Forfar 4 East Fife 5

Has that scoreline ever happened? I once heard a writer from Arbroath on the wireless say that his American friends, when they heard where he came from, said “I thought the town was called Arbroath Nil”. Scottish football gives us some fun scores from time to time (Stirling Albion 20 Selkirk 0 sticks in the mind) but whether the Fifers and the Loons have ever really taken part in a 9 goal thriller I couldn’t say.

Regardless, Forfar 4 East Fife 5 is the title of a great blog by Torquay United fan, photographer and groundhopper Chris Hayes. Chris tells me he is going to drop by sometime soon so in anticipation I have found some appetite-whetting pictures.

The first seven feature Chesterfield FC’s spanking new stadium on its opening day against Barnet in 2010. Chesterfield won the game 2-1 with Duane Mattis scoring the ground’s first goal and Craig Davies notching up its first sending off.

001002003004005006007The rest feature Chesterfield’s old 1960s time warp Saltergate ground a week or so after its final match, never to see another goal, terrace scrap or red card. We used to live no more than 150 yards beyond the away end.

The hallowed ground now houses a development called Spire Heights.

Enjoy, Comrade.

001002003004005

Glasgow

What good is a blog without photographs? Well, not as good as one that does have them, certainly. Reading through all the entries below must be like eating raw Weetabix so to make things less stodgy here are some pictures from our recent weekend in the Empire’s Second City.

I would not patronise the Glaswegians by droning on about what a fine city they live in. Glasgow still has a lower average lifespan and greater poverty and alcoholism than anywhere else in the UK but the city centre is really handsome and the people in it universally, or so it seems, friendly and welcoming. The people also speak with one of the UK’s finest and most memorable accents, of course.

The pictures show some city centre scenes as well as the Barras Market, Glasgow Green, Glasgow Cross and the Kelvingrove Park & Museum.

 

Moving On

The Besotted Wretch is no more although, to our dismay, we are still paying the rent on an empty shop. It was an interesting, if expensive, year but not one that we regret. When I am on my deathbed I shall be able to look back and say “We ran our own bookshop once”.

It was the rent that killed us off so it’s ironic that we are still paying it. Just before we closed we met a couple who were really keen to take it on, only to change their minds over a period of 2 days and disappear from our lives for ever. We met some really nice, decent, good people during the year and also one or two bores, snobs, timewasters and crooks, so I suppose in terms of the customers we came out pretty much even. The worst kind were the ones who came in braying to each other about Virginia Woolf or Duncan Grant, stopped for an hour picking up books and putting them back in the wrong place and then buggered off again without (a) buying anything or (b) deigning to speak to us.

This all means that TBW329 is an outdated title for the blog. I’m currently a freelance welfare rights worker under my own name so CFC20 would be more accurate. We have our fingers tightly crossed that CFC57 will be appropriate soon, but more of that another day, if and when it happens.

This is my website address: http://connolly1212.wix.com/mysite

Jeremy Corbyn has won the Labour leadership contest with no assistance from me because I wasn’t allowed to vote. The Labour NEC think it’s perfectly fine to take my money and then disenfranchise me as a reward for joining. I am happy to say that I quit again before any subs had been taken out of my account and my candidate still won anyway. That’s a good outcome all round. I shan’t be rejoining the Labour Party, mind. Having used the term “Blairite scum” on social media I expect I should be banned from voting for ever so there’s not much point in spending money I haven’t got in any case on paying the monthly fees. I can still vote Labour in the next election, though, if I want to. Then again, I could choose not to if my candidate, whoever it should be, doesn’t deserve my support.

My books, Felix Noonan, Sheffield Poet and Pig Tales, are both still (very) available, by the way. I like them, but I admit that is not necessarily the reassurance anyone would need before buying one. You never know till you try, mind.

Not our best week

I am so naïve! Or at least I was so till yesterday when we fell victim to a distraction crime. While one man asked me to accompany him into the backroom because he wanted to look at books with pictures in them (I know!) his mate robbed all the notes out of the till. We lost about £80, which is a lot to us since we need about £250 to £300 a week just to break even and we normally fall about £100 short. Make that £180 this week.

In addition, a client for whom I won a PIP appeal has gone missing without paying me and someone I thought was a friend has let me down by taking advantage of Chrissy’s good nature and bringing in her snappy, incontinent dog after I had expressly forbidden her to do so. Friendly dogs in the shop are OK; the ones that snap at customers are not. We are not running the business as a hobby; it’s supposed to be our living and when we say we don’t want someone’s pet snarling at people and pissing on the floor we mean it. If we really wanted to micturate all over the place and growl at customers we could do so ourselves, but we don’t, because that would be (a) unfriendly (b) unhygienic and (c) probably bad for business.

Frankly, if we were not too late to do so we’d have taken the option of ending the lease a year early. We love the shop very dearly but in spite of what I have just said above it has, in effect, become a very expensive hobby. We could have stuck to birdwatching, bought ourselves a damn smart camera each and still had more cash in the bank than we have now.

In addition, Chrissy injured her thumb and had to go to A&E and our cat Tabby Woo died. Still, as we say in these parts there’s no point in roaring over spilt milk. I’ve got it off my chest and that’s that. As Wayne Campbell famously said “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to dump on ya”.

In case anyone is wondering TBW is voting Remain in the EU referendum. I voted out in 1975 but that was because I thought the Common Market was anti-worker. Now it’s the Brexiteers who want to rip up legislation that protects workers’ safety and rights to paid holidays. We also support the concept of free movement across national borders, for humanitarian reasons. In other words, take Ukip’s position, rotate it by 180 degrees and that’s where you’ll find us.

This Sunday I’ll be at Crosspool Festival with the Sheffield Authors. My books Felix Noonan, Sheffield Poet and Pig Tales will be on sale. Buy them and make me feel better. They are only a fiver each so you can always throw them away afterwards and still only be £10 down!

A Book at Half Time

Fit & Proper, by Matthew Bell & Gary Armstrong (2010)

Very well researched and interesting, this book looks at the various rascals, crooks and egoists who have sat on the Board of Sheffield United FC, focussing particularly on the final quarter of last century and the first decade of this one. No matter which club you support it’s a hard book to read before bed without giving yourself a nasty headache.

Sam Hashimi, also known as Samantha Kane and then Charles Kane, is a fantasist who never actually managed to gain a seat despite being unveiled on TV as United’s new saviour. Hashimi/Kane is probably the least offensive of all the characters in the book since he was eccentric and deluded rather than cynical and corrupt. Two of the others are out-and-out crooks while the main protagonist, Reg Brealey, was so slow at paying wages to his workers in Calcutta that they were literally left starving. Brealey used to be a millionaire but became bankrupt and was banned from taking on any new directorships but didn’t let that prevent him from also becoming de facto owner of Darlington FC (as if Darlo had not suffered enough under their previous “benefactor”)  and then Grantham Town.

Making money the Brealey way is a doddle. You simply borrow large amounts all over the place and then use one loan to pay back another &c. He undoubtedly put a lot of money into SUFC, the only problem, and it’s a big one, being that the money in question belonged to other people, who still wanted it back.

Then there were Stephen Hinchliffe and Paul Woolhouse, two of the dodgiest characters in town. Hinchliffe was sent to prison twice for illegal financial shenanigans and Woolhouse, who “bought”  Reg Brealey’s shares without actually ever paying for them, fled the country to avoid arrest 20 years ago and has been on the run ever since. Next came Mike McDonald, a Manchester City fan who bought SUFC’s majority shareholding and became Chairman. He brought with him his pal, Charles “He Sells The Team” Green, a man who later played a significant part in the downfall of Glasgow Rangers and is even less popular at Ibrox than he was at the Lane. In common with his predecessors, McDonald splashed cash around stupidly at the beginning of his stewardship and then sold all the players who might have achieved success when the shit came along and attached itself to the financial fan. The poor managers, particularly Messrs Haslam, Porterfield, Spackman, Bassett and Heath barely had any say over who came and went, simply watching helplessly as their star men left for better money elsewhere.

Kevin McCabe was McDonald’s eventual replacement as Chairman. The book ends in 2010 with the fans wondering what happened to all the money West Ham had to pay United as compensation after the fiasco over Mascherano and Tevez and United’s subsequent relegation to the Second tier.* According to the authors, it seems McCabe  had loaned millions to United so simply paid West Ham’s money back to himself while the team continued to flounder on the field. If only they knew! Since then United have been relegated again and have spent five years in the Third Division, where the current manager has just celebrated a 0-0 draw at home to Gillingham as if it were a mighty achievement, and McCabe’s partner in the Boardroom appears to be the only penniless Prince in Saudi.

It’s tempting to say that this sort of shambles could only happen at Bramall Lane, but I’m sure many other clubs’ fans could tell similar stories. Chesterfield, for example, who were left in administration by a thief named Darren Brown in 2001; Brown was chosen as successor by incumbent Chairman Norton Lea even though it was clear he was a conman.  The sale of Lea’s shares in Chesterfield to Brown, and Brealey’s in United to Woolhouse, suggest that Messrs Brealey & Lea were both looking forward to getting those shares handed back to them again and then riding, as it were, to the rescue. Crafty.

Over at Hillsborough, right now, Wednesday are in the play-off places for promotion to the Premier League having put together a very expensive side with questions a-plenty to be asked about where their finance has come from. If Wednesday don’t make it this season they are likely to be carrying the biggest wage bill in their Division come August. It’ll end in tears for sure. It’s just a pity that anticipating a meltdown at Hillsborough is about all Sheffield United’s fans have to look forward to these days.

* This saga is worth a book on its own. West Ham breached the rule forbidding the signing of players from third parties and then lied about having done so. They should have been deducted points and Tevez should not have been allowed to play in the last three games, but Neil Warnock’s United side hardly helped themselves by losing at home to Wigan on the last day of the season even though the Latics had a man sent off early in the second half. 

Many people, especially Blades fans, believe that the decision not to deduct points showed favouritism towards the team from the capital. There are solid grounds for this belief, but at the time the decision was made it really looked as if West Ham would be going down in any case. If they were to win their last three games (as they did, with Tevez scoring the winner at Old Trafford against a scandalously weak Manchester United XI) it was Wigan who looked the likeliest bet to drop instead. Preferring West Ham over Wigan would be just as unfair to Wigan as it turned out to be for the Blades, but maybe the outrage would have been a bit less fierce had the Latics gone down since they don’t have the Big Club image and the long history of the two Uniteds.

Regardless, Sheffield United contrived to lose their last two games in a week and so took the fall that West Ham would have taken for sure but for the incomprehensible decision to find the Hammers guilty of signing Tevez illegally but then to let him play on with them regardless, together with Alex Ferguson’s choice of a reserve team to play against West Ham on the final day.

 

How are we doing?

Chrissy recently calculated that we had made a loss of over £500 since opening but luckily she had over-estimated the rent so this loss turned into a profit of £417 instead, although when the price of replacing stock, buying the shelves, paying for signage, decorating etc is included we will certainly still be in deficit. Much of that stuff is a one-off expense, though so anything we take at the till, minus what we pay in bills, replacement books and rent will make it easier to work out in future.

So we have made less than £0 an hour, which is a long way below the new Living Wage.

Are we complaining, though? No, we are not. We might not be jetting off to Florida next week but then again we never did so before, either. There is so much negativity and hatred flying around out there that making money hardly seems like a priority. With very few exceptions, the people who cross our threshold are the most interesting and pleasant in the city, and when you have worked in the type of atmosphere that I have in the past you know that you can’t put a price on decency and friendship.

On that note, hello Steve and Jane. My buddies from the past and still so today.

Although the benefit system is a hobby horse that I ride, as well as being a source of income if I ever get paid for the appeals I win, I don’t want to go on about it in this blog because it just leads to anger and frustration. Likewise, government corruption and right wing bigotry will be left alone on this page because TBW is about better things than that.

Local authors now appear on our shelves and shortly one of those authors will be me, if I can just figure out how to use the Nielsen website. My book is, of course, witty, sexy and beautifully written, although if you never buy a copy you will never know just how witty, sexy etc it is. And that would be a shame for both of us.

See ya soon.

CC@TBW

 

 

 

 

A Book at Half Time: Peter Swan

51MddmxYFkL__SY344_BO1204203200_.jpg

Peter Swan/Nick Johnson: Putting the Record Straight (2006)

Let’s get the biggest talking point out of the way first. Regardless of any protestations of innocence, Sheffield Wednesday players Tony Kay, Peter Swan and David Layne threw their game at Ipswich on 1 December 1962, letting down their team mates, the fans of both sides (Wednesday’s in particular) who had paid to see a proper match and the other teams who were involved, along with Ipswich, in the relegation battle at the bottom of the First Division. Ipswich had surprised everyone by winning the League title the previous season but had by now been well and truly “found out”, hence the odds of 2-1 against them winning this particular game. The three players, whose weekly wage was £20, bet £50 each on a Wednesday defeat, winning themselves their stake money plus what was then a whacking great bonus of £100 each. To argue, as Swan does in this book, that this prospect did not affect the way the players approached the game, is obviously hogwash.
The three players also knew, already, that two other League matches had been fixed that day because the ringleader Jimmy Gauld had told Layne as much, so the players knew that what they were involved with was bribery on a significant scale. Wednesday, with, in effect, only eight men, lost to two goals by Swan’s immediate opponent, Ray Crawford.
The three were not caught for over a year, but once the story came out they knew they were going to be punished. To be sent to prison for four months (of which he served 10 weeks) was a nasty shock for Peter Swan but was probably a fair outcome; to be then banned for life was not. A one year suspension would not have been too harsh, but the sine die ban meant that the players were banned from any involvement with the game at all. Swan was not even allowed to play in a charity match for his pub side till 1972 when the ban was finally lifted after eight years.
Peter has some interesting tales to tell of his career both pre- and post-ban. He joined Wednesday on his father’s say-so even though he could have gone to the club he supported, Doncaster Rovers. Wednesday had no first team manager so the man nominally in charge was administrator Eric Taylor, whose pre-match team talk was simply that the players should go out and enjoy themselves. When Harry Catterick was appointed and Eric Taylor moved upstairs, training became a little different and the team’s playing style less gentlemanly. Centre forward Keith Ellis was taught how to attack goalkeepers with his elbows and Swanny was encouraged to make himself unpopular with opposing fans by roughing up opponents, which he enjoyed. When the dour Catterick moved to Everton and was replaced by a contrasting character in Vic Buckingham, several members of Wednesday’s manly squad decided that the urbane Buckingham was a “fucking poof”.
Down the years Swan became sick of being told that, but for the ban, he would have played for England in the 1966 World Cup. He did experience one World Cup, in Chile in 1962, but it was a horrific experience since he spent the whole tournament in bed with dysentery and, in fact, never played another international match afterwards.
I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment for anyone who doesn’t already know so you will have to read the book yourself if you’d like to know which great attacking players:
1. Habitually went over the top in tackles and upset opponents by telling them their wives and girlfriends were being shagged by other men.
2. Dived to the ground every time he was touched in spite of being renowned as the one of the toughest players in Europe.
3. Moaned at his team mates and the referee throughout every match and seemed like an easy opponent but had the annoying habit of scoring regardless. You will also learn which unfashionable Scottish centre forward was his most difficult opponent and the name of the manager who was so religious that when Swan walked out of a training match one day he told him to repent and ask forgiveness from the Lord.
Peter’s return to the Wednesday team on the opening day of the 1972/3 season owed a great deal to manager Derek Dooley, who was prepared to face down the powerful directors who didn’t want him back. It’s hard to blame them, really. In 1964 Wednesday had a fine team built around the spine of the side: Ron Springett in goal, Swan at number five and Bronco Layne at centre-forward. At a stroke, two of the three were gone for reasons beyond the club’s control. By 1972 they were a slightly worse than average Second Division outfit with a mixture of old-timers past their best and youngsters who were either not ready or not good enough. Peter accepts that he wasn’t up to the level of Division Two football and at the end of the season he joined Bury on a free transfer. Swan never scored for Wednesday in all the years he played for them but notched his first goal for the Shakers three minutes into his debut for the club at Gigg Lane, against Torquay United.
In his one season with Bury he helped them to win promotion but the departure of manager Allan Brown, and his replacement by the younger Bobby Smith, an insecure and officious person with whom Swanny was unlikely to see eye to eye, brought Peter’s League career to a close.
Swanny went on to manage the best team Matlock Town have ever had and led them, as player/boss, to a 4-0 win over Scarborough in the 1975 FA Trophy final. Trying to broaden his horizons he made the mistake of leaving Matlock too soon, went to manage Worksop where he walked out after being told to fire his son Carl, then had an unsuccessful spell at Buxton and finally returned to Matlock but couldn’t bring back the good times and was eventually sacked.
Peter is an old man now and suffering from Alzheimer’s. He is no longer landlord of The Mill at Brimington and probably, since this edition was published in 2007, no longer able to remember his career nor the circumstances that led to such a large chunk being taken out of it. The final, poignant chapters deal with his post-football life, which has not been particularly lucky.
This is a better than average, if probably sanitised account of a good footballer’s career, with a lot of interesting insider tales. Ghost writer Nick Johnson has a decent writing style and knows how to tell a tale properly. Peter Swan was no saint and, other than the attempted whitewash over the bribes affair, there’s no attempt to portray him as one, but he seems a likeable pantomime villain nevertheless. He’s a sort of Yorkshire version of his contemporary Jack Charlton, only less intelligent and, ultimately, a lot less successful.
imagesZ7RZRGQ3

David Layne and Peter Swan, back at Hillsborough, August 1972.

A Book at Half Time: Gentle Giant

_35

For a nation so enamoured of Rugby Union Wales hasn’t half produced some great footballers. In modern times Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale have been among the best players in the world but old timers would probably rate John Charles as the daddy of them all. So popular is he in Leeds that his bust is on display at Elland Road and the South Leeds Stadium is now the John Charles Centre for Sport.

Arguments have long continued over whether Charles was better at centre half or centre forward. He certainly knew where the goal was, and was equally deadly whether with fierce headers or blistering shots. He left Swansea Town because he was expected to clean and paint the ground for a pittance whilst Leeds United still expected him to do the chores but were prepared to pay better wages and also to give Charles a sniff of the first team. He made his debut at centre half against Queen of the South in a friendly and the previous holder of the yellow and blue number 5 shirt knew there and then that his career was over.

When Charles was switched into attack by Major Frank Buckley he bagged more or less a goal a game, but in spite of all his brilliance Leeds consistently failed to gain promotion out of the Second Division and their cult hero began to feel restless. After the main stand at Elland Road burned down the club needed money and Juventus offered them a record fee while Charles himself was invited to accept a signing on fee of £10,000, which was 1000 times the maximum allowed by the English FA.

For Juventus and Wales, Charles was excellent, and he also became very rich. Juve had signed Omar Sivori from River Plate just before picking up Charles and the pair of them became a deadly partnership as Juventus went from finishing a miserable 12th the previous season to taking Lo Scudetto by a mile in their first season together. Charles was Sivori’s minder, the volatile Argentine frequently hiding behind his partner after fouling or taunting opponents. Charles was not only the top scorer in the League, he was also so renowned for his good sportsmanship that the Italians named him Il Gigante Buono; the Gentle Giant.

After five great years in Italy Charles, whose wife Peggy was agitating to return home with the children, returned to Leeds, who promptly increased admission prices at Elland Road by 150%. The return was disastrous. Within three months, with Peggy having realised that she preferred the warmth of Italy to the cold and fog of Leeds after all, Roma offered £65,000 and the Charles family went back to Italy.

By now it was late 1962, and the mighty John Charles would never be the same player again. In spite of announcing on joining Roma that he would remain in Italy for ever, at the end of the 1962/3 season, for a knockdown fee, he joined Cardiff, where he had a disappointing and injury-hit three years before being given a free transfer, after which he was a less than competent manager at Hereford and Merthyr.

According to the blurb on the front of the book, “The humanity of Charles seeps through these pages”, but that is not so. Great player that he was in his prime, it’s clear that Charles was also lazy and dull-witted. His sportsmanship at Juve was something Italy was not used to seeing, but his team mates didn’t always appreciate the generosity of his kicking the ball into touch when an opponent was injured. Inevitably, players began to pretend to be hurt after being beaten in the tackle by Charles, just so that he would kick the ball out of play rather than going on to score or to set up a chance for Sivori. He squandered his fortune by carelessly buying businesses and making no effort to run them properly, if at all, and finally Peggy Charles left him for good after they, or rather she ended up running a pub back in Leeds. As manager at both Hereford and Merthyr the glamour and extra fans that his name brought to each club was outweighed by his indolent attitude to training and inability to pick a side till about 20 minutes before kick off, so players would turn up not knowing if they were going to get a game or not. Since Jack Charlton (his replacement at centre half for Leeds) remembers the “Gentle” Giant asking “Who the fuck is that”? when he first saw the youngster’s name on the team sheet, and also grabbing him round the throat at half time after an argument on the pitch, maybe Charles wasn’t so gentle after all. “The Brilliant But Stupid Giant” might not be alliterative but may actually have been a more accurate sobriquet.

john_charles

Beware the IDS of March

That title was simply too good not to use. I apologise.

Hands up if you don’t believe that Iain Duncan Smith resigned from his post as Secretary of State for Work & Pensions out of sympathy for claimants. This appalling man has presided over cut after cut and overseen the introduction of the Bedroom Tax and the benefit cap, and only last week voted to steal nigh on £30 a week from ESA claimants in the work-related activity group.

His sole purpose in walking out now is to stab Osborne and Cameron in the back, not that I am complaining about that, obviously. Their claim that since 2010 benefit payments have increased in real terms by £4 billion is the most appalling load of horse shit I have heard for decades even from such confirmed liars as those two characters.

Still, let’s not be begrudging today. IDS has gone at last. As someone once notoriously ordered us all via the BBC: Just rejoice at that news.

 

Send in the Clowns

When we were at junior school in the sixties there were a number of kids who were poorer than the rest of us. They lived in caravans in a farmer’s field. Some of their fathers were in prison and their mothers on the game. They wore clothes that were full of holes and didn’t fit, and because they had no washing facilities they were sometimes smelly.

None of us were posh. We were all working class children but we looked down on these other kids all the same, held our noses when they came close to us and tried not to touch them in case we caught their germs. The teachers were not much better; when the poor children needed additional help they didn’t get it; when they misbehaved they were sent home; when one of them stole some money the police were called in and everybody tutted and said what can you expect from the scruffs.

One day a girl called Maureen turned up at school. She lived with her dad in a room above a hardware shop, stayed for about a month and never spoke to anyone, nor was spoken to herself, till the day she disappeared again. Another time there was a Scottish boy called Robert. He was from Glasgow, spoke differently to the rest of us and although the teacher specifically asked us to be kind to him he was beaten up at the end of his first day and he and his family moved on again shortly afterwards, no doubt to a place where Robert would immediately be bashed again.

There were other vulnerable children around as well; shy girls, quiet boys, roarers, mardarses, thickies and weeds. The school housed a Partial Hearing Unit and so, behind the backs of the deaf boys and girls, we would do impressions of them, making loud and incomprehensible noises. One of the deaf girls, Anita, had learning difficulties and was cross-eyed. We boys played games like “If tha treads on a crack tha fancies Anita”. Girls would say “Who am I?” Then they’d stick their tongues out, make themselves go cross –eyed and make mong noises in a hideous parody of their unfortunate classmate.

One day someone shit him/herself and left a turd on the veranda. There was no evidence to say that Fishy had done it but for some reason the finger pointed at him and he was mocked and ridiculed so much afterwards that he refused to come to school again and had to go instead to a different part of town and attend the establishment known to all as the Loony Bin.

We were a pretty nasty bunch, weren’t we? Then again, we were all under 11 years old and, even when we knew better, the risks involved in not colluding with the torment of the vulnerable were too great and so we all joined in. If we hadn’t, it might have been us on the receiving end and we were too scared not to make avoiding that fate our number one priority.

That’s enough mea culpa now, though. We grow up and see things differently. We learn more about empathy and sympathy, we think about why some people are shy or dirty and we take the trouble to show some kindness and consideration to those less fortunate.

Or do we?

Pictures of the Calais Jungle Camp, taken today after the bulldozers had been busy, look very much like the caravan site where those dirty children lived in 1966. As for the people who have been living in the camp, it seems that as long as they don’t try to come to the UK millions of our citizens could not give a hoot what happens to them any more than my class of primary school kids cared about Maureen or the scruffs. When 10 year olds act like bullies their youth is a valid excuse, but the Daily Express isn’t edited by junior schoolchildren and Nigel Farage does not wear short trousers.

I’ve just come back home after popping in to the Asda store across the road where I was pleased to see several copies of today’s Sun left unsold. The front page screamed POLE CHANCERS. MIGRANTS’ GUIDE TO RAKING IN UK BENEFITS. Never mind that British citizens have an equal right to live in Poland and claim benefits there, a useful guide to British benefits has been printed in order to inform Polish people of their rights should they come to live here. So why chancers? Is there any logical reason why someone from Poland should be denied a basic subsistence level of income, which is all they will get if they rely on the UK’s benefit system, just because they were not born in the UK? Tomorrow the same paper will probably accuse migrants of taking our British jobs; the dirty foreigners don’t just claim all our benefits but they steal all our jobs as well, apparently, which sounds like a contradiction to anyone who thinks about it for more than a second. Whatever; an unemployed Pole, according to the Sun, is a chancer.

Here’s a selection, nicked from Google Images, of headlines on the subject of that subhuman species known as Bastardus Migrantus. It’s what the British media would look like if 10 year olds were in charge but all of these contributions came from adults:

CALAIS: SEND IN THE ARMY

THE SWARM ON OUR STREETS

HALT THE ASYLUM TIDE NOW

BRITAIN MUST BAN MIGRANTS

IMMIGRANTS BRING MORE CRIME

MIGRANT NUMBERS OUT OF CONTROL

MIGRANTS SEND OUR CRIME RATE SOARING

EU WANTS MIGRANTS TO TAKE OUR JOBS

MIGRANT NUMBERS AT CRISIS POINT

WE MUST STOP THE MIGRANT INVASION

FOREIGN WORKERS TAKE YET MORE UK JOBS

MIGRANTS SWARM TO BRITAIN

WE CAN’T STOP MIGRANT CHAOS

MIGRANTS TAKE ALL NEW JOBS IN BRITAIN

ILLEGALS HAVE LANDED

ONE IN 5 BRITONS WILL BE ETHNICS

BENEFITS BRITAIN HERE WE COME!

DRAW A RED LINE ON IMMIGRATION. OR ELSE

SEND THEM ALL BACK HOME

MIGRANTS SHUN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

500,000 MIGRANTS GET SOCIAL HOUSING

HOW ROMANIAN CRIMINALS TERRORISE OUR STREETS

YOU PAY TO TEACH MIGRANTS MANNERS

BRITAIN TO BUILD 2 MILLION HOMES FOR MIGRANTS

NO JOB UNLESS YOU’RE POLISH

NOW UN MEDDLER LECTURES BRITAIN ON MIGRANTS

BRIT KIDS FORCED TO EAT HALAL SCHOOL DINNERS

THEY’VE STOLEN ALL OUR JOBS

FRANCE TELLS BRITAIN LET IN ALL MIGRANTS

And so it goes on, day after day after day. As I sit at my keyboard and glance outside to check whether the swarm of ill-mannered job-stealing benefit-claiming ethnic criminals has reached my street yet I wonder who all this hateful rubbish is intended to appeal to. Someone around here is crazy, and I honestly don’t think it’s me.