13/06/2024

Oh No! A Super-Majority!

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There’s a new line we’ll hear in the election. The threat of the super-majority.

The front pages have raised the spectre of a Labour ‘super-majority’ and how that could be dangerous. It was mentioned by the Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in an interview. It’s quite a defensive position but that is his job.

It comes across like he’s given up. He changed the messaging from “vote for a Tory win” to “Oh, please don’t let us lose too badly. Come on, guys. This is going to be embarrassing. We’ve all had our fun but please make us come second.”

We all love an under-dog and somehow the party with an 80 seat majority have become that.

Grant said we need a “proper system of accountability... we would argue that you don’t want to have somebody receive a super-majority.”

They didn’t mention that in 2019 when it looked like they were going to do well. There was never a “vote Tory but let’s not get carried away” poster.

Normally you try to sound positive when fighting a general election. Basically asking the electorate to please let you end up in opposition isn’t a good move but to be fair, most moves they have made in this election campaign haven’t helped either.

Mr Shapps also insisted that there was still “everything to fight for” and the “polls have been wrong before”.

But that would not only need Keir Starmer to start gaffing, he’d have to gaff at a faster rate that Rishi is gaffing to catch up and overtake.

So you’re right, still a chance.

» Read the source story


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07/06/2024

Ain’t That A Kick In The Shins

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The man who won the shin kicking world title on his first try is back. It looks stupid as a sport but before we judge we have to admit that no one has ended up in a coma like you get in boxing.

Mike Newby, 34, an account director – and how doesn’t want to kick an account director - who lives in Cheltenham with his girlfriend, Geo Legate (fitting name) competed in the Cotswold Olimpick Games. I don’t know if you’re meant to stress the “limp” part of the name.

It’s a sporting event that celebrates English folk sports and games, such as tug of war, hammer throwing and the main event, shin kicking, being held on May 31 2024.

It’s a shame they don’t include some Dorset Knob Tossing. We are a strange people. If you didn’t know, a knob is a type of biscuit, which makes even less sense. Who throws away a biscuit?

Just a few weeks after winning the 2023 edition of the competition, Mike hit the gym, did cardio, struck his shins with a hammer. Basically he “Miseried” himself?!

Mike said: “I felt a bit like Maximus from Gladiator.” Well, you weren’t. You were more like Colonel Rosa Klebb from From Russia With Love.

» Read the source story


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06/06/2024

Would Starmer Use The NHS?

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Keir Starmer insisted that he would never use private healthcare even if a relative was stuck on waiting list. I totally understand this point of view. I’m the same, Keir, because I don’t like some members of my family either.

It was in the ITV debate, during what seemed like a fingers-on-buzzers speed round. They were both asked if a relative was on a long NHS waiting list would you use private medicine?

The real question should have been if YOU were on a long waiting list…

Sir Keir Starmer leader said the health service 'was in his DNA' and cited his wife Victoria's work in occupational health. And the NHS uses tools, and his dad was a toolmaker, you know. He mentioned that a fair few times. Pointing out that your father made tools is inviting people to call you a tool. You wouldn’t leave an easy heckle hanging like that if you were a stand-up.

It’s a theoretical question, so we can’t prove him wrong. Maybe he truly believes that based on how bad the NHS is now, maybe it would still be true if it got worse.

Maybe it’s just something he’s saying because he wants to be PM, but if he wants to be the PM to save the NHS isn’t hardly a bad lie. What it is, is a pointless question that tells us nothing.

This Daily Mail article brushes over the fact that Rishi Sunak said he would, because of course he would, he’s minted. Could you imaging him asking his billionaire wife, “Could you go on the NHS because there’s an election coming up...”

They also mentioned the part of the debate when Starmer said the waiting list numbers had gone from 7.2million to 7.5million and Rishi said that was coming down. Rishi explained: 'They are coming down from when they were higher.’ And this is the guy who wants everyone to be better at maths.

» Read the source story


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31/05/2024

Trump Guilty – Not The Big Win You Think It Is

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It’s big news, possibly from the littlest story. Certainly from the weakest of the trials against the former president.

News sites have been saying things like, “Donald Trump found guilty in hush money case” and thereby showing part of the problem here. It isn’t a hush money trial. The idea of a court case based on payments to an adult actress is great. It’s the plot of a good episode of a TV drama.

It’s not what we have just had. It’s not illegal in America to pay someone hush money and so it shouldn’t be. Firstly, I have worked with a few Americans and I often wish they were being paid to hush. But you can’t criminalise hush money or you’d be blaming the victim in a blackmail case for paying up.

The case all comes down to how payments were recorded. It’s an accounting thing. And if it is so easy to make the court case look like a misdirection, done by someone who is not a Trump fan, imagine the hay Trump supporters can make with this.

If you swing for the king you’d better not miss, or at least if you find Donald Trump to be a convicted felon, you’d better make sure it’s the case that is impactful and sticks.

The timing is awkward. It’s around six months before he goes head-to-head with Joe Biden. Will this scupper his chances? Of course not. This is a man who famously said he could walk onto Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it, and accountancy isn’t seen as deadly as shooting someone. Actually, there are parts of America that love their guns more than their accountants, so I’ll take that point back.

While some swaying voters will be put off by the idea of voting for a criminal the core vote, the base as they call it with Trump, are reinforced by news like this. The victim-in-chief loves to make out that everything is unfair towards him. In round one, up against Hillary Clinton, he gave us terms like “fake news” and made the press out to be the bad guys. That was helpful because when the press raise some issue he can they avoiding addressing it by calling the press names. An ad hominem against anyone who is a qualified journalist.

So imagine how this feeds into phase two, that the deep state is going after him. It was a weak sauce case.

Do most people think he slept with Stormy? God, yes. Probably even the evangelical right. But he got them their abortion rights win, so don’t blame the sinner, right? Well, unless that sinner needs an abortion. Anyway...

Do people think he used money, through his fixer, to try to make the story go away? Yeah, I bet they do. You’d expect it. It’s the polite thing to do.

Do people think that falsifying business records is a serious crime? No, because it’s not. Normally that would be a misdemeanour. You'd be given a fine, probably for less money that you saved cooking the books and that's how justice works.

Only if you line up all of the events, tie it to the outcome of the US election and have a following wind can you make it sound like a felony. It’ll work for the people who already didn’t like Trump and it proves he’s right to claim he’s a victim to those who already think he’s somehow both the messiah AND a very naughty boy.

He was found guilty of all 34 counts he faced. Unanimity was required for any verdict. WHy didn't they just find him guilty of, say 30 of them? It would be harder for the Trump die-hards to make out it was rigged.

Trump faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, which doesn’t prevent him from running for the presidency and being president while in jail. It could mean he has to pick Red from Shawshank Redemption as his VP.

All we know so far is that this won’t be the end of it. Trump already spoke to the press (the fake news press?) and said that he was "a very innocent man". Now we’re living in a world where there are gradations of innocence.

Let’s hope the circus that follows this case doesn’t ruin things for the subsequent cases, which are more serious that paying money to get a porn star to close her mouth, for once, and the paperwork you have to do following that.

» Read the source story


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29/05/2024

The Pope Says Sorry For Gay Slur

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Here’s something you don’t read everyday: Vatican‭ issues apology over Pope Francis’s ‘homophobic’ slur‬.

It was also thought he referred to trans women as men in dresses, but he was actually talking about his bishops.

The statement says pontiff apologises ‘to those who felt offended by the term‬ ‭reported by others’. It’s a classic non-apology there. I’m sorry for those who felt offended – not sorry for offending, and “the term reported by others” means they’re not admitting his said it.

We’re sorry you felt offended by the thing you think we said.‬

Pope‭ Francis was talking admitting gay men into seminaries. And he may have pronounced it as “semenaries”. But probably not.

He said there was already‭ too much “frociaggine” in some seminaries. In English it means “a ball or roll of seasoned chopped liver, baked or fried.” I may have looked at the wrong definition when Googling that.

Still, it’s rare to get a papal apology, especially when he’s meant to be infallible. I suppose that’s why the apology was so bad, he can’t admit being fallible without having to quit.

‭Soon after becoming pope, he famously said in response to a question about gay‬ ‭priests: ‬”Who am I to judge?” The Pope! And one who knows some slang terms about it.

» Read the source story


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28/05/2024

Police Target Neck-Wringing Granny

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We should have seen this coming. If you have watched a superhero film there’s a bit where the police are trying to catch the hero because they think he’s being a vigilante. If you take fighting crime into your own hands the police will see you as a threat.

That’s what happened to a 70-year-old woman recently. Gillian Mears was in the news after some local wrong ‘uns damaged her garden gate. I know, this is hardly the crimes associated with The Riddler or The Joker but she’s not a full Batman herself. She said that if she got her hands on the youths she’s wring their necks and the police came round to tell her off.

It wasn’t the first time the vandals had struck, so Gillian was already annoyed. The time in question her disabled husband went out to stop them but he fell over. As Gillian went out to help him the young ones mocked them, so she was understandably angry. She called the police and mentioned that if she could she’d wring their necks.

Gillian was interviewed about the incident and said, “When they arrived they told me off for making that threat, which was not a threat it was me just venting my anger.”

It can’t be the first time the police have heard that phrase so they must know that it’s hyperbole. It’s like saying an American saying, “Why I oughta,” or comedian Mike Reid saying he’d give someone a dry slap. I don’t think he ever did.

You could also make the argument that if you’re a criminal and a disabled man and 70-year-old granny can successfully wring your neck, you shouldn’t have picked that fight. If your neck is that fragile, keep away from a granny’s gate.

It’s a sad story because it feels like the police are siding with the criminal. I understand that a wrung neck is more serious than a damaged gate, but that was never a likely outcome here.

It’s made worse when we hear all the time that police won’t attend shoplifting call outs if the goods taken aren’t worth more than £200. I know, with the cost of living crisis, three packets of butter and a steak will probably push you over that threshold but it’s not right that real crimes are ignored while things that are obviously not crimes have the police turning up.

It feels like it’s easier to tell off grannies or to caution someone who posts messages on social media. They’re less care than actual criminals.

The yobs had damaged their gate twice. They asked for three other fences to be taken into consideration.

» Read the source story


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27/05/2024

German Uniforms Caused Upset

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You’ve heard of the fashion police, but there is something you can wear that could get you in trouble.

The bosses of a World War Two event have had to defend the re-enactors who dressed as Nazis. Or they dressed as Prince Harry, it’s hard to tell at first glance.

Organisers of the Spirit of Wartime event in Nottinghamshire said the event was designed to let people experience life in military camps of both the Allied and Axis military.

To be fair, you’re re-enacting a war, you kind of need both sides or people won’t understand why it took so many years to win it.

They even had a Swastika flag but it’s not been a popular move with everyone. A professor in Holocaust history said the flag seemed 'a bit celebratory'. Really? I’m assuming they didn’t win at the end of the re-enactment.

He also questioned the logic of people who spend money to dress up as Nazis as a hobby.

Against, that’s fair enough. Battle re-enactors are clearly doing it because they can’t stand their own family and want to be out of the house, but that’s true of both sides of the battle.

The thing that’s important is context. If you’re dressing up as a Nazi for work, that’s OK, unless your work is invading Poland. It’s the people with Nazi gear in the bottom draw that they keep secret that we need to watch out for.

There were Nazis in WWII so there’ll be in WWII re-enactments. There are Nazi in the first Captain America film. Should we ban that?

Banning any use of such flags and uniforms won’t stop actual wrong ‘un, it’ll only stop these kind of events, which will improve some people’s weekends but that’s why what we’re going for here.

» Read the source story


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26/05/2024

Starmer The (Scottish) Charmer

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As the General Election cracks on Sir Keir Starmer said that he needs to win in Scotland to become Prime Minister. And then you read the article and you realise he’s not saying he “needs” it but he’s saying he needs it to win Scotland over. Mathematically he can be the Prime Minister without winning Scottish seats, that’s roughly what Boris Johnson did in 2019.

The more seats Labour gets in Scotland the less of a record-breaking swing Labour needs in the rest of the UK, and he could well do that. If Labour does well up there, it’s all thanks to the political abilities of one man, Huamza Yusuf. Keir should send a fruit basket as a thanks.

Labour could do well in Scotland as the SNP implode, like it would do well in England because of the Tories doing themselves in. This is like a fight scene in the 1981 film Condorman.

Sir Keir said he needed to win in Scotland, where Labour only held one seat in the 2019 general election, so that he feels he is ruling all of the UK.

You can see his point. If Scotland votes SNP but the leading party is Conservative they can claim they didn’t vote for the leader they got. But that’s how the system works. There are places in the South West that vote Lib Dem who will always be able to say they didn’t vote for the PM.

Scotland has a great knack of making itself the belle of the ball. And Keir is doing the flattery. He’s telling Scotland he needs them even when he doesn’t. Meanwhile Rishi is off telling miracles that he needs them, and he means it.

» Read the source story


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22/05/2024

The BBC Bigs Up The Butcher of Tehran

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The Telegraph told us: “BBC slated for ‘absurd’ obituary of ‘Butcher of Tehran’ Raisi”

First impressions are that it would be a brave and funny business name, “Butcher of Tehran”. A Halal meat shop. But that's not the main point here.

The BBC is facing criticism for saying Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s hardline president who died in a helicopter crash, had a “mixed legacy”.

Hey, there were good people on both sides, as someone once said. The BBC is all about balance, and you don't want to be too one-sided about a cruel leader.

An obituary published by the broadcaster described the former leader as a figure “loved by hardliners of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. The BBC noted his leadership to ‘reform in processing a backlog of court cases’”.

Since 2021, when Raisi took office, the regime executed 1,844 Iranians, including huge numbers of dissidents and religious minorities, most in sham trials.”

And they are no longer clogging up the courts. Do you know how much quicker a sham trial is compared to a real trial? So, well done BBC for finding a positive spin on this.

Of course, if he was an actual butcher the pressure from the vegan groups would mean the BBC would condemn him in the harshest terms.

» Read the source story


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There's Still Bad Blood: Infected Blood Scandal

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Infected blood victims could get compensation payments of over £2.5m. Yeah, but you know what they can’t get? Rid of the diseases they have, so, y’know, perspective.

This was announced a day after a damning report found the NHS and government culpable for the tragedy.

It’s not just that they were “culpable”. In Monday’s report, it was pointed out that successive governments ignored warnings about the risks of contamination, engaged in a “cover-up” and resisted for decades holding a public inquiry or paying compensation.

They were running out the clock. If you’re guilty of shortening someone’s life and you drag your heels on doing anything about it, you are clearly hoping they’d all die off. That’s the bigger crime.

The impressive thing here is that we finally had a report with ITV1 having to do a drama about it. There’s hope for this nation yet.

Payments of £210,000 would be made to infected people who have already received interim payments of £100,000, within 90 days “so that they can reach those who need it so urgently most”.

There was a story in the paper of a man who was given contaminated blood, he passed HIV to his pregnant with and he, his wife and his daughter were all dead within a few years. So how does £300k look now?

But, I suppose, the flip side is, imagine how gutted you must be if you have Hep C and you caught it the old fashioned way. No money for you.

This will cost the exchequer £10bn. But they could be repaid by chasing erroneous COVID lockdown payments and… no, they’re still not doing that.

» Read the source story


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16/05/2024

Should We Ban Homework?

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If you're a school child and you think you have too much homework print off this post and show it to your parents. A new study has said less homework is good for children as it makes them more active and healthier.

A sedentary lifestyle is bad for you and children spend too long looking at screens, so one way to fix that is to reduce the amount of homework.

To the pupils who are showing this to their parents, you should rip the paper at this point because the research isn't quite as it seems.

Firstly, the study was done in China. It's a nation where they already do way more homework than we do in the UK. We'd have to do more homework to make the level they reduced theirs to.

That's exactly the kind of detail your parents would focus on but the general point still remains. Doing homework these days requires being on a computer screen of some sort and screentime isn't good for you.

The study found that less screentime resulted in children spending 45 minutes less a day sitting down and they also had earlier bedtimes. Once again, I hope you trimmed this off before showing it to your parents.

When you dig into the details, like only someone who did a lot of homework at school can do, you notice that the study looked at reducing time playing online games and homework. Yet the headlines tell us to reduce homework. How about we reduce the online gaming first? It's like saying being a big building is bad for teenagers, so should we reduce time spent in school or in the local Wetherspoons?

The study suggested changing the laws to prevent online gaming providers letting children play on week nights and stopping schools handing out too much homework.

One of the researchers said: “We know that leaving it to parents doesn’t work. It is much easier for parents when they can tell their children that any more screen time would be against the law.”

Say that anyway. Your children don't know what the law is. They'll believe you if you say something is illegal. My son thinks it's against the law to buy ice cream on a day with a Y in it.

If they want to know the actual law they'll have to do their homework.

» Read the source story


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15/05/2024

Trump Update: Whether he’s Comin’ or Cohen

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Donald Trump warned 'a lot of women' would come forward during 2016 presidential run.

Show off.

In the Stormy Daniels case, Michael Cohen, Trump's former right-hand man, is giving evidence. Given the details we had from Stormy, “right-hand man” has already sent my mind off in the wrong direction.

Here’s a recap. Stormy slept with Trump just after his wife had given birth to their child, so it’s not like the wife would have had the energy to spank him with a magazine with his own face on it. A magazine with your face on it, or as Boris Johnson calls that, voter ID.

Trump got her to sign a NDA and paid her hush money. All perfectly legal in America. Have you met many Americans? They could all do with a lot more hush money.

Cohen made the payment, Trump paid him back but may have listed that money as an election payment. And that might be the crime.

It’s so upsetting that the actual crime isn’t a sexy scandal. It’s accountancy.

As Cohen described working for Trump on his 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen testified in court that the ex-president warned him his run for presidency would lead to negative stories surfacing. “You know that when this comes out … just be prepared. There’s going to be a lot of women coming forward”, Cohen claimed Trump told him.

The candidate for the evangelical Christian America there.

The one thing I don’t understand about this situation is why they tried to cover it up. When Trump gets sued or fined his base love him even more. A scandal where he slept with an adult actress seems like the kind of thing he’s pay $130,000 for now.

» Read the source story


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14/05/2024

Is There Common Sense In A Minister for Common Sense?

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You may have enjoyed the aurora borealis recently but if you like colourful things you won't want to look at Civil Servants soon. The UK's ‘Common Sense’ minister has banned rainbow lanyards in the civil service.

If you were making a list of the policies that lack common sense you may have started with the Rwanda plan, but they have decided to start with lanyards.

This is Esther McVey, the minister for common sense, which isn’t a job, so she’s actually a minister without portfolio, but they call her the Minister for Common Sense. It's a title on a par with that of Boob Inspector you'd get on those hats at the seaside.

This feels like the kind of thing you just want to mock. Minister for Common Sense, as if you can own such a thing. You want to know what most people think? They’ll tell you in a General Election.

So I thought I'd look at some of the changes she plans on bringing in, ready to mock them all

She wants the rainbow lanyards gone. If you work in the civil service you’re meant to be a-political, so to make sure no politics sneaks in, ban ALL lanyards that aren’t the standard issue. OK, so it's not only the rainbow ones, it's saying all lanyards should be standard. That's actually kind of fair. You want the Civil Servants to be kind of grey and boring so stick to that palette in the standard lanyard scheme.

She says universities must prioritise domestic students. Well, if you have to prioritise any, I suppose every nation should prioritise its own.

She plans to crack down on staff networks for minority groups. Ha, what crackpot scheme is this to look more racist? What have staff networks ever done that’s a problem?

Ah, the Civil Service Muslim Network was suspended after officials discussed how to change government policy on Gaza during its meetings. Damn it!

She said consultancy contracts for equality, diversity and inclusion services will be banned. Well, who’s going to be looking out for diversity? Oh, the ministers will do it, to save money.

Many of the ideas brought up seem like good ideas. Look, no one is going to change the world with a lanyard but the principle behind the plan is OK.

If they didn’t sell this as some anti-woke, culture war crusade, you’d realise some of this is common sense. Oooh, that’s a good title.

» Read the source story


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