JAN MOIR: Holding the World Cup in Qatar is an outrage that should horrify all civilised people… Why have so many liberals mislaid their morals – just in time for kick-off?
This disgusting World Cup hasn’t even started yet, but already Michael Sheen is afroth. The Welsh actor is furious. Bubbling like a boiling leek.
You might think he is angry because the tournament is taking place in Qatar, a place where men can be killed or sent to jail for being gay, where migrant workers and women have few rights, where slavery is not unknown and freedom of expression and critical voices are silenced — or imprisoned.
But no. He is more upset because he wants to know exactly who the Prince of Wales will be supporting in the tournament. Wales and England have both qualified, but Sheen interpreted a visit by Prince William to the England team training camp on Monday as a display of unacceptable partisanship.
‘He can, of course, support whoever he likes,’ he tweeted, grudgingly acknowledging that William’s role as President of the Football Association made his team visit ‘understandable’.
Big of him, we’re all grateful for his empathy at this time of need.
‘But surely he sees holding the title Prince of Wales at the same time is entirely inappropriate? Not a shred of embarrassment? Or sensitivity to the problem here?’ added Sheen, who handed back his OBE in 2017 so he could air his views about the monarchy instead of being a ‘hypocrite’.
Wales and England have both qualified, but Sheen interpreted a visit by Prince William to the England team training camp on Monday as a display of unacceptable partisanship
How one wishes William had ignored the righteous Welsh windbag
Gary Lineker has described Qatar as ‘corrupt’, but the hypocrite is still covering the tournament for the BBC
England captain Harry Kane has said he will wear a OneLove armband to support the LGBTQ+ community
How one wishes William had ignored the righteous Welsh windbag, instead of drivelling on to reporters that: ‘I support England more in the football, but Wales in the rugby. When I was growing up, Wales didn’t get through to the tournaments but I will be supporting them all the way through the process.’ The process! Prince William always sounds like a middle-management consultant for a company that makes paper cups or insulation for dog kennels or curtain hooks.
One understands that he has to be careful and mind his words in public. Yet he is going to be king one day. And instead of being an inspiration to the nation, he frequently comes across as a starchy, people-pleasing, corporate bore.
How much more admirable it would be if William stood up, dusted down his caring credentials, along with his beige chinos, and refused to have anything to do with this wretched World Cup.
And if Michael Sheen, instead of complaining about perceived injustice to the poor, poor Welsh people, did the same.
The tournament starts on Sunday, but it remains an outrage that it is being held in Qatar — an outrage that should horrify all civilised people. How and why the international football world has turned a blind eye to Qatar’s failings as a modern country is one of the scandals of the age. Yet instead of giving this morally bereft nation the cold shoulder, the World Cup has been bequeathed to it with the stamp of global approval.
I just don’t understand. Is it a guy thing? That everyone can have the correct set of progressive urges and curated liberal opinions until football is involved, then it’s all kicked into touch because the beautiful game trumps everything?
Gary Lineker has described Qatar as ‘corrupt’, but the hypocrite is still covering the tournament for the BBC, despite feeling ‘queasy’ about the country’s human rights record.
It is amazing how the quease can be quashed when cash can compensate.
England captain Harry Kane has said he will wear a OneLove armband to support the LGBTQ+ community. I’m sure that will be a great comfort to everyone. Meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate has said the England squad will ‘speak out’ — I’m looking forward to that — but focus primarily on football because it is ‘a thing you work for your whole life’.
W hat kind of message must that send to the oppressed people of Qatar? Precisely this one: that their suffering does not matter. And that some years of hurt are more important than others.
Over the next four weeks, what can we expect? Michael Sheen will be hunched over his Welsh-O-Meter, primed for perceived insults, carefully monitoring the Prince of Wales’s support, or otherwise, for the Welsh national side. William will be enjoying ‘the process’ and not saying anything bad about Qatar whatever happens.
Meanwhile, Gary Lineker has revealed the BBC has consulted organisations such as Amnesty International to ensure it will hit the right tone in its World Cup programming. I expect a few handwringing moments of keening horror at the injustice of it all before it is straight down to football, football, football from now until Christmas.
And are we supposed to think it’s OK because Harry Kane has his armband on? Pathetic.
Diana and Bonnie are TDIA (Thriving Despite It All!)
Yes, I’m always keeping an eye out for WOTM (Women Older Than Me) who are NDY (Not Dead Yet) and, indeed, TDIA (Thriving Despite It All.)
So it was a thrill to see 73-year-old blues singer Bonnie Raitt being nominated for a Grammy. This is not Bonnie’s first time at the rodeo. She has already won a pile of Grammys — last year they even gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award. An honour, yes, but surely also a sign that they think your career is over?
Diana Ross (pictured), 78, is nominated for a Grammy this year alongside Bonnie Raitt, 73
Bonnie proved them wrong with her song, Just Like That. It was written about a news story she saw on television, featuring a bereaved mother who was about to meet the recipient of her son’s heart for the first time. The man sat with her and asked if she would like to put her head on his chest so she could hear her son’s heart beating.
‘It was the most moving and surprising thing, how families can find compassion amid tragedy,’ says Bonnie. And also the kindness of the recipient, who tracked down the mother. The song is an opera of love in five minutes. Hear it and weep.
Other oldies nominated for a Grammy this year include Robert Plant (74), Diana Ross (78), Ozzy Osbourne (73) and Abba (combined age 301). Rock on, kids.
The perfect gift to us all from Megs and Harry
The Royal Family might be plunged into fresh turmoil over the latest sulky revelations, but most of us surely cannot wait to see this pair of prize twits rampaging around the world, trying desperately to matter
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Netflix documentary might be broadcast as early as next month. What a delightful Christmas present that will be for us all.
I mean it! The Royal Family might be plunged into fresh turmoil over the latest sulky revelations, but most of us surely cannot wait to see this pair of prize twits rampaging around the world, trying desperately to matter.
From that staged Remembrance Day ceremony in a Los Angeles graveyard to their busybody meetings at the United Nations, to fem-chat with Gloria Steinem, to being full-time humanitarians keen to talk about mental health and the importance of compassion and community — except when it comes to their own families — let us hope nothing is overlooked and no scene deemed too trivial.
Prince Harry even went to Pearl Harbor this week, hiding his disappointment when he discovered it wasn’t a nightclub after all. Can’t wait to see that episode. ‘He was there in a personal capacity,’ said a spokesman, perhaps not understanding that there is no other capacity left for Harry. Anyway, it must be scandalous because Meghan is already trying to distance herself from the series.
The crafty Duchess of Sussex has suggested that filmmaker Liz Garbus is in charge and that the result ‘may not be the way we would have told it’.
Curtis and Notting Hill are out of Love, Actually
Richard Curtis and girlfriend Emma Freud are selling and moving on from Notting Hill
But for now let me say, without hope or agenda, To Me, You Are Perfect. That is what Richard Curtis is not saying to Notting Hill any more. He and girlfriend Emma Freud are selling and moving on, away from the West London neighbourhood which he made famous in his rom-coms. The couple are thought to have paid £3.6 million for their grand, five-bedroom home in 1998. Now similar properties in the area sell for more than £20 million. Isn’t it just marvellous that Richard and Emma have made such a profit on their profit?
It certainly doesn’t profit anyone to feel jealous — as if! — about their continued good fortune.
Down in the jungle, one of the I’m A Celebrity campmates asked Matt Hancock what the future held for former Prime Minister Liz Truss.
‘Her political career is over. No ambiguity at all,’ replied Hancock without hesitation.
Down in the jungle, one of the I’m A Celebrity campmates asked Matt Hancock what the future held for former Prime Minister Liz Truss
Hard to argue with that. Liz was spotted entering Wiltons restaurant in St James’s, London, this week. If she was seeking solace in the famously plush establishment, perhaps a little comfort in the embrace of a nicely grilled Dover sole or a plate of bread-and-butter pudding, she might have been disappointed.
One newspaper huffed that Truss was dining there ‘on the eve of a Budget that aims to fix damage to the economy caused during her time in Downing Street’. It then went on to hint at the scandalous prices — £240 for a serving of Iranian caviar! So unfair, because my Wiltons spy reports that all she had was a slice of humble pie and some just desserts. Poor old Liz. Every time she spends a sixpence on anything except a hair shirt for the next ten years, there will be outrage.
When a militant minority win, women pay the price
What is happening to my beloved homeland of Scotland?
A minority of vegan activists has managed to turn Stirling University into a meat-free and dairy-free zone, while the Scottish NHS is considering proposals to ban the word ‘woman’ from its services. New guidelines suggest moving away from what they call ‘gendered healthcare’.
Why? So patients who have switched gender don’t feel uncomfortable if issues such as contraception, smear tests and maternity care are advertised in a female-oriented way. It seems ridiculous. How can we move away from sexed healthcare?
Everyone has a biological sex, even if they take hormones to change their appearance, wear a skirt, grow a beard or can-can down the Royal Mile in a tartan tutu. And that sex is imprinted in every cell in their body, every fibre of their DNA, every inch of their being. It is immutable — and to deny it might put their health at risk because men and women have different medical needs, medicines, dosages, diagnoses.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon still wants to make it easier for people to switch genders. In the rush to be a progressive country, common sense is being left behind. And if the minority is allowed to dictate to the majority, it will almost inevitably rebound on women. As per.
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