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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Cheers and Jeers #7

Here's my latest news roundup, in which I cheer or jeer the week's events.

Cheers to John Barnes for providing both context to Liam Neeson's misquoted words on race and also for helping to aid a much-needed conversation on understanding the thinking behind prejudice in order to combat it.  That Mr Barnes had to do this at all when it should have been obvious to anyone that Liam Neeson was clearly not proud of the thoughts he admitted to once having speaks volumes about the quality of reporting at a time when sensationalist headlines trump critical analysis.

Cheers to Altrincham FC for introducing a new third kit especially for Football v Homophobia. Some of the reactions to this announcement on social media underline how far society has come in the last 15 years, but also the need for the work Football v Homophobia continues to do. It might be a small gesture from a well-meaning football club, but it represents a huge statement in support of LGBT+ inclusion.

Cheers to Welsh football star Jess Fishlock for speaking openly about her experiences of homophobia in school. I am sure her honest reflections and her attempts to normalise same-sex attraction will help to further change a culture that for too long was tolerant of intolerance.

Cheers to Sayeeda Warsi for admitting that David Cameron's decision to hold a referendum on Eu membership was "reckless, awful politics" and that neither Mr Cameron nor the Conservative Party had any developed plan for what would happen in the event of a leave vote. "I'm not sure sorry is enough" said Baroness Warsi. Well, no - it isn't, but it's a welcome start.

Jeers to the Scottish Conservatives for their determination to reinvent themselves as the party of ineffective and counter-productive short-term prison sentences. In criticising the SNP's decision to abolish short-term sentences as "soft on crime", Ruth Davidson's party refuses to accept the evidence-based recommendations of, among others, the Howard League for Penal Reform. With so much to legitimately criticise the SNP government on, it seems bizarre that they have chosen this.

Jeers to Peter Bone for deliberately misconstruing what Donald Tusk had said in his misadvised "special place in Hell" comments. Quite what basis Mr Bone had for complaining to the Speaker of the House of Commons I don't know, but I might suggest he could have been accused of deliberately misleading Parliament.

Tears for the family of Emiliano Sala, whose body was found along with aircraft wreckage this week.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Cheers and Jeers #6


Here's my latest news roundup, in which I cheer or jeer the week's events.


Cheers to Kay Burley of Sky News, asking this question following Tuesday evening’s votes on the  Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement: "Coming up in just a few moments: is a Unicorn lighting the way in Europe or is it just a Donkey, with a plunger on its head? All of that, after the Sport" Somehow that managed to sum of the nature of this week's news in a singular bizarre moment.

Cheers to Layla Moran, for her significant efforts in bringing forward a private member’s bill to replace the Vagrancy Act.  As Layla explained: “There is no single cause of homelessness, and vulnerable people, those with mental health problems and addictions for example, need support not punishment.”

Cheers to Anna Soubry for her heartfelt and passionate speech in defence of immigration, which concluded with: “Too many people have been told lies and it is now absolutely up to each and every one of us to stand up, make the case for immigration and tell the truth.”

Jeers to Sammy Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, who suggested that, in the even of food shortages post-Brexit, poor people can always “go to the chippy”. This sickening arrogance and disdain for the most vulnerable people in society is truly shameful.

Jeers to Sarah Huckerbee Sanders for her “God wants Trump to be President” remarks.  Sorry Sarah, that’s not how democracy works. (I'm not too sure it's how God works either...)

Jeers to John Tanner, an Oxford Labour councillor who seems to want to make war on homeless people rather than homelessness

Tears for workers at the Nissan plant in Sunderland, following news that the Japanese car manufacturer has decided to cancel its plans to produce its X-Trail model in the UK. It’s not a time for getting out the “I told you so”s, but for feeling some sympathy for workers who were sold a lie by people who should know better.