Anorak

Tabloids | Anorak - Part 2

Tabloids Category

The news as told by the UK’s tabloid press – The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and News of the World.

Madeleine McCann: Netflix show says actors kidnapped child

madeleine mccann netflix

There’s a  “Maddie shocker” on the Daily Star’s cover. The paper doesn’t tell you what it is until you reach page 13. That location’s a clue, isn’t it. It tells us that the story isn’t shocking and certainly doesn’t reveal what happened to Madeleine McCann back in May 2007.  But let’s take the bait and flick through…

The story is about that new Netflix drama into the child’s vanishing. It will, says the marketing and the tabloid, “contain explosive new claims”. They’d best be good. We’ve heard some pretty edgy stuff in the decade and more since a 4-year-old girl on holiday became ‘Our Maddie’.

The Mail also trails the show. It tells us: “Haunting last footage of Madeleine McCann boarding a plane to Portugal with her family days before her disappearance is unearthed in new Netflix documentary.” Haunting because..? No reasons are given. She didn’t go missing on the plane to The Algarve. She didn’t board the plan and then – poof!  – vanish. It’s not haunting to see the child on the plane’s steps. It’s ghoulish.  

On page 29, the Mail conducts an interactive study. “Is this Maddie playing in Portugal just days before she vanished.” Before. Not after. So let’s say ‘yes’, it is her. Because a four-years-old on holiday will do a lot of playing. The Mail says the image of a child seen from the back who might or might be Madeleine McCann is “haunting”. The Mail sees ghosts where the rest of us see a flesh and blood child, and a mystery most likely rooted in the criminal rather than the supernatural.

Indeed, as part of Netflix’s armchair detective show, we see a “dramatic reconstruction of Maddie’s abductors…running through the resort’s streets with a child in their arms.” These kidnappers are played by “actors”. This is no CCTV footage of this as an actual event. And for reasons uncertain, the “couple” seen carrying a child in plain view constitute one man (brown skinned; 30-ish; jeans and trainers) and one woman (white; 30-ish, headscarf). Why they’re portrayed like this is unsaid. But, you know, telly. And it’s hard to get Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to patch up their differences, even if it is to help with an open case. Also, very few actors resemble this early suspect:

One artist’s impression of the suspect

The “fleeing couple” also look not a lot like these “suspects”:

belgium-suspect1

Picture 1 of 6

If The Dandy comic did abductions

But there has been a breakthrough. Over in the Sun we get the answer to the Mail’s question. “Maddie,” says the paper, “New pic playing on hols.” Not now. Way back then.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 15th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Brexit: cats bark in the House of Fools

All tabloids bar the Daily Star lead with Brexit. The Star begins its take on world affairs with news that a thug has glassed “EastEnders Girl” Katie Jarvis. The actress plays Hayley Slater in the soap opera without end. We wish her well. But it’s another soap opera elsewhere that occupies the rest.

The Daily Mirror says the country is facing “months of chaos” and “mayhem”. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or got poked in the Big Brother house at closing time – and lucky you if you have been – Theresa May’s Brexit deal was last night defeated for a second time in the Commons. MPs rejected her withdrawal agreement by a whopping 149 votes. More votes will now follow. MPs will vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal and, if it should not, on whether Brexit should be delayed. Funny, no, how MPs get to have so many “meaningful” votes when we are just afforded just one – and it’s the one they’ve done their utmost to stymie.

Inside the Mirror, and over pages 4 and 5 we get odds on what will happen next. You can get 40-1 on May getting her deal through; 30-1 on a second referendum; 10-1 on a “softer Brexit – although what the means is moot; and 15-1 on a General Election. iI shot: no-one has a clue (dead cert). Odds on May having an affair with Jeremy Corbyn (80-1); Boris Johnson having an affair with Jeremy Corbyn (25-1); and Jeremy Corbyn f****** himself (11-10) are all available on request.

On page 6, we hear Corbyn urge MPs to ‘back Labour’s rival Brexit plan”. What that plan is remains less certain than a Corbynista queuing for the toilet at a conference of black, transgender Jewish lesbians. The paper notes: “After detailing Labour’s Brexit proposals, he [Corbyn] added: ‘We believe there will be a majority for the , but there will also be the potential of negotiating them.” The Mirror does not bother to outline the proposals. They just exist and are able to change. Why waste the ink?

What the papers do agree on is the need for a map. Political intrigue is great for graphic designers and illustrators.

brexit
The Sun
brexit
The Mail

And what of Mrs May, the architect of a useless plan? The Daily Mail blames not her for the mess, rather “contemptuous MPs” for plunging “our despairing nation into chaos”. It calls the House of Commons a “house of fools”. Is that bad? Umberto Eco identified fools as one of four kinds of people:

Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions. They embarrass everyone but provide material for conversation…Fools don’t claim that cats bark, but they talk about cats when everyone else is talking about dogs. They offend all the rules of conversation, and when they really offend, they’re magnificent…

Fools they are, then.

Posted: 13th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea balls: Sarri not sacked (day 236)

sarri sack mirror

If you get your news from the Daily Mirror, the shocking realisation is that Maurizio Sarri is still the Chelsea manager. He was not sacked when Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City. (The Mirror has form with predictions – see here.)

Sarri Mirror chelsea

But clickbait is as clickbait does, and the Mirror today reports that Sarri has dropped the “biggest hint yet he WILL be Chelsea manager next season”. What tosh. He signed a a three-year deal to mange Chelsea in July 2018. But that’s more of a fact than a hint. If you want clicks, you need to conjure ‘hints’ and ‘five things we noticed’ and all manner of other drivel from football. So a few weeks after telling readers Sarri was getting sacked, the paper reports: “Two weeks after the Chelsea axe seemed set to fall on their new boss Sarri, he is now plotting their future.”

He never did stop plotting their future. It’s his job.

Posted: 7th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Knife Crime: stop and search wanted; austerity blamed; a Government licence to carry a knife

knife crime

The Times is alone in not leading with knife crime. For all other national newspapers the biggest story is of “warzones on our streets” (Express) and what the Government can and cannot do about teenagers being stabbed to death.

The Telegraph wants police to be given stop-and-search powers. Readers see a photo of school friends of stabbing victim Yousef Makki embracing. Yousef, a pupil at Manchester Grammar school, was stabbed to death in Gorse Bank Road, Hale Barns, near Altrincham, on Saturday. Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Are more police the answer to the “knife crime epidemic’? The Guardian says it is. The paper says there is a link between stabbings and reduced police numbers brought about by austerity. “How many more, Mrs May?” asks the Mirror, blaming the Prime Minister for 27 murders.

But is that why 27 teenagers have been knifed to death this year, because there are not enough police to control them? Surely there’s something more at the root of the matter than control? May says there is “no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”. So certain crimes police are powerless to stop? Focus less on knife crime, perhaps, and more on people not paying their TV licence, doing 34mph in a 30mph zone and saying nasty things online.

Maybe the State could issue licences for people to own a knife, making a nice little earner from the horror and hitting the perps where the Government likes to hit them hardest: in their pockets?

Nuts? One other proposal for knife control was floated:

A judge wants the points of kitchen knives to be rounded and blunted to reduce the number of young men dying from stab wounds in street attacks.

Judge Nic Madge said ordinary kitchen knives were causing a “soaring loss of life”, rather than more heavily regulated large-bladed weapons… Kitchens contain lethal knives which are potential murder weapons and only butchers and fishmongers need eight or 10 inch kitchen knives with points,” the judge said.

Knives for only those who need them? Look out for the looming fork crime epidemic.

Posted: 5th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


I’m not just masturbating in the mirror – I’m being autosexual with my selfie stick

A question for readers The Metro: “What’s it like being autosexual, when you’re attracted to yourself?” Is it a bit like being a wanker, only with more mirrors, a selfie stick and an Instagram account? It’s just Me, Myself & O:

Auosexual

The story, such as it is, is choice. It is, of course, written in the first person:

“My earliest memories of checking myself out in the mirror and feeling attraction happened at around age seven. I didn’t learn the term “autosexual” until after I graduated from college in 2013. My attraction to myself made me confused at times, but once I learned about autosexuality, I was glad there was a word for my experience. I’ve recognised myself as being in a relationship with myself since I was in college. I just didn’t have the vocabulary to express my experiences.”

Are there other words to define such grinding narcissism?

Posted: 4th, March 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea Balls: Sarri sacked by clickbait

Remember when the Daily Mirror told us Maurizio Sarri was to be sacked should Chelsea lose the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City. They lost. He’s sill in the job.

sarri sacked
Not SACKED

The Mirror has form with predictions – see here. Of course, the paper’s online version writes for SEO bots and Google. Unlike these knowing bots, mere human have short memories and won’t call the paper out for writing utter tosh.

And so it is that despite making a statement that turned out to be total balls, the paper ploughs on regardless. Since handing Sarri advance warning that his P45 was in the post on February 20, the Mirror has written much more on the Italian’s sacking.

“Alan Shearer on why Kepa Arrizabalaga could get Maurizio Sarri sacked by Chelsea” – Feb 25

“Who’s running this show? Who’s driving this bus? And who will get sacked when results don’t go as required?” – Feb 25

“Jamie Redknapp lists three Chelsea games that will get Maurizio Sarri sacked” – Feb 25

“Maurizio Sarri ‘to hold talks with Chelsea over his future’ after Kepa Arrizabalaga row” – Feb 26

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Meghan Markle to dress ‘genderless’ baby in a suit

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle will “break with tradition” and raise the young Prince “genderless”. So says the Daily Star. Meghan will do away with traditional macho frilly lace, broaches and knickerbockers, preferring to dress the young sire in something more masculine and yet also more feminine, like a smart business suit with complementary document wallet and sensible shoes.

The paper also notes that the royal nursery will be designed in “gender-neutral colours” of beige and grey from the corporate pallet.

Says one Royal watcher to Anorak: “It’s what Chairman Mao and Bill Gates would have wanted.”

Posted: 25th, February 2019 | In: Fashion, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Shamima Begum: meet Britain’s new celebrity role model

shaming

No longer on the front pages, nonetheless, Shamima Begum remains newsworthy. The Star catches up with the jihadi on page 7. “JIHADI BRIDE’S DAD: DON’T LET HER HOME,” comes the headline. The page is split between a photo of Begum looking like an extra from ‘Wallace and Gromit : The Wrong Gap Year’, a photo of her dad Ahmed Ali – he thinks the State’s decision to revoke his daughter’s citizenship sound because she “does not admit her wrong’ – and news that Begum’s mates in ISIS raped 10-year-olds and left the severed heads of 50 sex slaves in a hole.

Welcome home, Shamima!

Much the same news appears on the Mirror’s page 5. “I am on the side of the Government,” says Mr Ali, “if the law of the land says it’s correct to cancel her citizenships then I agree. I know they don’t want to take her back and in this I don’t have a problem.” Says Begum: “They are taking an example of me.” But Begum wants to make an example of herself.

Over pages 18 and 19, we meet the “famous” Begum and tour her home at the Al-Hawi refugee camp in northern Syria. Larisa Brown goes through the keyhole into Begum’s digs. Who lives in a tent like this? Is it an innocent teenager who suffered at the hands of ferociously influential adult ‘groomers’? Or is it the unapologetic member of a death cult?

The camera zooms in. Shamima Begum “sits crossed-legged in her socks”. No, not school socks. Although given one narrative of the underage teen sexually abused by web perverts, you’d half expect it. On her knee is Jerah. Why the name? The Mail says its in honour of a “7th Century Islamic warlord”. He’s very much today’s modern man in ISIS circles.

As ever with ISIS, talks turns to love. She vows to wait for her husband, the child’s father, a Dutch Islamic convert called Abu Zoraya, but formerly known as Yago Riedijk. When they met she asked him some questions, one of which was what he wanted in a wife. “He told me he was strict and he wanted a good housewife that stays inside,” says Begum. He didn’t want someone who “wants to go out and stuff”. ‘Phew!’ thought Begum. No more competing with better looking, more intelligent women for sexual attention. Pass the shroud. Yago was chuffed. Not only would he get to shag a virgin who’d never know another man and thus remain dead to his limitations, but she was giving him tacit permission to live as a brutal thug and hang out with guys into murder, genocide and rape. I do!

Shamima Begum

It’s hot in the tent. Begum says there’s no tea because she’s can’t heat water. Where’s a Yazidi slave when you need one? (Raped and decapitated – ed).

Begum – whom Brown calls “Shamima” throughout, affording her celebrity status – is “at pains to be conciliatory”. “I am hoping to be given a second chance,” she says. “…I want to help encourage other young British people to think before they make life-changing decisions like this and not make the same mistakes as me.” Hard to make those mistakes now that ISIS is being smashed to bits. And until a new Islamists terror group rise from the blood, teens are advised to lay off pills, sugar and too much ‘screen time’.

“I can’t do that if I’m sitting here in a camp,” she adds of her offer to save young lives. “I can’t do that for you.” Thanks for the offer to work for us, Shamima Begum. But the position of moral guide has been filled. We appreciate your interest.

“Inshalla (God willing) I’ll see you soon,” says Brown to Begum as she leaves the tent. Where they will meet again, who knows where, who knows when. If the UK won’t take Begum, maybe the I’m A Celebrity jungle or Big Brother will?

Posted: 25th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Aaron Campbell: the face of ‘evil’

aaron Campbell

He’s called Aaron Campbell – the teenager convicted of abducting, raping and murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail on the Isle of Bute last July. The tabloids called him evil. This is, then, what evil looks like.

The Mirror calls Campbell the “Beast of Bute”. The Daily Mail brands him a “twisted narcissist”. You might all him a ****. The Mail also notes in a masterclass in opinion-triggering tabloidese:

The cat-torturing, adrenaline junkie teenager – who was obsessed with gaining YouTube followers, playing violent video games such as Fortnite and recording himself performing acrobatic moves on a trampoline – had received anonymity due to his age, but a judge unmasked him today.

For good measure, the Mail include football of the rapist jumping on a trampoline. They say Osama bin Laden cold do keepy-uppies for a full 30 seconds, and Jon Venables can whistle the Sesame Street theme song. But those videos for another time.

This is all about desperate-for-fame Aaron Campbell, who can now read about how his name came to be known by millions in the papers and online. Until yesterday his name could not be made public on pain of law. The law was unfit for purpose. Trial judge, Lord Matthews agreed with petitioners that naming Aaron Campbell was in the public interest.

aaron CAmpbell
Aaron Campbell

The Sun says there is now “no hiding place” for Alesha’s murderer. The Mirror says there is a price on his head. Fellow inmates at Polmont Young Offenders’ prison know who he is. His lawyer says Campbell is at “risk of attack from others” or “potentially self harm” if his name and picture were in the public domain. They are. Few will weep for Campbell.

EVIL IS…

As for evil and what it is, a few words. Fr. Robert Barron looked at Hannah Arendt, and her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, and St. Augustine:

The young Hannah Arendt had written her doctoral dissertation under the great German philosopher Karl Jaspers, and the topic of her work was the concept of love in the writings of Saint Augustine. One of the most significant intellectual breakthroughs of Augustine’s life was the insight that evil is not something substantial, but rather a type of non-being, a lack of some perfection that ought to be present. Thus, a cancer is evil in the measure that it compromises the proper functioning of a bodily organ, and a sin is evil in the measure that it represents a distortion or twisting of a rightly functioning will. Accordingly, evil does not stand over and against the good as a kind of co-equal metaphysical force, as the Manichees would have it. Rather, it is invariably parasitic upon the good, existing only as a sort of shadow.

J.R.R. Tolkien gave visual expression to this Augustinian notion in his portrayal of the Nazgul in The Lord of the Rings. Those terrible and terrifying threats, flying through the air on fearsome beasts, are revealed, once their capes and hoods are pulled away, to be precisely nothing, emptiness. And this is exactly why, to return to Arendt’s description, evil can never be radical. It can never sink down into the roots of being; it can never stand on its own; it has no integrity, no real depth or substance. To be sure, it can be extreme and it can, as Arendt’s image suggests, spread far and wide, doing enormous damage. But it can never truly be.

Aaron Campbell – the face of evil – might have joined ISIS.

Posted: 23rd, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Anthony Martial and the moving goalposts

Anthony Martial is making news on the front and back pages. The Sun tells us that Martial is due a call up to his national side: “Anthony Martial’s return to form will cost Man Utd £8.7m after France recall.”

Good for him. But why will hi success cost United so much money?

Martial’s deal from Monaco in 2015 included an add-on triggered by 25 caps for his national team. He needs to play 45 minutes in the game for an appearance to count and is so far on 11 before losing his place in Deschamps’ squad for the World Cup. The France boss is now considering a recall for next month’s European Championship qualifiers against Moldova and Iceland – and Martial could hit the 25-cap mark before the end of the 2020 campaign including finals.

Really? No. Here’s the Daily Telegraph:

The France forward’s 76th minute equaliser at Old Trafford on Saturday was his 25th Premier League goal for the club and triggered a clause in his contract entitling his former club Monaco to a €10 million (£8.73 million) windfall.

United paid Monaco an initial £36 million when they signed Martial in September 2015 but the cost of the transfer has now risen to what is expected to be a final fee of £44.73 million.

The French club had a longer wait than they might have expected for the additional sum, though, since Martial had been stuck on 24 league goals for more than eight months. His previous league goal was against Burnley on January 20.

Under the terms of the original deal, Monaco were due two further payments of £8.73 million each if Martial played 25 games for France and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or before the end of the current 2018/19 season. Yet with Martial not among the Ballon d’Or nominees announced this week and out of favour for France, for whom he has played 18 times, seven games short of the stipulated target, neither clause will be met.

And the Mirror in March 2018:

…back in 2015, Monaco president Vadim Vasilyev proudly announced: “The price for Martial is £57.6million but take into account this sum includes bonuses, which are very realistic.” Manchester United included three bonuses amounting to £7.2million each in the deal to sign Martial – all of which must be triggered by 2019…

United agreed to pay Monaco an additional £7.2million if the France international scores 25 Premier League goals for the Red Devils before 2019..

Prior to joining Manchester United, the talented 22-year-old forward had already made seven appearances for France. The Red Devils agreed that should Martial feature in an additional 25 games while representing the Old Trafford club, they would again fork out £7.2million.

The target is not 25 international matches but 32. Such are the facts…

Posted: 22nd, February 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Alesha MacPhail: They know why the ‘boy’ killed and remembering Venables and Thompson

Alesha Macphail

In July 2017 Alesha MacPhail was abducted, raped and murdered. Her killer’s name will not be known. The Mail calls him a “boy”. The Scotsman calls him a “teenager”. He’s a “16-year-old” on The Scotsman’s front page. The Metro just says “the teen” in “PURE EVIL”. But we won’t get to know his name.

Alesha was murdered on the Isle of Bute, an island in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. The country’s law rules that to publish the name, address, school or any other information which could identify anyone under the age of 18 who is the accused, victim or witness in a criminal case in any media is illegal. So don’t. You can, however, name the victim. Alesha MacPhail is the only name that matters.

alesha mcphail

Minds turn to the abduction and murder of James Bulger, 2, in 1993. The names of the guilty – two boys aged 10 – were soon known. Tony Blair stirred the mob, positioning the crime as one emblematic of the country’s dire straits and moral disintegration.

The killers’ families lived in fear of revenge attacks. In 2012, 38 year-old Scott Bradley committed suicide, unable to cope with people mistaking him for Jon Venables, one of the killers. “My son was tormented by the allegations,” said Mr Bradley;s mother. “He had a good heart and didn’t deserve this. It’s been heartbreaking.”

James Bulger newspaper front page
England: 1993 – James Bulger, 2, is abducted, abused and murdered by two boys. We knew their names.

Do we need to know the name of Alesha MacPhail’s murderer? The killer’s own mother helped bring him to justice. She alerted detectives after reviewing footage from two CCTV cameras outside the family home. She watched her son coming and going three times between 01:54 and 04:07 on the night Alesha was murdered. If we know the killer, we know her. Why should an innocent woman wear the stain in public? He will be in jail for a long, long time. Isn’t that enough?

Venables and Thompson were released on parole in 2001 under new identities. They must not ever reveal to anyone who they once were. To do so would land them back in prison. Venables was caught downloading child pornography. He has been jailed indefinitely as it is feared he is likely to reveal his true identity.

Thompson VEnables mugshots
Feb 1993: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson pose for their mugshots.

We don’t know the killer’s name. But do we know why he did it?

Revenge:

The BBC: “The jury heard the teenager previously bought cannabis from Alesha’s father, Robert MacPhail, but the pair fell out five months before her death over an unpaid £10 drug debt.”

A Meme:

The Star: “The unnamed boy, 16, searched for the Slender Man meme, and some of his sick acts mirrored those carried out by the character… Slender Man was invented by users on the Something Awful forum in 2009 for a paranormal Photoshop competition. Shown as a thin, tall, featureless figure in a black suit, in many stories written online about him feature stalking or abducting people, especially children.

Gaming:

The Sun: “The teenager got sick thrills from playing gory video games.”

Bute:

Daily Mail: “How the boy of 16 who murdered ‘angel’ Alesha MacPhail, six, had already ‘almost drowned a girl’ and was mired in a culture of drugs and cheap booze that has gripped the Isle of Bute”

One heinous and blessedly rare crime now defines a place?

His Looks:

Daily Mail: “He is handsome, in a modern, metrosexual way, with luxuriant, swept-over hair and a milky complexion. Dressed immaculately, in a tartan suit and collar and tie, he gave evidence with great self-assurance.”

So much for the CV.

No Idea:

BBC: ‘Judge Lord Matthews told the killer he had stolen Alesha’s life by “committing some of the most wicked and evil crimes this court has ever heard of in decades of dealing with depravity”. He said he had “no idea” why the teenager carried out the murder, and described the evidence in the case as “overwhelming”.’

Kicks:

Sky News: “Alesha MacPhail: Killed for the ‘life experience’?”

Posted: 22nd, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea balls: Sarri sacked for £5m; Lampard tops wish list; Manchester City told keys

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will be sacked if they lose Sunday’s Carabao Cup final to Manchester City, says the BBC. Sarri will be Chelsea boss for the length of an internship should his side lose to the same City side that thrashed them 6-0 days ago. Get packing, then. This news is echoed in the Mirror, which on February 11 led its sports coverage with: “MAURIZIO SARRI is facing the sack after Chelsea’s heaviest Premier League defeat.” The Mirror added on February 18: “CHELSEA will stick to their new ‘Sarri-ball’ style, even if if (sic) costs the manager his job this week.”

The Mirror’s plan seems to be keep saying Sarri will be sacked and when he is – and, of course he will be one day – say ‘Told yer!’ But the Mirror has form in getting it wrong:

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal
2017? Wrong.
mourinho sacked
Wrong.

As for Sarri’s eventual sacking, the Sun says it would cost Chelsea £5m – the cheapest pay-off for a manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. 

Minds turn to who will replace Sarri? Sky Sports says Derby manager Frank Lampard and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane head the list. Layers are working on their early-exit clauses as we speak.

Unless Chelsea win the Carabao Cup – in which case the Mirror will report that Sarri will be sacked ‘soon’…

Posted: 20th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Shamima Begone! ISIS member is up ‘Brit Creek’ as Home Office removes citizenship

Shamima Begum newspapers

Shamima Begum, the Londoner who joined the Islamic State group in Syria aged 15, will not be coming ‘home’ to the UK. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has revoked her citizenship. He writes to her parents: “In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary’s decision has been served on file today (19th February), and the order moving her British citizenship has subsequently been made.”

Begum’s family say they will explore “all legal avenues to challenge this decision”. All roads lead to “Brit creek” says the Star. Or Asia. Shamima Begum holds Bangladeshi as well as British citizenship which allowed the Home Office to go ahead, says Sky News. She’s not stateless. The Home Office acted quickly. The UK’s gain is Bangladesh’s loss.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Sir Ed Davey says the UK is “palming off” Ms Begum to another country – which ISIS isn’t, despite its violent attempts to become one.

On BBC TV’s Newsnight King’s College London’s Shiraz Maher opines: “I think it’s a very dangerous decision, it does create this perception that there is a two-tier system and a system that’s frankly racist.” Perception is not fact. It all depends on you angle of approach. Come closer, within stabbing distance, and look at Shamima Begum?

But really? If the government can revoke Shamima Begum’s citizenship, it can cancel your, too. At least it can if you associate with people it does not like.

Posted: 20th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Shamima Begum: Jeremy Corbyn understands you

Shamima Begum

Do we really care what Shamima Begum thinks of us? If you sign up to the view that Begum is a victim of grooming, a victim of sexual exploitation as one nodding head opined on Sky telly yesterday, a victim of the UK’s lax security in allowing 15-year-old to leave the country, as she was when she left London for Syria, a victim… you buy into the message that nothing she says is an expression of her own thoughts, they’re words planted in her throat by nefarious types who rape children, enslave women, decapitate men and throw homosexuals from tall buildings.

But if you believe in free will, consider it questionable that Begum was a passive web-surfer looking for pop vids who was mind-altered and “brainwashed” when she saw a preacher extolling jihad, you’ll afford her the dignity of self. What she says is what she means. So when she talks about the murders of 22 people and the injuries sustained by 800 more when a fellow ISIS fan bombed an Arianna Grande concert in Manchester, you know she’s saying what she thinks. “How dare she?” asks the Sun, which claims she says the attack was justified. “How could she?” asks the Express. Answer: she’s a self-declared jihadi. Murdering infidels is what they do.

“Even though I was only 15 years old, I could make my own decisions,” says Begum. “But I will admit, it’s my fault right now. I just want forgiveness from the UK. Everything I’ve been through, I didn’t expect I would go through that.”

But she continues to talk. And she doesn’t come over as being all that bright:

“Isis Briton compares Manchester bombing to western airstrikes. I do feel that is wrong. Innocent people did get killed. It’s one thing to kill a soldier, it’s fine, it’s self-defence. But to kill people like women and children, just like the women and children in Baghuz who are being killed right now unjustly by the bombings. It’s a two-way thing really…

“This is kind of retaliation. Their justification was that it was retaliation so I thought that is a fair justification. That was unfair on them … They weren’t fighting anyone. They weren’t causing any harm. But neither was I and neither [were the] other women who are being killed right now back in Baghuz.”

It’s muddled thinking. And it’s not a lot unlike the sort of thing you hear from Jeremy Corbyn’s fans for whom moral equivalence is a moveable target. Like Corbyn, Begum was there but not participating.

Joanna Williams touched on the same in a story about Labour’s problem with Jews and the Party’s attitude to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which after much hand-ringing and self-serving bullshit it adopted in full:

The idea that the Labour Party champions free speech beggars belief. Amid the protests and counterprotests surrounding the NEC meeting, activists – including those previously expelled from the party over claims of anti-Semitism – chanted ‘IHRA no, BDS yes’. The mental gymnastics involved in rejecting a definition of anti-Semitism in order to defend free speech in the very same breath as backing a campaign that curtails academic freedom and free cultural exchange are astonishing. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aims to stop singers, sports stars and actors performing in Israel and explicitly calls for the censorship of Israeli scholars and scientists abroad. In putting a political and geographical proviso on free speech, BDS activists negate the entire principle.

It’s not me, it’s them, says Begum. They made me do it but I also went of my own free will. Verstehen sie? So forgive me. Look only to yourselves. Because in this age of narcissism, it’s all abut you.

Posted: 19th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Solskjaer gets the job full-time; Pochettino earns Spurs £34m transfer fee

On February 12 2019, the announced that Manchester United had chosen their next full-time manager. “IT’S OLE YOURS,” stated the Sun. “Solskjaer to be appointed Man Utd manager permanently as board finally choose the club legend over Pochettino.” Good news for Spurs fans worried that their manager was on his way to Old Trafford.

“OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER will be named the full-time manager of Manchester United,” says the Sun’s Neil Curtis in an exclusive. “The decision has now been made at board level… The hunt is over with co-chairmen Joel and Avram Glazer now convinced they have the right man for the job in Solskjaer.” Adding: “The news will end speculation that Mauricio Pochettino could be tempted away from Spurs to Old Trafford next summer.”

Done. Or as the Sun notes on February 18 2019:

Manchester Untied Pochettino Spurs

Such are the facts…

Posted: 18th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Wenger, Emery and no hint of worry

unai Emery Arsenal

How can the Daily Express spin Arsene Wenger’s words into a portent of doom? Wenger was talking at the perpetually remote Laureus Sport for Good Awards. He said Aaron Ramsey would be a “loss” to Arenal, the club he managed for a geological era. And that was it. Ooze it through the SEO grinder and in the Express it becomes: “Arsene Wenger WORRIED for Arsenal.”

But it’s worse than that because the URL to this clickbait runs: “Arsene-Wenger-Arsenal-worry-Unai-Emery-management-future.” The implication is clear: to trick readers into believing Wenger thinks the throughly decent and likeable Unai Emery, the man who replaced him as Arsenal manager, could be on his way out. Total tosh.

Posted: 18th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Paul Hollywood’s sex life: dreams of Summer Lovin’

Paul Hollywood Summer
Summer Lovin’

Paul Hollywood is the subject of a Great British headline in the Great British Sun. Hollywood is a star of The Great British Bake Off, a TV show proving that if you use ‘Great British’ as an epithet, anything can be improved. The shock is that no-one has called it the Great British Brexit and Channel 4 has yet to broadcast 100 Great British murders. But give it time.

Hollywood is newsworthy because a) he dresses like a late middle-aged divorcee on the pull in a provincial nightclub – big cuffs, open neck shirt, diver’s watch, fringed mouth – chasing the kind of women you imagine they couldn’t pull when they were in their twenties; and b) the 52-year-old’s 23-year-old lover has had a run-in with his 54-year-old (estranged) wife.

Alex (wife) is said to have called Summer Monteys-Fullam (lover) a “slut” and a “whore”. Since both are badges of honour, we wonder if Summer thanked Alex? She didn’t. She called the police complaining of harassment.

We then get to see a photo of Summer and her sister Saskia (26) – their mum is called Sabina (48) – giving the world the finger via Instagram – which affords the Sun the chances to appraise the £9,000 ring Hollywood gave Summer and try to fathom the image’s accompanying message: “Got youuuuuuuu.” What to make of that? And what to make of the Sun’s opinion that this was a “bust-up” between “Paul’s women”? This is how you describe the main player in a televised mid-life car-crash. You get on first name terms with the man of whom Summer once stated on Instagram, having first labelled him her “amazing boyfriend”, he “turned me from a girl to a woman, and to a house woman”.

No word of reply to that from ‘Paul’. But it’s not hard to imagine that in his head he’s swaying his hips, tossing his soft leather blouson biker’s jacket over his shoulder and in the manner of John Travolta in Grease telling the Viagra poppers at the country club about his latest bout of ‘Summer lovin’.

Posted: 16th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Madeleine McCann: three cops; one source; and freedom of no information request

maddie mccann reward

There’s been very little news of Madeleine McCann. The story has lost its push. But the Star and other tabloids plough gamely on, waiting for an new fact to add to the only one we know: child vanishes.

The Star, Sun and Mail all bring news that police were “secretly investigated for misconduct”. To the Star and Sun they are “Madeleine McCann cops”, part of the missing child’s private and personalised police force. The Mail and Star’s stories are based entirely on the Sun’s.

The Sun’s scoop tells readers that the police officers who worked on the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance were accused of “neglect or failure in their duty”. The Sun sums up:

Each officer was accused of “neglect or failure in their duty” while working on the Met Police’s £12million investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. But two allegations were not upheld and one was later withdrawn after Scotland Yard found there was no case to answer.

It is not clear if the complaints were made by members of the public or Madeleine’s family.

Sources even hinted that internet trolls could be responsible.

We know that no officers did anything wrong thanks to a freedom of information request. And after the facts, we get the theorising in the Star:

Madeleine’s parents Kate, 50, and Gerry, 49, of Rothley, Leics, believe their girl, who would now be 16, could still be alive.

Believe. Could. Guexses and hunches in place of news and facts.

And in the Sun we get an unnamed “source “to tell us:

One said: “Because the precise details of the allegations aren’t made public, it’s entirely possible good officers have been subjected to a complaints process even though there may be little merit in the allegations against them.”

There may be little merit in the story; there may be some merit in the story. The source is available for comment either way…

Posted: 14th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


Meghan Markle writes an open letter to her dear old dad

meghan markle

Meghan Markle will need stronger crystals and a firmer deep tissue massage to reach the serotonin (happy hormones) as her heart is “broken beyond repair”. The Express has news that Meghan is pained by her father’s decision to “reveal” a private letter. And he “could release MORE”. MORE! We want more, rather MORE. But for now all we have to tuck into is a handwritten note Meghan sent her father, Thomas Markle – “In August, Meghan wrote to her Meghan’s father to stop his attacks.” She wrote:

Daddy,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this, not understanding why you have chosen to take this path, turning a blind eye to the pain you’re causing. Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces – not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand.

You’ve told the press that you called me to say you weren’t coming to the wedding – that didn’t happen because you never called.

You’ve said I never helped you financially and you’ve never asked me for help with is also untrue; you sent me an email last October that said: ‘If I’ve depended too much on you for financial help then I’m sorry but please could you help me more not as a bargaining chip for my loyalty’…

I have only ever loved, protected, and defended you, offering whatever financial support I could worrying about your health…and always asking how I could help. So the week of the wedding to hear about you having a heart attack through a tabloid was horrifying.

I called and texted… I begged you to accept help – we sent someone to your home…and instead of speaking to me to accept this or any help, you stopped answering your phone and chose to only speak to tabloids.

If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop.Please allow us to live our lives in peace. Please stop lying, please stop creating so much pain, please stop exploiting my relationship with my husband…

I realise you are so far down this rabbit hole that you feel (or may feel) there’s no way out, but if you take a moment to pause I think you’ll see that being able to live with a clear conscience is more valuable than any payment in the world.

I pleaded with you to stop reading the tabloids.On a daily basis you fixated and clicked on the lies they were writing about me, especially manufactured by your other daughter, who I barely know.
You watched me silently suffer at the hand of her vicious lies, I crumbled inside.

We all rallied around to support and protect you from day one, and this you know.

So to hear about the attacks you’ve made at Harry in the press, who was nothing but patient, kind and understanding with you is perhaps the most painful of all.

For some reason you continue fabricating these stories, manufacturing this fictitious narrative, and entrenching yourself deeper into this web you’ve spun.

The only thing that helps me sleep at night is the faith and knowing that a lie can’t live forever.

I believed you, I trusted you, and told you I loved you.

The next morning the CCTV footage came out.

You haven’t reached out to me since the week of our wedding, and while you claim you have no way of contacting me, my phone number has remained the same.

This you know. No texts, no missed called, no outreach from you – just more global interviews you’re being paid to do and say harmful and hurtful things that are untrue.”

He commented: “This is not the girl I know. It’s not the way she talks. This letter is cold. When she signs off it’s ‘Meg’. You read the way it ends and it felt like a final farewell to me.”

You can read the same story in the Mirror – where it’s an “exclusive”

This is jut one of 14 – that’s FOURTEEN in Express language – stories on Meghan Markle in today’s paper of record. Other highlights include:

“What is the latest travel advice for expectant mothers?” – Don’t get into a car driven by Prince Philip?

“Meghan Markle: Sister Samantha hits out at ‘NARCISSIST’ duchess – ‘She doesn’t care!'” – so why keep talking about?

And news that Meghan is “nothing like Princess Diana” – well, there’s no extra-martial sex to repot on and she alive (see car advice).

“Will Meghan and Harry name their baby after THIS Queen?” – Arise Princess Freddie Mercury.

“Meghan Markle must learn THIS marriage trick from Kate Middleton’s royal success” – Tell the butler to double the order on stun guns.

More to follow. Much, much more…

Posted: 11th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named new manager – but only in the Sun

Solskjaer

As you were Spurs fans. Relax. Mauricio Pochettino is no longer wanted by Manchester United. The Sun bellows the news that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be named the full-time manager at Manchester United. It’s a matter of when not if. The Sun says United will wait until the end of the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer manager manchester united

Not so, says the BBC. Solskjaer has does brilliantly in his first 11 games as Manchester United’s caretaker manager. He’s rid United of the “toxic atmosphere” created by Jose Mourinho. He’s delivered ten wins from 11 matches. He won over United’s staff with bars of chocolate – on his first day at the club Solskjaer gave all backroom staff bars of duty free chocolate. But the BBC notes: “What happens in the next 11…will probably determine whether the 45-year-old Norwegian gets the job of replacing Jose Mourinho full-time.”

Do we all believe the Sun?

Might be best to wait and see…

higuain-arsenal the sun transfer
He never signed.

And this is what the Sun said of the Norwegian way back in January 2019:

Despite an encouraging start to life as interim manager, Solskjaer has a chequered record as a coach. Having taken Cardiff down he is yet to win a trophy since returning to Molde. How he would deal with a major transfer budget also requires consideration. There must also be questions over whether he possesses the tactical nouse to improve United beyond his honeymoon period.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer it is, then.

Posted: 11th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Martial Phwoar! Manchester United striker in Paris sex scoop

Martial sex manchester united

Anorak was looking for the headline ‘Martial Phwoar’, but instead has to make do with the Star’s “exclusive” that Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is a “Cheapskate”.

The paper alleges the player cheated on his pregnant partner, squiring his extra-martial lover in a £70-a-night budget hotel. Or to put it another way: pennywise football does not squander cash but seeks out best rates – possibly by the hour.

Martial’s partner has since given birth to the couple’s son… Swan. And today readers meet “French beauty Malika Semichi”. She says of her alleged tryst at the two-star Hotel du Midi near the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris: “I have to say I was surprised when he told me which hotel he had picked. It wasn’t the nicest and was a bit rundown and cheap, especially seeing as he’s used to much nicer hotels. But I knew he had a girlfriend so presumed it was because he didn’t want anyone to see us together.”

And who can presume anything other than that. After all, as Malika says: “He kept referring to me as his second girlfriend. He made me feel special.” You’re a number 2. Aw, shucks. And it get still more romantic in Paris, city of car-b-cues, angry people in yellow vests and snails a la mode. The Star claims he sent her “a string of snaps showing off his manhood, which this paper has seen”. The paper has seen Martial’s bellend? Bu at least we know now what what a load of snapshots of your knob is called: a string – a word once reserved for pearls?

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: David de Gea wants £500,000-a-week; or less

daily mail de gea
The Mail says De Gea is off to PSG

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, 28, is “insisting” (BBC) the club pay him £350,000-a-week if they want him to sign a new deal. The BBC says this would make him the club’s second highest earner “behind behind [sic] £400,000-a-week Alexis Sanchez, 30.”

Sanchez is criminally overpaid. De Gea wants something close to parity with the Chilean. Will one error of judgement by United lead to disharmony in the ranks?

Manchester United BBC
The BBC repeats the news, literally

The BBC links to a story in the Mirror. But the Mirror doesn’t really know what Sanchez earns. So far it’s provided the following figures for Sanchez’s United wage – the taxman may be interested:

£2m a month – Feb 9 2019

£400,000 a week – Sept 22 2018

£390,000 per week – May 11 2018

£25.5m a year – Jan 22 2018

£500,000 per week – Feb 8, 2018

£400,000-a-week – Jan 29 2018

In other transfer gossip, Manchester United fancy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and Norwich City defender Ben Godfrey, 21. Both should cost less than Sanchez or De Gea.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Gemma Collins seeks spiritual advice from Kerry Katona

kerryt katona

Who better for Gemma Collins to turn to for spiritual advice than Kerry Katona, former Queen of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity jungle and long billed in the tabloid press as “troubled”? Kerry is the women who had her cosmetic surgery televised and was once so hard up, she was forced to sell her parrot to buy Tampax.

Collins, 38, currently between injuries in ITV’s Dancing On Ice is “seeking help from crystal-loving Kerry Katona”. That’s an unfortunate or conniving play on words by the Mail, given Kerry’s battles with drugs – and crystal is a shorthand for crystal meth. The People reminds readers that Katona is an “ex-addict” whose nadir – or at least one of them – was being filmed taking coke a caper that led to her getting sacked by Iceland (the frozen food store and not the nation). In any case, Collins wants help calming down not speeding up. A source arrives to explain all:

“It sounds a bit woo and wacky, but Kerry’s obsessed with meditating and yoga and it’s helped her so much with her stress and anxiety. Kerry has been choosing crystals she thinks will help Gemma cope with the pressures of Dancing on Ice and all the diva accusations she’s had.”

Anorak advices Collins choose the homophonous Krsytle Carrington, who was always ice cool in a crisis, save for when Alexis pushed her too far and she resorted to fisticuffs.

PS: Cynics will point out that Katona and Collins have have the same agent. This in no way diminishes from the truth of this story.

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comment


Manchester City balls: Spurs win by losing but Pep’s pots count for nought

Stan Collymore’s Daily Mirror column continues to demand that we light the torches and march on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Trouble is that the glare from those burning fires has blinded Collymore to facts and the tiniest muon of circumspection and reason. Compare and contrast what the former Liverpool striker said about Mauricio Pochettino and then about Guardiola.

Collymore on Pochettino’s desperate statement that finishing in the Premier League’s top four is better than winning any cup:

One of the greatest managers in recent history who we’ve given a lot of stick to was Jose Mourinho. At Chelsea, what did he target? The League Cup. Coming so early in the season it is a trophy that can get you off and running…

Managers, said Collymore, should be chasing “every single trophy”. Because they all matter. Unless you’re Pep Guardiola.

Here’s Collymore on Pep being unsuccessful by, er, winning a cup:

The one thing the Premier League will do is test every single thing about you. If you don’t believe me, look at Pep Guardiola. Recognised as one of the top three or four managers in the world over the last decade, he could go into this fourth season at Manchester City having won one English title and no Champions Leagues. And that’s with the biggest budget in English football.

Guardiola joined Manchester City at the start of the 2016-2017 season. He’s in his third full season at the club. Guardiola finished his first season at City with no trophies – the only time he’s finished a season without a trophy. The next season – 2017-18 – City beat Arsenal 0–3 to win the Carabao Cup. They won the Premier League with a record-breaking 100 points. Right now City are top of the PL table, still in the Champions League and FA Cup, and will contest the Carabao Cup final with Chelsea. And they play some fabulous football.

Collymore thinks the Carabao Cup doesn’t matter when Guadiola wins it and matters greatly when Pochettino doesn’t? Can the Mirror get this man a sub-editor?

Posted: 7th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Rolf Harris is alive and coming to a school near you

rolf harris wood

Convicted child abuser Rolf Harris is alive. Who knew? This week the man once famous for asking kids “Can you tell what it is yet?” as he panted his way through a TV show and now known as a sexual deviant who persistently abused minors is reported to have entered the grounds of a primary school near his home and “waved at pupils”. The Mirror doesn’t tell us if the pupils waved back as they waited in the school hall for their lunch nor what part of his body Rolf waved. The BBC adds – and try not to gag: “He was talking to sculptor Nick Garnett, who was working in the school’s ‘Kiss and Drop’ area.”

(In June 2014 Rolf Harris was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault. The crimes were committed against four girls – one of who was aged just seven or eight. He was released from prison 2017. That same year, an appeal saw one conviction overturned, but the other 11 remain.)

Mr Garnett tells the BBC: “I turned round and there was Rolf Harris, which was a strange moment.” Fight or flight? “He asked for a piece of timber. Apparently he’s interested in making some carvings, so I gave him a couple of pieces.”

The headteacher at Oldfield Primary School in Bray, Maidenhead, goes on the record, telling us: “We’ve got a wood sculptor working close to the road at the moment and Rolf Harris lives about three doors down from the school. He must have seen him (the sculptor) and come into the school area. He had no access to the children whatsoever. I went over and shook his hand and introduced myself. He explained what he was doing – that he was getting some wood from the sculptor. I said, ‘You need to go’.”

Was it a crime? Harris has no offspring at the school, one assumes. A copper is quoted: “A report was made that a man was on the site of the school. An officer attended the scene but no offence was committed. No arrests were made.”

A non-story, then? The Mail says Harris “was handed a police warning”. The Mail includes a few words from a local man: “One elderly male neighbour said: ‘He’s an asset to the area, he’s been a tremendous supporter of any charity we’ve been part of… We know he had sex with a 15-year-old but we find it terribly sad that the end of his life has been marred by continual investigation into what happened 30 or 40 years ago.”

People, eh, some really do believe in rehabilitation for paedophiles. Others believe in buying your own wood.

Posted: 7th, February 2019 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment