutterstock (8600031a) Maradona arriving at San Paolo Stadium after signing for Napoli Maradona at San Paolo stadium, Napoli, Italy – 05 Jul 1984
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (77898c) Diego Maradona with his parents, mother Dalma Salvadora Franco and father Diego Maradona Senior DIEGO MARADONA 1980
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (77898b) DIEGO MARADONA DIEGO MARADONA 1980
MB2A55 FIFA World Cup – Mexico 1986 22.6.1986, Estadio Azteca, Mexico, D.F. Quarter-final Argentina v England. Diego Maradona celebrates after scoring the greatest goal the World Cup has ever seen, 2-0 against England. English fans in the stand don’t seem to agree.
HCGTX9 MARADONA, Diego Armando Maradona (right), 2006. ©Exception Wild Bunch/Courtesy Everett Collection

Posted: 26th, November 2020 | In: News, Sports | Comment

The British Library has apologised to the widow of Ted Hughes and withdrawn his name from a dossier of slavery profiteers

ted hughes slavery

The British Library has apologised to the widow of late poet laureate Ted Hughes and withdrawn his name from a dossier of items with slavery links.”We regret profoundly the distress that this has caused, “says the library. “In particular we wish to apologise to Mrs Carol Hughes, widow of the late Poet Laureate”.

British Library chiefs

The British Library has been looking to cement its role as an “actively anti-racist organisation”. It has been making a list of items and people in its collection with alleged links to imperialism and slavery. Humble Hughes made the list because an ancestor born in 1592 benefitted from colonialism. He was Nicholas Ferrar, whose family was “deeply involved” with the London Virginia Company, set up to colonise North America, according to the library. He died childless.

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

The Gender Pay Gash

In the Times, talk turns to the gender pay gash, sorry, gap:

If you thought the days of the unreconstructed male needing to rule the financial roost in a marriage were long gone, it may be time to think again.

New research has found that husbands feel a thrill if a pay rise widens the gap between their earnings and those of their lower-paid wives — but women get no such kick if the roles are reversed.

The stereotype of the male breadwinner may still be “bigger than we give credit for”, said Vanessa Gash, a sociologist who co-authored the study of views of income by gender.

Spotter: The Times

Posted: 23rd, November 2020 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment

Government declares Christmas Truce in War with Covid-19 – virus considering position

“Christmas is saved,” says the Express. It’s “Bubbles with the baubles” trills the Metro – up to four households may be allowed to mix during the festive season. “Ho Ho Homes to Mix,” says the Sun. “Xmas gets go-ahead” is the Daily Mirror‘s lead. The Daily Mail wonders, “Who’ll be in your festive bubble?” The Government has declared a Christmas truce in the war with Covid-19.

As Britishers pop their heads over the parapets, taking part in funerals, prisoner swaps (you mean visiting granny in the care home? – ed), carol-singing and a football match, there is no guarantee that Covid-19 will play along.

As such, fraternising with the enemy should be avoided until a spokesman for Covid-19 – Dominic Cummings, Ivanka Trump or the bloke from Blue Peter who usually does panto but is available at a moment’s notice for other paid work? – tells us otherwise.

Helping to make sense of it all is our resident expert, Mr A. Turkey, who confides: “Whatever they dish up at such a wonderful time of the year, I’m in!”

Lead image: British and Germ(ans)s take a break from the mass killings to get their hair cut and talk about the war.

Posted: 23rd, November 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment

You scumbags, you faggots: BBC censors The Pogues Fairytale of New York

‘You scumbag, you maggot /

You cheap lousy faggot /

Happy Christmas your arse /

I pray God it’s our last.’

Prudes at the achingly stiff BBC Radio 1 have censored The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York. Words deemed too strong for the Beeb’s youth audience have been purged. This is of course marvellous news for The Pogues because there is no surer way to blunt the once edgy and hip than to have it endorsed by the BBC. Ban it. And ban it good. The kids will seek it out.

Listeners to Radio 1 will not hear Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan sing “faggot” and “slut”. Instead it’s “haggard’ and “slut” gets beeped out. Oddly, BBC Radio 2 will air the full version and in a sop to further management cowardice 6 Music will allow its DJs to choose the version they wish to play. So if you want to hear the uncensored version, kids, tune into the station once reserved for middle-aged roadkill.

The BBC says: “We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience.”

So there it is. The young must be protected from hearing bad words and so remain on the ‘right side of history’. Meanwhile… here’s on Radio 1 is a song about Cardi B’s vagina:

Posted: 19th, November 2020 | In: Music, News | Comment

Labour looked electable for 19 days – then they let Jeremy Corbyn back in

Two newspaper, both broadsheets, lead with news that Jeremy Corbyn has been reinstated to the Labour Party. Were it not for the news media looking for an easy story – Syria is just one horror consigned to the pile marked ‘too expensive and we might catch Covid-19 reporting on mass murder, sex slave markers and Islamist terror’ – you might not have noticed the old stager being excited from the back benches under a yellow cloud. But now he’s back after 19 days in the wilderness (ok, a North London vegetable patch). And you might have missed that too.

The Guardian makes it all about Corbyn, which will surely please its editors and columnists who campaigned for him to be PM and now want to present themselves as something other than enablers and not-all-the-bothered about Jew hatred in Labour’s ranks. The Telegraph makes it about the current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, which is political useful, of course, for the Tory Party’s in-house journal.

More telling perhaps is to head to social media and hear what people who might be Labour voters and members think:

@twlldun on Twitter provide some images. Whether these people support Labour or even if they are actual suers is not clear. This is what we see:

Making Labour electable one day at a time…

Starmer has issued a statement:

Despite a panel of Labour’s ruling body ending the suspension on Tuesday, Sir Keir has taken the decision to not reinstate the party whip in the Commons.

In a statement, the new leader said: “I have made it my mission to root out anti-Semitism from the Labour Party. I know that I will judged on my actions, not my words.

“The disciplinary process does not have the confidence of the Jewish community. That became clear once again yesterday.”

He added: “Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle anti-Semitism.

“In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review.”

Hope prevails… Albeit with a caveat.

Posted: 18th, November 2020 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment

‘Got the Bastard!’ Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is dead

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is dead.

I remember the fear and paranoia. Relatives in Leeds getting the photofits – so many of them – and looking at men. Was it that man? That dad? The men who said it was them, who wanted to be the killer? The day the news broke that a copper had spotted something odd in a parked car and got him – my mum shouting across the road to a friend ‘Got the Bastard!’ as she met me at school. It was the story that haunted thoughts and prayers.

Dead now. The victims never forgotten.

Posted: 13th, November 2020 | In: News | Comment