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Sleuth 16/01/2009

Manchester Confidential crosses the globe with the Graham Stringer story, Bury becomes part of Bolton and crime of the century prevented

Published on January 15th 2009.

Sleuth 16/01/2009

Is anything real?
Sleuth's gots lots on the debate that Blackley MP Graham Stringer’s column on Confidential created this week. This was where he called dyslexia a ‘cruel lie’. Confidential got everywhere, the BBC TV news, BBC radio news, GMTV, The Times, The Independent, Reuters, The Sun, you name it. Weirdest call came from Deborah Summers of the Guardian who rang up the editor and asked if the story were genuine. What? As if Confidential would randomly write such a serious piece and then ascribe it to Graham Stringer and put his photo up there too. Somehow Sleuth thinks that sort of behaviour might land this Manchester magazine in court.

Next week on Confidential
Still the question from The Guardian in the story above gives Sleuth an idea: let's make up lots of controversial headlines from famous people. So next week on Confidential:
- Abortion an option, argues the Pope.
- Richard Dawkins isn’t real, says Jesus.
- Life on £120,000 a week is too hard, explains Ronaldo.
- Immanuel Kant was right, there is such a thing as the Categorical Imperative by Katie Price.

Sky news.con
Meanwhile over at Sky News the dyslexia article prompted a live online debate at 12.30pm on Wednesday including the man under the spotlight, himself, Graham Stringer. Everything was seemingly going well: Graham had apparently responded with a faultless, “hello”. The debate got started when suddenly the presenter Lulu Sinclair hurriedly interrupted, “I think we've got a bit of a hiccup. Mr Stringer's not here. It's somebody's who has come in under his name.” Sky News had been hood-winked by an imposter. Sleuth thinks that’s less of a bit of a hiccup, more like a major cock-up.

Sleuth’s Rant Exchange of Week
This again refers to our big story of the week, Graham Stringer’s column, entitled, ‘Dyslexia is a myth’.
Ste says:Dyslexia is not a moth.
Anonymous says: You are an idiot.

Leafy friends
Sleuth was mulling things over with Graham Stringer. “Maybe for the next couple we might want to tone it down,” he said. “Maybe," came the reply, “Write about how trees are really lovely.”

Daily Telegraph’s in-touch as usual
Cassandra Jardine in her online column for the Daily Telegraph wrote this. ‘To judge by the responses to MP Graham Stringer's remarks there is indeed a severe problem with reading and writing in this country. Among the misspellings by furious responders to his article on ManchesterConfidential.com who argue that dyslexia is real, I picked out – and this is just a tiny sample – "inacurate", "bluf", "mater", "concentarte", "dyselxicx", and "macnhester". Among those who agree with him, there were considerably fewer mistakes.’ Oh dear Cassandra. Those errors are nothing to do with dyslexia, darling, it’s just that people often can’t spell very well. Do you use the internet much? Honist.

News from the NorthAway from dyslexia, Newsquest, who own loads of papers and media bits and bobs have come across a great idea for saving costs. They’ve decided the Bury Times can be run from Bolton. They’ve moved all their journos to the Bolton News’ HQ excepting one lonesome scribe assigned according to a weekly rota. If you’re from Bury and you care you can click here for the Facebook protest. Bury MPs, Messrs Lewis and Chaytor, are kicking off too. People are already talking about Warburton's Bolton Black Pudding.

Getting cross
Sleuth was talking over the now well-known story of the Rev James Milnes of St Mary’s Church, Nether Alderley. This was the gent that got annoyed about Coronation Street covering a cross during filming in his church because it might offend someone. Like everybody else Sleuth thinks this was foolish and thick in equal measure and to give credit to the programme makers they have unreservedly apologised. But Sleuth's straight-to-the-point friend wondered why the vicar "hadn't ordered the film crew off the premises when he found out what they were doing? Was it from 30 pieces of silver to four and a half grand? Nice work."

Knowing your onions
Sleuth was walking down Back Piccadilly the other day. Two scruffy n'er-do-wells were stood over two sacks of potatoes with a box on top, outside a curry cafe. One of them opened the box, "it's spring onions," he said, and picked up the box to nab it. "Is that yours?" asked Sleuth, as the concerned citizen. N'er-do-well puts the box down and walks away. Then turns around and gets in Sleuth's face, "Who the fuck are you?" he says. "Leave it mate," his friend says with a grin, "No point getting into shit over stealing spring onions." The pair walked away, the wiser friend calling over his shoulder, "well done, mate, you stopped the crime of the fucking century there. Stopped us dealing spring onions."

Sleuth's fave story of the week
This was from the Manchester Evening News and followed up by us. Brilliant and very funny: 'A woman who stole a mobility scooter from a supermarket to drink drive home has been banned from driving. Amanda Leaff took the mobility buggy from Asda to get 10 miles home after a drunken night out. A police officer found her to be twice over the limit on the 2.4mph scooter. She has been banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to pay £240.' Sleuth wonders if this was the first case ever where are policeman on foot overtook a motorist and booked them?

This article was purpose written for you. All Confidential articles are written by Confidential staff, or our team of freelancers, for this magazine alone. They are not re-jigged from existing newspaper articles or cobbled together from other online stories. We are probably the only media in the North West doing this.

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Kevin PeelJanuary 15th 2009.

I saw a government study which said that Graham Stringer existed. However, we know what they're like with statistics...

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2009.

Graham Stringer's article shows such a lack of understanding it still shocks me, don't let him write another one please.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2009.

"Immanuel Kant was right, there is such a thing as the Categorical Imperative by Katie Price."possibly the funniest thing i have read!

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2009.

Is Mr Stringer related to that man in South Africa who believes AIDS is not an infective and preventable disease?

John de BaptisteJanuary 15th 2009.

Is Graham for hire to promote other websites with his amusingly misinformed rants about things people really care about? I'm sure he could earn a good living. More than £120,000 at least.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2009.

EDITORIAL DELETION - Dear Anon, that was personal, unfunny and pointless, please read the rules under the rant box.

James DanielsonJanuary 15th 2009.

The Bury Times going to Bolton only has local significance to those who read. I'm from Bury but since I don't get the paper I don't care. The world's a bit more global now surely?

AeronJanuary 15th 2009.

The srbucber on the soocter magnaed to get two-and-a-hlaf meils brefoe bineg spopted.

Bill to payJanuary 15th 2009.

I loved this post from some guy called Macca on the main Stringer article - or some woman - and since it fits in with your spoof suggested articles above, here it is. "Dyslexics Question The Existence of Graham Stringer Dyslexics today questioned the existence of Graham Stringer MP. The Manchester Blackley MP was labelled "a cruel fiction", who should be consigned to "the dustbin of history". Stringer insisted he was "very real" to the 6 million people in the UK affected by him. However, dyslexics said millions of pounds were being wasted on what they called a "false" MP. "The establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented an MP called Graham Stringer," they said. "To label Graham Stringer an MP because he's confused by poor teaching methods is wicked. "If Graham Stringer really existed then countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have been able to achieve literacy rates of nearly 100%;. There can be no rational reason why this 'brain disorder' is of epidemic proportions in Britain but Graham Stringer does not appear in South Korea or Nicaragua." They claim the "fictional malady" has also been wiped out in West Dunbartonshire, and research has conclusively proven that Graham Stringer MP does not exist in that particular area of Scotland. A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said the government was supportive of Graham Stringer: "We understand the distress and frustration that the parents of Graham Stringer feel so keenly," he said. "Often they have endured years of struggle trying to get extra help to overcome their child's difficulties. That is why the government is working with a number of organisations to identify and promote best practice in identifying and supporting Graham Stringer." A spokesman for Mr Stringer said: "Once again Graham Stringer seems to be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. "It is frustrating that the focus should be on whether Graham Stringer exists or not, when there is so much evidence to support that he does." "Many people assume that literacy will solve the issue of Graham Stringer MP, however although many Graham Stringers have acquired the skills of reading, there is no doubt that they still remain Graham Stringer," the spokesman said. "It is concerning that dyslexics do not recognise Graham Stringer, who affects 10%; of his constituents, even though his government have taken steps to make sure Graham ”

Mediawatch EvansJanuary 15th 2009.

Whether you should be so happy that a controversial article gave you such exposure is another thing of course. Still amongst the impressive list of media in which you were credited or in the case of TV shown there was one significant omission. The Manchester Evening News left out any mention of the site even though it was your story. How strange.

AnnaJanuary 15th 2009.

Id rather like to know how far the scrubber on the scooter got before getting caught?

Michael WestJanuary 15th 2009.

Just amazing - Long live free speech. Thanks so much for this weeks rants Sleuth.

SparkyJanuary 15th 2009.

Yes Abortion is funny, and so is Adoption, The credit crunch, Religion, Politics, Cancer, The congestion charge and AIDS.......................FFS if we don't laugh, we cry!...................... I'm sick of hearing about Wars, people dying, the recession and Crash of the Global Markets and Big Bother! [sic] .................................................. PRAISE MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL FOR PROVIDING LIGHT HEARTED COMEDIC RELIEF AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THESE DEPRESSING TIMES. Keep it up :)

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2009.

Headline: Gordon Brown can't count up to ten properly and doesn't know what he's doing by Angela Merkel

BeelzebubJanuary 15th 2009.

Maria, are you Santa Maria? I think the joke was in the absurdity of the Pope thinking abortion might be an option.

MariaJanuary 15th 2009.

Abortions not really a laughing matter is it! Obviously a man who thought to add that one, typically ignorant.

Sh*t HappensJanuary 15th 2009.

LOads of things are funny, i think. The worst things in life are actually the funniest. How many jokes are about death. illness, mishaps and horrible, life-changing stuff. Look back and the worst things now provoke a wry smile. I fully sympathise with those affected by strong stuff but i'd like to think that if i suddenly had to face up to a certain hardship i'd choose to laugh through it rather than wallow and disuade others from deriving lightheartedness from the situation. Experience makes us realise that whatever the situation ther's always the solace of laughter. Humour doesn't necassarily equate to cruelness. It just helps identify differences and also asssists understanding of certain problems in a rational and relateable form. Ignorance is usually associated with cruelness. My grandmother died. My friend called to say sorry. I said 'wasn't your fault'. He laughed and so did I. Would my grandmother disapprove? Is this disrespectful? I know my grandmother so know taht she woud prefer humour rather than morbidity.I have the same attitude with racism/disabled/women/welsh (the list goes on, bless us!) etc who imagine themselves as somehow lesser beings because they/we occasionally find them/ourselves the brunt of jokes (at their/our expense). Jokes identify differences in a lighthearted way and should be celebrated (as long as it's funny not just plain cruel/ignorant). Dyslexia is just another 'thing' that people either laugh about or get wound up about. And peopel with or without it are probably doing the same amount of defending or laughing. I'll leave out whether i'm dyslexic, of minority race or religion, privileged, terminally ill, disabled, was sexually abused, an amputee, overlooked at school, welsh or god forbid white... I'll let you decide. BUt either way I find my situation laughable.. rather than cryable. Laughing is for people who are done with crying and know that it's best just to get on..whether you can spell or not. Imagine you were blind AND dyslexic.. That braille would be fooked!

esquiloJanuary 15th 2009.

Sparky on the ball there. All things can be funny. Hence "Black Humour". Well, apart from Dyslexia, obviously. Anyone who has the gall to laugh at that may as well sell their soul to Santa.

leafy foesJanuary 15th 2009.

what an ignorant tosser,was that comment for real?

AvoJanuary 15th 2009.

If I were you Sleuth, I'd go back to that curry cafe on Back Piccadilly and tell them about the good deed you did and how you saved their onions. Maybe they'll give you a plate of 3 curries and rice on the house!

The End is NighJanuary 15th 2009.

I'd like to see that article from Gordon Brown called Tony was right about everything.

More headlinesJanuary 15th 2009.

Dear Mancon, can we have the whole of the story tomorrow where Jonathan Ross writes on the use of good taste in the media.

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