Friday, 29 May 2009

Breast Milk vs Cancer

Yesterday I showed how the Sun supports pseudoscience.

Today we have another example: a cancer sufferer who is using his daughter's breast milk in an attempt to fight off both colonic and liver cancer.

While I completely sympthaise with the guy's plight and I know that people will do anything in an attempt to get better, he needs to know that it's just a placebo.

I would go into more detail, but instead would suggest that people look at the article on Respectful Insolence which - although not commenting on the Sun's article, it is about the same story - goes into a lot more detail than I ever could.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Evil monster in stuffing herself with chocolate shock.

Hold the front page! The Sun has another scorching exclusive concerning the Baby Peter case:

BABY P’s mother has put on TWO STONE in five months behind bars by gorging on chocolate.

Important news I'm sure you'll agree. I'm more interested though in how this amazing story has reached the Sun:

A friend who has kept in touch with her said she whined in a letter that her days at Holloway jail were spent “in pottery classes, watching movies and eating chocolate”.

The 27-year-old monster is being held in the prison’s segregation unit for her own safety.

Her friend told The Sun: “She says there’s very little to do in segregation except eat chocolate and laze around.

“She was an expert at that already.” When she appeared in court last week, the mum looked noticeably fatter and tried to hide her weight gain with an over-sized pink top.


This is obviously quite some friend to be selling her for a few pieces of silver to the newspaper that is making money out of describing her as both evil and a monster. It does therefore make you wonder whether this is a friend at all; one of the oldest tabloid journalism tricks in the book is to get in contact with a notable prisoner, claim to be sympathetic to their plight, gain their trust, and then once they tell you something even slightly interesting, it suddenly appears in the newspaper.

It is all rather stating the obvious though. Not much to do in the segregation unit? Who knew? What would the paper rather be happening to her? Perhaps they ought to get the "decent mums" from Facebook who were up for torturing her to death (slowly) and see just how ingenious their ideas were for bringing their anger and pain to bear on the mother were.

Somewhat predictably, the paper's campaign for the sentences of the three found guilty to be reviewed has borne fruit, although whether the Court of Appeal will decide whether the sentences were too lenient or not is another matter. As Afua Hirsch points out on CiF, the indeterminate sentences given to all three will almost certainly mean that they will serve far longer than the minimums which were handed down, which the Sun emphasised without bothering to explain just how difficult it is to be freed by those dates. Almost 11,000 people are now serving "indeterminate" sentences, of which less than 50 were released once their minimum term had expired. This though is of little concern to a newspaper which has so successfully mined the outrage surrounding the death of Baby Peter, and which also repeatedly informs its readers of just how soft both the lunatic judges and the prison system in general is.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sun supports Pseudoscience

In today's Sun there's a puff-piece which verges on advertising.

As bad as that is, what makes worse is that it covers a "magic bullet" treatment for addictions and is known as the "Emotional Freedom Technique".

Allegedly any addiction can be cured simply by tapping someone one the side of the head (thankfully not in a manner like this), neck and arms in a manner akin to acupuncture.

A quick search of Google Scholar shows that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever in support of this "treatment". The only positive articles are those from the practitioners.

The article also has a handy Q&A section which includes the following:
HOW DOES IT WORK? - Known as "emotional acupuncture", it involves tapping on key parts of the body while focusing on a problem.

As you tap and the energy "settles", it is claimed the level of emotion reduces.
So, in order words, it releases your Qi?
WHAT IS IT USED FOR? - Practitioners claim EFT can help with addictions, cravings, allergies, stress, phobias, eating disorders and grief.
A cure for any and everything should raise suspicions straight-away because they are generally false.
HOW MANY PRACTISE IT? - Hundreds of thousands worldwide, but anyone can learn it and you can even do it on yourself.
As a rule, if you don't need any special qualifications it's clearly a load of rubbish.

The Sun also provides a link to the woman's website, which has a section that covers her qualifications, or more correctly, her lack of: she states that she is qualified in neuro-linguistic programming and something called Psych-K. Needless to say, both are practised by quacks.

In any event, claiming that it is similar to acupuncture is not a claim that you want to make, seeing that it has been shown that acupuncture is no better than a placebo.

Hmm.. fake treatments in a paper known for its fake news. I guess they belong together!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Paedophiles and crabs, MPs and "gipsies", all the bloody same!

Three cheers for Fergus Shanahan, who says the things that others won't:

MPs, gipsies... they're made for each other

SO our MPs demand second homes? Fine. Stick them in a caravan on an illegal gipsy site.

The gipsies and our crooked MPs should get along just fine together.

Both think they are above the law. Both think rules are for other people. Both dodge paying their taxes.

Both treat honest hard-working taxpayers with sneering contempt.

Why bother making just one sweeping generalisation when you can instead make two? And hey, just to make sure you don't potentially breach the Race Relations Act by making remarks about gypsies as a whole, as they're a protected group, simply call them "gipsies" instead! Tabloid comment at its finest.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Absolutely shameless part 3.

The opening two paragraphs of today's Sun leader could only have been written by someone with no shame whatsoever:

NOW we know the value of a baby's life in 21st century Britain. It is pitifully low.

Yesterday's sentences on the three monsters found guilty of causing or allowing the death-by-torture of 17-month-old Baby Peter will enrage decent parents everywhere.

We didn't need the Baby Peter case to inform us of this though: could this possibly be the same newspaper that earlier in the week we discovered had not paid a penny to the Patten family for their story which it turned out was completely false in any event? The way the paper connived with the parents in that case, and then failed to stump up a penny, should too enrage decent parents everywhere. The paper's campaign on Baby P is so at odds with its behaviour concerning Alfie Patten that it suggests that the paper doesn't care one jot for Baby P or children in general; all it really cares about is its own sales and profiting from the kind of dehumanisation which it has specialised in over the last couple of days. Then again, that isn't the slightest bit surprising.

The leader goes on to misleadingly give the sentences handed down to the three involved in the case, as does the paper's article, not giving hardly any emphasis whatsoever to the fact that the mother was sentenced to 10 years, with a minimum of 5, the step-father 20 years with a minimum of ten, as well as a concurrent 12-year sentence for raping a two-year-old girl, and the lodger to six years, with a minimum of 3. In addition, all were given indeterminate sentences, which means they have to pass courses and convince parole panels that they are no longer any kind of threat before they can be released. The Guardian points out that since the "indefinite" sentences were introduced, less than 50 of those given them have been released at the earliest possible opportunity.

It also goes on to undermine its whole previous campaign, which targeted only social workers and a doctor involved in the care of Baby Peter:

Many social workers do a wonderful job for little reward or praise. But far too many children are being deserted by police, doctors, lawyers and care staff. They are trapped in abusive, dysfunctional families screaming for help into the deaf ears of officialdom.

Why then did the paper not attack the police, doctors and lawyers, all of whom failed just as much as the social workers did, with the same vehemence as it did the social workers? Was it simply because social workers, unlike the other three organisations, have far fewer individuals willing or prepared to defend them?

The Sun knows above all that stories such as this sell. Its top three reports at the moment are this, Perv Gary Glitter shaving his beard off, and Paedo victim's chilling claim. You almost have to wonder if Rebekah Wade or those in charge suffer from monomania, such is their apparent obsession with children either being abused or potentially becoming victims. Strange that when it comes down to it, as the Alfie Patten example shows, they show just as much contempt for children and their emotions as those criticise.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Gosh, what a surprise.

Emotional pornography in today's Sun leader:

But today, when Judge Stephen Kramer sentences the three monsters involved in Baby Peter's death, he will have to consider more than the failings of organisations meant to protect vulnerable children.

He must also send out a message that depraved brutes, like the trio involved in this baby's horrible end, have no place in a civilised society.

It is hard to think of a punishment that fits this particular crime without reducing ourselves to the level of the guilty.

The judge must reflect that even the wildest animals care for their young.

They do not leave them screaming for protection like Baby Peter, as they slowly and sadistically destroy their bodies.

His evil mother, her sadistic child-rapist boyfriend and the paedophile lodger all face 14 years behind bars. The boyfriend faces life in jail for the separate rape conviction.

All of them must now get the maximum sentence possible. With no remission. Not a single day.

The Sun really should get an award for such writing: no other newspaper so successfully dehumanises those convicted of crimes. It doesn't matter that it credits those responsible for Baby Peter's death with intelligence and planning which the evidence the court received hardly backs up, or indeed that even the baby's father detected nothing wrong with him despite seeing him only the weekend before he died, which perhaps provides an insight into the other failings; it really has just gripped hold of the outrage that surrounded this case, for both right and wrong, and is squeezing every drop that it can from it.

Predictably then, it's already launched another petition calling for the sentences handed down to be lengthened, despite all being sentenced to indeterminate sentences, with the paper seizing on how the mother could out within 3 years, the boyfriend within 8 and the lodger within 1, although to call that unlikely would be putting it lightly. It's also reopened the comments for the first time since they got out of hand, and they are also, wholly unsurprising. They also echo the Sun's dehumanisation:

ALL 3 OF THEM SHOULD MEET THE HANGMAN!!!!!!!!!!

Death penalty should be brought back for these three animals.

they should be locked up for life !!!! and for him bring back the electric chair, save our taxes !!!thats disgusting.If I were in charge they would all get the death penalty.& I would flick the switch or stick the needle in.********.

These 3 individuals are so sick and twisted. As a mother to a baby boy myself, I get so emotional and upset when I hear any of this story. A life sentence is too good for them. Why waste tax payers money? Bring back the death penalty for such evil monsters! We can only hope their lives are made a living hell by fellow inmates.

THE JUDGES IN THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE SACKED AND LET PARENTS AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT COMMITTED ANY CRIME DEAL OUT SENTENCES,NOT JUDGES WHO LIVE IN IVORY TOWERS.

the person who thinks the sentences were reasonable is obviously no beter than those three who should rot in hell

Can't believe this is happening in Britain in 2009.

The justice system was better 100 years ago.

Protection for the evil, is that what the British justice system is all about.

There is no chance for children born into evil like this, if if this is the punishment they get.


Quite how the Sun's leader tomorrow will go one up on today's sense of fury will be difficult, but it doubtless will.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Why can't we have this vile, sickening, twisted woman strung up?

Some really revolting journalism from the Sun concerning Baby P, yet again:

Baby Peter mum in vile mercy plea

THE vile mother of Baby P made a sick plea for mercy today - claiming she will never forgive herself for her son's death.

...

Twisted mum's letter

THIS is the sickening letter Baby P's mother wrote to Judge Stephen Kramer.


Vile, sick, twisted, sickening, why doesn't the paper tell us what it really thinks? More pertinently, how does the paper know that she isn't sincere? It of course doesn't, but that is something which has always identified the Sun - it doesn't think that anyone can genuinely express sorrow for past offences, let alone completely repent and as a result, be forgiven for what they did. It showed that when Learco Chindamo, described by his prison governor as one of the only people he believed had ever been fully reformed by his time spent inside was freed, demanding that he be deported to a country which he had not set foot in since he was a young child.

Regardless of her pleas, Baby Peter's mother is undoubtedly facing a lengthy custodial sentence, not least because no judge will dare to give a derisory one when both public and press anger would be huge were he or she to do so. The Sun, like the tabloid press at large has in the past, seems to want her to go on suffering long after she has been released, as it seems likely she will have to, like Maxine Carr, be given a new identity to save her from vigilantes. Even better, then it can complain about the cost to the public purse of doing so, so it's getting the hatred stirring as soon as it possibly can. All this comes in the same week as it succeeded in contributing to the "distress" of Alfie Patten; not bad work for a paper that claims to always be on the side of the public.

P.S.

The paper runs a quite wonderful advert for other sections of the News International empire today, with a feature on how not eating like the Simpsons provides a wonderful example. Scraping barrels anyone?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Absolutely shameless part 2.

It's a real shame that the revelation that the Sun's story concerning Alfie Patten has been shown to be completely wrong isn't getting the attention it deserves, with the continuing row over MPs expenses overshadowing it, because the account of what actually seems to have happened continues to worsen.

In what seems to be a growing pattern of newspapers promising payments for stories only to later then renege on the details, it now appears that the Sun did not pay Patten's parents any money for the story. Whether this was because they had no intention of doing so, knowing that it would breach the Press Complaints Commission's code if they did is unclear, and it has to be said we are relying on the distinctly unreliable Max Clifford for the allegation that the paper had promised a large sum of money for the story which it then failed to stump up (his claim that he stopped the coverage seems to be erroneous; social services got a court order which definitely did stop it). The Guardian does however confirm that the paper has now promised that it will set-up a trust fund for the child itself, which distinctly suggests that considering that Patten will now presumably have no involvement with the bringing up of the child, no payment is going to be made to either him or his parents.

Clifford, for once, does seem to be on the side of justice in this case. In a previous interview with the Graun, he said that he had started representing the Patten family because of the tabloid mob which was trying to desperately get their own side of the story, trying his best to curb the excesses they were resorting to. Whether if they had gone to him first rather than to the Sun he would hold the same view is questionable, but when even Clifford thinks that a story should never have been published you ought to sit up and take notice.

The Sun, predictably, still sees no shame in what it has subjected a 13-year-old boy to as a result of both their greed and his parents' initial attempts to gain financially from the situation they seemed to have found themselves in. There is no apology in today's paper, and no editorial comment defending their reporting of the story, which is even more pathetic than if they were bothering to defend their journalism. There is however, remarkably, a comment from the paper's agony aunt attached to the main piece on the story, headlined "[K]ids who are given no sense of values". A more applicable headline would be "Journalists who are given no sense of values", as quite clearly Rebekah Wade, a woman who has repeatedly campaigned supposedly on the behalf of children, such as for Sarah's law, saw nothing wrong with paying (or rather, not) for a story about teenage pregnancy when they hadn't bothered to even ascertain the basic facts or to give even the slightest thought to what the publicity they were about to come under would do those involved's already fractured psyches.

The not paying for the story or paying less than promised is not just a Sun technique, but is now seemingly increasingly a ploy used by all the tabloids. Most recently the Sunday Express apparently refused to pay for their exclusive about Jacqui Smith's husband claiming for watching two pornographic films on expenses, which came from the same source whom has since sold the full details to the Telegraph. Prior to that, the News of the World paid a lesser sum than promised to the dominatrix who secretly filmed Max Mosley taking part in an orgy, for which he subsequently successfully sued on privacy grounds. Most indefensibly, the News of the Screws also, despite signing a contract with Iraq veteran Justin Smith for an interview, worth £15,000, then tore it up and said they would "only pay £1,000, £1,500 tops".

These are the same people, it's worth bearing in mind, who are currently raging against members of parliament for their expenses fiddles and lies. Despite everything that can be justifiably thrown at MPs, none of their claims have directly affected individual lives; when newspapers renege on deals and use and abuse the likes of Alfie Patten, they care nothing for the damage they leave in their wake. The only way we will get the root and branch reform that is required in all areas of our political culture is not just through a general election, as the Sun is calling for, but through the throwing out also of the media barons that have done just as much if not more to coarsen and diminish our representatives while also thwarting reform that threatens them as much as it does those with their noses in the trough. Any reform that focuses only on parliament and not on the media also is doomed to failure.

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Sun all but comes out for Cameron.

Roy Greenslade analyses whether today's Sun front page and their leader column, which calls for a general election, means that the paper has now switched its support to the Conservatives:

However, it's the sub-heading, accompanied by a picture of David Cameron, that catches the political eye: "Cameron: Only general election can end sleaze."

This would certainly imply that the paper has returned to the Conservative party fold it famously abandoned on 18 March 1997 with a front page headlined THE SUN BACKS BLAIR.

Even so, I'm not entirely convinced the paper has yet made up its mind to plump for the Tories. By contrast, it has clearly turned its back on Brown's Labour.

Its leading article states it unequivocally: "Voters have had enough of this government." It also says the government "is paralysed in the face of urgent and momentous challenges."

I imagine its readers would agree with one key paragraph:

"We are rudderless and adrift in dangerous seas with nobody at the helm, a crew of discredited MPs and a Speaker who has lost all authority."

Though there is a passing mention that people are angry with all the main parties, it eschews references to the gross misbehaviour by many Tory MPs. So that could imply a movement towards Cameron.

...

There will be many of you, of course, who think it irrelevant what The Sun (or Murdoch) says nowadays because you are convinced that its/his endorsement makes little if any difference to the outcome of an election.

I also happen to think it has no more than a marginal effect. What counts much more is what the paper says, day after day, week after week, in the months leading up to an election. (By "says", I don't mean the leaders, but the story choices plus their heavily angled headlines).

I am convinced that The Sun's relentless propaganda, denigrating a party's leaders and policies, gradually succeeds in influencing its audience (though proving that thesis has been beyond the talents of social scientists).

Reading The Sun every day (the things I do for this job, eh?), I am sure that its 3m regular buyers - and, say, 9m readers - will have gained an entirely negative view of Brown's premiership in the past year.

I should stress that Sun readers do not rely only on that paper. Its views undoubtedly chime with what many other papers are saying, what is broadcast on TV and radio and, of course, the reality that they confront in their daily lives.

Anyway, it means that The Sun has already accomplished its major ideological spadework. So I do not doubt for a moment that the overwhelming majority of its audience is imbued with a loathing for this government.

What the paper has yet to do is openly campaign for the Tories. It has been nervous about Cameron (as have the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph). I get the feeling that it's on the brink of overcoming its nerves.

Given the mood in the country, I cannot imagine that The Sun will dare to adopt its agnostic 1974 stance. Murdoch may feel that's too great a risk to take.

One day, and it will be sooner rather than later, The Sun will endorse Dave. There will be echoes of 1997's time-for-a-change factor. This time around, there will be one significant difference from the Blair coronation: The Sun will be urging its readers to choose between the lesser of two evils.



I can't say I really disagree too much with his analysis, but I think he's missed the key point from the Sun's leader, which in effect does give the Tories the paper's full support:

Time is running out. In a year’s time, the EU will have signed and sealed the wretched Constitution.

A general election is your last chance to stop it. Eight out of 10 voters want a referendum. Labour promised one and then betrayed us.

If your candidate won’t support a vote, don’t give him yours.


Some Labour MPs might well support a vote, but the party itself certainly doesn't. The Liberal Democrats want to widen the question to Europe itself, which rules them out, leaving just the Conservatives, UKIP and the BNP as the parties that are promising a referendum, as well as a few on the far-left. Considering Murdoch isn't the slightest bit interested in any of them apart from the former, it's clear that the paper is endorsing the Tories, but not yet willing to seal the deal.

I already noted that the paper has more or less suggested that Cameron's the one to solve "Broken Britain". Greenslade is certainly right in that the paper has not, unlike others in the press, repeatedly kicked Brown. If anything, their failure to do so is perplexing: Murdoch and his acolytes especially hate the the new top rate of taxes which Brown and Darling are imposing. Why, when Blair is now long gone, is the paper if not its columnist still not putting the boot into New Labour? The answer is as Greenslade alludes to, Murdoch had yet to be convinced by Cameron. Seemingly, his performance last week has all but done so. It's still too far from a general election though, despite Cameron's histronics calling for one, so the paper is saving the switch until nearer the time. Be under no illusions though, the Sun is definitely now firmly back in the Conservatives' court.

Absolutely shameless.

You might recall I made a rather cryptic post at the end of March regarding a truly reprehensible piece of journalism which had appeared in the Sun being proved to be wholly inaccurate. If you didn't manage to work it out, I was referring to the Alfie Patten story, the 13-year-old who at 12 while looking 8 had apparently impregnated his girlfriend, although whether that's an adequate description of her is uncertain. There was at the time wide speculation that Patten was not the father (mostly incongruous that someone who looked so young was capable of being a father), and this was confirmed when the Mirror briefly put an article up on their website suggesting that was the case, in breach of an apparent court order, resulting in it disappearing within a matter of hours.

The Sun itself is now, without a hint of shame, "revealing" that Patten is not the father, presumably meaning that either they are now breaching the court order or that it's expired/been overturned.

It was always doubtful that the Sun's story was in the public interest, and I argued over on my own blog that even if it was, there are times when even if something is in the public interest, it shouldn't necessarily become public knowledge. In a case such as this, where the paper didn't even attempt to deny that it had paid Patten's parents for the story and where it was also clear that neither the parents or the paper had any real interest in the well-being of either the baby or the baby's juvenile parents, but rather respectively their own personal enrichment and their sales, with the Sun boasting of how its completely inaccurate article had resulted in it shooting to the top of the internet newspaper rankings, the Press Complaints Commission really ought to come down like a ton of bricks.

Equally clearly, the Sun has breached the PCC's code concerning children, especially the fourth clause:

iv) Minors must not be paid for material involving children’s welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interest.

It was arguable that even if Patten was the father, the effect on him from being thrust onto the front page of the nation's biggest selling newspaper was hardly likely to prove conducive to him being fully involved in the child's upbringing. Now that it turns out that Patten was not the father, there simply isn't an argument: if his parents hadn't gone looking for money, and if the Sun hadn't been looking for the latest terrible example of Broken Britain, then he would still probably have had to deal with learning that he was not the father after all, but not in the full public glare. This is the sort of thing which scars people for life: newspapers know this all too well, but Patten is the sort of individual who may as well not exist except as a commodity, someone who can be used and abused and then forgotten about.

The Sun, naturally, had already featured the claims of the boy who has turned out to be the real father. As Peter Wilby noted at the time, usually those who fear they might have been the one to have knocked up a one-time girlfriend deny everything. Seeing that there was potentially money to be made, at least two and as many as six claimed they were the father. Again, without the slightest irony, the paper quotes the boy's father as saying:

He has broken down in tears at the thought he might be the father. He thinks his life has been ruined by this.

He might well be right. Patten's life though undoubtedly has been, and a baby and her parents have got off to the worst possible start imaginable, all thanks to the greed and shamelessness both of their own parents and of a newspaper that quite clearly has no morals whatsoever.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Phwaor!

I'm trying not to do so many posts about Gordon Smart because i) he's an easy target and ii) you could fill a whole blog on its own about the editor of the Sun's Bizarre column and I'm guessing the readers of this blog want a bit more than the gaffs and lies of Gordon.

But when he prints such misogynistic, sexist and lecherous shite as he has today with regards to last nights Classical Brits, well, it's hard to ignore:
WHY the sudden interest in classical music?

Well, they rhyme with Brits and get fellas showing a remarkable understanding of French Horn.

So gents, get down to an opera house to sample some delightful musical AND physical arrangements if you want to meet stunners in Bach-less dresses.

It would be a Verdi wise move if you ask me.


I tell you what, Gordon is wasting his talents at the Sun. He should get off to Nuts or Zoo.

As you know by now, words are not my strong point (strangely, for a blogger) so here is Simon H B from No Rock and Roll Fun:
He actually wrote that. It came out of his head, he typed it in, and then published on the Wall Street Journal's sister site. French horn.

I do love the idea of a Sun reader seeing Gordon's advice and turning up at the Welsh National Opera with a hopeful grin and a box of tissues. Actually, I don't love it.

Philip Case's report is just as bad:

MYLEENE KLASS puts the woodwind up the fuddy-duddy world of classical music — arriving at an awards bash last night in this sizzling gown.


Actually, that's unfair to Case. Smart would have used woodwind in an erection gag.


Gordon's wife must be so proud.

Going off half cocked

The MOD banning page 3? What are they thinking?

Probably the same as News International, which owns the Sun, according to the Guardian's Media Monkey:
...maybe the Current Bun should be launching a similar campaign much closer to home. Sun hacks have in the past been unable to access the site at its HQ in Wapping as it is rejected by News International's strict internet firewall.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

They've only banned page 3!

Never let it be said that the Sun doesn't involve itself in high profile campaigns which are directed at resolving injustices that simply cannot be allowed to stand. Whether it's the right of residence for the Gurkhas, the "mothers in arms" or the right to string up paedo-pervs from the nearest lamp-post, the paper undoubtedly often provides a public service that should never be sneered at. In its latest showing of public spiritedness, it's demanding that the politically correct namby-pamby killjoys at the MoD lift the ban on page3.com.

Before we get completely carried away, it's not clear whether this is a specific ban on the lovelies, whether the MoD has suddenly blocked "adult" websites from those presumably using their servers, or whether page3.com has been added to the firewalled list. The quote from the MoD in the article, that "adult content has nothing to do with our core business of defence,” suggests that it's part of a general filter. In any event, it allows the Sun to launch a frivolous campaign, just as it has whenever page3 has been "banned" by other organisations in the past.

Do the soldiers themselves really care, though? One would assume that those out in the field don't have to rely on the likes of page 3 to get their jollies; the Americans especially are notorious for the large quantity of rather harder material distributed among the ranks on DVDs. In a completely unscientific attempt to see whether it's really rankling in the ranks, I decided to check ARRSE to see if they're getting steamed up about it. As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any thread whatsoever discussing the banning of the likes of gorgeous pouting Keeley from Bromley, but there is this thread, titled "So, the Sun is pro-Forces eh?", which contains these choice posts:

The Sun, is pro "The Sun" end of.

The Sun's always said it's the forces paper - but truthfully they're only onside when it suits them. As someone else said, they're only interested in selling papers.
They've run enough stories panning various parts of the forces before now, always seems to get overlooked when they say something good...

Actually the Guardian is probably more pro forces and the people who serve in them than the Sun - who as someone pointed out is pro the Sun.

Underneath every pro forces story there is usually a "do you know the individual / unit call 0800...."
So people can phone in with their stories about people and units

It dosen't take long before the papers turn on anyone look at Goody two tears ago they were trying to drive her out of the country now the Sun are claiming she's a princess and single handedly save the lives of millions of women

The Sun are c unts.
I've read many an army stich up story over the years,my own regiment included. As previous posters have stated,they play on the public sentement of the time.
Ask the scousers how well the Sun sells in Liverpool.

Which gives something of an added piquancy to this from the Sun's leader column:

Obviously they’ve never been near a war zone. Servicemen on the front line have few comforts of home — including their favourite daily newspaper.

Which seems just as likely to be the Grauniad as it does the Sun.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

Matthew Normans' Diary:
The Sun last week devoted many pages to covering the subject of violence committed by women against their men folk. "I want society to understand domestic abuse DOES affect men," said Ian McNicholl, whose former partner has been jailed for seven years for maltreating him horrifically, on the front page.


In Tuesday's edition of the paper there was extensive pictorial evidence of the abuse the victim sustained, presnted under the headline "Punched, burned, glassed & broken...by my wife-to-be". Among much else, the poor chap had a steam iron branded on to his arm, his lap doused with boiling water and cigarettes stubbed out on his penis.

All of which brings us to the inaugural Humphrys-Paxo Question of the Month. A day after all this appeared in the newspaper for which he writes, my favourite columnist Jon Gaunt interviewed Mr McNicholl on SunTalk the internet radio station which proudly describes itself as the Home of Free Speech.

"So you weren't enjoying it or anything?" asked Gaunty. "I wasn't enjoying it at all," replied Mr McNicholl. Well, it was hardly being tied to the bedposts with fluffy pink handcuffs, or having drops of hot wax dribbled on to his nipples, was it? Still, always best to make sure.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Flee! Run for your lives!

This post was just gonna be a quick media-watch post with a snippet from Matthew Norman:
Kelvin MacKenzie has a pop at the remade Reggie Perrin starring Martin Clunes. I thought the first episode was hilarious, but that seems the minority view, and Kelvin took grave umbrage. "Some between-jobs idiot at the BBC decided it could be updated," he harrumphs. "Having seen the first show, the answer is clear – no it couldn't." Well, he has a point. It can be pitiful when people try to reinvent a memorable triumph of old. Kelvin's paper, meanwhile, featured Gordon Brown's face in a 60 watt bulb beside the headline "Will The Last Young Family To Leave Britain For Australia Or New Zealand Please Turn Out The Lights".


Presumably the quote came from Kelvin's column of the same title, with the same light bulb picture.
A read through of Kelvin's piece this morning shows that either Matthew Norman is mistaken and was obviously thinking of a different Kelvin Mackenzie or the bit about trying to re-invent old triumphs was removed. As The Sun doesn't let Google cache its pages we shall never know...

Anyway, I read Kelvin's piece and, after much scrubbing of the eyeballs, thought it needed a few things pointing out.

All the time he [Brown] took credit for the global boom, never once criticising the bankers, the private equity guys or the hedgies.

He loved them because they paid huge taxes and he was able to conduct his Scottish social experiment of giving money away to the useless and the layabouts, making sure that the great unwashed would vote Labour for ever.

Ah, of course, anyone without a job or is unable to work are naturally layabouts and useless and I also seem to remember the Sun being huge fans of New Labour before Gordon rose to the Premiership.

With our vaults deserted thanks to his profligacy, the economic tsunami hits us and then it becomes a global phenomenon.

His solution is to borrow even more, knowing, of course, he is going to be thrown out in a massive humiliation next June. But then it will be Cameron’s problem.

Perhaps that’s considered, in his twisted little obscene world, to be clever politics. But perhaps I could remind you, Mr Brown, that it’s OUR money and OUR future you’re playing with, not yours.


'OUR money and OUR future'. Man of the people is citizen Mackenzie. But he seems to forget that his paper and editor also plays with people lives.

Well, it’s time to do something about it. Normally I would advocate going up to No 10 and punching him firmly on the nose...


Because violence really does work, normally, but these are exceptional times.

...but if you have a family and are under 40 years of age could I urge you to take another course — desert our country as swiftly as you can and head for Australia or New Zealand and a new life.


Yes, you read it right, The Sun advocating immigration! It's ok though, because this is different. This is Brits going abroad, so it's emigration and everyone loves us Brits. Except those evil Muslims that want to destroy western civilisation, of course.

I thought that the Sun was supposed to be patriotic? First sign of trouble from a party that the Sun helped install and keep there for over twelve years and its ex-editor columnist is advising us all to swamp another country.

After all, we won’t have paid the debts run up by the socialist swindlers until 2032, so the only thing you will be missing is rubbing shoulders with the thick and the skint.


If everyone buggers off, won't it take longer for the debt to be paid off?

Such a move will upset your parents, but what with email, mobile phones and the low cost of flying you’ll probably hear and see more of each other than you do at the moment.


I doubt it very much. If you don't see or hear much of your family when you're in the same country, why would you when you're the other side of the planet?
Yes, there is email and to begin with, you may send photos and stuff back to family but that will taper off as you get used to the place. There are mobile phones, but what that has to do with anything, I have no idea. Has Kelvin seen the prices for calling Europe, where we are all supposed to be equal, never mind Australia?
And the flights, yes they are cheaper, but £500 is still a lot of money for some people and with 12 hours of flying and then the jet lag, it's not quite feasible to pop over for the weekend.

And now we see who Kelvin is really talking to...
Personally I will miss you because you think like me. You don’t want state handouts, you simply want to do your work, come home and be with your family without the state constantly looking over your shoulder or stealing 50 per cent of your money

People earning over £150,000, not the more common (as in more of them) reader who earns much less.

When Trevor Kavanagh warned us about the flight of the rich, I wasn't expecting the same paper to be urging them to leave.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Comedy interlude.

Sometimes, you simply don't have to add anything to the bilge the Sun bangs out. Today's leader column on the end of operations in Basra is one such example. Enjoy:

BRITAIN is leaving Iraq with its head held high.

Our 4,100 remaining troops ended combat operations in Basra yesterday six years after helping oust Saddam Hussein.

The moving ceremony handing over our duties to America captured the pride and pain of the long campaign.

History will judge that this has been a glorious chapter in our military history.

We went to war for the right reason: to free an enslaved people from a tyrant who threatened world peace.

We fought that war with courage and honour.

We leave Iraq a better place.

The Lions of Basra endured hell to do their duty in an operation that lasted longer than WW2.

More than 100,000 Servicemen and women served in the furnace of Southern Iraq.

In all, 179 of our troops laid down their lives. Their names will be remembered for ever with all the gratitude and pride we feel for the fallen of previous conflicts.

And now, the troops can start coming home.

Mission accomplished, lads and lasses. Well done. And thank you.