The Smell of Bullshit, part 75: Whistleblowing in the Wind

An email from a Lush employee (edited to remove some identifying details).

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How the press lied about the little girl staying with Muslim foster parents. Here are the facts.

Pride's Purge

The tabloid press (and I include The Times in that description) lied about the story of the little girl put into care with a Muslim family.

Here are 10 of their worst lies – along with the real facts of the case as we know them:

1) According to court documents, it was the police not the local authority (as stated by the tabloids) who decided the child should be put into foster care:

2) According to court documents, the foster family criticised by the tabloids was a temporary placement.

3) According to court documents, the child herself is from Muslim heritage and her Muslim grandmother has now been cleared by the courts to look after her. This fact is only disputed by the girl’s mother but none of this was mentioned by the tabloids as it would obviously totally destroy their narrative:
foster muslim 4

4) The temporary foster…

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Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing is top bollocks

Strong Language

Fuck, shit, bollocks, twat, bloody, and cunt are not the seven words you can never say on television – they’re six words that Susie Denthas said on television. Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing, a new mini-series from Channel 4, offers an informative and irreverent summary of the history and use of some of our favourite bad words. You can watch the full series below.

A word-history specialist and broadcaster, Dent has written several books on language, most recently Dent’s Modern Tribes. She is best known as the resident lexicographer in ‘dictionary corner’ on Countdown, a perennially popular British TV game show. We can’t not mention that Countdown inadvertently produces the odd rude word to great general amusement.

Though she…

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GRENFELL TOWER FIRE

I hope the people whose neglect allowed this to happen go to prison for a long, long time. Sympathies to the families and friends of those affected. Best of luck to Grenfell Action Group. Thanks to the emergency services and the NHS.

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

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#takeapen

Local authorities often use their own employees to run polling stations during election days and to count votes once the polls have closed. This is because they can be sure that the staff will be available for training and are guaranteed time off from their real jobs, and because it’s easier to pay them as they’re already on the payroll.

Consequently, I have worked as a polling clerk (at the polling station) once and as a vote counter numerous times. Take it from me, the idea that you need to vote in pen to prevent people tampering with pencil votes isn’t just offensive, it’s laughable. Staff take the integrity of the process very seriously and would not condone or collude with vote tampering. Take a pen if you want, but there’s really no need.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 74: Consistency (Constantincy?), Thy Name is Not Lush

A couple of emails have come into the blog over the past few days (emails to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk) which suggest that the problems within Lush previously raised by employees here haven’t been resolved. This is one of them, with identifying details omitted.

The Jar of Nice Things

Inspired by something I saw on facebook or elsewhere online, last year I put a glass jar on the mantelpiece, and every time something nice happened, I wrote it on a bit of paper and put the paper in the jar. Now it’s time to look back over the pieces of paper and see what I thought was worth writing down. Pulling them out of the jar randomly –

  • 30/07/16 – Ghostbusters!
  • 29/09/16 – the halal butcher gave me a massive bag of chicken offcuts for the cat and didn’t charge me
  • 15/01/16 – client gave me a massive panettone
  • 07/05/16 – weekend in York for my dad’s 70th birthday party
  • 24/09/16 – bought a new piece of furniture from Ikea, assembled it myself, and then covered the top of it in plants
  • 11/04/16 – swimming coach didn’t make a single correction to my butterfly technique (other than a reminder to point my toes) and when I asked why he wasn’t saying anything, he said he didn’t need to because I was doing it right
  • 13/03/16 – lovely cuddle with the cat before getting out of bed (several more of these)
  • 29/08/16- took the cat for a walk in the Queen’s Park and he scampered around in the grass while I read my book
  • 01/12/16 – a client who has been quite difficult at times apologised for his behaviour and gave me a home-made curry
  • 14/03/16 – managed 2 x 15m of full stroke butterfly
  • 22/09/16 – allowed to bring the cat home after an overnight stay at the vet
  • 01/09/16 – saw an exhibition of Royal fashion through the decades with my mum at Holyrood palace
  • 30/08/16 – went through to Dunbar and spent time with my mum, her sister and brother in law, and his parents who are well into their 90s
  • 08/04/16 – student finished placement and left a very thoughtful card and a positive evaluation

 

That’s a nice variety!

George Michael

Anyone who has heard Wham!’s Ray of Sunshine knows that George Michael understood the joy that music can bring to people’s lives. I was a teenager in the 80s, and I was a Whamette. I loved other music too, particularly Queen, but Wham! were my teenage love band. I had my first slow dance with a boy to Careless Whisper.

Then Wham! came to a natural end, George went solo, and I stayed a fan. His voice is still the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. There’s a lot being written today about his gay activism, his generous donations to charity and to individuals in need, and, of course, his incredible talent. One day soon I’m sure I’ll be ready to think about all of those things, and to listen to the joyful songs – Club Tropicana, Outside, Amazing, Bad Boys, but for now, all I feel is grief and loss and sadness.

Making fists with your toes: Towards a feminist analysis of Die Hard

Excellent analysis

Another angry woman

Content note: This post contains spoilers for the film Die Hard, which you will have probably seen already since it came out in 1988. It discusses death and guns.

It gives me life when a certain sector of thin-skinned Nazis get sad about films I like. From Fury Road to Star Wars, their tears bring me joy. Since, like many other people, my favourite Christmas film is Die Hard, it is my intention to highlight how this film is in fact a celebration of femininity, and perhaps one could even call it feminist, for a rather Eighties value of feminism. Am I trolling? I don’t even know any more.

die-hard-t

Our hero John McClane is more of an Ellen Ripley than the Roy Rogers he insists that he is when talking to other men. There are some explicit parallels between Ripley and McClane: both deal with their terror by talking…

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In Defense of Self Defense: Why The MacDonalds Workers are Heroes

Media Diversified

Rethinking Violence

by Aisha Mirza 

In 2001 I was sent to my first day of secondary school with the instruction that I am clever and beautiful and that if anyone hits me I am to hit them back ten times harder. Survival knowledge. But I still close my eyes during battle scenes. You know. I don’t like violence, I don’t choose it. It makes me feel sick. In fact, I still haven’t watched the video of the MacDonald’s employees beating a man who called them “fucking pakis” while they were at work last Saturday night. I haven’t watched it because I do not want to expose myself to the physical attack, nor have to endure the psychic violence of witnessing racial abuse…again. I haven’t watched it, because I don’t need to see it to know they are heroes.

When I first heard this had happened, streets away from where I…

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