Gest That's Why They Call It The Blues

Or Sorry Seems To Be The Finest Word.

I sometimes I think I could write punning headlines for tabloids. I predicted that Fabregas's penalty for Spain v Italy would prompt use of Fab in the back page stories so the boy done good.

While I was looking for the Boris story of the previous post, I came across a vote on This Is London, a companion to The Mail and Evening Standard. Indeed, the reply I received from the Daily Mail last year regarding bias and censorship on their comments section came from a journo who writes for T.I.L.

The vote is about the resignation of James McGrath (see previous post). Not surprisingly about 75% believe he should not have resigned. McGrath, for his part denies making a racist point, claiming the comment was taken out of context. Johnson also defends his friend. Fair enough; comments can be taken out of context and stretched to suit the agenda. Which begs the question - why resign?

Even more interesting though was this little faux-pas. Big shout to the Mailwatch forum for the initial alert. Although not in the Mail itself, unlike the previous examples of grovelling here, it's like the Nigel Dempster days all over again.

In full, in case the blighters take it down:

  • DAVID GEST Last updated at 22:43pm on 19.06.08

    In articles published on 23 and 26 May 2008, we gave the impression that Mr Gest had contracted a sexually transmitted infection and alleged that he had Liza Minnelli's dog killed without her knowledge.

    This was wrong. David Gest has never had a sexually transmitted infection and did not have Ms Minnelli's dog killed.

  • We apologise to Mr Gest for any embarrassment caused.

But apart from that...............................................................

Top Race Gear

As every petrolhead knows, Jeremy Clarkson is not too proud to spout drivel and ignorance in the name of entertainment: FACT! It's as if a man with half a brain and a large mouth has been given a huge salary and unlimited airtime; and indeed, that's exactly what it is.

Whilst fiddling with the wonderful Play it again, Sam facility of the BBCi player, I stumbled, nay fell into the chasm of un-PC wallpaper that goes under the name of Top Gear.

Now, I like the theme tune - Jessica by the Allman Brothers - but I tend to view Clarkson as a slightly upmarket version of Richard Littlejohn. Surprisingly, he seems very popular in Poland, which, perhaps partly explains some of the driving I witnessed there. However, my interest in cars extends only to the colour and whether it has four wheels, an engine and enough storage space on the mp3 player for the complete Beatles collection.

In fact, I prefer the train or bus as they don't tend to breathalyse you as much. But I digress....

If anyone can bear to see JC waxing manically about the latest Ferrari, there's a clip here (if you have BBCi player and live in the UK, or use proxy), which is available for about a week.

Anyway, forward to about 23 minutes in and correct me if I'm hearing things, but does the boy Jeremy make a reference to wops, albeit as an attempted funny. He appears to be talking about the lack of an audio player and refers to the sound of 'Italian mechanical engineering, or be-wop'.

Clarkson has been in trouble before. His reference to one car model as being 'gay' (or agreeing with an audience member) attracted a host of complaints.

The alleged comment comes days after a Tory candidate, Alun Cairns was forced to withdraw after using the phrase 'greasy wops' about the Italian football team on a radio phone-in.

Then we have the case of Boris 'picaninnies' Johnson's Deputy Chief of Staff, James McGrath. McGrath -himself an Australian migrant - as reported in today's Mirror:

  • A top aide to Boris Johnson quit last night after sparking fury by saying black people could "go home" if they did not like having a Tory mayor of London.

    James McGrath, 34, his deputy chief of staff, said he would accept an "exodus" of Caribbean migrants, adding: "Well, let them go if they don't like it here."

I'm following doctor's orders in not reading the Daily Mail much; I shudder to think what I may find there.

Ark Royal Visit to Liverpool:

I've never been a great fan of military matters, but I visited the Ark Royal when she recently docked in Liverpool. There is a family connection in that the original Ark Royal - if one discounts Walter Raleigh's ship - was built and launched in Birkenhead. My grandfather - a contemporary Ragged Trousered Philanthropist - was a painter at the shipyard and worked on the aircraft carrier. He also claimed to have painted the Mona Lisa ( Isle of Man ferries had names such as Mona's Isle) but I digress. The story of the boat's service is interesting from a historical perspective.

The tour of one of its successors was very interesting. I noted that there was less searching of bags and confiscating of items than at the McCartney concert; not that many people would argue with the gun-toting marines on board.

One aspect I did find unsettling was the glee in allowing very young children to hold enormous weaponry without placing their use in context.

The Liverpool Sound Concert Photos

Live And Let Die

Not put up a video before so just a test from Macca concert. Bit of Live and Let Die plus the compulsory fireworks.

Les Miserable

I don't like turncoats - remind me too much of the double-sided rugby tops of Grammar school - but in certain circumstances I'm willing to welcome those travelling the Damascan path. Not so Leslie T. Byrom CBE FRICS. As reported today, Cllr B has resigned from Cameron's Conservatives - ostensibly over the 42 day detention policy - and Labour (split over the issue) wants him on board HMS Habeas Corpus. This is a political free-jumper (nearly put free-loader but remembered he wasn't called Den Dover) who had 30 years in politics as a Tory. When Thatcher began to destroy Merseyside, Byrom was a member of the welcoming committee; moreover he was a member of the host party.

As his dreadful home page points out:

  • Joined Sefton Council 6th June 1985, Conservative Leader 1991 to 2005

  • Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority Conservative Group Leader
    Chairman, LGA Fire Services Management Committee, LGA and Conservative spokesman for the Fire Service, Chairman of the Fire Forum, Member Safer Communities Board, DCLG Centre of Excellence and Equalities and Diversity project boards. Fire Practitioners Forum. Chairman Employers side, National Joint Council (NJC) Fire service negotiating body for the UK.

  • Euro Parliamentary Candidate,
    European Elections 1999, Conservative North West 8th position
    European Elections 2004, 8th position
    Parliamentary Candidate Westminster
    Knowsley South Parliamentary By Election 29th September 1991 and General Election 1992. Wirral South Parliamentary By Election 28th February 1997 and General Election 1997.

Byrom lost the epochal Wirral South by-election with a swing to Labour in excess of 17%.

Well, one thing we do know is that whilst Les The Surveyor (Chartered) is popular in his Sefton ward, he seems to come unstuck when putting himself up for higher things. The 1997 By-election defeat in a Tory seat paved the way for the election of Comrade Blair. I didn't keep hold of Les's election addresses during that ill-fated campaign, but I don't remember it being too complimentary towards his new New Labour chums.

Many of us had high hopes in 1997, and perhaps such defections come as no surprise these days as the Labour Government, rather than being feared by its natural opponents, is actually welcomed.

Coming as it does on a day when figures suggest that the elderly and children are worse off, the fact that an establishment figure such as Byrom should feel comfortable in Labour circles. Iain Dale, whose diary long ceased to be of interest has a take on why Les has taken the trip to the dark side at this particular time here. He might say that, but I couldn't possibly comment.

The Labour Party - happy to deflect criticism of Brown - is as ever, ready to lay out the not-so-red carpet:

  • Hazel Blears MP, Labour's Communities and Local Government Secretary, said:"Les Byrom is a big player in North West politics and I am pleased that he has made this decision. "Here is another top Tory who has seen through David Cameron's shallow salesmanship and said 'enough is enough'. "We look forward to welcoming Les into the Labour Party."

Les has a valid point in his resignation letter:

  • No matter where Lady Thatcher stood in the polls, she always sought to do what was right rather than what was politically expedient, and this is a lesson you would be well advised to learn.

And this is the great problem. I was reminded of the above when watching Thatcher in Andrew Marr's history programme. In trying to woo Mail voters and so-called Middle England, Labour has been the architect of its own misfortune. You don't have to be Les The Surveyor to know when you've neglected your foundations.

Macca Comes Home

Difficult to describe the concert, so here, for all my foreign fans (!) is my pic of Paul in Liverpool.

Just glad I managed to smuggle the camera in (don't ask where it was during the security check).