Archive for the ‘Page 3 – News in Briefs’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at February 27, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

BBC – Drugs arrest for George Michael

1. Both the Sun and the Mirror have gone with the inspired headline; ‘Careless Spliffer’… clearly this has something to do with the phenomena of Simultaneous Discovery.

2. Tabloid editors never take drugs. Never ever ever. And if they did, they would almost certainly use them responsibly. They would not, for instance, go on a violent coked-up rampage in London.

3. Murdoch’s paper’s in particular do not have an axe to grind: His 2002 single Shoot The Dog – with a slur about the 9/11 atrocity – sickened many fans. It portrayed Tony Blair as George Bush’s yapping poodle and the two leading statesmen as gay lovers.

4. Disappointingly, today’s Page 3 girl doesn’t spare so much as a single ‘tut’ for George. Instead, Krystle (23, from Manchester) backs new school discipline measures and says: “It’s great parents are to be hauled in for detention. Discipline shouldn’t just be up to teachers.”

Or the police, for that matter. No, for true justice we must turn to the tabloids.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 23, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

Appropriate responses to the death of an innocent mammal (tick one):

[ ] Sadness
[ ] Sadness tempered with a sense of inevitability
[ ] Sadness tempered with a sense of priorities
[ ] “Hang on, there might be a quid in this…”

The Scum – Memorial to Wally whale: The Sun today launches a 10,000 pound appeal to save Wally the Whale’s bones for the nation. We have teamed up with experts and conservationists to help preserve the skeleton for crucial scientific research. We also want to provide a lasting tribute to the whale that captivated the world by swimming up the Thames into central London. Wally – who died on Saturday after two days of drama – belongs to the Queen under a salvage law passed in 1324.

I’m sorry but, as of now, ‘Wally’ is the property of News International.

Let’s go to Page 3 for the round-up:

Today, Keeley (19, from Kent) gets her cha-chas out to praise The Sun for saving Wally’s remains and says: “I was really sad that rescue workers were unable to save Wally. It is right that scientists try to find out more about her. They may stop a tragedy happening again.”

Myself, I’m really sad that they couldn’t afford Lady Diana this same level of respect.

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 9, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

The Sun – News: Melanie loves Becky (8 Dec): Page stunners Becky Rule and Melanie Boorman have something to tell their millions of male fans today: They are in love – with each other. The gorgeous pair are the first in Page 3’s 35-year history to fall for another topless babe. They sealed their blossoming romance during a recent Sun photoshoot on Majorca. And from now on, they will appear TOGETHER on Britain’s favourite glamour page.

The Sun – News: Page 3 lovers’ first romp (9 Dec): Lovestruck Page 3 beauties Becky Rule and Melanie Boorman have lifted the lid on their first night of lesbian lust with each other. The busty pair got it on during a baking hot night in Majorca. They shared a hotel room on the Spanish island during a Page 3 modelling job with four other babes. But it took a few glasses of wine before the pair – who first met just two weeks before – finally plucked up the courage to reveal their true feelings. Becky, 24, said: “All us Page 3 girls went for a meal on the second night of the trip. Mel and I spent the whole time flirting. She kept telling me I was her perfect woman. “When we got back to our hotel she threw off her clothes before diving naked into the swimming pool. I was so excited – I just stripped and jumped in after her.” The girls then chatted naked in a Jacuzzi with two other Page 3 babes – before Becky and Mel collapsed into bed. Mel, 23, said: “We pushed our beds together and shared our first kiss. Then we spent the night together. It was sensual, erotic, beautiful and fun.” Becky added: “When we got back to our hotel room after flirting in the Jacuzzi we took one look at each other and pushed our single beds together. That was when I knew for sure we both wanted to make love to each other. Both of us were topless and we jumped under the sheets to kiss and cuddle. But then I just couldn’t keep my hands off Mel. I kissed and stroked her breasts and she ran her fingers up and down my back. Then I slowly teased off her g-string and kissed her all over her body. Both of us were just so hot for each other. I felt like I was going to explode with desire.” Mel, a former secretary, added: “What started off as a cuddle became much more. We just wanted each other badly. Our first night as lovers was perfect. I just couldn’t get enough of Becky. When we woke up the following morning I turned to her and said, ‘Let’s just stay in bed all day and only get up to order pizza.’ I was so happy.” But the girls’ budding relationship took a turn – as Mel worried what her 27-year-old boyfriend would think about her new love. She said: “Blokes always say that girl-on-girl action is their fantasy – but when it involves their girlfriend they’re not always so keen. I didn’t want him to think I had cheated on him and so told him about my feelings for Becky straight away. It was tough to begin with – but he has now accepted our relationship. I’m so lucky that my man understands how special she is to me.”

Blimey! Can you hear that sound? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of over 2 million pairs of trousers exploding in near-unison.

1. Links involve NSFW images.

2. I love that it’s ‘news’, don’t you?

3. The picture on the 2nd article is cleverly captioned ‘Les be friends’…

4. By ‘Virginia Wheeler’? Pull the other one! This has obviously been written by Alastair Campbell.

5. I am absolutely certain that this is the first time in 35 years of Page 3 that models have taken part in hot girl-on-girl action… be it sincere, implied or so explicit that it would make a gynaecologist blush (see: Rebekah Parmar Teasdale).

6. I am equally certain that this is true love.

7. Becky Rule… now why do I remember that name? Ah, yes. Got it. In January 2004 (14, 15, 16), Rebekah Wade managed to convince this girl to change her name to ‘Clare Short‘.

Still, I have no doubts about Becky Rule’s Clare Short’s Becky Rule’s integrity… I only mention this particular incident because I still have Becky’s mobile phone number.

Bidding starts at ten pounds… do I hear twenty?


UPDATE (23 Dec) – Pandora: The Sun editor Rebekah Wade – who celebrated Elton John’s nuptials with the headline “Elton takes David up the aisle” – takes a keen interest in the gay rights movement. Last week, her newspaper included a pair of “lesbian” Page Three girls, Melanie and Becky, who are supposed to be contemplating marriage. Not everyone was convinced, though. Indeed, one grizzled hack quizzed Wade about the matter at fellow editor Andy Coulson’s Christmas bash on Wednesday. “A colleague told Rebekah he didn’t think they’re really lesbians,” I’m told. “He’d spent the day going through all the pictures of the lesbians getting married, and said none of them look remotely like Melanie and Becky.” Wade stood doggedly by her story. “She insisted Melanie and Becky were planning on a civil partnership very soon, but admitted there had been a slight problem, because one of the lesbians’ boyfriends was objecting.” (via)

UPDATE (July 28, 2007) – The Sun Page 3’s Becky and Mel split!: Bisexual babes Becky Rule and Melanie Boorman are splitting up – because Mel is marrying a lucky fella. But Becky doesn’t mind too much and will even be bridesmaid. She said: “Mel’s found a wonderful man called James and they are getting hitched next September.”

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 17, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

The Sun – Battle to save CRIMBO: The Sun today launches a campaign to stop politically-correct Scrooges killing off Christmas… Now The Sun is hitting back by slapping offenders with our own version of an anti-social behaviour order, the CRIMBO – standing for Christmas Must Be Observed.

What? Again?!

Jesus Santa, show some imagination, Rebekah!

Today Danni, (18, from Coventry) feels suitably empowered by her appearance on Page 3 to express her Rebekah’s opinion on the matter; she hopes ‘that everyone gets behind The Sun’s drive to keep Christmas free of meddling political correctness’ and says: “Let’s hope Christmas isn’t ruined. It’s all about tradition and family.”

Tradition and family and the profitable circulation of right-wing propaganda, m’dear… let’s not forget who stuffs your stocking.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 10, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

Well done, Rebekah Wade… you’ve shown how completely detached from reality you are. If anyone is ‘out of step with public feeling’, it’s you:

The Sun – We shame ‘no’ vote MPs: MPs tonight rejected proposals for terror suspects to be held for up to 90 days without charge. In a bitter blow to Tony Blair the bill was defeated 322-291. Below we name and shame the MPs who voted down the bill. Print the list off and stick it on your fridge as a reminder of the TRAITOR MPs who betrayed Britain.

[Note to Rupert Murdoch: Mate, she’s overplaying it. Seriously. Those who didn’t see the strings yesterday are sure to see them today. Plus, you’ve opened yourself right up to a charge of divisiveness. That’s awfully close to dissent (at least, it is in my dictionary). We’re supposed to be working against the terrorist threat together, remember? You’ll want to sack this ginger clown pretty sharpish. That’s free advice from one Australian to another. I’d take it if I were you. Her ludicrous Page 3 editorial initiative earns me more immediate converts that anything else I can name. In fact, most people think I’m a bit of a nutter until I show them this.]

Oh… hello readers! Sorry about that. Housekeeping. Had to be done. Back on deck now.


You may wish to thank to following people, who did not fall for the whole ‘the police/public want this, so let’s not bother with details’ line of bulldust.

Given the circumstances, I’m sure you won’t mind taking the time to thank your MP (if they’re on the list) and at least one other:

(Use or if you have any difficulty finding contact details.)


The 49 Labour MPs who voted against 90 day detention were:

Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington)
John Austin (Erith & Thamesmead)
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
Michael Clapham (Barnsley West & Penistone)
Katy Clark (Ayrshire North and Arran)
Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead)
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
Jim Cousins (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
Ms Ann Cryer (Keighley)
Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras)
Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe & Nantwich)
Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central)
Paul Flynn (Newport West)
Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow)
Dr Ian Gibson (Norwich North)
Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath)
John Grogan (Selby)
David Hamilton (Midlothian)
Doug Henderson (Newcastle upon Tyne North)
Ms Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
Ms Glenda Jackson (Hampstead & Highgate)
Sian James (Swansea East)
Dr Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak)
Sadiq Khan (Tooting)
Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool Walton)
Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North & Leith)
Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central)
Andy Love (Edmonton)
Mrs Chris McCafferty (Calder Valley)
John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington)
Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway)
Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton)
Ms Julie Morgan (Cardiff North)
George Mudie (Leeds East)
Chris Mullin (Sunderland South)
Gordon Prentice (Pendle)
Nick Raynsford (Greenwich & Woolwich)
Linda Riordan (Halifax)
Ms Clare Short (Birmingham Ladywood)
Alan Simpson (Nottingham South)
Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
Sir Peter Soulsby (Leicester South)
David Taylor (Leicestershire North West)
Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury)
Jon Trickett (Hemsworth)
Robert Wareing (Liverpool West Derby)
David Winnick (Walsall North)
Mike Wood (Batley & Spen)

The Tory MPs who voted against 90-day detention were:

Adam Afriyie (Windsor)
Peter Ainsworth (Surrey East)
David Amess (Southend West)
Michael Ancram (Devizes)
James Arbuthnot (Hampshire North East)
Richard Bacon (Norfolk South)
Gregory Barker (Bexhill & Battle)
John Baron (Billericay)
Henry Bellingham (Norfolk North West)
Richard Benyon (Newbury)
John Bercow (Buckingham)
Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley)
Brian Binley (Northampton South)
Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
Tim Boswell (Daventry)
Peter Bottomley (Worthing West)
Graham Brady (Altrincham & Sale West)
Julian Brazier (Canterbury)
James Brokenshire (Hornchurch)
Mrs Angela Browning (Tiverton & Honiton)
Simon Burns (Chelmsford West)
David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate)
Alistair Burt (Bedfordshire North East)
Sir John Butterfill (Bournemouth West)
David Cameron (Witney)
Douglas Carswell (Harwich)
William Cash (Stone)
Christopher Chope (Christchurch)
James Clappison (Hertsmere)
Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells)
Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe)
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswold)
Derek Conway (Old Bexley & Sidcup)
Sir Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire South)
Geoffrey Cox (Torridge & West Devon)
Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire)
David Curry (Skipton & Ripon)
David TC Davies (Monmouth)
Philip Davies (Shipley)
Quentin Davies (Grantham & Stamford)
David Davis (Haltemprice & Howden)
Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)
Stephen Dorrell (Charnwood)
Mrs Nadine Dorries (Bedfordshire Mid)
James Duddridge (Rochford & Southend East)
Alan Duncan (Rutland & Melton)
Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford & Woodford Green)
Philip Dunne (Ludlow)
Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East)
Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)
David Evennett (Bexleyheath & Crayford)
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)
Michael Fallon (Sevenoaks)
Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster)
Dr Liam Fox (Woodspring)
Mark Francois (Rayleigh)
Christopher Fraser (Norfolk South West)
Roger Gale (Thanet North)
Edward Garnier (Harborough)
David Gauke (Hertfordshire South West)
Nick Gibb (Bognor Regis & Littlehampton)
Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham & Amersham)
Paul Goodman (Wycombe)
Robert Goodwill (Scarborough & Whitby)
Michael Gove (Surrey Heath)
James Gray (Wiltshire North)
Chris Grayling (Epsom & Ewell)
Damian Green (Ashford)
Ms Justine Greening (Putney)
John Greenway (Ryedale)
Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield)
John Gummer (Suffolk Coastal)
William Hague (Richmond (Yorks)
Philip Hammond (Runnymede & Weybridge)
Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon)
Greg Hands (Hammersmith & Fulham)
Mark Harper (Forest of Dean)
John Hayes (South Holland & The Deepings)
Oliver Heald (Hertfordshire North East)
David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells)
Charles Hendry (Wealden)
Nick Herbert (Arundel & South Downs)
Mark Hoban (Fareham)
Douglas Hogg (Sleaford & North Hykeham)
Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
Adam Holloway (Gravesham)
John Horam (Orpington)
Michael Howard (Folkestone & Hythe)
Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)
Jeremy Hunt (Surrey South West)
Nick Hurd (Ruislip – Northwood)
Michael Jack (Fylde)
Stewart Jackson (Peterborough)
Bernard Jenkin (Essex North)
Boris Johnson (Henley)
David Jones (Clwyd West)
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Robert Key (Salisbury)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Bromsgrove)
Greg Knight (Yorkshire East)
Mrs Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)
Mrs Jacqui Lait (Beckenham)
Mark Lancaster (Milton Keynes North East)
Andrew Lansley (Cambridgeshire South)
Edward Leigh (Gainsborough)
Oliver Letwin (Dorset West)
Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East)
Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater)
David Lidington (Aylesbury)
Peter Lilley (Hitchin & Harpenden)
Tim Loughton (Worthing East & Shoreham)
Peter Luff (Worcestershire Mid)
Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York)
Andrew Mackay (Bracknell)
David Maclean (Penrith & The Border)
Patrick McLoughlin (Derbyshire West)
Anne Main (St Albans)
Humfrey Malins (Woking)
John Maples (Stratford-on-Avon)
Francis Maude (Horsham)
Mrs Theresa May (Maidenhead)
Patrick Mercer (Newark)
Maria Miller (Basingstoke)
Anne Milton (Guildford)
Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield)
Malcolm Moss (Cambridgeshire North East)
David Mundell (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale)
Dr Andrew Murrison (Westbury)
Brooks Newmark (Braintree)
Stephen O’Brien (Eddisbury)
George Osborne (Tatton)
Richard Ottaway (Croydon South)
James Paice (Cambridgeshire South East)
Owen Paterson (Shropshire North)
Andrew Pelling (Croydon Central)
Michael Penning (Hemel Hempstead)
John Penrose (Weston-Super-Mare)
Eric Pickles (Brentwood & Ongar)
Mark Prisk (Hertford & Stortford)
Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)
John Randall (Uxbridge)
John Redwood (Wokingham)
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington & Chelsea)
Andrew Robathan (Blaby)
Hugh Robertson (Faversham & Kent Mid)
Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
Andrew Rosindell (Romford)
David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds)
Lee Scott (Ilford North)
Andrew Selous (Bedfordshire South West)
Grant Shapps (Welwyn Hatfield)
Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)
Mark Simmonds (Boston & Skegness)
Keith Simpson (Norfolk Mid)
Mrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden)
Sir Michael Spicer (Worcestershire West)
Bob Spink (Castle Point)
Richard Spring (Suffolk West)
Anthony Steen (Totnes)
Gary Streeter (Devon South West)
Graham Stuart (Beverley & Holderness)
Desmond Swayne (New Forest West)
Hugo Swire (Devon East)
Robert Syms (Poole)
Ian Taylor (Esher & Walton)
David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)
Andrew Tyrie (Chichester)
Edward Vaizey (Wantage)
Shailesh Vara (Cambridgeshire North West)
Peter Viggers (Gosport)
Mrs Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet)
Charles Walker (Broxbourne)
Ben Wallace (Lancaster & Wyre)
Robert Walter (Dorset North)
Nigel Waterson (Eastbourne)
Mrs Angela Watkinson (Upminster)
John Whittingdale (Maldon & Chelmsford East)
Bill Wiggin (Leominster)
David Willetts (Havant)
David Wilshire (Spelthorne)
Rob Wilson (Reading East)
Mrs Ann Winterton (Congleton)
Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)
Jeremy Wright (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Tim Yeo (Suffolk South)
Sir George Young (Hampshire North West)

All 62 Liberal Democrats voted against 90 day detention. They are:

Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
Norman Baker (Lewes)
John Barrett (Edinburgh West)
Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington)
Colin Breed (Cornwall South East)
Ms Annette Brooke (Dorset Mid & Poole North)
Jeremy Browne (Taunton)
Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)
Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam)
Mrs Lorely Burt (Solihull)
Dr Vincent Cable (Twickenham)
Sir Menzies Campbell (Fife North East)
Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland)
Nicholas Clegg (Sheffield Hallam)
Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton)
Tim Farron (Westmorland & Lonsdale)
Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green)
Don Foster (Bath)
Andrew George (St Ives)
Mrs Sandra Gidley (Romsey)
Julia Goldsworthy (Falmouth & Camborne)
Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South)
Dr Evan Harris (Oxford West & Abingdon)
Nick Harvey (Devon North)
David Heath (Somerton & Frome)
John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley)
Paul Holmes (Chesterfield)
Martin Horwood (Cheltenham)
David Howarth (Cambridge)
Simon Hughes (Southwark North & Bermondsey)
Chris Huhne (Eastleigh)
Mark Hunter (Cheadle)
Paul Keetch (Hereford)
Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye & Lochaber)
Susan Kramer (Richmond Park)
Norman Lamb (Norfolk North)
David Laws (Yeovil)
John Leech (Manchester Withington)
Michael Moore (Berwickshire Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West)
Mark Oaten (Winchester)
Lembit Opik (Montgomeryshire)
John Pugh (Southport)
Alan Reid (Argyll & Bute)
Dan Rogerson (Cornwall North)
Paul Rowen (Rochdale)
Bob Russell (Colchester)
Adrian Sanders (Torbay)
Sir Robert Smith (Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine)
Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove)
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire)
Matthew Taylor (Truro & St Austell)
Sarah Teather (Brent East)
John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross)
Steve Webb (Northavon)
Mark Williams (Ceredigion)
Roger Williams (Brecon & Radnorshire)
Stephen Williams (Bristol West)
Phil Willis (Harrogate & Knaresborough)
Ms Jenny Willott (Cardiff Central)
Richard Younger-Ross (Teignbridge)

The Democratic Unionist Party MPs who voted against 90-day detention were:

Gregory Campbell (DUP Londonderry East)
Nigel Dodds (DUP Belfast North)
Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP Lagan Valley)
Rev William McCrea (DUP South Antrim)
The Rev Ian Paisley (DUP Antrim North)
Mrs Iris Robinson (DUP Strangford)
Peter Robinson (DUP Belfast East)
David Simpson (DUP Upper Bann)
Sammy Wilson (DUP East Antrim)

The Independent MPs who voted against 90-day detention were:

Peter Law (Ind Blaenau Gwent)
Dr Richard Taylor (Ind Wyre Forest)

The Plaid Cymru MPs who voted against 90-day detention were:

Elfyn Llwyd (PC Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)
Adam Price (PC Carmarthen East & Dinefwr)
Hywel Williams (PC Caernarfon)

The Respect MPs who voted against 90-day detention were:

George Galloway (Bethnal Green and Bow) [Ed: Hurrah! He actually *voted* this time!]

The Scottish National Party MPs who voted against 90-day detention were:

Stewart Hosie (SNP Dundee East)
Angus MacNeil (SNP Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
Angus Robertson (SNP Moray)
Alex Salmond (SNP Banff & Buchan)
Michael Weir (SNP Angus)
Pete Wishart (SNP Tayside North)
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Mark Durkan (SDLP Foyle)
Alasdair McDonnell (SDLP Belfast South)
Eddie McGrady (SDLP Down South)

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 9, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch, The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

The trumpet-call had let loose an enormous volume of noise. Already an excited voice was gabbling from the telescreen, but even as it started it was almost drowned by a roar of cheering from outside. The news had run round the streets like magic. He could hear just enough of what was issuing from the telescreen to realize that it had all happened, as he had foreseen; a vast seaborne armada had secretly assembled a sudden blow in the enemy’s rear, the white arrow tearing across the tail of the black. Fragments of triumphant phrases pushed themselves through the din: ‘Vast strategic manoeuvre — perfect co-ordination — utter rout — half a million prisoners — complete demoralization — control of the whole of Africa — bring the war within measurable distance of its end victory — greatest victory in human history — victory, victory, victory!’ – George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty Four

The Sun – You speak and they listen: TORIES out to wreck Tony Blair’s crackdown on terrorists were in turmoil last night – as The Sun’s army of readers rallied behind the PM. A whopping 100,000 of you phoned our hotline to DEMAND 90 days’ detention for terror suspects. Thousands more of you went online – blitzing MPs with emails to SHAME them into backing Mr Blair in tonight’s crunch Commons vote. As you made your voices heard in near-record numbers, senior Tories began to buckle – and Labour rebels started drifting back to the Government side. We urge you to keep the pressure up by phoning the number above. The sensational show of Sun reader power instantly turned the tide in favour of Mr Blair.

Well, after Charles Clarke’s late-night attempt to diffuse the diddled poll row, I think it’s well past time to put this one to bed, too.

Let’s start with the numbers they do give…

A whopping 100,000 of you phoned our hotline to DEMAND 90 days’ detention for terror suspects.

Recent figures show the Sun’s circulation at 3,361,396.

(100000/3361396) x 100 = 2.97%

Hm. So we’d best correct that:

Less than 3% of you phoned our hotline to DEMAND 90 days’ detention for terror suspects.

Now, let’s look at the numbers that they almost give…

Thousands more of you went online – blitzing MPs with emails to SHAME them into backing Mr Blair in tonight’s crunch Commons vote.

I didn’t mention this yesterday (because one does not interrupt their enemies when they’re busy making a mistake) but I actually sent my message to ‘wobbly’ MPs to each and every one of the 257 email addresses that the Sun provided, which was based on the list of 299 MPs who voted against the glorification bill.

(They’re short 42 email addresses, but we’ll let that slide; not all MPs have readily-accessible email addresses. Each MP is granted one in the format last-name + first-initial @, but of course the Sun wanted to be certain that their messages reached their intended target. So they went with published addresses and certainly would have tested these addresses first, right? Erm, no. From of the 257 emails I sent, I received 25 bounces (and 4 ‘out of office’ auto-replies). So that’s 232 presumably valid email addresses. Still, it’s public feeling and intent that matter here, so we can let this slide also and operate with the 257 figure.)

60% of the British population has internet access. You may wish to question this figure given that some people have multiple connections and the Sun targets the working class, so let’s be really, really generous and operate on the assumption that 30% of Sun readers have internet access.

30% of 3,361,396 is just a shade over a million; 1,000,841

We should probably halve this again, as not all of the Sun readers involved may have been constituents of the MPs involved… but we’re not going to, because a considerable number of emails received by MPs were from people who refused to reveal their address and/or were not from their constituency.

Ah-hah! Did you spot the deliberate mistake? Yes, I just revealed that I’ve been in contact with many of these MPs, not just regarding my message, but the level of response they experienced following the Sun’s campaign (within acceptable boundaries of confidentiality and propriety, of course).

I spoke to seven MPs (or their researchers) about this. Admittedly, that’s a small sample – but they all reported very similar figures and (again) I’ll try to be as generous as possible with my figures in order to allow for variations I may not be aware of.

These MPs received between 1-4 emails as a result of this call to arms. Counting mine. But I promised to be generous, so let’s operate on an average of 6 emails per MP:

6 x 257 = 1,542

Thousands more of you went online – blitzing MPs with emails to SHAME them into backing Mr Blair in tonight’s crunch Commons vote.

Erm, no. More like:

*Hundreds* more of you went online – blitzing MPs with emails to SHAME them into backing Mr Blair in tonight’s crunch Commons vote.

Again, I’m trying very hard to be fair here. The sentence initially refers to readers ‘going online’, so perhaps they’ve based their figure on the number of people who downloaded their list of shame. We have a number of variants here, including an unknown number of visitors who would have followed this link from Bloggerheads, and many Sun readers who may have downloaded the page only to see that their MP was not listed, but let’s continue the spirit of generosity and double the 1,542 figure. This gives us 3,084 Sun readers with a clear intention to email their MP (or perhaps somebody else’s MP).

Finally we’re at a stage where we can rightly use the word ‘thousands’ and not ‘hundreds’ to describe the figure… but what happens when we apply this figure to the (greatly under-estimated) number of Sun readers with internet access?

(3084/1000841) x 100 = 0.31%

Zero. Point. Three. Percent.

Not even *half* of a single percentage point.

So that’s:

Less than 3% of Sun readers support the proposed 90-day law enough to pick up a phone and push a few buttons
Just over 0.3% of Sun readers support the proposed 90-day law enough to (maybe) write and send an email

This is not what I would call a blitz. It’s more like a blip.

Let’s go back to the Sun for more:

As you made your voices heard in near-record numbers, senior Tories began to buckle – and Labour rebels started drifting back to the Government side. We urge you to keep the pressure up by phoning the number above. The sensational show of Sun reader power instantly turned the tide in favour of Mr Blair.

‘Near-record numbers’ may not be a lie. I’ve crunched numbers in this way before, and the Sun plays this game a lot. Perhaps, for them, this *is* a record response.

The rest… well, they look to be making things up to impress us, but you can’t really blame them for that, given the shocking complacency of their readers. After all….

97% of Sun readers either do not support the proposed 90-day law, or could not give a rat’s arse either way.

Page 3 swings into action!Perhaps it is this complacency that finally convinced them to bring out the Big Guns.

Yes folks, it’s time for yet another Page 3 editorial!

Today Krystle (23, from Manchester) ‘backed the Sun campaign to see the new terror laws pushed through’. She says: “It is so important the police are given the power they need to combat terrorism. Every reader must lend their weight to this vital campaign and call our hotline.”

Yes, by all means, call the hotline. Please stop emailing MPs, because – let’s be frank – it’s getting embarrassing.

If MPs got wind of this – if they put 2 + 2 together – well, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.

This is a poll of Sun readers, not the general population.

The Sun has backed Blair and his cold-hearted manipulation of terrorist atrocities since Day One.

Even when victims of terrorism are waved in their face, 97% of these readers do not support this draconian legislation enough to make a simple phone call.

So please, please do what the girl with the boobs says and call that hotline so that tomorrow, after the vote has taken place, the Sun can publish these new figures and… erm… hang on… something’s not right here…

UPDATE – Make that *eight* MPs I’ve spoken to about this. I have permission to quote this response verbatim; it was sent *before* this particular MP read my latest post…

Rt Hon James Arbuthnot: I have, as a result of the Sun’s list, received more e-mails supporting my view than opposing it.

Posted by Tim Ireland at November 3, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

Blunkett - Take 2That’s twice Blunkett has had to resign… and twice that his departure has been lamented by the ever-faithful Page 3 girls.

Here’s what Katie (19, from Liverpool) had to say on Dec 15 2004: “I think it’s terrible that a man who has done so much for the country has felt it necessary to leave public office. Blunkett was one of the few Home Secretaries prepared to get tough on issues that matter to ordinary people – asylum, terrorism and law and order.”

Today, the only difference is Rebekah Wade’s recent design order that places more contentious views away from the model’s face:

Danni (18, from Coventry) said she was sorry to see David Blunkett resign. She adds: “There is no denying David’s ability as a Cabinet minister. It was a typical gesture of him to resign for the sake of his Cabinet colleagues. But in doing so the Government is a poorer place.”

As the BBC points out; for many papers, the real story behind David Blunkett’s resignation is its consequences for Tony Blair.

One vote, folks; one vote.

Plus a dramatic climb-down on the 90 day detention demand.

It’s almost enough to give one hope…

Incidentally, the original script for Not Over By A Long Shot called for a final shot of a Partridge-like bus driving away to reveal a sign that read: Caution: lame duck driving…. but I went with the ‘walking dead’ thing instead.

Given that he’s survived since the summer of 2004 (when his premiership *should* have ended) I think it’s fair to say that the man is a little more resilient than a wounded duck.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 20, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Page 3 - News in Briefs

Design note - The Sun seems to place highly contentious/political editorials away from the model's faceA lovely Page 3 editorial greets my return. I think Rebekah Wade is sending me secret signals of lurve:

Today Nicola T (22, from Croydon) is pleased to see Saddam Hussein finally go on trial yesterday – despite his ‘stalling tactics’. She says; “A lot of people in Iraq have been waiting for this for a long time. Once the trial resumes they will want to see justice being done.”

Why, it’s almost as if Saddam’s stalling tactics were behind the long delay that preceded the trial. Nothing to do with the U.S. wanting to:
a) hold the trial at a ‘convenient’ stage of Bush’s presidency
b) have just enough influence but no visible influence
c) stage a show of democracy or two in order to dodge the charge that Saddam Hussein is still technically president of Iraq

(Yes, I know that international law is something that flows and changes according to consensus and is open to interpretation… but that’s what makes undermining it with a ‘coalition of the willing’ so smegging dangerous. Now can we get back to Saddam? Thanks.)

It’s an odd little dance that’s going on here… Saddam is so evil that there’s no evil left for anyone else (therefore every participant in the coalition of the willing is as pure as the driven snow). But if he’s that evil and that dangerous, why run the risk of letting him off the hook by flouting international law? Surely this was discussed at some stage? Perhaps there was a one-paragraph risk assessment on the single page of A4 that gave Blair the nod.

Left to settle over time, the matter doesn’t look anywhere near as messy as it could have been… but just think about that bit: Saddam was so evil that we had to act with such haste as to risk denying the Iraqis justice… unless we were prepared to flout international law. Again.

Guardian – Saddam defiant as trial opens
Scotsman – Arab world is split over the trial of Saddam

This is worth a look. Why, it almost looks as if the trial is being conducted primarily for our benefit:
DailyKos – Saddam on Trial

Finally, this is worth looking at:
Guardian – Trial of the century? Not for Iraqis

That last article appears to be… the last article filed by Rory Carroll before his apparent kidnapping… though the BBC reports that he gave a radio interview before his disappearance. There are further reports that he was ‘conducting yet another interview in the city with a victim of Saddam’s regime when gunmen confronted him’. He sounds like a pretty busy guy. There is also this recent article on civilian casualties by… Rory Carroll.

I think it might just be a good idea for the kidnappers to know more about the man they are holding.

UPDATE [8:30pm]: Guardian journalist freed in Iraq

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 3, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

Today, Page 3 girl Nikkala (23, from Middlesex) is ‘appalled MPs are swanning off on holiday while fanatics plot against Britain and thugs terrorise the streets’… She says: “Everyone needs a break but 80 days is daft. The police are overrun. They desperately need new laws to help them. MPs should cut short their hols before it is too late.”

Strange… the police didn’t seem overrun on Monday when enforcing one of the new laws Rebekah Nikkala seems so keen on.

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 19, 2005

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

Yes folks, Page 3 is back!

(I’m detailing the following mainly for my own records. I’m curious to know how the Scum respond to tragedy and how long they keep the boobage offline following any given event.)

As noted previously at Bloggerheads, the Sun only abstains from showing boobs: when there’s an earthquake, a flood, a major train crash or the death of a really famous person.

9 editions of the Sun have been issued since the bombings in London on the 7th of July. In two of those editions, a scantily-clad B-list celebrity has featured on Page 3, but there have been no boobs.

Today, in the 10th edition following the death of at least 56 60 people in London on the 7th of July, Page 3 makes a tentative return. I use the word ‘tentative’ mainly because of the content of the editorial, which today focuses on morals instead of politics…

(Note – Yesterday they ran a feature on Spencer Tunick on Page 3. Why it’s almost af if they were testing the waters…)

Today Keeley (18, from Kent) is shocked by Jude Law’s infidelity. She says: “Sienna loves him so much. Everyone can see how devoted she is to him. He did a rotten thing and even though he’s a completely gorgeous actor, I would find it really hard to forgive him.”

But not so hard that it’d be impossible, right Keeley? After all, he’s completely gorgeous. And an actor.

Keep an eye on Page 3, folks. Barring more deaths or major revelations, a boobtastic editorial on hate-filled Muslim clerics is due any day now.

UPDATE (20 July) – And so it came to be. Today Nicola T (22, from Croydon) is ‘furious at Omar Bakri Mohammed’s latest rants againts Britain‘. She says: “He claims thousands in benefits but still sees fit to attack the very people who have supported him. He is a disgrace.”

Murdoch pays pays no British taxes and *exploits* the very people who support him, but I don’t expect you to pay any attention to me. Because I lack the norks.

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