Britons unbowed by terrorists—or by the hysterical Islamophobes demanding they panic

Here's a video of people in Manchester singing "Don't Look Back In Anger" after a moment's silence for the 22 people killed in this week's terror attack.

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Britain's nastiest landlord refuses to rent to Asians and survivors of domestic violence

Fergus Wilson rents almost 1000 properties in Kent, England, but not to Indians, Pakistanis, or women who are survivors of domestic violence. The BBC reports that this sterling example of British tolerance is getting sued.

He has insisted he is not racist and has rented to "non-white" people, including Gurkhas.

Mr Wilson said: "It is not the colour of their skin, but the smell of the curry.

"The EHRC appears to be saying that the purchaser then must let the house to someone who does cook curry."

Advocacy group Hope Not Hate said: "Mr Wilson needs to join the 21st century.

"It's almost as if he has taken a tick box to offend every vulnerable group in Britain. "We hope these legal proceedings will help him rapidly re-focus his outdated views."

It's almost comical, how his rental criteria measure a disparate but illustrative collection of inane bigoted resentments. Read the rest

Map of where London's train stations go

I lived in Britain for 20 years and am still amazed by Drunk-Scientist's map of London's commuter drainage basins. Read the rest

Reported criminal racial abuse soars 57% on London Underground

London's Evening Standard writes that since Britain's vote to leave the European Union, reports of crimes involving racial hatred on the London Underground have risen 57%.

A total of 468 racially and religiously aggravated offences were reported on the Tube from July to December, compared with 297 in the six months leading up to the referendum in June.

The crimes also surged in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote and in the weeks after the election of Donald Trump in November.

Hate offences have increased each year since 2014. British Transport Police recorded a total of 765 last year, 580 in 2015 and 485 in 2014.

British Transport Police make the important point that a nationwide campaign is underway to encourage victims and witnesses to report racial abuse, so it may be that greater awareness is as much in play as increased incidence. The crimes reported include what in the U.S. would be not usually be criminal (e.g. Nazi salutes and slurs) but also assaults, batteries, systematic harassment by tired and emotional solicitors, etc. Read the rest

UK court refuses to let wife divorce husband, tells her unhappiness is to be expected in marriage

In Britain, grounds for divorce are quite specific: adultery, desertion, "unreasonable behavior", the agreement of both parties or five years separation. An appeals court has therefore affirmed another judge's ruling that Tini Owens, 66, is not otherwise permitted to divorce her husband of 39 years.

Judge Robin Tolson ruled against Mrs Owens in the family court last year, concluding that her allegations were "of the kind to be expected in marriage" and refused to grant a divorce petition.

Three appeal judges, led by Sir James Munby, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, analysed the case at a hearing in London on Tuesday.

Philip Marshall QC, representing Mrs Owens, told the court that the "vast majority" of divorces were undefended in 21st Century England.

He said: "It is extraordinarily unusual in modern times for a court to dismiss a petition for divorce."

She said the marriage was loveless, desperately unhappy, and that she was left in a wretched state by his manner, tone, insensitivity and mistrust.

Her complaint reads like the script of a grim British cringe-humor sitcom: yelling at her in an airport after her failure to buy the right crystal tchotchke from duty free; nasty remarks during dinner with guests; endless passive-aggressive sighing and tutting, etc.

He reprimanded the Respondent saying, “can I say something without you flying off the handle? I have said this before that when you put cardboard in the skip, do it properly and not without any thought about what will happen to it.
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Four killed in attack at UK Parliament

Four people, including an assailant and a police officer, were killed today in an attack at the Houses of Parliament that authorities say was an act of terrorism.

Ministers of Parliament were locked in after police shot and killed a man who reportedly ran at the gates by Parliament square and stabbed an officer. Moments earlier, a car had run five people over on nearby Westminster Bridge, leaving at least two dead and twenty injured.

Prime Minister Theresa May is to chair an emergency meeting of ministers today, writes the BBC.

BBC Radio 5 reports that "around three shots" were heard.

Update: the BBC posted a map of the area and the events as reported, with a detailed eyewitness report. Read the rest

Trump humiliated: administration apologizes to Britain for saying it wiretapped him for Obama

Another day, another Trumpwreck.

The BBC:

The US has agreed not to repeat claims the UK's communications intelligence agency wiretapped Donald Trump during the presidential election campaign.

GCHQ rejected allegations made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that it spied on Mr Trump, as "nonsense".

No 10 has now been assured by Mr Spicer he would not repeat the accusation.

CNN on the apology:

The White House has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with his British counterpart on Thursday about press secretary Sean Spicer's comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, a White House official said Friday.

The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional."

I have to admit, I didn't expect it to be Theresa May to be the first international leader to publicly humiliate the dumb orange bastard like this, but it's not like she had to do any work. He gave it to her on a silver platter—or rather a gold-painted plastic one that plays the James Bond tune with a little beeper.

UPDATE: According to Buzzfeed, Trump admin insiders insist they did not apologize, but won't go on the record.

But US officials have been disputed whether the Trump administration had gone as far as an apology.

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69 Cock Lane is yours for £449,950, but is it Britain's naughtiest address?

The Evening Standard's Tom Marshall reports that 69 Cock Lane, a nondescript semi-detached house in Fetcham, England, might be "Britain's rudest address." I beg to differ, but there are sadly no more Gropecunt Lanes in the age of that word's offensiveness. Read the rest

British railway guard kicks racist off train

Alexander MacKinnon thought it would be "my word against hers" after he directed racial abuse at Sanaa Shahid on a train out of London—the sneering solicitor said she shouldn't be in the country, let alone first class. Unfortunately for him, he was overheard.

The train guard then approached MacKinnon and told him: "It's not just your word against hers, it's mine as well because I heard it all."

The guard added: "We're not going to accept it. You're drunk and racist and you need to get off the train."

Writing on her Twitter page, Mrs Shahid said she could not speak highly enough of the train manager who helped her and her son.

She added: "Sat with us until the guy was taken off by [British Transport Police]".

He was fined £1,154, plus £50 compensation to Shahif.

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Is this the best UK comedy sketch of the 1970s?

Dave Allen was an Irish comedian popular in the UK from the 1960s until his death in 2005. His reputation is as a cantankerous irreligious fellow, but this family-friendly moment is widely held to be his best sketch. Someone on YouTube thinks it's the best British TV comedy sketch of the 1970s. There's some pretty stiff competition on that front, if you ask me. (Mastermind, from The Two Ronnies, is the best British comedy sketch of the 1980s. Dead Parrot was 1969.) Read the rest

Price of Marmite, tasty British slime, at heart of latest Brexit imbroglio

Marmite is a popular, exceedingly British food product spread on toast, crackers or directly onto one's tongue. It is dark, sticky, and delivers a stark "love it or hate it" kick to the tastebuds. Marmite originated in the thick, yeasty dregs generated by beer production; Bovril, its great enemy on the British condiment aisle, was made in similar fashion from slaughterhouse goop. And thanks to Brexit, there is a Marmite shortage and pricing run.

When a nation’s currency suddenly falls in value, as the pound has since the Brexit vote, imports cost more. This means prices in the shops will inevitably rise. Most people can grasp that simple, frictionless, model. Yet the Marmite affair highlights that there are many other economic factors involved and that things are (rather like the polarising “yeast extract” itself) stickier in practise.

Marmite is manufactured in Burton upon Trent. This fact prompted provoked accusations of “profiteering” from some Tory MPs and right-wing newspapers. “How can a falling pound justify a price hike for a UK-made product?” they demanded to know. Some suggested that this must be a plot by Anglo-Dutch Unilever to discredit Brexit.

But Unilever does not solely manufacture Marmite. It has reduced its transaction costs and increased its profit margins by bringing a wide range of consumer products into a single multinational business.

Photo: Kent Fredric (CC-BY-2.0) Read the rest

British Brexiters shocked to find out they might have to get permission to travel to Europe

This is what happens who you trust tabloids and rich politicians who say you can have your cake and eat it. What they mean is they can have their cake, and you eat it. Today's shit sandwich is for Brits who thought that leaving the European Union, and preventing people coming into the UK, wouldn't mean reciprocal movement controls. As Nigerian Chibundu Onuzo puts it: Welcome to the world of restricted travel, British people!

The proposed scheme wouldn’t require Britons to have a visa, but intentions for travelling would need to be clearly stated online and applications could, in theory, be denied. It would, in essence, be a curb on freedom of movement: a freedom I have never fully experienced because of my nationality.

I’ve always needed a visa to legally travel out of Nigeria to most places in the world. There are other ways to do it. My cousin walked across the Sahara and slipped into Europe via the Mediterranean, but he was later deported.

Every time I fly into Heathrow, I am reminded that a plastic visa card is the only thing stopping my presence in London being a crime. I often see the other travellers who have been ushered to the side, their lives deemed illegal, only that thin square of plastic separating us. ... who knows? Maybe filling out forms to travel might make Britain more sympathetic to immigrants. I bet Nigel Farage didn’t think of that.

Just imagine the bloviating Harry Enfield rage of lumpy English holidaymakers denied entry to Spain or Ibeefa because they forgot to register their trip with the Proper Authorities. Read the rest

British chocolate ad worth watching

This ad for UK chocolate brand Maltesers—like Whoppers, but edible—is airing during the paralympic games. When there is so much about British media to appreciate never having to see again, this reminds me of what I miss most. Read the rest

Voice of Postman Pat, charming British claymation series, dies at 83

Ken Barrie, narrator of the British kids' show Postman Pat, died age 83 this week.

Barrie, who was born Leslie Hulme, provided the voice for Pat and many of the other characters in the animated series, as well as singing the famous theme song. His daughter, Lorraine Peterson, told the Press Association that he died peacefully at home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, of liver cancer.

The show concerned the mundane yet charming adventures of Pat Clifton, a postie in rural England, and his black and white cat, Jess. Most all episodes set out with him delivering mail to the timeless English village of Greendale; his rounds would inevitably be interrupted by some local concern: a lost puppy, sheep clogging a country road, plumbing trouble at the pub, etc.

Wouldn't it be awesome if they did a new series that homed in, in child-friendly fashion, on the vaguely haunting aspect of all this. Pat just delivering the mail when Cthulhu happens. That sort of thing.

"Pat stared at the writhing mass of tentacles under the old flint bridge for a moment, then remembered he'd only yesterday delivered a box of powerful hexes and charms to the coven up by the old windmill. "I bet they know what to do about this," he said to Jess. "Otherwise Mrs. Miggins won't be able to get her subscription to Country Living." Read the rest

UK gives OK to Amazon for drone delivery exploration

Amazon.com says it has entered into a partnership with the British government to get the nation's aviation authority approval for deliveries via small drones.

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You've met the man designed to survive a car crash, now meet the Natural Born Smoker

Pesco posted about "Graham," a man remade to survive car accidents, replete with blemmye-like head and disgusting air-sacs rippling around his ribs. A device to remind us of the fragility of our feeble human bodies, it reminded me of the Natural Born Smoker, a similar effort in the 1980s.

Like Graham, he's grossly adapted to resist physical damage. But instead of the trauma associated with high-speed road accidents, NBS is all about dealing with smoke. Above is the classic; here's the lesser-spotted sequel to Barry Myers' Blade Runner-esque public information film:

Ah, good old British childrens' TV! Read the rest

Surprise revival in UK printed book sales, with ebooks dipping

Ink on paper is a better product, at least for now, and it's showing at British tills. Sky UK's Lucy Cotter reports the first better year for print since 2007, and the worst one for ebooks since 2011.

Last year saw the first rise in sales since 2007, while digital book sales dropped for the first time since 2011.

Betsy Tobin, who runs the independent bookshop Ink@84 in Highbury, London, offers her customers a personalised service.

The bookshop offers coffee and alcohol and runs events and special author evenings.

Diversifying is part of her success but she says her customers also like buying in person rather than online.

They take pleasure from handling and owning books, she said.

I wonder if this has something to do with how well-run major UK bookstore chains are (small stores in high-traffic areas) compared to American ones (strip-mall big boxes, full of trashy ancillary merch and empty of foot traffic.) The literary retail culture there makes people want to drop in and fuss around with books, while the one here just means no-one is ever in a bookstore in the first place, so they just order stuff on Kindle. Read the rest

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