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.
Like most of you, we had no idea a knife or a car could be used by terrorists to kill and maim until the Daily Mail used its front page to advise us that Google is the go-to-place for learning about weaponising your cutlery drawer and vehicle.
It turns out that everyone who ever stabbed anyone ever or used a vehicle to carry explosives and run people down learned how to do it via the media.
For just 65 pence, single mums and immigrants are able to buy the Mail and therein get directions to websites dealing in death. Moreover, we found copies of the Mail on display in shops, often on the bottom shelf where children can read them.
Says one worried mum: “I’m shocked they allow that muck on sale. I for one won’t be buying it. I’ll read it for free online.”
The battle between the Daily Mail and its sister organ the Mail on Sunday continues. Sebastian Shakespeare uses his Mail social diary to tell readers about “former air hostess” Carole Middleton and her daughter Pippa Middleton. Carole has written a “banal” story for a children’s magazine about ways to celebrate Easter. This is not in the spirt of giving, rather in the hope it will “boost sales at her mail order paraphernalia business”.
Carole’s “fatuous” tips (tip 1: “Chocolate bunnies and eggs are favourites”) are evert bit as “anodyne” as Pippa’s entertaining tips, which “were published in a widely panned book”.
Indeed they were. They were also published in a newspaper. No prizes for guessing which one? Yep: the Mail on Sunday.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
We begin this round-up with news in the Sun that the missing child’s parents are posting on their official Facebook page. In “BEATING THE BULLIES” we read that Kate and Gerry McCann have re-opened their Find Maddie Facebook account amid a “huge outpouring of love and support” after “taking a ‘break’ from trolls”.
You might well wonder how that is news. But social media functions as something nasty for old media to look down on, like a school gates mum gathering her PTA pals around to snipe at the gauche new arrival. “As the page administrator switched it back on,” we’re told “she vowed to ‘continue to turn the page off if we receive hateful posts’.”
But you can’t turn off the Sun’s comments section. Beneath the paper’s story “MADDIE PROBE SLAMMED – Good Morning Britain viewers in meltdown over ‘ridiculous’ £11million bill for the Madeleine McCann investigation as top cop declares it a waste of money”, the Sun’s bleeding hearts offer lots of opinion. These are the comments in order of appearance on the Sun’s story:
The “TOP COMMENTS” are:
One site’s ‘Bullies” and “trolls” are another’s commenters and readers.
Having made not an inch of progress in finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann, the voracious Press see if they can have any better luck with a new ‘Maddie’.
“My daughter could have been the next Maddie McCann,” says the Mail’s headline. “Mother staying at five-star Cyprus hotel woke to find maid trying to snatch her one-year-old.”
The maid did it!
Siobhan Prescott, 25, “claims she woke to find her one-year-old daughter Harper crying as a dark-haired woman in her 40s attempted to pick her up out of her cot at the five star King Evelthon Beach and Hotel Resort in Chloraca Bay, Cyprus.”
As parents cancel their family summer holiday and eyes “dark-haired” women (in Greece!) with suspicion, the Mail tells us what happened next:
The horrified mother claims she was powerless to react because she was sleeping naked, so screamed out for her partner Simon Smith who was on the balcony of their room.
Who knew British holidaymakers were so demure?
Anyhow, Simon came running.
He confronted the sheepish woman, who was dressed in a maid’s outfit, and demanded to know what she was doing.
The woman said something in another language, before bursting into tears and trying to flee the room – but stopped to make a phone call from the room phone.
Eh? She made a phone call before legging it? So there are finger prints, a number to track and you got a good look at the would-be abductor. Right now the only thing Madeleine McCann-like about his story is that readers to examine someone else’s parenting skills.
“I was napping when a maid snuck into the room and tried to snatch my baby,” says Siobhan. “The only reason I woke up was because Harper screamed out, otherwise she could have been the next Maddie McCann.”
Well, yes, aside from the fact that this time both parents were in and the child never did go missing. What the incident could have been is the subject of the thrilling headline, but what actually was it?
“We were furious and we made our way down to the reception and demanded the hotel manager immediately,” says Siobhan. “I was absolutely hysterical, but the hotel management just said she was cleaning the room and picked up my baby to check she was alright. But it was rubbish. That woman had no cleaning products on her and it was the afternoon so our room had already been cleaned. I was naked in the bed, what kind of person walks into a room when a woman is lying naked on the bed? She let herself in with the aim to try and steal our baby.”
“TOT SNATCH HORROR,” thunders the Sun. “Brit mum reveals terrifying moment maid tried to snatch her toddler from cot on holiday and says ‘she could have been the next Madeleine McCann’”.
A TERRIFIED mum said she feared her daughter could have been the “next Madeline McCann” after she woke to find a hotel maid looming over her cot.
Siobhan Prescott, 25, claims the worker was attempting to pick up one-year-old Harper, who was screaming hysterically.
The baby was crying. The woman picked her up. The Sun writes:
The family were on a dream holiday to Cyprus between February 22 and March 1 when the horror unfolded.
It was weird and unsettling, no doubt. But a “horror”?
They claim they were later told by the hotel that the same maid had been sacked two years previously following an “incident” but was on her first day back in work.
So the woman “dressed as a maid” was a maid, which is why she was dressed as one. Is that right?
Siobhan said: “I am lucky to have woken up, but if I hadn’t God knows what would have happened. Harper could have easily been snatched and we would be in the exact same situation as Kate and Gerry McCann.”
What, hated by Sun readers?
No sooner is Chuck Berry dead than the Mirror pulls on the boots and gives his bones a good kick. The rock’n’roller who gave full throat to all the taboo-busting stuff the olds hated is the subject of the front-page yeller about his ‘Dark secrets’.
For readers to be shocked by anything, Berry would have to have been extraordinarily depraved. Having seen knights of the real and papacy exposed as predatory paedophiles – You never can tell, right? – and knowing your internet-based readership is reared on Rule 34 – ‘If it exists, there is a porn of it’ – you wonder how dark Berry’s darkness got to warrant front-page news.
A clue to things being not all that dark comes on pages 8 and 9, where the Berry abyss becomes more ‘murky’ than inky black. And those ‘secrets’ become anything but. Berry’s ‘three spells behind bars’ are well documented (robbery, tax dodging and transporting a 14-year-old prostitute across State lines to work at one of his clubs – when he sacked her she grassed him up to the law; he says he never slept with her), as is his conviction for sticking a hidden camera inside the ladies’ toilets at one of his restaurants.
One of the most influential musicians of all time, the man who brought joy and light to millions with his swagger, wit and infectious songs will not be airbrushed from history. So great was Berry that even the Mail, a paper not given to shying away from moral panics, overlooks the ‘shadows’ and ‘secrets’ to hail the ‘Godfather of Rock’, the ‘musical genius’ who inspired Britain’s biggest stars’ and led an ‘outrageous life’. Chuck Berry’s the man who grew up on the wrong side of racially segregated America and got white and blacks dancing in the aisles.
And so without further ado, here’s Chuck Berry. Hail, hail, Rock And Roll:
It’s the third day of the Sun’s Prince William expose. On Tuesday the paper led with news that Wills had ‘sloped off’ to the Swiss Alps to pranny about his pals on a lads’ holiday, where he met an Australian model called Sophie Taylor. So much the norm for the super-rich. But the Sun was aghast, saying that Wills should have been at a Commonwealth Day service with the rest of his kin.
Over pages 4 and 5, we saw Wills ‘sloping off again’, ‘snubbing’ the service at Westminster Abbey. Wills does a ‘high skive’ palm slap with Sophie as he ‘chills ‘with ‘topless model’ Sophie and his mates.
On Wednesday it was more of the same. There was Wills on the Sun’s cover page, his lips pursed in disapproval as he stared into the paparazzo’s lens. Wills has an ambivalent relationship with the Press. The photo-ops that make him looks good and chummy with the hol polloi are great; the ones where he’s seen larking about for the 30-plus weeks of the year in which he isn’t ‘working’ as a military-lite soldier and celebrity lifesaver are undesirable and invasive. The narrative is that the paps did for his mother, but what really hurt William’s mother was his father, cheating Charles, who refereed to Princess Diana as ‘Diana the Martyr‘ as she carved out a life for herself that involved more than being the Windsor clan’s latest ‘brood mare‘.
And it keeps coming. Wills is ‘Throne Idle’. He is – yet again – ‘sloping off’, having performed ‘just 13 royal duties’ this year (although it’s at least a couple more if you include telling the secretary to tell the nanny to wipe Prince George’s arse and smiling at Kate in public) to the Queen’s 24.
Over pages 6 and 7, we see Wills in ‘Boogie-wonderland’ getting ‘crown on it’ at Verbier’s Farinet club. We hear from a ‘stunned’ onlooker who “couldn’t believe” Wills was ‘gyrating to a rap song with lyrics about smoking cannabis’. It’s unbelievable. Where’s the future King’s sense of tradition? What happened to getting goofed on opiates, impregnating peroxide-tinted serfs, murdering dumb animals and giving Nazs salutes? It was good enough for his ancestors, so why not Wills? The snob.
“William clearly isn’t interested in taking his role seriously and I really wonder if he wants to be king,” says the chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic.”He’s not living up to the hopes that people had of him and does seem to be taking all this for granted,’ adds a ‘Royal historian’.
And so to Thursday’s Sun‘s lead story. We hear that Sophie did a slut drop’ dance in a rarified Swiss club. On pages 4 and 5, we learn that Wills was ‘cavorting on a club dance floor with two beauties’. We also learn that the slut drop is a dance move ‘made famous of Geordie Shore’, the TV show in which orange-skinned Geordies shag on camera and then read each others tattoos by the light of their teeth.
What it all amounts to is not very much at all. Unless you consider Kate, the missing part in all her husband’s life of privilege and privacy. The Sun invites its agony aunt Deidre to ‘imagine’ what Kate would write about her husband. Imaginary Kate is worried that her ‘boring and ‘balding’ husband ‘has been pictured with his hands all over some girl’. She wonders, ‘Has the magic gone?’ Above all she is terrified he’s turning into his father. We hope, of course, that Kate learns from Diana, a woman who touched the shunned and sick (literally) and attempted with no little success to turn a life of public virtue and private vice into something the subjects can look up to.
Over to you, Kate…
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
Daily Mirror (front page): ”Maddie Cops Hunt Worker At Resort.’ The now ‘ex-employee has ‘vanished’. Like the missing child, he just disappeared?
In the very first paragraph we get not facts but news that ‘cops believe’ the missing worker has ‘clues about her disappearance’. The Portuguese man worked at the Ocean Club resort at the time Madeleine McCann ‘was snatched in 2007’.
The next headline adds: ‘Madeleine McCann cops hunt worker at resort as they fear he “kept secrets” from local police.’ So the missing man spoke with police, then. ‘He gave a statement at the time but detectives fear he may have kept secrets.’ The man spoke with police two days after the child vanished.
Believe. Fear. May. It’s the Maddie Mantra.
As ever with this story of the missing child, facts give way to feeling. Unable to add anything of substance, the Mirror repeats itself: ‘British officers trying to find the youngster fear he may have kept secrets from local detectives that could have led to a breakthrough in the case.’ Why do British police believe the wanted man may not have told local police everything? A Portuguese police ‘source’ tells readers: “British officers are convinced he knows more than he was previously saying and are very keen to question him.”
They don’t believe it. They know it. they are convinced. Is that why the ‘Maddie cops’ are ‘hunting’ him? They are not looking for him to help with their enquiries. They are hunting him, as you might hunt for a man who doesn’t want to be caught. The word is more loaded than Gorge bush at a frat house party. But hold on. The unnamed source tells us that the hunted man might not have anything to do with the missing child. “They are not suggesting he stole Maddie,” says the ‘source, “but he may know people who could have been involved after a burglary went wrong. The investigation in Britain seems to be grinding to a halt and they want to rule him out of the case if not rule him in. Then detectives know they have done everything in their power to try to solve the case.”
So much for the manhunt.
As for the facts, the Mirror soon revisits the old news: “Her doctor parents Kate and Gerry McCann , of Rothley, Leics, have always believed their daughter is still alive.” As ever, the paper mentions the parents’ jobs.
Daily Express (front page): ‘Parents’ joy at lifeline in hunt for Madeleine’
Another hunt, but this time it’s the search for the missing child. The Express hones in on Madeleine McCann’s parents. The child peers out from the paper’s cover, as she has done scores of times over the past decade.
And we learn nothing new. All we know is the child went missing. The rest is speculation.
Such are the facts.
It’s been a huge two days for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Only yesterday, the Star was pleading with Wenger to make up his mind and tell everyone if he was going to sign a new contract and stay at Arsenal for a further two years.
The paper said Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was tired to waiting to get the call to move up from the Italian giants to English football’s also-rans. The Star thundered:
EXCLUSIVE: Massimiliano Allegri sends ‘come and get me’ plea to Arsenal
Words from Allegri on his dream to manage Arsenal: none.
Of course, the Star is a rich source of fake news. On February 28, the Star told its readers ‘Allegri confirms he’s joining Arsenal’.
You click on that news headline and you get told on the Star’s website: ‘Calciomercato has this afternoon sensationally claimed Allegri, 49, will join the Gunners this summer.’ On that Italian site, we’re told:
The news comes from his hometown of Livorno, where reports are circulating that the manager let this story slip at dinner with friends.
And that’s it. No quotes. No links.
Looking for more, a search for ‘Allegri’ and ‘Livorno’ produces a story on another Italian news site. It says the Allegri to Arsenal news is sourced in the – get this – Daily Express, sister organ to the Daily Star. In the Express we learn that Allegri and Arsenal have agreed a deal.
All done and dusted, then. No dithering at all. Allegri in. Wenger out. Which brings us to today Daily Star story that Wenger is, er, staying at Arsenal.
All utter balls, then.
Such are the facts.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. The Metropolitan Police continue to search for Madeleine McCann, the child who became the media’s ‘Our Maddie’.
Sunday Express (front page): ‘Madeleine Bombshell – Police net closes in one just one man who is key to the mystery’.
The police have been given more funding to find our what happened to Madeleine McCann in 2007. The Express‘s lead story and the extra cash are linked, as Caroline Wheeler explains:
DETECTIVES investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have identified a person they want to question and have been given an extra £85,000 to follow up the crucial lead.
That doesn’t sound like very much money. The BBC says it’s enough ‘to extend the search for a further six months’ – a search that has to date cost anything from £11.1m to £13m, depending on what publication you read.
Is it a sign the cops are closing in on their quarry? Or it a sign that funds are being reduced considerably – that the investigation is being wound down? The Express says there’s a ‘specific person of interest they need to question’:
The lead is seen as solid enough to persuade the Home Office to grant the extra money which will extend the search until September.
It’s not much money, though, is it, especially to follow up a ‘solid lead’.
All we’re told is that the mystery man was possibly in Portugal when Madeleine McCann went missing. If you think that’s all a bit blurry, it isn’t cleared up one line on when we’re told:
International intelligence agencies have been working together to find the “person of interest” who detectives believe may hold the key to solving the case.
And with that we’ve progressed not an inch. What detectives ‘believe may’ could be the Maddie Mantra. And very quickly what looked like fact becomes editorialised wishful thinking:
Had the information not been deemed a “solid live lead” then the £13million police investigation would have been wound up.
The mystery man is called a ‘crucial lead’. What was once shrouded in ‘believe’ and ‘may’ is now ‘crucial’.
A Home Office spokesman delivers the official line:
“Following an application from the Metropolitan Police for special grant funding the Home Office has confirmed £85,000 in operational costs for Operation Grange for the period April 1 until September 2017.
“As with all applications the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any new funding is allocated.”
Cue an anonymous ‘insider’ to tell us: “There is just one person who detectives want to speak to who was near to the area where Madeleine disappeared almost 10 years ago. An international search has been underway to find them.”
Them or him? How near were they?
Policing Minister Brandon Lewis, who rubber-stamped the cash, steps in:
“I am pleased to be able to support the British police who are trying to get to the bottom of what happened to Madeleine McCann and give some kind of closure and justice to her family.”
When one newspaper leads the rest follow.
The Sun: ‘NEW MADDIE SUSPECT Cops given extra £85k to probe new key suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance a decade ago.’
Detectives have identified an individual they believe was near the coastal resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal when the tot went missing in 2007
That police only ‘believe’ the person was in Portugal soon becomes a fact that they were:
The person was near the area where Madeleine went missing from in the coastal resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal in May 2007.
Is this person who was there and maybe wasn’t there a suspect, then?
The person could be a Portuguese suspect.
For that insight we can look to now fewer than three journalists, the story is ‘By Ryan Sabey, Political Correspondent, Tracey Kandohla and Brittany Vonow’.
Over on LBC this morning, Andrew Castle has been fielding calls about whether or not the cash is value for money. After an hour of chatter, in which Castle says ‘as a parent, “you would expect your government to support you”, it turns out that no-one who calls in can be certain of anything other than that the child is missing.
And so it is that on a slow news day you can still press’f9’ on the keyboard and call up an ‘Our Maddie’ story and field all those nasty, doltish, unhelpful, anonymous and to-deadline opinions.
Brazilian footballer Bruno Fernandes admitted ordering the killing of girlfriend Eliza Samudio and feeding her body to dogs. He’s a nutter. Having served 7 years of a 22 years sentence, Bruno is out of prison. He has served his time. And now that he’s out, he can seek work. The Sun hears of Bruno’s agent, Lucio Veloso Coutinho, who reportedly said: “Almost 10 clubs have already shown interest. We cannot mention them all now for contractual reasons.”
As Mr 15% makes loud no comment, the Guardian is aghast:
There’s a problem with Murdering Bruno returning to football. No, not mass protests, a life ban and questions in parliament. The problem is he’s not quite match fit. Just give it a few weeks, his agent says. He’s back, baby. Murdering Bruno is back.
What’s Bruno’s job got to do with parliament? It’s a matter between him and his employers.
If the media’s big and robust enough to accept the work of former criminals, why is it so troubled if a football club does the same?
Remember Stavros Flatley, the chubby fella from Britain’s Got Talent, whose dance with his chubby son scored them a job on Sugar Free Farm with Ann Widdecombe, Alison Hammond and Gemma Collins, a show which proved that shovelling shit was not just for TV’s executives? Well, the boy, who the Sun bills as ‘the chubby young lad’ (CYL), is the subject of the paper’s front-page headline: ‘Stavros Flatley Drugs Bust.’
Police ‘have said’ marijuana plants have been found at a North London flat allegedly ‘owned’ by CYL. The Sun calls it a ‘cannabis factory’ and values the plants at £56,000. Yeah, that’s what we thought, too. Forget the lo-cal farm. Legalise weed and put celebs to some profitable use.
Can the story of the ‘suspected drunk driver’ who ploughed into five people at a car wash be turned into an immigration issue? In the Daily Mail it can, yes. In the very first line of the horror near Catford bus garage in Bellingham, south-east London, the paper makes the victims’ nationality known and key to the story:
‘A suspected drunk driver smashed into five Romanian workers following an alleged row as they washed his car.’
Why tell us the ‘bloodied victims’ nationalities but not that of the alleged criminal?
The Sun does the same in its headline:
‘Suspected drink-driver ‘deliberately mowed down Romanian car wash workers leaving man, 25, critical and four others injured after rowing with them moments earlier’’
The Croydon Advertiser is less concerned with the victims’ place of birth. ‘Driver questioned after car hits five outside car wash,” runs its headline.
The paper quotes the police, who say the injured people were ‘pedestrians’. ‘Detectives continue to investigate following a collision in Lewisham which left a number of pedestrians requiring hospital treatment,’ says the Met’s report.
Romanian workers or pedestrians?
The Mail says a man aged 25 is ‘fighting for his life’. Two others are in a ‘serious condition’. Two more suffered injuries to their feet and legs. The alleged drunk driver is said to have got out of the car and run down the street before an off-duty officer grabbed him. He was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink driving. He was treated for a head injury.
You might be wondering about the innocent victims, but the Mail is more concerned with what they were doing here in the first place. ‘Why are so many car wash staff migrants?’ it asks. Maybe it’s because so many newspaper journalists aren’t. You go where the work is. The Mail comes over a bit thick and defers to ‘experts’ who say such work is cash-in-hand and easy to get.
But the Mail can’t end it there. It wants to smear the victims in more than their own blood. So it quotes Dawn Fraser, of something called the Car Wash Advisory Service, and says that ‘only 1,000 of the country’s 20,000 hand car washes are thought to adhere to UK business laws.’
No-one has been arrested for being run over at work. Yet.
When Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared on Sky News, he was asked about his leadership. “I’m carrying on as leader,” said Corbyn, “because I’m determined that we will deliver social justice in this country.” So, er, will you stay on as leader. “I have given you a very, very clear answer, yes,” said Corbyn.
At one point he face contorted. As @ExcelPope quipped, “Have you ever been so angry that your monocle fell out?”
The Express calls Corbyn’s reaction a ‘meltdown’. He ‘dramatically flew off the handle’. On page 2 it features the same screen shot you see above, in which Corbyn seems to be auditioning for Steptoe and Son.
On the Sun’s page 2, it’s ‘JEZZAAARRRGGH!’ cornyn ‘snapped’ on TV. He ‘snarled’ as he ‘dodged three questions on whether he would be in the job to fight the 2020 election’. The paper quotes a Comres poll that 77% of Labour voters ‘think their party has the wrong leader’.
In the Daily Mail, ‘snarling Corbyn features on page 24. He ‘snapped angrily’ when asked about his future. It’s slightly better news for Jeremy, though, because in the Mail he only ‘twice ducked questions about whether he would keep his job until 2020’.
The story gets a different twist on the Mirror’s page 2. Thereon, Corbyn is issuing the rallying call : ‘We won’t give or retreat.’ No sign of a screw face here, it’s just Jezza with one thumb up as he addresses Labour’s Scottish conference – yes, they still have one, albeit in the room under the stairs. There is no word on his Sky ‘meltdown’. There is no word on the Comres poll.
Such are the facts.
Fancy a peek inside ‘Jimmy Savile’s sex den’? This is where the ‘shamed star preyed on victims’. The Daily Star’s wrong, of course. Savile wasn’t shamed. Sir Jimmy was buried with full honours. The great and good lined up to praise the “colourful character”, the embodiment of “diligence and decency” who will be “greatly missed“. Savile was not shamed. He was dug up, possibly beaten with sticks and buried a good deal deeper down than the normal six feet, but the Papal knight died a State- approved hero.
Savile’s ‘sex den’ is the abandoned High Royds Hospital in Menston, West Yorkshire. Savile was a depraved, gibbering loon who hid in plain sight. He didn’t need a sex den. He had a caravan, a BBC studio pass and an NHS-issued gown.
Reading on we learn that the sex den featured no actual sex. The Star reports:
It was here sexual predator Savile targeted a number of women during the get-together in 1988. The party was to celebrate the centenary of the hospital, according to a 2014 report.
More of an office party than a sex den, then?
An investigation found that the monster had cupped women’s boobs and put his hand up one victim’s skirt during the event.
All nasty, pervy, leery, criminal and sad. But not what anyone would call a sex den, least of all the Star, whose Television X stablemate broadcasts hardcore pornography with such titles as Sexual Predator 1.
As for Savile, well, the Star continues: ‘But the women didn’t make a formal complaint because sexual assault was considered an “occupational hazard”, the report said.’
Maybe that should be investigated – why nurses were seen as fair game?
Over in the Mirror, the sex den is gone. We are in the former hospital ‘where Jimmy Savile groped nurses and asked for a room in case he “pulled”‘. We see photographs by Kieran Young, 20, who posts as Exploring Lancashire.
“I had been here a few times previous but never found a way in,” he says. “I’ve always love the look of Victorian buildings so this really took my eye so I kept going back to get in. After five or six attempts I finally got in with a friend. My pictures encapsulate the past while also showing the morbid reality of the present.”
They’re good. We like looking over disused building, which given their massive size and emptiness often look haunting and sinister. Was Savile the worst thing to have occurred at West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, later Menston Mental Hospital and finally High Royds Psychiatric Hospital, where up to the 1960s inmates were buried in unmarked graves? Who listened to the poor and vulnerable back then? Who listens to them now?
A staff member is quoted talking about Savile in 2014: “He was just very free with his hands, so hands going round people, round their waist but then upwards, cupping under breasts, hands up the skirt. We just laughed it off, said ‘Dirty old man’ and didn’t go near him for the rest of the day. I can’t imagine that if we had said anything to anybody, or the police, that anybody would take it seriously, I don’t think, at that time. It was just an occupational hazard of being a woman.”
It sounds like Savile wasn’t the only man free with his hands. But he’s the focus of the Mail’s report, even if the paper does spell his name wrong.
The Mail issues an invitation: ‘Look inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a truly dark past: Jimmy Saville [sic] once prowled these corridors to launch sickening attacks on nurses.’
He more walked and jogged than prowled. That was the thing with Jimmy Savile – he was there for all to see, often dressed in a shining gold tracksuit and neon hair. He was hard to miss. But no-one was listening.
Having lost his job at Sutton FC for eating a pie in the dug-out at odds of 8-1, ‘roly-poly goalie’ Wayne Shaw is today pictured eating lots more pies in the Sun. The paper loves Wayne. After all, it was Sun Bets, the paper’s betting wing, which offered odds that seemed so tasty to Shaw’s pals. He didn’t bet. But they did. The game was brought into disrepute. Rules governing betting rules were broken.
Shaw, a man prone to depression, offered his resignation after what predictably became known as pie-gate. Shaw’s former manager told BBC Radio 5 live that Wayne was “crying” on the phone and “very, very sorry about the whole situation”. The Sun talked of ‘fan fury’ of her ‘sacking’.
Good to see, then, that the Sun is sticking by their man and getting him working as a pie taster. It is Wayne Shaw’s ‘new career’. ‘My football career may be on hold, ‘says Wayne optimistically, ‘but I’m not letting it stop me exploring new opportunities.’
It’ll be interesting to see how long the Sun can keep this going until it feels that any debt has been repaid.
Madeleine McCann: what the media says about the missing child.
The Sun (page 4), tells us that the ‘MADDIE HOLS FLAT’ has been sold for ‘half price’. The flat in which Madeleine McCann and her family were staying when she vanished has been bought for ‘just £113,000’ by a ‘British gran’, having been put on the market for £225,000, we read. The new owner has been ‘living in the property after secretly buying it “years ago”‘.
Is she bought it year ago, why is her purchase news now? As the 10th anniversary of the child vanishing looms, is the Sun campaigning for an interview with the parents? And the price seems not far off the going rate.
In 2008, the Mail told us the flat’s owner had been ‘trying to sell the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment since 2007 with an asking price of £255,000 – around £50,000 less than the asking price’.
But the Portugal Resident website told its readers in 2008: ‘THE APARTMENT rented by the McCanns while they were on holiday in Praia da Luz in May 2007 is on the market for 215,000 euros.’
Such are the facts.
When actor Danny Dyer toured the world’s ‘Football Factories’, he hung about with “hard men”. There were hard men all around him. Whether Dyer was a hard man was never made clear, but today the Sun says he might have been when he allegedly ‘sent a picture of his manhood to a starstruck fan’. So routine is the story of famous man sends knob photo to fan we’re surprised signed publicity photos aren’t issued.
The Sun says Danny Dyer ‘sent late-night texts to the young mum’. How young becomes clear in the third paragraph, wherein we learn that the whippersnapper is in her 30s and the alleged todger snapper sent her dirty photos when he was single.
The story continues over two more pages. On page 4 we see Dyer offering us his texting finger, seemingly to pull or sniff. (A kiss ‘n’ smell?) The headline is great: ‘Danny asked for butcher’s at me boat and bottle… then whipped out his Brighton’. It’s fun to play along. A butcher’s is a ‘butcher’s hook’, which is rhyming slang for ‘look’. Her ‘boat’ is her ‘face’ (boat race) and her ‘bottle’ is her ‘arse’ (bottle and glass). News that Dyer has a ‘Brighton sea front’ is worthy of a front-page screamer of its own.
Daily Mail news, now. And a spot of Donald Trump bashing on February 18, 2017. President Trump labelled several media outlets as ‘the “enemy” of the people’.
For readers unsure what that means, the Mail is informative:
Not that the Mail would ever behave like a Red:
Perhaps not everyone at the Mail realises that columnist Craig Brown is a parodist? It was he who wrote on the then Labour Party leader Ed Miliband:
Well, if Stalin was good enough for the Mail…
When the Sun Bets bookmakers sponsored Sutton for their home FA Cup match against Arsenal (final score: – 0- 2), they offered odds of 8-1 that the home side’s home reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw would eat a pie during the match.
Given that Shaw’s in the ‘big lad’ territory of players, Sun Bets could have offered a spread of how many pies, tubes of Rolos, lamb bhunas and ‘cheeky’ kebabs he’d eat inside the 90 minutes. As chance had it, Shaw did eat a pie, and because the game was being broadcast live on the BBC, we all got to see him do it. Shaw later admitted that ‘pals’ had placed money on the bet, which, says the Sun, were offered at a £5 maximum stake. The Mail says Sun Bets ‘tweeted that it had paid out a five-figure sum after Shaw finished his pie’.
For his (hunger) pains, Shaw was sacked for breaching FA rules concerned with betting on any “aspect of, or occurrence in” a football match. The Sun says on its front page that Shaw was ‘Hung out To Pie’. Shaw was handed his ‘Pie 45’.
The Sun calls it pathetic. So outraged is the paper that nearly all the media are talking about its Sun Bets (the Mirror doesn’t mention the company by name in any of its reports) – that’s S.U… – it calls on some unlikely comrades. Sun readers hear from Piers Morgan – for whom Shaw’s sacking “sums up the pathetically PC-crazed world” – and the BBC’s Gary Linker – “FFS!”.
Sun Bets says its investigating and working with the Gambling Commission, which is doing the same.
Shaw helps them out by noting his ‘pie’ was a ‘pastry’. Sun Bets says a pie is a “filling totally encased in pastry”. So it paid out. But, then, it’s the big winner in a sad story of greed.
Time for another look at Ted Health’s corpse. A high-ranking policeman reportedly said that the former Prime Minister was a paedophile. A ‘source’ told the Mail on Sunday that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale, for it is he, is “120% certain” the dead man was a child rapist. You can either believe it and think, ‘Yeah, always knew he was a wrong un.’ Or you can wonder about the evidence, the messenger, the timing and if the hunt for the morally reprehensible can ever be satiated?
Pick your prejudice and read on…
In the Salisbury Journal, dead Ted’s local paper, we read Veale’s response to the Mail on Sunday’s story. This is it in full:
“On Friday 2 December 2016, I prepared and distributed an unequivocal open letter outlining the Wiltshire Police position in relation to the ongoing investigation into allegations made against Sir Edward Heath.
“This letter was written as a direct consequence further to unhelpful and inappropriate speculation about this case. However, this speculation continues and is of huge concern to me as I believe it will undermine trust and confidence in the police, have a potential prejudicial impact upon a live ongoing investigation, not to mention an impact upon the confidence of persons who have come forward with information.
“In my letter I made a number of points to provide absolute clarity about why Wiltshire Police is conducting this investigation. To reiterate, there is a clear legal requirement and supporting national policy from the College of Policing that I am required to undertake an investigation where allegations have been made, regardless of whether the alleged offender is living or deceased.
“In relation to the recent unhelpful speculation regarding the veracity of the allegations made, let me once again be clear, it is not the role of the police to judge the guilt or innocence of people in our Criminal Justice System. Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us. Further, those who choose to continue to make comment on this case whilst not in possession of the facts ultimately may serve to unfairly damage both the reputation of Sir Edward Heath and / or those who have disclosed abuse.
“At the end of my open letter I stated that I would not be making further comment about the investigation unless it was for operational policing purposes. Other than to provide clarity around a number of key points, my position remains unchanged.
“The operational security of this investigation and the anonymity of the people who have come forward remains of paramount importance to Wiltshire Police.”
That’s a very long ‘no comment’. And he doesn’t specifically say if the Mail on Sunday’s story is false or true. Pity.
Mindful of the copper’s words, the Sun dutifully bows its head and reports with circumspection:
HEATH’S SEX CULT LINK Edward Heath ‘linked to a murderous paedophile ring that killed 16 kids’
Ted Heath was in cahoots with serial killers?! The story begins:
BIZARRE claims that former Prime Minister Ted Heath was part of a satanic paedophile ring which murdered 16 children have been dismissed as “wild allegations” by a close family friend.
Sensational claims make for sensational headlines.
Who are making the outlandish claims?
A group of women allege the Tory PM abused them as children as part of a sex cult run by their own parents which burnt babies in satanic orgies.
Wiltshire Police have spent more than a year investigating the allegations as part of an inquiry that has cost taxpayers over £883,431, the Daily Mail reports. But Sir Edward’s godson Lincoln Seligman said: “I understand that these claims from the 1980s were at the time dismissed as complete fantasy by police. It is disappointing that these wild allegations have been reheated and randomly attached to Edward Heath’s name.”
There is reportedly no suggestion that Sir Edward killed any children in the women’s accounts.
Only ‘reportedly’? But gerraload of that headline!
After a few lines on tortured babies, Devil worship and murder, the paper delivers a selection of facts:
Sir Edward, who was Prime Minister from 1970-1974, was never married and died in 2005 aged 89. The lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989, and Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time.
Over in the Mail, the Sun’s source, we read more.
Group of women who say they were abused by Sir Edward Heath also claim their parents ran a satanic sex cult that was involved in SIXTEEN child murders
Like the Sun, the Mail delivers the claim in a big, bold headline before noting at the very start of the story:
The farce came as police probe incredible claims that the former prime minister was linked to a paedophile ring that killed as many as 16 children – which would make them the worst child murderers in British history.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Ted Heath, the subject of a ‘bizarre’ ‘farce’. The paper adds:
The seemingly far-fetched allegations have been made by a family who allege that the politician was part of a satanic sex cult run by their own parents.
The paper delivers more on the allegations of terrible acts that only ‘seem’ to be far-fetched:
They say that the cult regularly slaughtered children as ritual sacrifices in churches and forests around southern England and also participated in similar ceremonies in Africa.
They claim their mother and father – who is said to have known the former Conservative leader – were responsible for slaughtering children ranging from babies to teenagers – yet they evaded justice.
The paedophile ring – which they say Sir Edward was part of – stabbed, tortured and maimed youngsters in churches and burnt babies in satanic orgies before men, women and children gorged themselves on blood and body parts, police have been told.
Can we take some small relief that no sex was involved in this alleged orgy of depravity? What we’d like, of course, are some facts. But instead of them we get news that, ‘If the bizarre allegations were to be proved, the parents who allegedly led the killings would be responsible for murdering more children than Fred and Rose West.’
Did Fred and Rose West meet Ted? Sorry, ‘Ed’? If ‘wild claims’ are newsworthy, look out for tales of MPs at the Wests? Reading on, we’re told:
The women’s lurid claims were dismissed by police in 1989 when they came forward. Sir Edward’s name was never mentioned to police at the time. It was only last year that he was named for the first time after one of the claimants said she had ‘remembered’ a man called ‘Ed’ was a prime mover in a network of paedophile abusers.
The story is so weak, a cynic might wonder if it’s put up to create a smokescreen to derail the whole search for so-called VIP paedophiles?
Maybe the Times can be more helpful? Beneath the headline ‘We can link Ted Heath to alleged victims of abuse, police claim’, the paper tells us:
The police investigating claims that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile believe that they have evidence linking the former prime minister to a series of alleged victims.
More than 30 alleged victims have contacted Wiltshire police with claims of abuse involving Sir Edward from the 1960s to the 1990s. A source close to the investigation said that “strikingly similar” allegations made against Sir Edward include the names used for the former politician, the type of abuse and the locations.
Detectives were reported to be initially sceptical about the allegations but “now believe them”.
Wiltshire police said it did not know if the investigation report would be published. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse, although not linked directly to Sir Edward. The investigation is also considering claims that the abuse was reported to the police years ago but was covered up.
The paper then mentions Mr Veale’s aforementioned letter, noting:
The chief constable had previously apologised for launching the investigation in 2015 with a public appeal outside Sir Edward’s former home beside Salisbury Cathedral.
And what of the alleged Satanic murders?
An expert called in by the force to assess the claims by three women who alleged that Sir Edward was involved in occult abuse said that the police inquiry was the result of on “an over-active imagination”.
Is any of this going to be tested in court?
The Times revealed last week that three prominent victims of false abuse claims are suing the Metropolitan Police over their treatment in a separate inquiry. The legal actions by the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, the former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall and the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini could cost Scotland Yard an estimated £3 million.
The widow of the former home secretary Leon Brittan was reported yesterday to have sent a “letter before action” to the force as a result of raids on their homes in London and North Yorkshire after her husband’s death.
Having read what the police believe and what women imagine, David Mellor, the former Tory minister, takes to his blog on LBC radio, where he hosts a phone-in show:
In an interesting scoop yesterday, the Mail on Sunday claimed that the Chef Constable of Wiltshire, Mike Veale, believes that Ted Heath was a serial paedophile, whose crimes were covered up by the establishment. The MOS report that thirty complainants have allegedly been identified, and “Mr Veale believes them 120%, and thinks they are totally convincing”.
Scoop or utter balls?
He is not directly quoted in the piece, so it could all be made up. But I doubt it.
So much for facts. It’s all about belief.
It’s worth taking a look at the original ‘Statement from Wiltshire Police following the IPCC announcement re. Sir Edward Heath investigation’.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police said:
“Following the announcement today regarding an independent investigation by the IPCC into allegations concerning how Wiltshire Police handled an alleged claim of child sex abuse made in the 1990’s, we are carrying out enquiries to identify if there are any witnesses or victims who support the allegations of child sex abuse.
“On becoming aware of the information, Wiltshire Police informed the IPCC and later made a mandatory referral. The IPCC investigation will specifically consider how the Force responded to allegations when they were received in the 1990’s. [sic]
“Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”
Sir Edward Heath has been named. By whom? Dunno. What’s the dead man been accused of? Dunno. The statement kickstarts the hunt. We don’t know what Sir Ted’s been accused of but we know any ‘victims’ will be believed. They are not ‘alleged victims of…’ They police are at pains to paint them as victims:
“We are working closely with the NSPCC to ensure that any victims are appropriately supported. They provide trained helpline counsellors to listen and provide assistance… Victims will receive support throughout any investigation and associated judicial process…
“Please call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as they have dedicated staff in place to deal with victims or if you have information that may help police please call us via 101.” Ends
But it’s not all bad for Ted Heath. In the Telegraph, an article on a hot London property spot name-checks Ted as a stalwart of good taste:
Jermyn Street’s distinctive shops, some of which are still owned by the descendants of the original families that established them, have been frequented by Diana, Princess of Wales, Ted Heath and Joanna Lumley.
And you know who Diana was mates with, don’t you.
Such are the facts.
Was Ted Heath a paedophile? The Mail says it’s been told that Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale ‘regards the allegations as “totally convincing”‘. An unnamed ‘source‘ tells the paper:
“Mr Veale believes in them 120 per cent and thinks they are totally convincing.”
What Mr Veale believes is now fact? Not too long ago police on Operation Midland said the words of a man known only as ‘Nick’ were “credible and true”. They weren’t. Whereas once the police response was to undermine the alleged victim’s credibility they now accept claims at face value. So much for evidence-based police work. The police arrested known faces at the airport as the cameras clicked and the BBC televised police raids on empty homes. The hunt for child abusers began to look like a PR drive to support the police and media, two pillars of society that had let down victims.
While we’re on the matter of moving your organisation to the right side of history, the police once supported laws that made homosexuality a criminal offence. That’s relevant because at the time of his alleged offending, Heath was a ‘confirmed bachelor, a euphemism for what TV light entertainers, the Press and the police in the 1970s termed ‘poofs’. Heath was not out and proud. He was very much in, giving organ recitals to his enthusiastic mates.
Back then to the source who knows Mr Veale’s opinions:
“There are very close similarities in the accounts given by those who have come forward. The same names used for him, the same places and same type of incidents keep coming up. What stands out is that the people giving these accounts are not connected but the stories and the details dovetail. It contains disturbing stuff. Investigators have been shocked by what they have learned.”
With the copper’s thought aired, the media pile in. The Sun (Page 14), thunders: ‘PM TED HEATH “WAS A PAEDO”.’ The ‘Cop is 120% certain’. Who needs all those barriers to justice, like evidence, proof, courts, charges and lawyers. The copper is more certain than certain can be. The trouble is that the man he knows to have been a paedophile is stubbornly dead.
The Sun says Heath’s supporters view the police investigation as a ‘witch hunt’. Seventeen police work on the matter. We’re told that the ex-PM’s supporters ‘say he did not have a car. Cops are thought to have proof that he did.’ This is relevant because one claim is that he picked up a 12-year-old boy and took him to his Mayfair flat.
Back in the Mail, we see Heath ‘standing by the driver’s door of the Rover 2000 he bought after Margaret Thatcher ousted him as Tory leader in February that year… The Mail on Sunday has learned that Wiltshire Police has also obtained photographic evidence of him driving.’
The Mirror, which featured Nick on its front page, covers the story on Page 4. The report is short. The final line says the police reports, ‘may reignite the case against Sir Edward’. Consider the flames lit and the smoke fanned.
The Express features the story on Page 2. ‘Tory outrage as police chief claims that Edward Heath was paedophile,’ runs the headline. ‘Tory grandee’ Malcolm Rifkind calls the new “despicable gossip”. He adds: “Until you know the facts you no in a position to judge.”
You can’t judge it in a court of law, but you can make a judgement in the court of public opinion. We are free to wonder why 12 years after he played his last note, Heath is in the frame? Are accusations easy when the target is dead? Or is 12 years the time it takes for coppers, editors and politicos who were around at the time of the PM’s alleged crimes to retire, succumb to failing memory syndrome and die? Of course, as the adults accused of heinous act wither, their alleged victims mature into adulthood. One argument is that they’re speaking out now because they can. If they’re dismissed because their alleged abusers are dead, the message to deviants is that so long as your victim is much younger than you are by the time they get the confidence to point the finger, you’ll be polluting the water supply and out of harm’s way.
Which leaves only prejudices and gut feelings. Ted Heath, eh. Always thought he was a wrong ‘un.
So let’s end with this short extract from the Michael Cockerell documentary Westminster’s Secret Service broadcast by the BBC in 1995. Tim Fortescue, a Whip under Edward Heath between 1970 and 1973, told the cameras:
“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to the Whips and tell them the truth, and say now, “I’m in a jam, can you help?” It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal which a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help. And if we could, we did. We would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but one of the reasons is, if we can get a chap out of trouble, he’ll do as we ask forever more.”
And Ted? In Churchill to Major: The British Prime Ministership Since 1945, Donald Shell writes:
The most significant changes in the role of the whips appear to have taken place during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Heath as chief whip from 1956 to 1959 brought a new professionalism to the job; he was the first holder of that position to routinely attend cabinet meetings,although neither he nor his successors have been full cabinet members. More significant was the way he systematically gathered information about every member of the party, and developed the art of using this to maximum advantage. He was after all responsible for piloting the Conservative party through the Suez crisis and its turbulent aftermath. When Edward Short became Wilson’s chief whip in 1964 he found that it ‘had been the practice to keep a “dirt book” in which unsavoury personal items about members were recorded’, and he immediately ordered this to be discontinued. It is probable that such stories arose simply out of the thoroughness with which Heath and his successors had gathered information. Heath himself explained his professionalism: ‘I acted on the principle that the more you know about the people you are speaking for, and the more they know about you and what you are being asked to do, the better.
Helping us know why an 18-year-old set light to a £20 note in the streets of Cambridge is a delighted Press. Above a picture of a £20 note – so helping Guardian readers know one should they encounter it lit or otherwise – the paper explains from the off that the berk ‘burning cash’ was a member of ‘Cambridge University Conservative Association’, an organisation the paper calls ‘prestigious’ but which I’d brand ‘ghastly’, in keeping with all student politics.
The Mail tells its readers the money burner was ‘drunk‘. No blood test needed. The paper knows a drunk when it sees one on a Snapchat video. The Mail soon names the wally as one Ronald Coyne, who now only ‘tried to set fire to a £20 note in front of a homeless man’.
Like the Guardian, the Mail politicises the pillock’s antics by telling its readers in the third paragraph that Coyne is a ‘relative of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’. Brother? Son? In the 30th paragraph, readers learn: ‘He is believed to be the nephew of the First Minster’s sister-in-law’s ex-husband.’
As you work out if that makes Master Coyne closer in blood to Sturgeon than Kevin Bacon or a bacon bap, the Telegraph tells its readers in a shouty headline: ‘Cambridge University student who boasted of being related to Nicola Sturgeon filmed burning £20 note in front of homeless person.’ So keen is the Tele to work the Sturgeon angle into its story that whilst her name features in the opening line – ‘Cambridge University student who claims he is a direct relative of Nicola Sturgeon…’ – you have to wait until paragraph two to hear of Coyne. Sturgeon is name-checked five times in the article.
There’s no mention of Sturgeon in the Tab’s report, although it does note: ‘It has been rumoured that burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person is one of the initiation ceremonies of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon club.’ Whether that’s before of after they defile a dead pig and toss a pot through a restaurant window is left un-investigated.
Having gone off on a fact-free tangent, the Tab notes that the ‘motivations of the student, other than odiousness, are unclear’. Helpfully an unnamed source is on hand to call Coyne an ‘arsehole’.
By now you’re wondering about the video. Here it is.
Over in the Sun, we get to hear about the other man in the frame, Ryan Davies. The rough sleeper says Coyne first offered him the note.
Ryan, an unemployed crane operator who has been homeless for three months, thought his luck was in – until the Pembroke College student, who has distant links to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, set the money alight.
He said: “There were some people going past and I was asking them for spare change. I’m homeless. I asked one man for spare change. I was polite about it as I always am. I couldn’t believe my luck. But then he pulled it back and lit it and said ‘I’ll give you some change, I’ve changed it into fire.””He says let’s see what I’ve got and pulls out a £20 note and went to pass it to me.”
Is the Sun on the side of beggars? In 2016, the paper told its readers:
Revealed: Just one in 5 beggars are homeless… as one boasts she’s using cash for new kitchen
SUN INVESTIGATION: Just 1 in 5 on our streets are homeless and one office worker even admitted to begging after work … to buy a new kitchen
Can bad press turn people against a certain type of person? The Sun says it can:
A CAMBRIDGE student was attacked on his bike in suspected retribution for Nicola Sturgeon’s relative goading a homeless man. One college has even warned students against wearing gowns in public – in case they inflame further violence.
And what of the argument that says it’s wrong to give beggars money? The Sun reported in 2016:
Charities last night urged people NOT to hand out money in the street.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of London-based homelessness charity Thames Reach, said: “The evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets spend their begging money on crack cocaine, heroin and super-strength booze.
Nottingham Council advised:
The Mail reported:
Thames Reach, a large-scale organisation with more than 350 staff, said that most people who beg on the street have some form of accommodation to go to.
Its spokesman Mike Nicholas said: ‘Giving to people who beg is not a benign act. It can have fatal consequences.
‘Many people asking for your money are caught up in a desperate cycle of begging from the public, buying drugs from a dealer and then taking these drugs.’ He added: ‘There are many services seeking to help people sleeping rough. Please work with them, not against them.’
Can we sympathise with Coyne? After all, it’s not as if beggars, people more likely to sleep on a newspaper than buy one, enjoy a favourable Press. No, say bleeding hearts. As the Standard reports:
Calls to have him kicked out of the university have quickly gathered momentum with more than 19,000 people signing a change.org petition by 5pm on Sunday.
Students always did have too much time on their hands.
It’s the ‘Chuff of dreams’ in the Daily Mail.
For those readers not au fait with a chuff, the Urban Dictionary defines it yhus:
anglo-slang for snatch, vagina.
“How’s the weather in Phoenix?”
“Dryer than a nun’s chuff.”
Steamy stuff in the Mail.
PS: good to see old Viz writers getting wok in the mainstream press.
Twenty years ago today the Daily Mail published one of the most eye-grabbing front-pages in recent history. It accused five men of murdering Stephen Lawrence, the black youth killed in a racist crime covered up by an incompetent and racist police force.
In February 1997, one day after an inquest jury ruled that Stephen Lawrence was unlawfully killed “in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five white youths”, the Mail produced its front page.
The Mail challenged Neil Acourt, his brother Jamie Acourt, David Norris, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight, to sue for libel. They didn’t.
Today the paper revisits its sensational front-page headline.
The paper accuses Luke Knight of being ‘The Murderer Who Got Away’. Wow!
The Mail’s allegation is undermined by its own teaser, which says of the self-styled “loveable rogues”: ‘Two have been convicted, one’s in jail on a drugs charge and a 4th is on the run.’ If the Mail claims the five are murderers and only two have been convicted, how can there be only one who got away?
In 1999, the accused men spoke with ITV news. It was compelling television. And a word before you watch: I was in the crowd when they swaggered from court. One thing struck me as remarkable: the restraint shown by all those who saw them.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child. News is that her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are ‘not in the clear’.
The Mirror (front page): ‘McCanns’ agony at Maddie ruling by court.’
Page 9: ‘Judge: McCanns are not formally in clear’
Are they formally not in the clear? It’s a tad confusing.
Reading on we’re told that Portugal’s Supreme Court has ‘failed to put them in the clear’ over their daughter’ disappearance. Although the McCanns are no longer arguidos – what the Mirror calls the a Portuguese legal term for ‘formal suspects’ – judges says ‘this does not equate to a ruling of innocence’.
Isn’t innocence presumed?
In 2007, the Guardian told us what an arguido is:
An “arguido” – normally translated as “named suspect” or “formal suspect” – is someone who is treated by Portuguese police as more than a witness, but has not been arrested or charged. Under Portuguese law, a person declared an arguido – “arguida” in the case of a woman – has legal protection that is not extended to a witness, including the right to remain silent during questioning and the right to legal representation.
Detectives invoke arguido status on someone as a preliminary to an arrest being made or charges brought, a Portuguese law expert, Lita Gale, told Guardian Unlimited today. “If you are an arguido they have to have suspicion that a crime has been committed by that person,” she said.
The BBC said:
How is arguido status given and what does it mean?
Under Portuguese law either the police or a person being questioned can request that they be formally named as a suspect, a process called arguido. Artur Rego, a Portuguese lawyer, told BBC News: “Arguido is the person who has been accused of being the perpetrator. This is just an accusation made exactly at the end of the investigation.”
A person can ask for arguido status if they feel the line of questioning is implying that they are a suspect. This gives them more rights than a witness would have.
Back to the Mirror, which has been looking at the report into the McCanns’ failed libel case against Goncalo Amaral, the ex-copper who who wrote a book ‘claiming they were responsible for Madeleine’s “death” in 2007’. In the ruling on that case, the judges wrote, “It should not be said that the appellant were cleared via the ruling announcing the archiving of the criminal case” in July 2008.
The Mirror says the judges note that ‘the case was not shelved because prosecutors believed Kate and Gerry… were innocent – but due to lack to evidence.” Said the Portuguese Supreme Court: “It doesn’t therefore seem acceptable that the ruling, based on the insufficiency of evidence, should be equated to proof of innocence.”
The Mirror calls the ruling ‘painful’ for the McCanns.
The Mail has more. The story does not feature in today’s newspaper, only online.
Highlighting the McCanns’ Tapas Nine friend Jane Tanner’s much-questioned sighting of the suspected ‘abductor’, they added: ‘It’s true that the aforementioned criminal inquiry ended up being archived, namely because none of the apparent evidence that led to the appellants being made ‘arguidos’ was subsequently confirmed or consolidated.
‘However even the archive ruling raises serious concerns relating to the truth of the allegation that Madeleine was kidnapped.’
Facts. There was only ever one: child vanishes.
The Sun (page 1): ‘FRESH TORMENT – McCanns ‘Are NOT IN CLEAR'”
This is ‘fresh anguish’ for the McCanns, says the Sun. The judges ‘said there were “serious concerns” over the theory that Madeleine had been abducted’.
The Sun says that Amaral plans to write a second book about the case and the McCanns will ‘sue again if it it is published on Britain’.
The paper also notes that the judges said ‘It would be wrong to draw any inference about the couple’s guilt or innocence from the ruling’.
As the papers look at the parents and the courts, offering no word on any hunt for the missing child, the Sun adds a dig at the BBC. “Kate and Gerry McCann have slammed BBC show The Moorside as “appalling and insensitive”. They told pals the drama based on the 2008 search for Shannon Matthews was in “poor taste and bad timing”.
What did that case have to do with the McCanns?
Says the Sun: ‘The McCanns were mentioned in Tuesday’s drama, with one resident claiming their case received more publicity and reward money as they were “posher”.’
Tsk! Overlooking how the ‘pals’ have the Sun’s ear, you might wonder how the Sun approached the stories of the girl it called ‘Maddie’ and Shannon?
In 2008, the Sun offered a £20,000 reward to find missing “little princess” Shannon Matthews. The Indy wrote:
Even The Sun’s support yesterday caused disappointment. “I’m devastated, to be honest,” said a coach driver, as others around him agreed. “That poster should have been on the front page.” It was on page 17.
You might also wonder why the Sun dresses controversy over the Shannon Matthews TV show as a McCann issue and not one for Shannon’s family?
Daily Star (Page 7): ‘Links to Maddie “awful”‘.
The paper says Gerry and Kate McCann are ‘said to be furious at multiple references to Maddie’s disappearance in the Moorside”. But surely mentioning Madeleine McCann keeps her name in the news. That’s good, no? Maybe that’s why a ‘source’ is talking to the media?
Sad news that Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has died at just 45 years of age. Anyone able to make a living form having fun must have something about her. Today the tabloids are full of kind words about the ‘tragic’ (Sun) socialite and Prince Charles’s goddaughter. News is that T P-T had been suffering from a brain tumour. Since January 2016, T P-T had been receiving treatment for a non-malignant growth in her pituitary gland.
So how did the Press focus on the seriously ill woman? Well, aside from the BBC featuring her in a list of ‘Who is the most pointless celebrity?’, the Press saw her as fair game – ever when she was ill. In March 2016, she told the Telegraph: “I’ve been destroyed by the things people have said.”
DISHEVELLED Tara Palmer-Tomkinson stepped out in London wearing torn clothes and clutching a wad of cash. The socialite looked like she was wearing torn clothes as she struggled to carry her shopping bag.
‘Spotted’ is tabloidese for being photographed by a paparazzo. She was seen lifting a large, heavy bag. In her hand was a small ‘wad’ of notes, as many as two or three. Her torn clothes were nothing of the sort (see below). She looked both clean and smartly attired.
The former IT girl’s top appeared to be ripped and it’s unknown why she was holding so much money in her hand. She was snapped trying to carry a heavy bag of what looked like magazines.
Again. Her clothes were not ripped. And taking photos of an ill woman trying to lift a heavy bag when you could be helping her is not what one might call gallant.
Over in the Mail, which dedicates 3 pages including its front page to the ‘fun-loving IT Girl’, the coverage was no less harsh.
Could Tara, who wore a pink Chanel playsuit that drew attention to her toothpick legs, be taking her fitness regime too far?
Reclusive Tara Palmer Tomkinson looks gaunt in a hoodie and low-slung joggers as she steps out with sister
Becky Freeth used insight to tell readers T P-T was wearing ‘a designer hoodie to keep her warm’.
The Mail also got hold of the same photos as the Sun. Unlike the Sun, which featured 6 photos of T P-T minding her own business in a London street, the Mail went with eight:
PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Dishevelled Tara Palmer-Tomkinson struggles with a heavy shopping bag as she steps out clutching a wad of cash