Monday, June 18, 2012

Beam Myself Into The Future

Lord Justice Leveson complained to the UK's top civil servant after an odious rat-faced cabinet minister raised concerns about his inquiry into the press, it has emerged. Loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Michael Gove, the lack of education secretary and chief brown-tongued cheerleader for billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch said in February that the debate around the hearings 'could erode freedom of speech.' That, it has been claimed, prompted the judge to contact the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. Lord Justice Leveson is understood to have been concerned that if Gove was speaking for the whole cabinet the it could - and probably would - undermine his entire inquiry. Loathsome brown-tongued wretched odious slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove told a press gallery lunch at Westminster that there was 'a chilling atmosphere towards freedom of expression which emanates from the debate around Leveson.' There were sharp exchanges between Lord Justice Leveson and loathsome brown-tongued wretched odious slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove when loathsome brown-tongued wretched odious slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove subsequently gave his loathsome brown-tongued wretched odious evidence to the inquiry in May. Lord Justice Leveson's concern was based around the hearings into into the culture, practices and ethics of the press being a public inquiry that had been set up by the government, at taxpayers' expense. However, BBC News website says that it 'understands' a headline in the Scum Mail On Sunday - Leveson's 'threat to quit' over meddling minister - is not accurate. Wow, that's a shock. The Scum Mail saying something which is not true? What are the chance, ehs? BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said that 'at no point' did Lord Justice Leveson threaten to resign. When the loathsome brown-tongued wretched odious slavver-merchant and George Formby lookalike Gove appeared in front of the inquiry at the end of May his exchanges with Lord Justice Leveson were notably tense. At one point, the inquiry chairman said bluntly: 'Mr Gove, I don't need to be told about the importance of free speech, I really don't.' Other alleged 'sources' allegedly emphasised that Lord Justice Leveson had always wanted to stress his independence from government. They pointed to Leveson's refusal to allow the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt to appear before the inquiry earlier than was originally scheduled. This was when the vile and odious rascal Hunt faced revelations relating to his role in News Corporation's bid for BSkyB.

And speaking of the vile and odious rascal his very self, Nick Clegg took the extraordinary step of personally urging the lack of culture secretary to refer himself to the adviser on the ministerial code, in a bid to avoid further damage to the government during the build up to the vote on the minister's future. The deputy prime minister told the vile and odious rascal Hunt that the row over his relationship with BSkyB was 'hugely damaging' and 'needed to be resolved urgently.' The vile and odious rascal Hunt - rather predictably - declined to take the advice, delivered by phone, and hid behind the prime minister, leaving Clegg unable to support his coalition allies in the Commons vote, and prompting some senior Tories to describe the deputy prime minister as 'a traitor.' Labour's motion, saying that the vile and odious rascal Hunt was a deceitful little toerag and had misled the House and breached the ministerial code, was defeated by two hundred and ninety votes to two hundred and fifty two, but the Liberal Democrat abstention caused fresh tensions in the coalition and the row over the beleaguered lack of culture secretary continues to haunt the prime minister. Speaker John Bercow allowed Labour to accuse the vile and odious rascal Hunt of lying to MPs over his handling of Rupert Murdoch's takeover bid for BSkyB and Cameron's critics say the row has raised significant doubts about the prime minister's judgment. These concerns will now be magnified by the Observer's revelation that Clegg repeatedly tried - and failed - during increasingly anguished conversations to persuade the prime minister of the need to refer the case to Sir Alex Allan, his adviser. It is believed that Clegg could not understand the prime minister's reluctance to refer the case, given his insistence that there was no evidence of the ministerial code being broken by the relationship between the vile and odious rascal Hunt's office, the News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel, and the Murdochs. An alleged senior Liberal Democrat 'source' allegedly said the deputy prime minister became 'particularly frustrated' after Cameron took the decision to refer Tory chairman Baroness Warsi to Allan for failing to declare a business relationship of a relative who travelled with her on a government trip to Pakistan. The development pushed Clegg into approaching the vile and odious rascal Hunt, only to be ignored, according to the alleged senior Liberal Democrat 'source.' The alleged 'source' allegedly added: 'Nick Clegg was frustrated that David Cameron couldn't see how damaging this was to both himself and the government. He thought that referring Warsi made the position even more untenable than it already was. The deputy prime minister repeatedly offered the prime minister and Jeremy Hunt a ladder to climb down. Nick Clegg made his position clear to the prime minister before Hunt's appearance at the Leveson inquiry. He made it again in the aftermath of Cameron's decision not to refer and numerous times in the week running up to the vote. He even spoke to Jeremy Hunt personally urging him to refer himself to Sir Alex Allan to get himself out of a corner.' The alleged 'source' allegedly said that the alleged Liberal Democrat leadership 'did not have any problem' in believing in the vile and odious rascal Hunt's innocence but Clegg believed it was wrong to avoid a referral. 'No one is making any judgments about culpability,' the alleged 'source' allegedly added. 'Nick Clegg values Jeremy Hunt as a collaborative colleague in the coalition. That is not the issue. This was about the Liberal Democrats being unable to support what we felt was the politically unsustainable decision not to refer. When it became clear that they wouldn't help themselves, Nick wasn't going to expend political capital defending them. We weren't going to endorse a decision in the House that we weren't consulted on and didn't agree with.' In response to the Liberal Democrat failure to vote against Labour's motion last week, furious Tory MPs have got themselves a massive chimney on and - allegedly - threatened to derail Clegg's plans for an elected House of Lords in a revenge attack. Cameron has played down the Liberal Democrat manoeuvre, telling MPs, 'It's politics.'

Yer actual Grant Morrison has been awarded an MBE. The Scottish comics writer - a particular favourite of Keith Telly Topping back in the day - was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 'for services to film and literature.' The fan-favourite writer is best known for his work on series including Animal Man, The Invisibles, Doom Patrol, Justice League of America and DC Comics' Batman franchise. He's also written for Marvel's X-Men series. His other comic series include Steed and Mrs Peel, Zenith, The New Adventures of Hitler, St. Swithin's Day and The Filth. He is currently writing Action Comics and the newly-relaunched Batman Incorporated. The fifty two-year-old writer divides his time between Los Angeles and Scotland.

The International Olympic Committee has begun an investigation into claims that Olympics representatives were willing to sell thousands of tickets for the London Games on the black market. The IOC's ruling executive board met after fresh claims by The Sunday Times involving more than fifty countries. This included allegations that tickets for top events were available for up to ten times their face value. The IOC has referred the allegations to its independent ethics commission. The UK's Olympics organiser, LOCOG, denied claims that its chairman, Lord Coe, was persuaded to hand over extra tickets to an IOC national representative. The Sunday Times has submitted a dossier of evidence detailing claims that Olympic officials and agents had been caught selling thousands of tickets on the black market for up to ten times their face value. The IOC could also review how Olympic tickets are distributed among member countries - more than one million were distributed to those taking part in the Games. The Sunday Times alleges, during a two-month investigation in which reporters posed as Middle Eastern ticket touts, it found corruption involving people representing fifty four separate countries. Accusations include an allegation a member of the Greek Olympics Committee said he had 'persuaded' Lord Coe to give Greece more tickets on the pretext that demand had outstripped supply. LOCOG denies the claim. A spokeswoman said: 'With regard to "boasts" by the Greek Olympic Committee' that discussions on tickets took place with Sebastian Coe, we can confirm this is untrue. Seb received a letter from the HOC (as he did from other NOCs) and responded saying that tickets had been allocated in accordance with the IOC's ticketing policy. There was no further contact - either formal or informal - on this subject.' More than one million London 2012 tickets were distributed abroad among all the nations taking part in the Games, but the IOC has strict rules to try to combat touts. National Olympic committees must ensure that their allocation is only sold within their own region. Last month a senior Ukrainian Olympic official resigned after being filmed by the BBC offering tickets for cash. The IOC said in a statement on the latest claims: 'The International Olympic Committee has moved quickly to deal with allegations that some National Olympic Committees and Authorised Ticket Resellers have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets. The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate. Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner. The NOCs are autonomous organisations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions. The IOC has also determined that it will take on board any recommendations coming out of the inquiry to improve the way that tickets are allocated and sold internationally in the future.' London 2012 organising committee LOCOG said: 'Rules and regulations for selling London 2012 tickets to international fans are clear and unambiguous. National Olympic Committees and their Authorised Ticket Sellers sign a contract with LOCOG agreeing to specific terms and conditions. The International Olympic Committee's has launched an investigation in to the allegations and we will support them in any way we can. None of the tickets in question came from the allocation to the British public.'

England and County Durham cricketer Paul Collingwood began day thirty of the Olympic torch relay by carrying the flame through the cathedral city. The three times Ashes winner started out at Palace Green, part of a Unesco World Heritage Site which includes Durham Cathedral and castle. The eighty four-mile journey from Durham to Middlesbrough took in County Durham and Teesside's industrial heartland. The evening celebration took place in Centre Square, Middlesbrough. Collingwood - who made sixty eight Test and two hundred and thirty two limited over appearances for his country - said that he would have to be careful carrying the torch due to a hand fracture. The first England captain to lead his side to victory in a global tournament - winning the World International Twenty20 in 2010 - was typically self-deprecating about his fielding prowess, joking: 'I've dropped a few in the past but I don't really want to be dropping the torch.' Also among the day's one hundred and twenty four torch bearers was Jamie Poole from Stockton-on-Tees, who will carried the flame into the Maritime Experience in Hartlepool. The school football coach was nominated after helping to to care for a friend who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The oldest torchbearer of the day was eighty five-year-old Larry Smith, who carried the flame through Blackhall Colliery. Larry visits the gym every day to help control his diabetes as well as helping others deal with the condition. The relay travelled through the communities of Durham, Sherburn Hill, Haswell Plough, Peterlee, Horden, Blackhall Colliery, Hartlepool, Billingham, Sedgefield, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Middridge, Newton Aycliffe, High Beaumont Hill, Harrogate Hill, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees and, finally, Middlesbrough. Towards the end of the two-hour show the last torchbearer of the day, Chloe Meehan, lit a celebration cauldron on stage.

And so to Euro 2012. Where the amusingly named Lars Bender made the Danes bite his shiny metal ass and scored the winner ten minutes from time as Germany took their place in the quarter-finals as convincing winners of Group B. The twenty three-year-old Bayer Leverkusen player poked in a shot late on from Mesut Özil's pass to end plucky little Denmark's dream of repeating their heroics of 1992. Germany had taken a nineteenth-minute lead through Lukas Podolski, only for Michael Krohn-Dehli to head and equaliser six minutes later. For much of this game, this was a dominant display by Germany, inspired by Sami Khedira's midfield generalship, Thomas Müller's prodigious work on the wings and a work rate and ambition that shone throughout the team. They're a bit good this German side. The long journey from Germany's team base in Gdansk to Ukraine have reportedly not gone down well with the squad but having topped the group with their victory in Lviv, they have earned a quarter-final in the city where they are based. The last time Denmark and Germany met in a competitive fixture had been memorable for very different reasons. The final of the 1992 European Championship saw the Danes beat the Germans in the final to complete one of the most surprising tournament victories in history. Denmark have struggled to escape the shadow of that victory ever since but with the sublime young talents such as Christian Eriksen in the side there was a sense of optimism about the future. Germany were in no mood for a repeat, however. For long periods of this match sour-faced Joachim Löw's side were untouchable in possession with Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger dictating from midfield. Whether breaking past an opponent from wide on the right flank, or erupting with dramatic suddenness through the middle of a defence, Müller's early runs were an exhilarating blend of grace and devastation. The Bayern Munich midfielder was a constant danger, but twice in the early moments he spurned good chances, failing to make clean contact when the ball broke to him six yards from goal and shooting narrowly over with the goal at his mercy. It was no surprise when Müller created the opening goal for Germany, exchanging passes with Özil, before cutting the ball back across the penalty area from the right where Podolski thumped it ruthlessly beyond Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Andersen. Denmark were bystanders for much of the opening period, unable to prevent or disrupt the German passing carousel and relying on intermittent long-range attacks. But what became clear quite quickly was their dominance at set-pieces. The Arse's Nicklas Bendtner had won an early header from a corner and when he rose again to meet a twenty third-minute corner, Germany were found wanting. The Dane rose majestically to head the back across goal, where Krohn-Dehli flicked the ball beyond Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. But while Denmark visibly grew in confidence after the goal, Germany continued to dominate. Mario Gomez was always on hand to provide the German attack with a focal point and might have done better on two occasions before half-time when the ball broke kindly to him. Khedira was also guilty of wastefulness, exchanging passes with Gomez only to poke the ball wide with the outside of his right foot when the ball broke to him. Denmark were, however, unbowed. Starved of possession and chasing shadows, the clenched fist of their coach Morten Olsen at half-time said it all. It had been a gesture of unexpected defiance in the face of German domination but for his team the message was clear. Denmark looked a different side early in the second half and should have snatched an unlikely lead when Bendtner collected Simon Poulsen's clever pass in the penalty box before laying the ball off to Jakob Poulsen, who skimmed the outside of the post with his low shot. The fluency Germany had found for long periods was being disrupted by a Denmark side that tackled, battled and denied space, their uncomplicated, direct approach putting their more celebrated opponents under serious duress. The introduction of Bayern Leverkusen striker André Schürrle appeared to help Germany regain their dynamism. The twenty one-year-old almost made an immediate impact, gathering Khedira's delightfully weighted pass before directing a fierce, low shot across goal which Andersen did well to push to safety. Bendter was unfortunate moments later when he poked narrowly over after a delightful ball by Eriksen but Germany looked the more likely. With Denmark tiring, Bender broke forward, taking advantage of Simon Poulsen's slip and rolled the ball beyond Andersen to decide the outcome of Group B.

Meanwhile, an admittedly scintillating double by that odious cheating little shit Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal into the Euro 2012 quarter-finals as they beat the worst Netherlands team to play a major championships in decades and send them back to the low countries with nul points. The Dutch needed to win by two clear goals to stand a chance of progressing and Rafael van der Vaart's lovely curling strike put them ahead. But the Dutch faded badly thereafter and Ronaldo equalised by slotting in from João Pereira's precise pass. Nani set up Ronaldo to drive in another as a rampant Portugal eased to a win. Portugal will go on to play Group A winners the Czech Republic, while the Dutch will be left to pick the bones of a group stage in which they lost all three of their games, just two years after finishing as World Cup runners-up.

The Football Association will challenge UEFA over disciplinary proceedings relating to England fans' behaviour during the win against Sweden on Friday. The investigation surrounds an alleged attempted invasion of the pitch, according to a statement on the European governing body's website. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body will discuss the matter on 20 June. It is understood that the FA will submit written evidence to UEFA ahead of the hearing on Wednesday. The FA will cite the report from the UEFA match delegate, which described the behaviour of England fans as 'satisfactory.' Although the FA may accept that there was some encroachment by fans following the second and third goals during England's dramatic 3-2 victory against Sweden in Kiev, they will argue it was down to exuberance rather than maliciousness. They will also be critical of the stewarding at the match and the lack of seat management. The governing body has issued a number of punishments since tournament in Poland and Ukraine began more than two weeks ago. The Football Union of Russia received a suspended six-point deduction for the Euro 2016 qualifiers after supporters set off fireworks and displayed illicit banners during the group A clash with the Czech Republic on the opening day. The Croatian Football Federation were fined twenty five thousand Euros following similar incidents during the Group C match against the Republic of Ireland. Further fines have been imposed on the German Football Association and Portuguese Football Federation after their supporters were found to have thrown paper missiles onto the pitch during their meeting.

There's a superb think-piece in the Gruniad by the broadcaster Danny Kelly - someone yer actual Keith Telly Topping has always had a soft spot for - on the ramifications of the Sky Premiership deal under the headline Football keeps getting richer, but it's the fans who pay for it: 'All parties are locked in a cycle of dependency. The media companies need football to expand their businesses. Fans just can't stop watching (and, after the incredible season we've just witnessed, who can blame us?) And football is obsessed with the getting and keeping of money. All of which would be a little more tolerable if, as Scudamore suggested might happen, some of this new cash were to trickle down, to help finance youth development, coaching in schools or better facilities at grounds. Anyone harbouring such Utopian ideas urgently needs to look at the other important document that arrived in the world of football last week. Simon Jordan's book, Be Careful What You Wish For, is a hand grenade into the millpond of any such wishful thinking. In it, the former Crystal Palace chairman describes in painful, often self-flagellating detail how his vast fortune was envied, eroded and ultimately engulfed by the greed of footballers and their representatives. The synopsis is brutally brief – "I had it; they got it" – and it should be required reading for anyone who gives a tuppenny damn about what is, after all, a huge part of our national culture. The new dough pouring into the game will change nothing. Rather it will accelerate processes already out of control. The players will get richer, the clubs will grow ever grander and more remote from their fans (now rebranded as "customers") and theoretically clever businessmen will continue to run football clubs in a way that would disgrace the owners of whelk stalls. The party will continue apace, the glam and glitz blinding us to the occasional victim slumped in the corner. For the latest of these we need look no further than Glasgow, where Rangers, a global institution, have, thanks to a perfect storm of all the vainglorious pitfalls that beset our clubs, gone to the wall, the husk of its once proud body now being poked at by lawyers and taxmen.' What he said.

Today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day find yer actual Keith Telly Topping still knee-deep in his Kraftwerk back catalogue. And, why not?

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