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Saturday, February 07, 2009 

Weekend links.

Must read of the weekend is undoubtedly the interview with Sharon Shoesmith in the Guardian, which has naturally polarised opinions. To me it's an indictment of a government which gave in to one of the nastiest press campaigns in years, to others it will be a self-pitying whine from a woman who has accepted no responsibility whatsoever despite her position as head of children's services in Haringey. Extended thoughts from myself on the Sun's involvement and the effect it had on the mental health of Maria Ward and Shoesmith are on the Sun Lies blog.

Elsewhere, there is again little overall theme in the papers and on the blogs, so we have something of a miscellany. Five Chinese Crackers has an excellent piece on the "politically correct" changes to the Drunken Sailor song by Bookstart, which is incredibly reminiscent of the nonsense a couple of years back about a playgroup singing "baa baa rainbow sheep" rather than "black sheep", which was nothing to do with political correctness but everything to do with swapping words in songs to encourage learning and creativity. Similarly on the tabloid outrage front, Anton Vowl has a copy and paste guide to writing BBC scandal stories, in the aftermath of the Carol Thatcher "golliwog" affair, which I did intend to write about but decided not to because it's quite clear that the BBC simply cannot win whatever it does when newspapers are quite clearly dedicated to its destruction. Sim-O also has an instructive screen grab from the Mail, while Daily Quail provides his usual fine satire.

Elsewhere, Socialist Unity and Shiraz Socialist comment further on the Lindsey wildcat strikes, Chris Dillow challenges Sarkozy over his claim that the VAT cut has not worked and David Semple interviews Sunny Hundal on Liberal Conspiracy's campaign on the HFE bill. In the papers, Peter Oborne considers the Tories' funding and Deborah Orr covers the rather neglected misery of Kyrgyzstan.

As for the worst tabloid article, the Sun is continuing its dishonest and heartless campaign against Binyam Mohamed returning here, scaremongering about how he'll be free to "roam" the country. Considering none of the other Guantanamo detainees that have returned here have ever been charged with any crime and that all have apparently returned to their lives as normally as possible, it seems unlikely he either will pose much a threat, especially considering the claims that months of hunger strike have left him close to death. Winner though is the veteran Amanda Platell, who decides that Channel 4's "Boys and Girls Alone" is proof of how the "destruction of traditional family values by a liberal state, and its cult of selfishness, has caused untold damage to our children’s happiness and chances of leading fulfilling lives." Quite clearly she's never read Lord of the Flies.

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