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Saturday, February 21, 2009 

Weekend links.

Seems like an exceptionally quiet weekend, so let's keep this short and reasonably sweet. The BNP's council by-election victory in Sevenoaks is causing concern - but by some of the coverage you'd imagine they were on the edge of a major breakthrough. They are not - and are not even close to it. There are worries that they might be able to win a European parliament seat, due to how the Europe elections are based on proportional representation, but even if they do, there is so little coverage, even in the broadsheet press, of affairs in Brussels and Strasbourg that the only victory will be one of breaking into mainstream attention again. We of course need to engage with those who are sympathetic towards the BNP, and challenge the party's smears and lies, with the old tales about how the foreigners are stealing all the houses apparently being top of concerns in Sevenoaks, but going in the opposite direction only helps them further. Blairwatch comments further on the upcoming Euro elections.

Elsewhere on the blogs, Paul Linford provides his usual weekly article, this time on how Gordon Brown's authority is draining away, Sunny critiques the Civitas report on Islamic schools in typical fashion, while Shiraz Socialist asks if anyone will support the right for Fred Phelps to come here as they did Geert Wilders - I would, as would Rhetorically Speaking and the Heresiarch. Lee Griffin further notes Italy's dissent into authoritarianism, while Hopi Sen agrees that Brown should apologise - just not necessarily in the way that some want him to.

In the papers, Peter Oborne argues that this is a government in collapse, while Matthew Parris suggests that voters simply don't care any more. Deborah Orr writes on the Cambridge review into primary schooling, while Geoffrey Wheatcroft makes a point which ought to be obvious: that money and good judgement don't mix. Article of the weekend is undoubtedly Ben Goldacre's systematic destruction of the claims that British soldiers had seized £50m worth of heroin in Afghanistan, but it's well worth pointing out that Transform had already done exactly the same on Wednesday.

As for the worst tabloid article of the weekend we have a few contenders. One is the Sun's editorial comment on Jade Goody. It's worth quoting the whole nauseating thing in full and then comparing it against some previous comments from the Sun on the now sainted Goody:

LET’S all raise a toast to Jade Goody tomorrow as her dying wish comes true.

Clad in a gorgeous cream silk gown, Jade will become a bride and marry her devoted sweetheart Jack Tweed.

Tragically, there will be no anniversaries for Jade and Jack.

Death will part them too soon.

The wedding night Justice Secretary Jack Straw is letting them spend together may be one of very few they have as man and wife.

But tomorrow, Jade insists, is for joy not despair.

Amid the cake and champagne, the laughter and the kisses, Jade will know the special happiness that only a girl on her wedding day can experience.

By her side will be her proud young sons. Surrounding her will be the family, friends and celebs she loves the most.

The Sun’s warmest congratulations go to Jade and Jack on their marriage.

And Jade should be uplifted by the huge response to our Jade’s Legacy campaign, which aims to cut deaths from cervical cancer.

As Jade’s life moves towards its close, Britain has taken her more than ever to its heart.

When she walks down that aisle tomorrow, the nation will be by her side.

Also worth remembering is that her partner was in prison for a vicious assault on a man with a golf club - someone who would otherwise be derided in the Sun as a despicable yob is given the front page to declare his love, via Max Clifford, naturally.

That isn't the worst though. Another contender is the perennial favourite, Amanda Platell, who is livid about school children being asked to think about something. Such thought experiments can only lead to subversion and a destruction of our morals and values. Winner though for sheer hilarious hypocrisy is the Mail publishing an article by a former Cosmopolitan editor titled "Degrading, disgusting, and demeaning: I'm ashamed of modern women's magazines." That's also a perfect description of Femail, and here are some of its greatest hits.

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Surely the Mail's enquiry as to whether using facebook may cause cancer is up there for worst tabloid story of the week? I must argue strongly for it as it nearly killed me. Rarely have I been reduced to so much laughter that suffocation was a real danger.

It would have been a contender but I'm really only looking at articles from the weekend itself.

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