Two Pints of Lager and a Steve Doughty Packet of Shit

APRIL 1ST - Jolly Japes Abolished

Steve 'Huge Mortgage to Pay' Doughty is on overtime. Carrying on (ha ha) from yesterday's tales, he's staggered across the scoop of the heavy session:
Don't call the barmaid 'love', by order of Harriet Harman.

Of course, whilst this has already provided ammunition for the pub bore, it is complete shit.

Steve, an expert in Employment Law (!) continues,
  • The regulations say that bosses are responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment by customers - and that those who fail to do so can face unlimited compensation claims.

Seems OK to me. Surely, such rights are enshrined in our existing laws; nobody wants employees subjected to harassment? But wait, this is the great British tradition of the pub; home to the jovial, wife-beating, salt of the earth type.

That may appear to be as much a stereotype as a typical tabloid headline, and of course, that would be true; in Tabloid Land, we must conform to our labels.

So, what is Doughty's real worry? What do these new regulations mean?

  • They mean that a pub landlord could be sued if a bar worker complains about being called "love", or over customers telling each other off-colour jokes.

But Matron, I don't know what's coming over you! I'm not getting it, Sid, and if someone wants to pull mine I don't see what any Tom or any Dick or any Harriet can do about it.

Steve, matey, do you have any legal basis for your astonishing headline? No? Oh, that'll do then:

  • Lawyers said yesterday that businesses will need to show they have tried to clamp down on sexual harassment of workers by customers if they are to guard against the risk of compensation claims.

Clamp down? Guarding against risks? This is just smut and you know it - just wait until tomorrow. You know the day after the last day in March. Lawyers? Nobody in particular? Not even Al- Fayed's legal team would go for this fable. Unless you've got some right-wing think tank to email a handy quote. Call Jill Jill Kirby.

  • Jill Kirby of the centre-Right think tank Centre for Policy Studies said: 'This latest round of discrimination legislation has moved far beyond common sense. It will bring the law into disrepute.

A Preamble Shits Tin, (couldn't find an April Fool and British one) which is an anagram of Stephen Alambritis, of The Federation of Not Very Big Businesses goes further,

  • It really is unfair

At least everyone has ignored this piece of crap. Oh wait, over 100 comments by the gullible and stupid Mail readers, including our particular fave, Jacqui ' I used to be called Weems but I realised it made me look thick when my friends googled my name' W, Southampton.

Cue the morons:

  • Do away with all human contact and install beer machines along side the condom machine.- Jimpy, Lincs

At last some good advice. Stop the Mail Readers breeding.

  • Harriet Harman is only jealous because she has no chance of being harassed!Here in Yorkshire it is traditional to call a lady 'love' and no edict from this stupid woman will make us stop!- Peter, Huddersfield

Peter's obviously a love magnet. Of course, in parts of his county such as Doncaster or Barnsley, it's traditional to call men 'love'.

  • Is this is all we have to worry about - maybe these MPs should concentrate on the real issues?- Jacqui W, Southampton

Jacqui Weems, you make us laugh. At least this effort was literate, love.

  • I work in retail and get called 'love' several times every day. It doesn't bother me and most of the time I don't even notice they're doing it. I'd infinitely rather be called 'love' than 'you stupid cow' which is how some people choose to address others.- Karen, Blackpool, UK

Open door I know, but stop bad mouthing Karen just because she reads this shit rag.

  • work in a pub and yesterday was asked by a customer if he could come home with me. I told him no, I'm not running an old people's home. Oh how the other customers laughed. Sometimes a bit of banter is fun!- Lorraine, Liverpool

I really hate it when women get the better of me in witty banter.........

The really worrying thing is that given the number of misleading, twisted and inaccurate stories peddled by this arserag, nobody can be sure which is the real April Fool story.

Don't Speak: Steve Doughty

Like Gail Tilsley/Platt, I'm beginning to get my memory back. I remember this rant from a blogger :

The professional, Daily Mail propaganda was given to the masses under this headline:

More than 20 per cent of babies in Britain are born to immigrant mothers, figures revealed yesterday.

Steve Doughty wrote this on 28th March 2008 and I assume he was paid.

I, for this is Eric The Fish speaking again, NOTED BEFORE THAT THE MAIL HAD LIED ABOUT STATS AND DATES but here we have some further information to put Doughty's version on the carpet. As I said in my original comment, I wanted confirmation from the ONS. They said,
  • I can confirm that this is the most recent data that the Office for
    National Statistics have. The data was made available on the 11th of
    December 2007

I have the email if My Doughboy wishes to dispute its authority and sue! It shows I was wrong in having a view that Doughboy's figures were the same and out of date. There is not much difference in the figures, but this does not preclude our hero from using this data. DECEMBER 2007 is not YESTERDAY, Doughty. And the figures do not back up your story, unless you wish to publish exclusives every 6 months. As one man from these parts said, 'How Do You Sleep?'

Let's face it, there is nothing to stop lazy journalists (not Steve Doughty, of course) from publishing old figures as hot-off-the-press news.

As Mick Jagger sang, 'Who wants yesterday's papers?'

I wish it were nobody in the world.

Fat's The Way I Like It

"On 26 November 2007, we published allegations made by Brenda Tolley against Slimming World in a report under the heading 'Slimming club consultant sacked 'for being too fat'.

The report did not include Slimming World's response to the allegations and the fact that Mrs Tolley's claims for unfair dismissal and age discrimination were not successful.

The company's managing director told Reading employment tribunal that Mrs Tolley had failed to develop her team and that she resigned after a meeting to discuss concerns about her performance. The tribunal dismissed Mrs Tolley's application on the grounds that she was not an employee and did not submit her grievance in time.
We apologise for not including these items in our report and any embarrassment this may have caused Slimming World.
The company stated that it chooses all staff for their compassion and ability to help others and does not practice discrimination of any kind."
Not the first time; certainly not the last.

Mail Recycling

As we all know, the Daily Mail leads the universe in our battle to save the environment. Who'd have thought that plastic bags were a waste until the Mail cleverly made a bandwagon for us all to jump on.

Now, it continues to regurgitate, I mean re-use stories from long ago.

More than one in five babies in the UK is born to a migrant mother


Steve 'Deja Vu' Doughty is a journalist of the pedigree chump variety - artful in mashing up the unpalatable into a real dog's dinner. His previous form included a piece on how Myra Hindley would be released under the Human Rights Act, a couple of years before she left a box.

In June 2007, the boy Doughty published this.

In that article, he states that, One in five babies is born to a woman from outside the UK - an increase of 10 per cent in just one year.

As we know, there is a pension crisis and a concern over how people are living longer. Who is going to pay for us when we are old? Given that schools have been closing due to falling rolls, there is obviously a problem. However, in Mail Land, logic flies out of the window faster than Fiona Phillips drops names. Because the increase is down to foreign sperm or ova.

Doughboy continues,

Last year there were 669,531 live births - the highest since 1993 and a rise of 3.7 per cent from 645,835 in 2005.
Of these, nearly 147,000 babies - 21.9 per cent - were born to immigrant families, compared to 13 per cent in 1996, the year before Tony Blair came to power.

Obviously our man Steve has mouths to feed in his nest so he pens today's story with original gusto,

More than 20 per cent of babies in Britain are born to immigrant mothers, figures revealed yesterday.

Yesterday? They seem very similar to the ones referred to in June last year. I've asked the ONS for clarification of this. I'm not saying the figure are definitely identical but Steve says, According to the latest count, based on 2006 birth returns, 21 per cent of babies in the UK have mothers who were born abroad.

Interestingly, the figures do look similar but strangely the 21.9 is not rounded up to 22 which would be acceptable.

This does appear to be another Mail example of using old data to justify a further attack on immigrants. In the June story, Civitas, the right-wing think tank is rolled out for rentaquote duties whilst in today's scoop, Andrew Green of Migrationwatch was number 1 on Doughrty's speed dial.

Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch think-tank said: "This is quite incontrovertible evidence of the massive impact of unlimited immigration on the whole nature of our society. It is absolutely essential that strict limits are placed on immigration if public confidence is to be restored."

So that's clear then. No axe to grind for Andy. Funny how you can sound authoritative without actually saying anything.

To ensure that this story hits home, the Mail has a picture accompanying the item which is representative of all immigrants, be they Polish, American, Nigerian or Iraqi.

Rather tellingly, the file is saved under the name, 'Immigrant baby burkha' because the Mail is not ne to make assumptions about people. They couldn't possibly be women born here, could they? Still, at least they seem to have found real people rather than using models to portray haggard old Romanians as they have done in the past.

The story sets out to stir hatred in usual Mail fashion. Sit back and await the rabis comments from Planet Mail's population.

Will we be forced to celebrate the "vibrancy" and "diversity" of this, or is there still time to whip out the Aussie passport applications to escape this madness.- Steve Jacks, London

Fortunately a later poster managed to get in a crack about the irony of the above shit from Jackboot.

Why not, most are here for benefits encouraged by Nu-Lab. They should be called benefit breeders and given only food stamps.- Mike, UK

Even the article makes no mention of benefits but Mike knows everything.

They wonder why that British mums to be are not able to go to their local hospital.- Kathy, Vale of Glamorgan

Kathy makes me think that I was a bit hasty to dismiss the Tory Councillors' ideas yesterday.

Told you so!- Barbara, Bolton, England

Babs in Notlob told us apparently. And did we listen? Did we fuck!

Is it just me or does anyone else see something wrong with this?So pleased to be leaving for New Zealand in two months...- Karen W, Peterborough, UK

If anyone spots Karen in NZ, can they have a quiet word with her, and point her in the direction of a dictionary containing the word 'irony' and the phrase 'fucking stupid kettle'?

This Labour government don't give a fig about what is happening in this country with regard to immigration. When the indigenous Brits have fled this country to be with our own who will look after Britain's heritage and who will look after our elderly when all our children have left? They will be cared for by people who don't and won't understand them. So much for Labour's new immigration rules, any Tom, Dick and Harriet can still walk in here and claim a British passport. In my experiences these people don't want to be British they are British by accident and will still refer to themselves to be a national of their parent's country.- Michael Clark, Chesham, Bucks

Michael is probably Chairman of his local Neighbourhood Pogrom Committee.

Getting ready to take over the UK in the years ahead?- Don, UK

Most Mail readers believe it's already occurred, Don. Keep up!

As I drifted into another Mail-induced trough of depression, one letter shone out from the Capital of Culture itself:

Babies are being born in Britain; we're all human, we want the best for all our children and we want them to grow up in a society that will give them the very best. If people move to the UK because of that, surely these are exactly the people we want? Don't think of them as 'immigrants', think of them as fellow human beings and yes, celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of our society. If you're too scared to do this then educate yourself and steel yourself to meet some of these people, just as they've taken a leap of faith to come to this country. Think how much nicer your life will be when you can smile at everyone, rather than just those people you think of as being properly British. - Helen, Liverpool, England

A Tale of Two Tories

The readers' comments section of Britain's vilest rag, The Daily Heil, always gives an interesting indication of what the barking mad and hateful hotchpotch of the country (and its various enclaves in Expatland) is thinking. Two similar stories this week gave a fascinating insight into what is the Rubicon for 'Typical Mailman'.

Exhibit 1

Calls for Tory councillor to resign after he suggests parents on benefits should be sterilised after one child

A Tory councillor has claimed that there should be compulsory sterilisation for parents on benefits.
John Ward prompted comparisons with Adolf Hitler and calls for his resignation after attacking "professional spongers" who he claims "breed for greed".
He has removed the original comments from his website blog and said he was sorry if he caused any problems.
But Mr Ward, a 58-year- old bachelor, has since published a defiant claim that he was "exposing easily demonstrable truths".
He added that "a pushy cold caller at the door got me so irate and upset that I didn't finish what I was doing correctly".
The row erupted with an entry on his Internet blog after Shannon Matthews was recently found alive in a relative's home after being missing for 24 days.
Mr Ward, who has sat on Medway Council in Kent for eight years, focused on how the nine-year-old's mother Karen has seven children by five fathers.
He wrote: "This is yet another example of 'Breakdown Britain', much of which stems from the Government-encouraged change away from the hard-working and decent family structure to an increasingly self-indulgent immoral and state-funded lazy lifestyle.
"Children become just a means toward that end, and are of themselves of little if any further significance in this new society.
"I think there is an increasingly strong case for compulsory sterilisation of all those who have had a second (or third, or whatever) child while living off state handouts.
"It would clearly take a lot of social pressures off all concerned, thus protecting the youngsters themselves to some degree, and remove the incentive to 'breed for greed' - i.e. for more public subsidy of their lifestyle (a well-known dodge, worth ever greater amounts to countless thousands of professional spongers).
"With over-population being the root cause of so much that negatively impacts Planet Earth, the very last thing the world needs is to encourage excessive breeding."

At the weekend, Mr Ward, a retired supermarket worker, had at first tried to play down the row.

He said: "The whole idea was to get people to think about issues.
"Also, I'm half-blind and missed out a word, I should have written 'consideration'. I'm sorry if it has caused any problems."

Then his defiant new entry followed in which he said he will "weather the storm ahead" and continue "exposing easily-demonstrable truths".

But Medway Labour deputy leader Glyn Griffiths said: "If the Conservatives care about their image they should expel him immediately. There is no place for this in mainstream politics."
Labour councillor Bill Esterson added: "It's the sort of thing Nazis did in Germany."
Medway Liberal Democrat leader Geoff Juby said: "He is on a different planet. He should move to China where they have a one-child policy."

Local trade union leader Brian Kelly added: "He makes a strong case for someone to politically sterilise him."

A spokesman for Medway Conservatives said Mr Ward was simply voicing his own opinions.
Last night, a spokesman for Conservative Central Office said: "These remarks are abhorrent and the Conservative Party disassociates itself from them."

Eventually the Councillor was forced to resign. However, he seems to have quite a few admirers:

I fail to see the problem with his comments. You are living off the taxpayer's money. It is NOT A God-given right to mass produce children.- Richard, Durham, NC USA

Are you glad you've got that off your chest, Richard? If you are so into medical experiments I suggest you take 2 large bricks and make a Waldorf salad out of those two, unnecessary sacs between your legs. Have a nice day!

What a brilliant idea, make this man Prime Minister immediately!- Maisie, London, UK

This kind of mouse-brain also tends to write the same comments on Littlejohn's column. Maisie, make yourself a nice cup of cocoa, put on your Wagner, and dream of the good old days of the Fatherland.

I totally agree with him. These selfish, irresponsible, uneducated individuals should be sterilised after one child as long as they continue to sponge off the government. They are bringing children into this world for whom they are completely incapable of providing a secure future and who will likely grow up to become next generation of ASBO recipients.- Dominic, Croydon, Surrey

I went to Croydon once; it was full of loud-mouthed, uneducated filth like Dominic. Not that we should ever generalise!

Mr. Ward resign! Never, he should be given a medal, stopping the benefits would do the trick.- Jimpy, Lincs

The Iron cross is making a comeback, I hear, Jimpy lad! Nice use of English grammar.

People that are part of the 'PC' brigade think that they are always right and hold the moral high ground. By so doing they try to tell us how to think and attempt to destroy those who do not conform to their brainwashing. Isn't it interesting to note that as I read the comments at 11 p.m. there is not one single person out of this country's populous of approximately 60 million that has condemned this councillor's comments. I think that speaks volumes!- David Kempton, Gloucester

When I get my badge and blazer back from my local PC Brigade, I'll be able to think I am right in suggesting that the boy David is a bit deluded if he thinks that these comments are not moderated in such a way to allow dickheads like him to post ad infinitum whilst refusing to allow any dissenting comments. I'm tempted to believe that this is a wind-up but with this paper, there's no way of knowing. Neil Sears, you must be very proud of your work, and the fact that your employer is prepared to let its deranged bigots represent its core values.

I couldn't agree more sterilise them or they lose their benefits.- Skippy, England

What's that Skip? There's someone using your name to write shit? Maybe we should let them rot down the old mineshaft.

There are other comments which are just as disturbing as they claim to be from the more reasonable people - sort of Sturmabteilung Lite or I Can't Believe It's Not Aryan - the type of person who starts a right-wing tirade of prejudice with the compulsory 'I'm Not A Racist But...' - the IMNARBs:

Compulsory sterilisation is going too far, after all, the person in question might not be on benefits forever.What we need are compulsory abortions of under-18's and people on the dole. Simple really. These people are too stupid to think for themselves so they need to be helped.- Chris, Sydney

The sad thing is that Chris thinks he is being sensitive and realistic. Twat!

But wait! Mr Ward and his ilk are in good company. Sir Keith Joseph, father of Thatcherism raised the spectre of this in 1974 in a speech in Birmingham. As with Powell, some years earlier (again in Brum), he did not directly encourage this policy, but the room for interpretation was left unlocked, "The balance of our population, our human stock, is threatened," he said. "A rising population of children are being born to mothers least fitted to bring children into the world. It would be disingenuous of me to suggest that he advocated eugenics; his Jewish upbringing surely precluding this, but turning to the Mail commenters, we need to visit a more extreme room: Block 10 at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

An account of the experiments conducted by the Nazis at Auschwitz as a possible solution to the 'Jewish problem' is contained in Laurence Rees book on the subject, where a Slovakian woman coerced into acting as a nurse explains,

"X-rays were used either as an attempt to sterilize on their own or to check the progress of chemicals injected into the womb. The women were put on the table in the gynaecological postition. as their legs were spread open the doctor opened their wombs and injected the substance..........and I used to expose the X-rays after every examination to see whether the woman was sterilized and her ovary finally stuck together..."

Exhibit 2

Outrage as 'joking' Tory councillor calls for children in care to be euthanised

A councillor who called for the legalisation of euthanasia to cut the number of children in care is being pressured to resign.

Tory Hugh Jackson made the remark during a council meeting about the number of vulnerable youngsters being looked after by the local authority.

Now calls are being made for him to resign after he suggested euthanasia as a solution during the meeting of North Tyneside Council's finance sub committee.

He was responding to information that 43 youngsters in North Tyneside are cared for in other local authority areas, putting a financial strain on the council to the tune of £3.4 million a year.
Mr Jackson, who represents Monkseaton North ward, said today he regretted making the comment but refused to resign.

He added: "It was misplaced humour, one of those things I wish I had not said.
"As soon as I said it I wished I hadn't, it should never have been said.

"We were discussing some of the expensive bits of the budget and one of those is children looked after out of the borough.

"I said have we looked at other policies and said something along the lines of 'have we thought about euthanasia?'

"The chief executive of the council was there and said I should apologise and I was happy to do so because I should never have said it in the first place."
Mr Jackson and his colleagues were discussing the recently announced budget at a meeting last week.

It emerged North Tyneside Council is paying £3.4m a year to other councils to house the looked-after children.

Children who come into that category include those with issues at home and youngsters with special needs.

Despite the councillor's apology, North Tyneside's Labour Mayor, John Harrison, today called for him to resign.
He said: "It is disturbing that Councillor Jackson felt he could make this type of disgraceful comment.

"His solution to the issue about looked-after children with complex needs shows a complete lack of humanity.

"Councillor Jackson may have apologised but I believe he should take an honourable course of action and resign now.

"If he refuses to do the decent thing and go then it is up to his party to sack him."
But Mr Jackson said: "I'm not going to resign, I think it's out of order to say I should.
"I work on a project which visits care homes making sure they are working properly so it's something I care about."

Chair of the finance sub committee, Tory councillor Michael Mcintyre, said the comment was meant as a joke.
He said: "It was an off-the-cuff remark intended to be humorous but unfortunately it was interpreted in the wrong way by some people present.

"He has apologised and this is a storm in a teacup."

It comes just one day after a Tory councillor resigned after suggesting parents on benefits should be sterilised.

John Ward was suspended from the Conservative group on Medway Council in Kent over the comments made on his personal website.

Mr Ward, 58, admitted his comments had been "unfortunately" worded.

A North Tyneside Council spokesman said: "As a council we're committed to work to reduce disadvantages, discrimination, and inequalities of opportunity, and to promote diversity in terms of the people we serve, our workforce, the partners we work with and the services we deliver.

"A comment has been reported to the chief executive and is subject to an internal investigation with a view to being referred to the Standards Board For England."

Frank Lott, Labour group leader, said: "Councillor Jackson's reference to euthanasia is despicable.

"Some have tried to pass this off as an off-the-cuff, humorous remark. If so, this is particularly sick humour and has no place in the council. And neither, for that matter, does councillor Jackson."


He sounds like Hitler. Disgraceful.- May, UK

Dear Sir,No remarks about euthanasia are jokes.Either this despicable man should resign or he should be fired and those who defend his comments should also be dismissed with him.The Nazi policy which led to genocide began with involuntary euthanasia of the sick, the elderly and the young who were disabled. Hitler also supported abortion.These all part of what is known as 'the culture of death'.- Brian Gregory, Choppington

People who joke about killing children are unfit to represent the public. David Cameron must make sure this man is expelled from the Tory party.- Albert Lampwick, UK

So there we have it Herrn und Damen, a bridge too far for even the bigots of Mail Stadt. Unless, of course, some comments have been excluded. Whither Jimpy et al? And on that bouncing bombshell.........

[ Quit the lame WW2 references and puns - Ed ]

Not Everyone McCann

Today's article stating the obvious is in The Guardian. Enjoy the cash Edgar. The Express and Star apologise on their front page! Shock, Horror!

The big problem is that ordinary people will not be able to take such action. We saw it with Elton John and we also witnessed the lesser-of-two-evils libel trial of Neil Hamilton and Mohamed Al-Fayed. Note that the Daily Star continues - even in the same issue as the apology - to carry unsubstantiated stories about the family of Shannon Matthews; a family unlikely to be able to afford the same Public Relations team or legal experts as the parents of Madeleine McCann.

The Guardian article continues..........

Edgar Forbes

Wednesday March 19 2008

The front-page apologies have been heralded as "unprecedented", the McCanns have welcomed Express Newspapers' contrition over the "utter falsity" its titles published about them and the Find Madeleine fund has been topped up by £550,000. This may be seen as justice for the "grossly defamed" McCanns, but it is not victory for media law or press self-regulation.
What this case again demonstrates is that when it comes to the excesses of the press, the UK legal system allows those with a chequebook to exact punishment, but offers little protection to those who rely on self-regulation by the Press Complaints Commission.
Express Newspapers has been rightly brought to book for wildly speculative stories fuelled by irresponsible journalism. But while competitors might pontificate about their failings, they have also been party to print and broadcast output that saw headlines supplant hard facts in the quest for attention-grabbing content.
Today's statement in the high court was as inevitable as it was necessary. Express Newspapers had no option. Had it gone to trial there is little doubt a jury would have awarded an even higher sum. The public are as fickle as the press when it comes to complaining about the sensational headlines they are happy to read.
Beyond today's settlement, the key question remains: what protection do self-regulation and the law provide to protect individuals against speculative reporting?
Alongside its front page McCann apology, today's Daily Star carried the splash headline "Fantasy world of warped Mucca" and speculation about Shannon Matthews' mother. It is unlikely we will see Mrs Matthews instructing Carter-Ruck to take on the press.
The PCC - notable by its absence from today's settlement - has no legal powers over the press. It can ask editors to behave, but cannot compel compliance or punish papers. Thus we have a regulatory system that allows those who can afford to engage the legal system to obtain compensation for "utter falsities", but offers those not as resourceful as the McCanns minimal protection or compensation.
Recent judgments have made much of "responsible journalism" and "neutral reportage", but until we have a self-regulatory system that ensures these practices are followed across the industry, they will remain legal constructs rather than provide for enforceable regulatory principles.

Unlucky Heather

Pity the poor Solicitor-Advocate chosen to represent Heather Mills at today's appeal hearing. He looked like a startled rabbit. At least he kept his hair dry.

Having perused the lengthy Judgment, it is clear why the controlled Heather did not want it published. It is never staisfying in such cases for dirty linen to be aired in public, particularly where there are children involved. However, as the Judgment makes clear, Heather was a fantasist, a deceiver and had delusions of self-worth.

The incident regarding an attempt to obtain a payment of £480,000 from MPL appears to be extremely suspicious if not downright fraud.

The full Judgment can be found here. (PDF)

In a piece entitled Lucky Heather? (seems as familiar as predictable - see yesterday), Marliyn Stowe in The Guardian tries to be ever-so-controversial by having a swipe at Macca as well, in the full knowledge that most of the press will be siding with him and continuing the vilification of Ms Mills. It's hardly Julie 'Take-the-opposite-point-of-view-as-everyone-else' Burchill, but there you go.

The People Stalking Our Children

As others have noted, there has not been the media publicity or the long list of celebrities queuing up to offer support for Shannon Matthews as there has been for more photogenic, middle class, children.

It is unusual in cases like this to have anything approaching a happy conclusion. Unfortunately, given the time period involved, it would not have been a surprise if a body had been found. I witnessed genuine relef and joy when the news interrupted Cheltenham.

Of course, this joy does not appear to be shared by some of the press. As Anton Vowl points out here, Melanie Phillips, (the last time I saw anyone who looked like that she had a house on top of her) in The Mail never fails to deliver her vile bilge. According to Mad Mel, Shannon is a victim of lifestyle choice', which in Melspeak means that she had a mother who had more than one sexual partner. And heaven forbid that a distant family member is a bit of a loner: that's obviously a case for sterilisation and having Social Services on BT Family and Friends.

The Mail has used this as an opportunity to bash the police, who are obviously more interested in harassing middle class motorists instead of tackling real crimes (as speeding, tax evasion and refusing to recycle are acceptable).

The police are understandably perturbed at the criticism. We do not know what happened, why it happened or what exactly happened in the poloice investigatuion. It's all supposition.

So step forward the doyen of Garage Doors and Awnings, John ' Shoot to Kill' Stalker, to offer his two-penneth worth of guesses.

Writing in the Sunday People, he says, "There is no doubt that from the beginning police strongly suspected that the answer to her disappearance lay within her family. "

It does not take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that in cases like this one, the perpetrator is often known to the victim, be it a family member or person in a position of trust. To read the Sunday papers though, one would be forgiven for thinking that there are stranger paedophiles lurking near every playground and school. An objection was recently raised to a hotel in Liverpool as it was near a school, and 'a paedophile could book in!'

John continues:

  • By all accounts Donovan is a scruffy loner, with his two children removed from him. He seems an obvious suspect and it is understandable that people are asking why it took 24 days for police to kick his door down.

I'll give John the benefit of the doubt here and assume he doesn't condone literally battering the door down without any real evidence. He just hides behind the 'other people might say that' device. Perhaps he just means the marksmen should aim at feet.

  • A clearer picture will soon emerge of what took place.

Good, John; let's just wait then? No?

  • What happened while Shannon was with Donovan? Did she go voluntarily? He was no stranger to her. Most importantly, was her divan drawer hiding place part of a game to keep her away from others she wished to escape from?

Because waiting would prevent idle speculation and leave pages to fill with news. As Anton Vowl also blogs, nobody cares about the effect of such speculation. The Mail is not alone in referring to the police 'now fearing the worst' about the 'ordeal'. No need for an investigation, trial or facts. Just get people to read between the lines. Then, if legal proceedings do take place, hide behind reporting restrictions whilst covertly adding to their portfolio of smears and intrusion, ready for publication upon receipt of a guilty verdict.

  • Police must seriously examine whether family connivance may be a feature. Large cash rewards are often available for the return of a missing child, such as in the Madeleine McCann inquiry. In Shannon's case, the money on offer will undoubtedly have tempted some to make fraudulent claims. A shrewd investigator will know that.

This is the crux of John's surmising and gives lead to the bold headline which was splashed across paper copies of this rag. And where do a lot of these rewards come from? Yes, tabloid red-tops like the one rewarding Stalker for this unnecessary and intrusive copy. He even ends the piece with this startling piece of hypocrisy:

  • Whether the police could or should have acted sooner will be up for discussion after any criminal trial, if it goes that far. For the moment we should be quietly delighted that a vulnerable child who many, including me, thought was dead is today safe.

That explains a lot, John. Enjoy your rentaquote reward.

Lucky Heather?

Having just watched Heather Mill's performance outside The High Court, all I can say that Paul is well rid. £24.3 Million for a few years of marriage is a nice little earner for this clearly hyper individual. She says she is pleased with it, but given her rant about lawyers etc, it seems she expected a lot more. A further £600,000 to her solicitors may have been well spent.

As someone who dealt with divorce law for many years, I am disturbed by such sums being awarded for marriages of short duration. Heather may not feel she has been well-treated but regardless of her demonisation by the press, and any alleged treatment by Macca, she should be very grateful for her good fortune.

What matters most, of course, is the provision for the couple's daughter; the financial settlement is a separate matter.

Not Against Any (One) Ethnic Group or Play It Again, Swan

The swans on the left were on the River Shannon at Limerick, which reminds me of a less than golden moment on a previous trip to the Emerald Isle - Dublin to be exact. Intending to impress an ex-girlfriend and 18 month old son, yer man here tried to get close - very close - to a swan and her brood (in order to feed it, not feed on it you understand) when it (quite justifiably) started to attack me. How anyone is supposed to catch one to eat is beyond me. Ever seen Animal Rescue programmes where the RSPCA try to collar a cygnet? Nigh impossible. The Pen is mightier than the sword (sorry) as suggested here.

I got my comeuppance when I slipped on bird shit and my mobile phone fell into Phoenix Park lake. Oh how we laughed. Yes they did, didn't they!

Limerick becomes interesting because there was a story in The Limerick Post by Lorraine Carey, which I am trying to locate but is alluded to here.

  • by Lorraine Carey A CURIOUS rumour is going around Limerick that our Polish community is eating our swans.Swan feeding is a familiar custom in Limerick but anyone Polish throwing bread to the birds is now being eyed with suspicion as a rumour circulates that swan is a Polish delicacy. [...]Limerick Post [Ireland]18 June 2006

Anyway, as I mentioned in an earlier swan-related post, the Sun and Mail's obsession with so-called swan-bakers needs to be looked at in the context of how it treats other stories about cruelty to these regal birds. In October, The Times reported that a workman had found 28 dead swans buried in Bedfordshire. Bedfordshire, significantly, was the area mentioned in The Sun lasy year in relation to East Europeans. Yesterday, it reported that 3 men (who appear not to have Polish names) have been charged over this and have been bailed until August. It was buried in a small piece in the Murdoch-owned Times and I could not find it online.

Surprise, surprise there appears to be no mention of this in the Mail. Suffice to say, it would not be given the same prominence as it would if the accused had been called Tomasz, for instance. At least here, a crime has been committed; in the other cases it is uncertain as to whether there has been any human intervention. Remember the dolt who said that it did not appear to have been killed by an animal but couldn't be sure if humans had done so. Beam me up, Scotty seems apt given that it another urban myth.

This leads me to the news that the Federation of Poles in Great Britain has complained to the PCC over coverage in the Mail. The toothless tiger says it wants clarification. Read the fucking paper FFS! ( 5CC has numerous examples here, having already got on the case whilst I was drinking my Cheltenham winnings, and apropos of nothing noticing the supreme joy on the faces of working class people when the racing was interrupted by news of Shannon)

  • Jan Mokrzycki, the chair of the FPGB, told Polish media: "It was the headlines which were the most offensive, using emotive anti-Polish language.
    "Poles seem to be unable to please the Daily Mail whatever they do.
    "On one day you get a headline 'Poles flood into England' implying the country is drowning in immigrants, and the next day you get 'Poles desert England' as if we are abandoning them.
    "Poles are not totally innocent, no society is totally innocent, and if a Pole does something wrong then he or she should have to face the music.
    "But when you get a series of articles and none of the headlines shed a positive light, and all shed a negative light by using this sort of terminology then it is fair to say we can complain about bias.

This comes at a time when attacks on Poles seems to be rising.

As the Federation points out:

  • Local newspapers, mainly outside the big cities, are increasingly reporting cases of violence and abuse against the community, the Federation of Poles in Great Britain said.
    "What is particularly worrying is the rise in hate crimes against Poles," said Wiktor Moszczynski, research officer for the federation.
    "Local media have written ... reports about Poles being beaten up, fire-bombed or abused -- both physically and verbally.

Without doubt if you write such vile drivel each day then eventually it will stick. We see how urban myth quickly becomes fact; how mis-quotes become catchphrases. Violence is occurring. In Polish Ireland blogger, MacKozer's site, he outlines that there have been attacks in Dublin, which brings us full circle. Although it cannot be proved that such attacks are xenophobia-linked, it is hard not to take such a view.

I'm off to Poland next month and looking forward to it. If I see any swans being mistreated I'll report it. And I promise not to try to impress women by getting too close (to the swans that is).

Another important piece on the swan stories can be found at Five Chinese Crackers here.

Good News Time

I think I was sent this picture because it depicts some of my favourite things (as another nun once sang) - those being Father Ted and John Aldridge. Apparently, Aldo was visiting the annual Father Ted jamboree.
I stil think Ireland should have chosen 'My Lovely Horse' (Neil Hannon) or even the stripped down version instead of Dustin the Turkey but anyway, let's hope it does well. Given that the UK is destined to get very few points due to the fact that:
a) Our entry is invariably crap these days, and
b) Everyone hates us for the Iraq conflict,
it could be the only bit worth watching, (unless we start giving out more George Crosses)

Dib Dib Div - A Nation Flagging

At a time when the BBC has a series on 'Britishness' and the right-wing trash has continued apace with its scurrilous scaremongering on race, comes a suggestion (Jack Straw referred to it as a debate opener or some such) from Lord Goldsmith that school leavers should swear an allegiance to Queen and country. To be fair to Goldsmith he did indicate that the oath could be made to the country itself rather than the unelected old leech residing in Buck House.

The thought of American-style saluting the flag during morning assembly does grate but I cannot see this coming to pass. The saddening aspect is that there is a presumption that school-leavers have not reached this level of citizenship unless a few words are uttered. Many already carry out community works.

A lot of this is just meaningless posturing, but judging by the 100+ comments in the Daily Mail, it hits the right buttons. Some comments have a go at the Royal Family - some bordering on racism - while others take the opportunity to blame the Government.

Taking the biscuit for BNP spite must go to this bastard:

  • It might have benefits in as much that if children of immigrants do not wish to take the oath then perhaps we could use it as an excuse to send them back to their ancestral country along with their parents so relieving pressure on this country as a whole. Controversial yes but something has to be done to ease the population of Great Britain and give it back to the indigenous people.- Colin, Bedford, England

I'm tempted into hoping that this was just a wind-up comment, but the fact that the paper sought fit to print it, makes me want to vomit all the more. By all means let us have a debate on immigration, but this comment is completely vile and tantamount to incitement to racial hatred.

The rest of the proposals, without making exciting reading, do have some value, and are worthy of debate. Encouraging more people to carry out voluntary work (notwithstanding any ulterior motive Government may have for saving money) and rewarding with council tax reductions, may be beneficial.

However, the timing of the release of the recommendations is a bit suspicious. I'm willing to listen to coincidence theories but my scepticism sometimes takes precedence.

  • It's a good idea. The constitutional monarchy is our one protection against the likes of the Labour Party. It puts dwarves like Blair and Brown into firm perspective.- Ben Hall, Dubai UAE

Ah, Dubai, that mother of all parliaments and epitome of a fine democratic constitutional monarchy. Ben, or Knowsfuk to his friends.

Of course, judging by the story about school places maybe a different type of pledge will be required years before any leaving ceremony.


Think Only This Of Me

For many years my bitter and twisted mindset has led me to carry upon my person the eloquent rant of Elvis Costello, "Tramp The Dirt Down" on the basis that upon hearing the news of Maggie's death, I'll be able to wallow in my selfish pit of hate. From Sony Walkman cassette to Minidisc to SE Mp3 phone, the tune has remained, primed - ready for its fitting requiem setting. (Why I have been a slave to Sony alludes me, given their disposition of having non-generic adapters).

Today, I visited a little-known new gallery in Liverpool (thank you Derek the Merc taxi driver and Dave the door opener) called Novas CUC and based in a refurbished cotton warehouse. The above work is by Wirral-based artists, The Singh Twins, who won the People's Vote at today's Liverpool Art Prize 08.

I shall write more about today's sojourn and put some photos up as there were many thought-provoking works. We did ask if we could take photos and were informed in the affirmative until some people objected to it. Maybe, it was just certain exhibits, but it should be made clearer. Considering that photos and blogs such as these help to spread the word (albeit in a small way) seems to render such complaints as misguided to say the least.

Anyhoo, the picture is of Maggie. She is not my favourite person. She brings back bad memories of Jim Davidson. She will outlive us all.

The mail reported the story in usual style:

Immaculate as ever, Baroness Thatcher leaves hospital after collapsing over the fruit jelly

Apparently her legs gave way and this had nothing to do with the fact that she had recently found the key to Dennis's drinks cabinet. 'I used to be Prime Minister, you know, ' she said.

Easy for me to take the piss out of an octogenerian (who isn't my mother, for a change) but luckily the British people rally to her defence:

  • Good to see her and about again a true lady full of pride and spirit.- Peter Woods, Indang Philippines

Good to see someone who appreciates a stylish shoe or two.

  • The greatest Prime Minister after Churchill, she will go down in history as the saviour of the country from left wing trade unions and the miners leader Scargill. The freeing of rent slaves to local councils by giving people the right to buy their council houses, and the winning of the Falklands War, putting the 'Great' back into Britain.Now all we have is a government lead by Scots, taxing us to death and reducing us to Nanny State morons.- Alan Jeavons, India

Good to see the Empire is still in safe hands. Do you get the feeling that Alan sold his council house and fucked off to Goa.

  • Second greatest PM of the 20th Century (just behind you know who). I have admired her ever since her "Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher" days. I figured that anyone who could make the socialists that angry couldn’t be all bad. God bless her.- Dean, Kula, Hawaii

Because taking milk away from children was something to be proud of! Now I'm drinking it from coconuts. If only the figures for coconut-falling deaths were credible.

  • Good to see her recovering. She's the best thing that ever happened to this country - without her the UK would not have enjoyed the success (up until recent times)we had. The pathetic politicians today have much to thank Maggie for.- Anthony Richardson, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Because Saudi Arabia is THIS country and we had no economic problems or unemployment under Maggie. Anthony, I know it's hot over there and looking at sand until the next princess beheading comes along is boring, but.........FFS.

  • Shame the Mrs Thatcher is getting old and failing in health, Britain could do with someone like her with a bit of backbone to pull the country back together.- Rebecca, Mallorca, Spain

Or maybe General Franco?

  • Hope you feel better soon. You are an inspiration to many.- Elizabeth, Grantham UK

At last, someone from this sceptered isle. Grantham rings a bell though. All together now, 'She was only the grocer's daughter....'

English Lesson's Required!

Swan-Upping at The Mail

Following The Mail's conversion to green issues and the fact that they have convinced M & S to ditch the plastic bag, comes more glum recycled animal-rights (well, bird) bile from our friends at Britain's Nazi daily.

This time they have even more open-and-shut-case evidence. Apparently, angler David 'Maybe' Gibson caught sight of the despicable act. Or did he? Let's see:

  • Mr Gibson did not need to look in the pot to know what it contained: the piles of feathers and stripped carcasses were evidence enough.

Look I don't need to be Perry Mason to pick holes in this one, but we know there's no cooking without smoke so...........

  • the man - believed to be an East European immigrant - had packed up his tent and fled.

No mention who actually believes but who cares?

  • I don't care what nationality these people are. It's just appalling. If we let this carry on there will be no swans left."

Yes, they'll be in Tesco next at £1.99 a go.

So it must be the Poles, yes?

  • He said he found two young Polish men living in another tent nearby.
    They told him: "We don't eat the swans. We just stay here at night and we work during the day."

Very clever. Denying it, eh? BUt I thought, according to Mail-lore that all foreigners get benefits and new houses as soon as they step off the ferry/lorry Silly me.

Surely, the old bill are on the case.

  • "By the time they came down the bloke had gone. He must have thrown the carcasses away.

Subtle. disposing of the evidence. But surely there's DNA knocking around? Not sure what 'authorities' he contacted but without being too crass, there does not appear to have been much chance of saving Exhibit A. It is an ex-swan.

  • The scene was visited later by Kevin Garten, a volunteer from Shepperton Swan Sanctuary.
  • ........a fox would have had it straight off.
    "I cannot definitely say it was human but I can definitely say it was no animal."

Kevin would be great at playing animal, vegetable or mineral.

Of course, the pictures provided look familiar. Yes, this is the same story as February 28th. Same David Gibson. Same old Mail. Given that there were another 43 comments, we know why the evil bastards at the Mail regurgitate such stories: it ticks all the right boxes without providing any evidence.

The tents seem to be used by Europeans and there may be some litter in the field, including a Romanian bible (still there yesterday according to the Evening Standard) and batteries. On this subject, Dave 'Maybe not Mel's doppelganger' Gibson is less than mute:

  • "Maybe they are stripping them apart for the lead, or perhaps they are tipping the acid in the water to kill the fish.

Gibson, enjoying his fame as friend of the swans is less than mute (ahem):

  • "Maybe they are stripping them apart for the lead, or perhaps they are tipping the acid in the water to kill the fish. "

This is the most disturbing aspect of this case. Gibson's pathetic musings ( I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here and say that he's just thick rather than having any racist agenda) are given an airing as if they count for anything. Perhaps Dave uses badger shit as fishing bait; let's face it, there may be some along the river bank.

Bring on the mad...........

  • This is a sickening thing to do, these people should not be allowed to pitch tents in parks anyway. - Jacqui W., Southampton

The Weems woman never fails to let us down. Perhaps you'd like to take them in, Jack, me ol' fash!

  • How low have we sunk? Not only committing a crime by killing the swans but what about the camping? Surely this cannot be legal? What's the next move, jail themthen give them a "golden handshake ". We (the Government) operate a two tierlaw, one for the true Brits and another for any Tom, Dick or Harry who decides to decamp here. It stinks.- Barbara, Bolton, England

Babs from Notlob doesn't quite understand the notion of a golden handshake. Of course, she has no examples of this two-tier system.

Let me say this : I do not know whether there is any truth in this story. Truth is, neither does the Mail. Unfortunately, the racist commentators don't care.

Fortunately, there were a couple of salient points made:

  • A pheasant is an elegant bird, but I can kill and eat it. Why the double standard? Why is this sick and disgusting but the killing of pheasants and other game is all right?Perhaps we shouldn't be jumping to conclusions until the police actually say that the swan was killed by this mystery immigrant.- Steff, Cardiff, UK

Another load of Bewicks from the Mail's fishers of hate.