Reviews | Anorak - Part 44

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We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.

Stoke City beat the champions and Chelsea get all the media coverage

Stoke City beat current Premier League champions Chelsea 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. Mark Hughes has turned a team of bruisers and hoofers into a decent passing side. And what prise does he get? What word on stock City’s achievements in making the PL look a little less like a procession?

Sunday Telegraph: “Chelsea Crash.” Why is losing to Stoke a crash, an accident?





The Indy:  Chelsea “in freefall”. Mourinho is”deep trouble”. And Mark Hughes, the former Manchester United and Chelsea player…? He’s nowhere.



The Mail: news is that the players still “back Jose”. And is that Eden Hazard trying to deliver a kiss?





Express: “Jose near the edge”.  Is that the same as “the brink”?



The Mail (again): not one but two Joses. No sign of a Stoke city player. No sign of Stoke being good. Just news that Chelsea are “bad”.




Chelsea – we can remember when they weren’t all that good.

Posted: 8th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho ‘sacked’, Simeone arrives in 2016, Rodgers brings Liverpool magic

tumblr_nxgukdyZ1B1u5f06vo1_1280Funny, isn’t it, how newspaper love to talk about a man’s job and have us guess when he’ll be out of one.

The Sunday People says Jose Mourinho will be handed his P45 because Chelsea are keen on hiring Argentine coach Diego Simeone, 45. He is, says the paper of record, set to quit Atletico Madrid in the summer.

That’s too late for the paper, which speculates: “If Simeone, 45, does arrive at the West Londoners, he could be taking over from former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers — who is being considered as a possible interim coach if Mourinho is sacked”

If. Could. This is guesswork presented as fact. What’s odd, of course, is for a newspaper mired by the phone hacking scandal to be talking about a man losing his job for a drip in form. Mourinho’s crime is losing a few matches., The Mirror’s board have other issues but no-one calls them role models or demands their heads. Football is a business like no other. The manager is exposed and rubbed raw by brickbats and thorny bouquets.

There’s more speculation in the Sunday Express, which says Jose is “on the brink” – this is the paper that said Mourinho would sacked if he lost to Liverpool (he lost; he stayed). Lacking any wit or knowledge of world football, the paper sees the next manger as any one of former Blues staffers: and Roberto Di Matteo, Guus Hiddink and Brendan Rodgers.

Mourinho’s mired. Chelsea  are playing below par. But don’t believe the hype: it’s not yet a crisis.


Posted: 8th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Wath Later That Same Life: Stoney Emshwille’s brilliant time-travel talkshow

"Later That Same Life"


Stoney Emshwiller was 18 when he recorded himself filming his older self. Now age 56, Stoney completes the wheel by replying to his younger self’s questions. His film is called Later That Same Life.

It ‘s the time travel talkshow:


Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Film, Reviews | Comment

Chelsea balls: Mourinho bans watches Stoke match on hospital radio

Banned from entering Stoke City’s stadium for swearing at a referee (“You f***ing referees are weak… Wenger is right about you… you are f***ing weak”), Chelsea’s specious manager José Mourinho says he could spend the afternoon at the cinema.

When asked what he’ll do when Chelsea visit Stoke, Mourinho replied: “Maybe I watch a movie. I don’t know. It’s the first time. For me, it’s very similar to going to a cinema to watch a film and somebody tells me I cannot come in.”

This from the man who bemoaned the lack of atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. Watching Chelsea is a lot like sitting in the dark and quiet watching star turns perform to a script. Chelsea’s machine-like quality in a nutshell – only with better parking, toilets and a script based on a conspiracy that makes JFK look like a game of dot-to-dots.

Alyson Rudd adds in the Times:

Mourinho, who also suggested he might sit on a street corner with his iPad to watch the game, has been feverishly preparing instructions for Rui Faria and Steve Holland, his assistant coaches. Neither man has Mourinho’s permission to think for themselves. “They are in trouble,” Mourinho said, should they depart from his script. “I went through every point.”

We had hoped Mourinho would watch the game in a Stoke pub. But calling someone “fucking weak” in that environment would most likely result in less a ban than lengthy stay in a hospital.


Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Arsenal: Eduardo’s missing leg, Manchester City victims of success and Liverpool are nowhere

Jamie Carragher, marbles-gargling, whale-voiced former Liverpool player-turned pundit, is using his Daily Mail column to talk about Arsenal.

Carragher reasons that getting kicked out of the Champions’ League in the first round will do Arsenal a favour. It won’t. Just as winning becomes a habit so too does losing. The Gunners have a slim chance of progressing in Europe and should go all about to achieve it.

Says Carragher:

This is the best chance Arsenal have had to win the title since 2004, up there with 2007-08 when they crumbled at Birmingham and William Gallas sulked on the pitch.

What Carragher fails to note is that before the sulk and the crumble (the away game ended 2-2) Birmingham City’s Taylor launched a tackle so appalling that Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva Eduardo’s leg shattered. This is how the Telegraph reported it:

Arsenal players looked distraught while the player was receiving treatment with midfielder Cesc Fabregas most notably shaken up by the incident. The tackle was deemed too horrific that even Sky television said they would not replay the incident.

Having ignored the foul that had a huge effect on Arsenal’s season, Carragher says:

I can’t see them getting close to winning the Champions League this year even if they miraculously reach the knockout stages. Wenger doesn’t have to worry about their place in the competition next year as they are all but guaranteed a top-four finish.

To which we would says: if you say so, Sherlock. Arsenal have three points from four games. And they are not guaranteed anything. It’s November.

Financial implications have nothing to do with it either, as Arsenal are sitting on a mountain of cash. They can afford to be out of it. What they cannot afford, however, is to lose impetus after their excellent start to the domestic campaign.

No, Jamie. Football is about winning and looking like you can win. You recruit the best by competing. If you want to see how far and how fast a club can fall when they don’t play at the highest level, turn your gaze to Liverpool. The Champions’ League is worth tens of millions to clubs in it. No team with ambition can afford not to be in it.

All their rivals have issues or distractions and this is why Wenger has to capitalise.

Issues and distractions… Are those the same as competitions? In Carragher’s absurd world, not being in football tournaments is good for a football club.

I don’t think Arsenal are the best team in the Barclays Premier League. I don’t think they have the best squad, either. Both those accolades go to Manchester City, who are rightly favourites because of Chelsea’s demise. But they are not certainties for first place.

Demise? Who died?

City, for all their talents, will have days again such as their 4-1 loss at Tottenham or the slip-up at home to West Ham. And Sergio Aguero’s injury record is a huge concern as he is arguably the one truly world-class player in the Premier League. Not only that, they are most likely to find themselves having a fixture pile-up in the second half of the campaign.

Poor old City with that fixture pile-up – the games brought on by success. And if injuries matter, Jamie, mate, Arsenal are the masters of that peril.

Liverpool, remember, almost won the title in 2014 by having a clear calendar. You will say: ‘What about the Europa League?’ But if Arsenal finish third in their group, Wenger should use those Thursday games to give matches to players such as Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and Mikel Arteta. In fact, he should use them in the penultimate Champions League game and see where it leaves them.

No. They should go for it, Jamie. Football is the glory game.

He needs to protect his strongest team and after the international break, his injury situation should have cleared up with Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny back and Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to return by the end of November. But injuries have been a long-term weakness and it could yet derail them as much as City.

Yep. Which makes your point about Aguero pointless.

Wenger has seen football’s landscape change dramatically since the early years of his reign. When Arsenal were at Highbury, only one club were better than them — Manchester United — and the task of becoming champions was straightforward. If you finished above United, you won the title. That is no longer the case.

Right enough. Nowadays it’s Manchester City you need to finish above.

Next season, for instance, Chelsea will not be as bad as they are now. United will, inevitably, invest another £100million next summer and it is only a matter of time before the weight of their spending carries them back to winning silverware.

What about that mountain of cash Arsenal are sitting on? Maybe they will spend it?


Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Murderer and sex offender wants his wig back

Hell To pay

Hell To pay


To Brazil, where New Zealander Phillip John Smith has flown whilst on day release from Springhill Prison. Having obtained a passport under his birth name, Phillip Traynor, Smith foxed the CCTV and customs wonks by wearing a toupee as part of his disguise.

He then jetted to Rio de Janeiro, where after eight days on the lam he was nabbed by Brazilian police.

Back in prison, he wants access to his hair.


Hellish toupees

Hellish toupees


Smith has now asked his lawyer, Dr Tony Ellis, to file a judicial review if Corrections continue to deny him access to the toupee.

“He is upset about it. He took some time and effort to get it in the first place. It was approved by Corrections, and now he is not allowed to wear it,” says Ellis.

Auckland Prison Director Tom Sherlock said Smith was originally granted permission to wear the toupee to assist with his reintegration while on temporary releases. Because Smith was not longer eligible for temporary release, access to the item had been revoked. “A hairpiece is not an authorised item in prison, special permission must be granted by the prison director,” he said.

“As his circumstances no longer require the use of a hairpiece, approval has not been granted.”

Ellis is outraged:

“If he is entitled to it when he is released, why is it different in the prison? It’s is a grossly unfair punishment. They need too give it back, and stop messing about.”

Sociologist Greg Newbold from Canterbury University said not allowing Smith his hairpiece was impinging on his human rights. “It seems like pure vindictiveness on the part of Corrections. He is still entitled to be treated as a human being.” Newbold said it appeared as if Smith was being punished for wearing the toupee when he escaped. “It looks like a punitive measure to me, and it’s completely inappropriate.

“I don’t see any reason why a person should not be allowed a toupee in prison.”

However, Garth McVicar from the Sensible Sentencing Trust said Smith was in prison to be punished, not pampered. “I think that it is absolutely ludicrous. It is another example of our ridiculous offender-friendly, criminal-centred justice policy coming back to bite us,” he said. McVicar said he supported the protection of human rights within prisons, but Smith’s plea was going too far. “I wonder why on earth as a nation we are bending over backwards to make sure these offenders have these rights. I am all for having the right to survive and not be threatened, but this is going too far,” he said. Smith will go on trial in January to face charges of fraudulently obtaining a passport and escaping custody.

 His hair remains innocent until proven guilty.

Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

Police hunt: cycling hatchet-wielding transgender bag-snatcher

To Bloomingdales in downtown San Francisco, where a woman is stealing a handbag. Security approach. She pulls a hatchet from a bag and threatens the guard.

The six-feet tall, middled-aged transgender woman than flees on a push bike.

Do you know her? If you do tell her that women only get away with shoplifting when they are old and grey and become invisible…


Posted: 7th, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

Lawyers summoned after schoolgirl given detention for hugging classmate

hugging detention


Matt Morgan of Morgan & Morgan at law says he’s been hired to help raise awareness about the issue of hugging in schools.

Keen minds are focused on Jackson Heights Middle School in Oviedo, Florida. Ella Fishbough has been handed a detention for hugging a classmate. Morgan of Morgan & Morgan is on it. He says:

“According to these alleged policies and procedures, a simple hug given to a friend in their time of need is apparently worthy of reprimand. We believe this conduct sends the wrong message to our children. They should be encouraged to be kind, not discouraged. The family hopes to bring awareness to this issue in an attempt to make our school systems a more compassionate and loving place for children to spend their days.”

Although we would advise teacher to resist all urges to hug any pupil. See also: throttling, frotting and feeling. Throwing a board rubber at their faces from distance of more than 4 feet is allowed, if not encouraged.

Seminole County School District spokesman Michael Lawrence, counters:

“If you’re hugging your friends, you just won a big game, they’re all mobbing you and giving you a hug, or you just saw your friend over the summer and you’re greeting them briefly for the first time, that’s okay.”

Although how good a friend is if you’ve not seen them for the entire summer? Is a hug a little OTT?

But Jackson Heights orders “no hugging”. Ever.

Lawrence wonders:

“They get those planners year after year. That’s something that we will review, and if it needs clarification, we can tweak the verbiage of that particular area.”

Tweaking is allowed. But not ‘there’, ‘there’ and most certainly not ‘there’…


Posted: 6th, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

Ursula Presgrave: idiot sent to court of saying something idiotic

Ursula Presgrave


Free Speech is under threat. The Mail says the “star of BBC reality TV show The Call Centre faces JAIL after posting ‘sick’ Facebook message that ‘anyone born with Down’s Syndrome should be put down’.”

Being a Call Centre star must be a bit like being a Jeremy Corbyn’s tailor or Ricky Hatton’s nutritionist. So much for the billing. What did Ursula Presgrave says?

Anyone born with down syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable

Not nice. Pathetic. Deliberately designed to cause offence. But prison?

Hundreds of people posted their disgust and many then went to the police

Can we put down the ones who called in the cops? Only joking. Really. JOKE!

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to an offence under the Malicious Communications act and now faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.

What utter balls. What horror. What ridiculous, snide-mouthed toss.

Presgrave, who was known on the BBC show for her tattoos, piercings and foul language, told Facebook followers…

You kind of get what it says on the tin, with Presgrave.

More than 550 people commented on the post and described it as ‘vile’, ‘sick’, and ‘attention-seeking’.

Well, a small comment made it all the way to the national press and the police Narks Hotline.

The call centre worker, who appeared alongside Nev Wilshire in the BBC Three fly-on-the-wall series, was arrested after police also found photos joking about the disabled on her phone, Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard.

It went to court!

Ursula, who worked at the Save Britain Money call centre in her home city of Swansea, told police ‘she wanted people to notice her’ when she wrote the post.

And that’s a crime?

Mark Davies, defending, told Swansea Magistrates Court: ‘There is genuine remorse, and she would like to make a public apology.'”

Better she told every one to ‘F*** off!”

Presgrave, of Swansea, was released on bail for reports and will be sentenced later this month.

We really are in a mess.


Posted: 6th, November 2015 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comment

Madeleine McCann: Julian Hernandez and his dad found

Madeleine McCann – a look at reporting on the missing child.

Daily Star (front page): “MADDIE HOPE – Missing boy found alive after 13 years”


maddie mcann daily star


Beneath the news of a boy having been found and a massive advert for a Aldi, we read:

Julian Hernandez was reported missing in 2002 by his mum. Police suspected he had been snatched by his dad, Bobby, from his home in Birmingham, Alabama, but all efforts to trace the pair failed.

Child went missing, presumably gone off with father…

Now an 18-year-old boy found living 700 miles away has been confirmed as missing Julian.


julian hernandez


Who took the boy?

Dad Bobby Hernandez faces abduction charges and has been remanded in custody

One parent in a failed relationship taking the child and running is not that rare.

But to the Star this is about the tabloids’ ‘Our Maddie’:

The case is sure to give hope to Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry, both 47.

But the story of Julian Hernandez had one massive clue: the dad was also missing.

Last night, a source close to the inquiry into her disappearance said: “Whenever children who have been missing for so long are found safe and well it shows why it is so important to leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine.”

Fair enough. But “FBI special agent Vicki Anderson said Julian had been living in Cleveland, Ohio, with his father since he disappeared.”

The father is in police custody.

The Express tries to add a dash of intrigue:

Still hope for Maddie: Child found alive 13 years after mysterious disappearance

Mystery? Child and dad vanish from broken home. the BBC says: “Authorities suspected around the time of the boy’s disappearance that his father was possibly the culprit.”

Not that much of a mystery, then. More of a hunt.

The Sun and Mirror stick to the facts – neither newspaper mentioning Madeleine McCann in their stories:


Madeleine Mccann Julian Hernandez.

The Sun says the “mystery” was solved when Julian applied for a university and his social security number kept coming back as incorrect.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 6th, November 2015 | In: Madeleine McCann, Reviews | Comment

Hey, stupid – your smug V for Vendetta masks are made in a corporate sweatshop

Guy Fawkes masks idiots


Who admires the social warrior for the ordinary, wearing a plastic mask of Guido Fawkes, those uniform smug fake faces that have come to symbolise rebellion and a hatred of unfairness? You can hear the mask wearer’s plastic-muffled cries of ‘Stop the Cuts!’ and ‘Tory scum’ at pretty much every demo. Given the expectorating vigour of the protestor, inside a mask must be wet enough to offer the very real threat of drowning in your own spit.

One other troubling thing is that these masks, short-hand self-explainers for the wearer’s sensitivity to the general anomy, reach the face via such homespun industries places as…Amazon. Who made them? Most likely an underpaid faceless drone in a factory on the outskirts of Rio or somewhere in China’s vast industrial landscape.

You’re in the capitalist system. That V for Vendetta mask proves it.

Take it off.

Photos via Brendan O’Neill

Posted: 6th, November 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment

Parasitic tapeworm with cancer kills man by cancer


 This is an adult Taenia saginata tapeworm.

This is an adult Taenia saginata tapeworm.


The 41-year-old Colombian man was HIV positive. What killed him, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, was the cancer he caught from the parasitic tapeworm.

The US Centres for Disease Control and the UK’s Natural History Museum diagnosed the unusual type of cancer. Dr Atis Muehlenbachs, who discovered the oddity, says: “It didn’t really make sense… this had been the most unusual case”.

The tumours appeared to be normal and some were more than 4cm across and found in his lungs and liver. But after further inspection, the infected cells were found to be a tenth of the size of normal human cells. Molecular testing identified high levels of tapeworm DNA in the tumours. The patient was unable to be treated by the time doctors had identified what the tumours were. He died three days after the worm DNA was discovered.

The worm tissue came from the dwarf tapeworms, known as Hymenlopis nana, which is a specialism of Dr Peter Oslon from the Natural History Museum. He said: “It is able to carry out its whole lifecycle in one host and that is absolutely unique.”

And absolutely hideous.

Parasitic tapeworm with cancer kills man.

Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

David Cameron dummy and dead pig’s burned for Guy Fawkes night

Spot the difference

Spot the difference


This Guy Fawkes night, the people of Lewes will look beyond burning a stuffed effigy of the Pope and instead torch David Cameron and a pig.

The 15ft puppet of the Prime Minister wearing Union Jack underpants shares top billing with an effigy of Sepp Blatter sitting in a boat of cash showing the middle finger to onlookers.

Neither men nor pig are Catholic.

Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment

Listen to The Ronettes – Baby I Love You (isolated Vocals)

American pop trio The Ronettes, comprising Veronica Bennett (later Ronnie Spector), Nedra Talley and Estelle Bennett, UK, 21st October 1964. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

American pop trio The Ronettes, comprising Veronica Bennett (later Ronnie Spector), Nedra Talley and Estelle Bennett, UK, 21st October 1964. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Listen to The Ronettes sing Baby Love You in 1963 – no instruments. Just the sweet voices:


Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Key Posts, Music, Reviews | Comment

Transfer Balls: Ronaldo ‘dreams’ of Manchester United, cashes in at PSG and wears rejuvenating bronzer

Transfer Balls: The Sun says PSG are “confident” they’ll beat Manchester United to sign Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for £100m.

We learn that “Ronaldo has emphasised his close relationship with PSG chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi”.

We then get to look at body language:

But ahead of kick-off, Real president Florentino Perez was captured by TV cameras quizzing Ronaldo about an interview in which he claimed his future could lie elsewhere. The player looked bemused and sources said his touch-feely gestures towards PSG, with the world watching, after Real’s 1-0 Champions League victory were designed to rile Perez.

So Ronaldo is off to PSG. Or as the Manchester Evening News puts it:


Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.50.08


Says who?

Woodward made another attempt to sign Ronaldo this summer and Spanish journalist Guillem Balague claims Ronaldo envisages himself playing for United next season.

“Cristiano Ronaldo still dreams of returning to Manchester United,” Balague writes in Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography. “The English club informed his agent in 2013 that they have enough financial power to secure his return.

You can read more about Balague’s foresight here.

And who spends £100m for a 30 year-old? What he got in that Touche Eclat – rejuvenating powder?


Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

VIP paedophiles: George Kennedy Young, Tory gays and the Society for Individual Freedom

VIP Paedophiles: a look at reporting on the allegations that famous, connected and rich faces tun a child abuse ‘ring’.

The Sun (Page 4): “MI6 BOSS ‘RAN VIP PAEDO RING'”

Those inverted commas alert us to the fact what we are set to hear more accusations but little if any fact.

Steve Hakes hears the claim that “Ex-MI6 Deputy Director George Kennedy was ‘the person behind what was gong on'”. The claim, we learn  was made by Labour MP John Mann but “he did not name Mr Kennedy.”

But we won’t hear from Kennedy because he died in 1990.

The Sun Nation adds:

Mr Mann did not name the former spy chief as an abuser – but said it was clear he was a “key figure”. He said: “He is the person behind what was going on. We need to know more about him.”

But why is his name in the spotlight?

The dynamite claims stem from the contents of second child abuse dossier of evidence handed to late Tory peer Lord Brittan in early 1984 by then Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens.

Says Mann:

This is an original, I have spoken and met and got a copy from the person who personally handed it to Geoffrey Dickens who then personally gave it to Leon Brittan. And what it says is, first line – GK Young heads up a Powellite faction known as Tory Action. GK Young, George Kennedy Young, was deputy director of MI6 in the past, long dead. The allegations are that he manipulated a group of people and that within that there were paedophile rings. And it goes into detail – who it’s alleged were involved and where.

“I won’t give all the locations because some would be I think sensitive and would potentially identify people – but London is one, Greater Manchester is another, North Yorkshire is a third one.”

Mann has been vocal:


The Mail picks up the story:

Mr Mann said GK Young may be key in finding out what happened to the dossier.

He said: ‘I think it’s worth saying another thing about George Kennedy Young, because George Kennedy Young was involved in many dubious activities. He formed something called Unison, which was some kind of private army he tried to get going. I’ve seen a range of background documents that would be of interest to anyone campaigning on the Shrewsbury pickets and on infiltration of the miner’s strike with names that would correlate with that. There is a lot of allegations about him attempting to undermine both the Heath government and the Wilson government. He was clearly a manipulator. He’s rather key to what was going on. I don’t know why he’s so prominent, I don’t know why the Society for Individual Freedom he set up is named either in this, but he is a significant figure. And it may give some reason as to why things then disappeared.”

That takers us to the Telegraph’s obituary of Professor Peter Campbell

Professor Peter Campbell, who has died aged 78, was founding head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Reading University; he was also doubly courageous in being both openly homosexual and a loyal Tory. As chairman and later vice-president of the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality, Campbell fought an uphill and often lonely battle to persuade his fellow Tories that “homosexuality, like left-handedness, is a fact of life about some people who do not differ in other respects from the majority” and not, as some claimed, a matter of “seduction, corruption, perversion or whim”…

At the time, it must have seemed a hopeless cause. While the identities of homosexual Conservative MPs were well known in the Westminster “village”, and while homosexuals were well represented in the party bureaucracy, to admit the truth openly was to risk both reputation and career…. Dr Adrian Rogers, chairman of the Conservative Family Campaign, said in 1991 that homosexuality was “a sterile, disease-ridden and God-forsaken relationship”.


…he was always actively involved in the contemporary British political scene, serving during the 1950s as secretary of the Political Studies Association, chairman of the Institute of Electoral Research, council member of the Hansard Society and editor of Political Studies. He was also, for 30 years, co-president of the Reading University Conservative Association and was a vice-president of the Electoral Reform Society.

His politics were libertarian, and he was an active member and sometime chairman of the Society for Individual Freedom. In 1985, for example, he criticised the government for talking grandly about liberty while supporting a plethora of new paternalistic laws, including 291 new offences for which people could be fined or jailed. “Conservatives have recently celebrated Sir Robert Peel’s Tamworth Manifesto of 1834,” he recalled. “They might remember that Peel drastically pruned the criminal law when he was Home Secretary in the 1820s. He set a splendid example to today’s ministers in all departments.”

There was a close connection between his libertarian principles and his campaign for homosexual rights.

Society for Individual Freedom website lays out its beliefs:

What we believe
That the individual, rather than the State, is the font of liberty, morality and authority.
That private citizens should have the freedom to act as they wish provided their actions do not harm others.
That the law should exist principally to guarantee individual liberty and not to act as a paternalistic guardian.
In the primacy of freely negotiated contract.
That an efficient free-market economy benefits all, and that the State’s economic function should mainly be limited to the prevention of violence and fraud and similar obstacles to honest competition and co-operation.
That taxes in the United Kingdom are too high and erode individual responsibility and enterprise.
That State assistance should be concentrated upon cases of unavoidable hardship.
That official secrecy, except in limited cases such as genuine national defence, is unacceptable in a free society.
In Parliament as the supreme law-making body in the United Kingdom.
That to preserve the liberties of private individuals we need more independent-minded Members of Parliament, a stronger Second Chamber, and more effective parliamentary control over the executive.
That there is too much influence on government from pressure groups that call for legislation of an unnecessary and restrictive nature.
That justice shall be administered by courts that are not subject to political pressure, and that government decisions have no validity unless founded on clear legal authority.
Last amended and formally approved on the 27th October 2004.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment

John Bercow vs The Sun: Sally snogs and hacking Japan

John Bercow, House of Commons speakers and husband to Sally the Seleb, has been “blasted for racking up a £10,000 bill; on a junket to Japan”. So says the Sun. We hear the view of “one senior Tory MP, who tells us:

“John Bercow is a disgusting freeloader, I bet the Japanese  did not even want him to come.”

By way of balance the Sun also hears from Dia Chakravarty of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who says Bercow “didn’t provide the taxpayers with  better value for money”.

In previous news, totally unconnected to the Sun’s view of Bercow:

MPs and peers have “rediscovered their collective balls” over the phone-hacking affair, the Speaker has told the Guardian.


Sally Bercow has blasted The Sun after the newspaper published pictures of her kissing a man under the headline “Must Tongue Sally”.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment

Woman accused of twisting off one-legged roofer’s prosthetic limb

Leg crookTo Bartlett, Tennessee, where Donna Hastings, 53, is arguing with a man at the Dan McGuiness Sports Bar. He says she assailed him over payment for roofing work. Hastings says he never completed the job. He begs to differ. Hastings grabs his prosthetic leg, twists it, and pulls it off.

The one-legged roofer loses his balance and falls off his bar stool.

Prevented from leaving the bar by other drinkers, Hastings throws the leg down and drives off. He says the leg costs $2,731.92 to replace.

Hastings has been charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of vandalism of more than $1,000.

Her mug shot revels a woman less than contrite.

Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

Boy suspended from school for shooting fellow pupil with imaginary bow and arrow

school boy suspended shooting classmate


At Our Lady of Lourdes school in Cincinnati, Ohio, six-year-old are playing Power Rangers. One child picks up an imaginary bow, loads the arrow, takes aim at another boy and fires. A hit!

He is duly suspended from school for three days. The boy’s parents, Matthew and Martha Miele are agog. Martha spoke with Principal Joe Crachiolo.

“I didn’t really understand. I had him on the phone for a good amount of time so he could really explain to me what he was trying to tell me. My question to him was ‘Is this really necessary? Does this really need to be a three-day suspension under the circumstances that he was playing and he’s 6 years old?’

“He told me that he was going to stand firm and that he was not going to change it.”

Crachiolo then sent a letter to all parents:

“I have no tolerance for any real, pretend, or imitated violence. The punishment is an out of school suspension.”


Martha adds:

“I can’t stop him from pretending to be a super hero. I can’t stop him from playing ninja turtles. I can’t stop him from doing these things and I don’t think it would be healthy to do so. His imagination can go limitless places. We try to encourage that as parents.”

Jesus wept.



Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

Arsenal balls: Giroud good enough for Bayern, Joel Campbell nicking a living, Wenger ‘poor’

Arsenal get “Mullered” (The Mirror) and work “Nein to 5” (Sun) – papers reacting to the Gunners’ 5-1 thrashing against Bayern Munich.

But what about those points, the scores out of 10 dished out to the teams?

The Mirror’s John Cross is right: Joel Campbell was dire, an Arsenal player nicking a living in the shirt. But was Giroud that bad?




The Mail is more generous. Campbell gets a score of 5.5. This means he was better than Cazorla (he wasn’t) and on a part with Monreal, the overworked, exposed left back. Only Giroud and Cech come out with any credit, both collecting scores that would have got them into the Bayern side.





Posted: 5th, November 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Manchester United: bellow average Wayne Rooney goes back to ‘class’

Manchester United beat CSKA 1-0 in the Champions’ League. In the Mail, Martin Samuel says the game’s goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, was “class”.




But below that praise the Mail also says Rooney, er,  wasn’t all that good.



According to those scores, Rooney was below average.

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Objects of desire: David Bowie mug-shot shower curtain

david bowie shower curtain

The David Bowie shower curtain.

Buy yours at Fine Art America


Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Celebrities, Reviews, The Consumer | Comment

Chelsea benefit from FA conspiracy to let Diego Costa escape ban for Liverpool ‘red card’

In his ‘JOIN THE DEBATE’ column for the Daily Mail, Martin Samuel focuses on Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

Diego Costa will not be charged by the Football Association for his off-the-ball kick on Martin Skrtel. 

Fact. But this is debate, so…

Why? Replays plainly showed Costa pushing his studs into Skrtel as the pair fell to the ground in Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.

Costa has previous for violent play, too, and served a three-match ban earlier in the season. Yet the FA line is that referee Mark Clattenburg saw the incident and dealt with it at the time. Really? If he did he was the only one who didn’t believe it deserved action.

In Monday’s Mail, Matt Barlow prised Skrtel for “not making a meal of it”.

The Mail has already published the views of one referee. It employs Graham Poll to tell readers:

When Diego Costa fouled Martin Skrtel it did appear that he made a secondary action with his right leg and kicked the Liverpool man in a violent manner. The incident occurred close to Clattenburg who took no action. Perhaps he missed it completely or didn’t think it violent. Perhaps he thought it fair ‘retaliation’ after Skrtel had caught Costa with a leading forearm in the first half. For me at full speed I doubt whether any referee would have dismissed the Chelsea man; replays might well have led to a red card but thankfully we still trust our referees to get the majority of decisions right.

Might. But… Not that conclusive, then.


Samuel adds:

More likely, Clattenburg and the FA knew after the game that Lucas Leiva of Liverpool should have received a second yellow card, and that to punish Costa — who could have been banned for four matches considering the previous offence — would merely add to Chelsea’s conspiracy fantasies. So it wasn’t justice: merely a balancing of injustices, which isn’t the same at all.

Chelsea benefit from FA conspiracy. Read all about it!

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Liverpool, Reviews, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)

Chelsea balls: Abramovich puts £71m price tag on Mourinho’s head

Transfer balls: The Daily Mail says “Chelsea reject shock £35m bid by Monaco for under-pressure manager Jose Mourinho.”

Go on…

Monaco made a startling approach for Jose Mourinho on Tuesday but saw a staggering £35million bid rejected, according to a shareholder. Alessandro Proto claims he met Roman Abramovich in London in a bid to prise away Chelsea’s beleaguered manager.

Who is Proto?

A statement was released by Proto’s company, Proto Enterprises, to a Spanish news agency stating the meeting had taken place in London earlier in the day.

The Proto Enterprises website tells us:

Proto Enterprises has a track record of various operations, both in real estate and in finance, participation and intervention which today identify and differentiate us in the investment field on an international level.


In a moment of deep global crisis, two aspects which make a difference in the business world are enthusiasm and audacity. Enthusiasm for everything that surrounds us. For the family, for work, for others and for ourselves.

Yeah, it’s a venture capital firm.

Proto Enterprises confirmed its authenticity to Sportsmail on Tuesday night and alleged Abramovich could be interested in accepting should they double the offer to £71m.

Source confirms its own story? How?

The Indy picks up the story:

Abramovich’s refusal suggests that he remains supportive of the beleaguered Mourinho, whose defending champions currently sit 15th in the Premier League table, following six defeats in their opening eleven league matches.

But the Mail says he’d take more money if it were offered.  And there is one small matter in this story that is very odd: why would Mourinho want to manage a side with pots or money but hardly any fans. The man loves a big stage. And Monaco ain’t it.

Meanwhile Monaco’s curent boss, Bernard Veronico, should check the print on his contract.


Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment

Manchester United balls: Louis Van Gaal calls Chris Smalling ‘Michael’ again



Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling has a new nickname: Michael. Following Manchester United’s 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow, Louis Van Gaal hailed the performance of “Michael Smalling”.

Who he?



“David De Gea has saved us, then after that, Michael Smalling has saved us,” Van Gaal said.

The United boss made the exact same gaffe back in July while proudly naming Mike Smalling as his new vice-captain as Chris Smalling sat right beside him…


What is it to be loved.

Posted: 4th, November 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment