Greetings to all at the end of another wild week in *gestures at everything*. It’s quite the time to be on the internet. A first note, and a sad one (from my perspective) – but solidarity with all those who lost their jobs this week. I’ve always appreciated how lucky I am to have kept mine – and to work with such a great group of people – but the pain of losing one you’ve worked so hard to get (and for most, despite what some might think, it’s an incredibly hard road to the type of job lost at Reach, The Guardian, and the BBC) must be unimaginable and there’s a lot of it being felt right now. More on that later, as they say.
Reads Of The Week
For the initial launch of Star Sports TV – https://www.starsportsbet.co.uk/starsports-tv-episode-1-sstv/ – I talked about how Keir Starmer had done as leader of the Labour Party so far. There’s lots of opinion about his first 100 days, but none better than Penny Andrews, whose dissection of where Starmer is in relation to the Government is essential reading.
Andrews has also written a brilliant piece about the culture of supporting…. A British Media columnist. Brilliant reading if you’ve ever picked up a newspaper purely to read one person’s writing, or most likely, been part of a ratio on Twitter.
We talk a huge amount about Cancel Culture – and it’s probably for the worse – and this piece from the New Statesman’s Sarah Manavis is a superb explainer of which so many of the arguments regarding cancel culture – whispers – don’t even exist:
The US is ramping up sanctions against China as diplomatic relations somehow get even worse between the pair. Foreign Policy scribes Robbie Gramer and Darcy Palder take a look at the latest moves here in a piece that’s well worth your time:
I will never stop banging on about the masks, so this piece from Alice Thompson on an overly macho culture in Downing Street adding to the Government’s communication problem is well worth reading:
Those of you who follow me will know what I think about Chris Grayling – and this related to his job performance, before anyone accuses of undue malice – and this Rachel Sylvester piece on why he was such a terrible choice for Number 10 to head the Intelligence committee (and thank god he didn’t get the job) sums up my feelings very well.
Listens Of The Week
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance – well above evens – that you’ve been sent here directly by Twitter. And if that’s the case then it’s an odds on shot that you’ve read about the spectacular tale of Andrew Twentyman – Englishman, Pizza Parlour owner, Google reviewer and feature of not one but two Guardian pieces from Leigh! The good people at Reel Politik International *coughs* have made an incredible episode about all things Twentyman, with Jack Frayne Reid and ‘Wariotifo’ providing an hour of unbelievable laughs, amongst other things.
Have you ever taken a DNA test at home? Millions of us have, with varying levels of different results. Sophia Smith-Galer’s were truly extraordinary, and the documentary she produced and represented with her father is an emotional and essential listen.
We’ve barely touched the surface with American politics this week, so thank god for the Mid Atlantic Show, which covers the Supreme Court and Keir Starmer all in one episode with the help of host Roifield Brown, Canadian TV pundit Laura Babock, journalist and friend of the column Emma Burnell, and author Jarett Kobek.
Word Of The Week:
Intelligence (noun). The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. “an eminent man of great intelligence”
OR “the collection of information of military or political value.”
“Boris Johnson was humiliated on Wednesday after Chris Grayling, his pick to lead parliament’s powerful intelligence and security committee, was unexpectedly rejected in an ambush by MPs.”
Tweet Of The Week:
.@Acosta: Why is the WH trashing Fauci anonymously? I thought Trump didn't trust anonymous sources
McENANY: Trump noted that Trump has made mistakes
ACOSTA: Hasn't Trump made mistakes? He suggested Americans inject disinfectants
McENANY: The president stands by his actions pic.twitter.com/WFag2afFuF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 13, 2020
Death, Taxes And…. Cuts
As said earlier, it’s a bad time for jobs in the media – It’s a bad time for jobs anywhere. COVID has torn through every business and we’re sure to see the grim after effects coming soon. All journalism is sure to suffer due to this, but the brut is sure to be felt most badly in the one are that really couldn’t afford to take the hit – local journalism.
I could write so much about just why this matters – and the loss of many local radio staff is going to hit those who need it hardest as well – but this thread from Johnathan Humphries, a senior reporter at the Liverpool Echo, is a fine example of what local journalism gives – and is all too often undepreciated for.
A deeply unsettling and depressing day for everyone @LivEchonews and across Reach PLC. We don't know who we are going to lose, but any losses from such a talented team are a huge blow for Merseyside. Here are just a few examples of the vital journalism we produce day after day:
— Jonathan Humphries (@JHumphriesEcho) July 7, 2020
On a national note, there was much reaction to cuts made at the Guardian and the BBC on many counts. Many social media users (and quite a few former readers of the Guardian) pointed out differences with the paper’s editorial stances and commissioned content pieces, with many people less than apologetic at the news.
There’s certainly room for introspection regarding political coverage (at all newspapers, and especially over the last year) but the issue could well be that cuts to newsroom staff aren’t going to solve those problems – infact, it’s overwhelmingly likely things will get even worse. It remains to be seen what happens in the future, but it’s not likely to be good.
News that the Andrew Neil Show would be going – although I should just make a note right now that the BBC and Neil are in talks for another programme – had just as big a reaction, with Neil’s fans bemoaning the absence of their favourite man from the airwaves.
That reaction exposes a fundamental flaw in the Defund the BBC argument – namely that if the BBC loses as much funding as these people hope, then they’ll lose services they enjoy and have a genuine attachment too as well.
It seems to have been forgotten that the BBC’s licence fee goes to all the services it provides, providing crucial functions that often can’t be replaced. As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
York’ve Got To Be Kidding Me
We’ve been here before. Parliament is crumbling, and needs serious restoration fast before something – most likely a fire, although falling masonry or flooded areas of the estate – goes drastically wrong.
Those repairs are needed yesterday, and that’s acknowledged by all comers, including the Prime minister himself, who suggested that the Commons and Lords could be moved to York.
If you fancy that outcome, you can get 3/1 with us at Star, who are running the exclusive market on where Parliament moves – if it does – but the most important thing is that it does happen, wherever we end up.
For what its worth, I have a lot of time for York – despite having never visited the place, to my eternal shame – but local residents and journalists Jim Waterson and Jessica Elgot have both pointed out some concerns for moving such a big operation to York – and they’re not the only people with knowledge to say so.
York is so short on big venues that Shed Seven play their homecoming gigs in Leeds. So a temporary parliament is either going to be seats down the nave of the Minster, or putting the Commons among the engines in the Railway Museum's Great Hall. (It's bluster isn't it.) https://t.co/JPwaLNkTKz
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) July 16, 2020
I couldn’t be more in favour of moving parliament to God’s own country and to one of the nicest cities in the land – but like Jim I don’t get where they are going to put it, unless MPs take turns to shout things at the Speaker as they ride round the Jorvik centre https://t.co/3RCyDXCx0n
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) July 16, 2020
I am all in favour of moving Parliament out of London – it would go quite a way symbolically to redressing the London power imbalance – but there are a load of suitable candidates. Manchester and Birmingham have more developed infrastructure – especially when it comes to public transport, and also better direct links to London.
It would also be great to see a City like Leeds – in desperate need of improvements to bus infrastructure – be considered too in the long run, but a move anywhere is the news that’s needed.
(Lorry) Parks And Recreation
As Brexit – trade deal or not – comes closer and closer, plans for the huge changes that are coming will be taking place. One of the biggest preparations has been the purchase of an 11 hectare (27 acre) site to build a Brexit customs clearance centre for the 10,000 lorries that come through the Kent port from Calais every day.
There’s also the small matter of customs declarations:
An eye-watering stat to accompany HMG's border plans as Gove speaks
Government expects around 400 mill additional customs declarations a yr as of 2021 (imports & exports)
Ex-HMRC head Jon Thompson in 2018 estimated that a single declaration would have an average cost of £32.50
— Adam Payne (@adampayne26) July 13, 2020
The Northern Ireland protocol:
There is an alarming – and negative – dynamic going on here, where both ERG/Hard brexiters and some Labour/remainer instinctively want the NI Protocol to fall over – for different reasons. But seems to me it needs to be made to work. 1/ https://t.co/qEJgfe2m3J
— Peter Foster (@pmdfoster) July 16, 2020
And then more things like this.
Reading Border Operating doc…struck by how many different EU ro-ro customs systems there are…
France: SI Brexit
Spain: Teleport 2.0
Belgium RX Seaport
Pity the 'little guy' trying to get heard round all this.https://t.co/eCUzAdY3Mt
— Peter Foster (@pmdfoster) July 14, 2020
As Bachman-Turner Overdrive once roared… You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet!
A huge amount of questions, all via Twitter this week. Here we go!
i'd actually like an explainer of the thinking/data behind handicapping political betting
— bread and poses (@breadandposes) July 16, 2020
Answer: What a brilliant question and one I love answering. Most bookmakers will have teams like we do at Star – so me, Dave Jolly (head of trading), Sam Dunn, Gary Burton and Tony Pring will work together on creating the odds that you see. Much will depend on the exact market – an election is pretty easy to define the winner of, but a lot of markets are specials where a fair outcome is a little less clear.
The type of market we’re putting up also changes things a lot. You’ll have much better data for a UK or US election than you will do for trying to predict who’ll be the next Cabinet secretary – and that will change the opportunities that punters have in a given market. I may talk more about this in the future, so watch this space.
Where you get your masks from!
— E.H. 'Abby LOU2 Stan' James (@EddieHenryJames) July 16, 2020
Answer: The good people at Bags Of Love, who will print anything you can fit onto their masks. Watch this space for a few more!
Is the Guardian left wing?
— Jeffrey Dijon (@JeffreyDijon) July 16, 2020
Answer: I see The Guardian as a liberal paper, and a place for a range of liberal causes that come from across the progressive spectrum. I would not call it a ‘left wing’ paper, however – I don’t think there’s a left wing paper that has a significant national readership (I don’t count the Morning Star as having the same gravitas).
Who is correct? People that say I should wear a mask, or people that say I shouldn't? Simples
— Liam Doyler (@Doyler777) July 16, 2020
Answer: The people who say you should. Thanks for coming.
Wouldn't you want to see a 3 way presidential debate involving Kanye? Otherwise it's 2 senile sod…gentlemen trying to remember where they are?
— Jon (@CreamOnTop) July 16, 2020
Answer: Good god, YES.
Why are people getting arrested and thrown in jail just for saying they're English?
— Barney Riley (@BarnRiley) July 16, 2020
Answer: Because they’re English, Barney. Because they’re English.
Are Leeds the best footballing team of all time? (Hot tip answer is yes)
— Keir Starmerbteilung (@Strombo94) July 16, 2020
Answer: They’ve got a way to go yet, but I certainly can’t remember such an impressive team in the Championship in terms of their style of play and chance creation. Several impressive judges have them as a top half Premier League team – already and they have a similar vibe to the Wolves side that have now established themselves as a top half Premier League side that can compete in Europe.
To paraphrase Tommy, is Boris Proper fucked?
— Glen Peters (@petersgjc) July 16, 2020
Answer: No – not whilst he retains that tight a hold on the Conservative base – but things are going to get much, much tougher economically from now on. The same problems are also facing Rishi Sunak.
What are the ethics of taking a crowbar to people from far-right organisations harassing you and your family outside your home.
— epiplexis (@epiplexis_) July 16, 2020
Answer: If they’re from the far right then you should alwa- (redacted) I have been advised my legal representatives not to answer this so thanks for reading and goodnight!
Why our government is such a shambles..?
— Tilly Haines (@Tilly_Haines) July 16, 2020
Answer: There are a million and one reasons I could think of, but a serious answer would be inexperience. Fourteen out of the 22 cabinet attendees have been in this Cabinet for less than a year, and this is on top of a government that has suffered huge amounts of turnover in key roles to boot. This Institute For Government explainer has some fine detail:
Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts, anything at all – please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org !
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.