A new version of Essex man is born in the north

VIZ, AN IDIOSYNCRATIC combination of adult comic and satirical magazine, has been compulsory reading in all civilised households since Chris Donald started producing it, in 1979, from his bedroom at his parents’ house in Newcastle. It features characters who go to the heart of modern Britain: Millie Tant, a ranting feminist; Sid the Sexist, who gives Millie plenty to rant about; Roger Mellie, a disgusting television personality; and dozens more whose names cannot be mentioned in a respectable newspaper. This columnist would like to suggest a new subject for Viz to lampoon: Geordie Tory. It seems odd, to say the least, for the north-east’s premier publication to remain silent about a political revolution that is turning a former Labour stronghold Tory blue.

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The London-based commentariat has convinced itself that Geordie Tory is a left-behind loser who voted for a Brexit and Boris spit-roast to express his rage at globalisation. This is only a small part of the story. For the hidden truth about Geordie Tory is that he is actually doing rather well for himself. He did not go to university (thus avoiding a pile of student debt), but quickly found a job at a local firm, and his money goes much further in the north than it would in the south. He lives in a four-bedroomed semi-detached, has a couple of cars in the drive and can rely on two sets of grandparents to chip in with child care. He zips to work or Asda in a few minutes, thinks the local school is doing an acceptable job and looks forward to his next holiday in Florida, providing the government can stop faffing about. He pities his school friends who went to university, moved down south and now either live in a crowded flat or (before the covid-19 pandemic) spent a couple of hours a day on a packed train.

Geordie Tory’s world has been transformed by a combination of de-massification and bourgeoisification. The Labour Party’s power was based on industries (such as coal, steel and shipbuilding) and companies (such as Swan Hunters and Vickers-Armstrong) that employed thousands of unionised workers. The new economy is built on a combination of skills and flexibility. There is a handful of (mostly de-unionised) big companies (Flymo-Electrolux in Spennymoor, Cummins Engines in Darlington and Nissan in Sunderland), but they co-exist with hundreds of smaller firms that manufacture car parts, switch gears, air-conditioners and specialist equipment for the oil-and-gas economy. Twenty years ago towns such as Amble in Northumberland did not have much upmarket entertainment. Now they are so chock-a-block with restaurants, microbars and fancy cafés that the locals complain that you can’t find anywhere to park.

Geordie Tory has long been attracted by the Tory party’s pro-business, low-tax philosophy, but continued to vote Labour out of habit. Two things gave him permission to switch: Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn. Whether he voted for Brexit or not he was unhappy with attempts to overturn “the people’s will”. And the north-east is to Britain what the south is to America. It has provided the country with soldiers, sailors and airmen in numbers far exceeding its share of the population, and its landscape is littered with stone memorials to the fallen (South Shields lost a higher proportion of its citizens in the second world war than any other town). Geordie Tory was damned if he was going to vote for a man who mistook valour for warmongering and made excuses for the IRA.

He is nevertheless far from being a defender of the government, let alone a Tory activist. He thinks about politics as little as possible, except when it impinges on his life. But something profound has changed in the past few years. The “sod you” factor that has always been such an important aspect of regional politics has found a new target. During Labour’s glory days from 1945 to the early 21st century the “sod you” factor favoured the left. The Tories were the party of the southern elite with its soft hands and namby-pamby ways. Today it favours the right. Geordie Tory doesn’t so much like Boris Johnson as loathe the Guardian-reading, Britain-bashing, virtue-signalling metropolitan establishment that holds Mr Johnson in contempt.

Feeling blue

How reliable a Tory will Geordie prove? Though he thinks Sir Keir Starmer is an improvement on his predecessor, the Labour Party is no longer relevant to his life. The local party caters to two exotic (and largely incompatible) groups of voters. It continues to draw support from the truly disadvantaged in old mining towns such as Ashington. But its biggest success is in Newcastle, particularly posh suburbs such as Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, to the east of the city, and Gosforth and Jesmond (birthplace of Viz), to the north, where the public-sector aristocracy (doctors married to lawyers, civil servants married to teachers) enjoys a life-style as plush as any in the country.

Geordie Tory certainly wants something in return for his vote. It is one of his articles of faith that the north-east is being short-changed by a southern England that simultaneously grabs an unfair share of national resources and produces nothing of value. (Geordies, regardless of their politics, are convinced that people who wear more than T-shirts and shorts in the depths of winter, as southerners tend to, are too “soft” to be productive.) But the truth is that Mr Johnson does not have to deliver all that much to be regarded as a success. The conversion of the A1 north of Morpeth into a dual carriageway, the restoration of the South-East Northumberland railway, a few high-profile projects that put cement mixers and excavators in the right places, and that should be enough. One of the greatest tricks in politics is to put yourself at the front of a victory parade and to declare yourself its leader. By a bizarre combination of circumstances, involving both Brexit and the long-term transformation of the Geordie economy, this is exactly what the quintessential southern Tory, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, seems to have done in the north-east.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Geordie Tory”

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Pictures of the Weekend: England fans and a flying priest 

Pictures of the Weekend: England fans and a flying priest 

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‘Should I tell my wife I confronted her lover to end their affair?’

Dear Coleen,

I’m a man aged 60 and my wife is 45. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered she’d been having an affair with a guy she knows through work and that it had been going on for some time.

I’ve always been slightly insecure about our relationship, given that she’s 15 years younger than I am and very attractive, but I was still shocked when I found out.

I actually challenged this man without telling my wife and he promised me he’d end the affair, which he did, and that he wouldn’t tell her I’d intervened. I got the impression things hadn’t been great between them anyway.

But I still can’t bring myself to talk to my wife about it. She’s been distant and moody over the past few days – obviously because this guy has been in touch to tell her it’s over.

Do you have a view on this story? Email webnews@mirror.co.uk or let us know in the comments below.

Coleen Nolan
Coleen is the Mirror’s agony aunt

Can I just leave it and hope that’ll be the end of it or should I confront her and tell her what I did? Despite what she’s done, I love her and don’t want our marriage to end.

We also have two children aged eight and 10 and I want to keep things stable at home for their sake. I would appreciate your advice.

Coleen says

You’re fixing things behind the scenes, but I think you really have to talk to your wife. If you don’t and it comes out, things could blow up, plus you’ll probably always be worried that it’s going to happen again, you’ll become paranoid and it will affect your relationship.

You shouldn’t be this afraid of her leaving you. What about you – don’t you deserve respect and happiness? Don’t you offer a lot as a husband and a father?

I think you do deserve those things and you need to remind yourself of what she’s got to lose.

This affair clearly went on for some time, so you need to talk about why and what’s not working in your relationship so you have a chance of fixing it, if that’s what you both want.

Ignoring what’s happened is not the basis for a healthy and successful relationship in the future, so don’t stick your head in the sand – tackle it head on and deal with what comes after, whichever way it goes.

Good luck.

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Hanging up on scammers: how to protect yourself from phishing phone calls

Most Australians receive an alarming robocall at some point, but experts warn fraudsters are becoming far more sophisticated

Australians lost a whopping $851 million to scams in 2020, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest Targeting Scams report. It’s a record-breaking amount, as fraudsters capitalised on the pandemic and preyed on isolated and vulnerable people.

Phones appear to remain the most common way scammers were contacting people, according to Scamwatch data, with 48% of reported scams taking place over a call and 15% via text message.

There’s very little you can do as a consumer to stop scam phone calls in the first place. Some third-party software promises to identify and block suspicious calls but experts warn that, ironically, some of that software is itself a scam.

So how can you spot a phone scam? And what can you do to protect yourself?

At some point, you’ve probably answered the phone to an automated voice warning that you owe the Australian Tax Office a vague sum of money.

But scams have come a long way since your typical robocall.

Deilia Rickard, deputy chair of the ACCC, says scammers capitalised on the fact that the average Australian expected more direct correspondence from government agencies last year, leading to a “huge increase in phishing and identity theft and government impersonation scams … involving government agencies like the health department or the ATO”.

Another common phone scam the ACCC busted last year was called Wangiri – a Japanese term meaning “one ring and drop” – which targeted Australians with loved ones living overseas. A call from a foreign number would ring once to the victim’s mobile, making them think that they had missed a call from their relative or friend. If they rang back, they would be put on hold and charged a premium fee for every minute.

Fiona Cameron, who chairs the scam technology action taskforce at the Australian Communications and Media Authority, warns that some of the phone scams reported in 2020 were unusually sophisticated.

In one case, she says, scammers contacted a small businessman who had just registered his business, warning he needed to pay off a tax debt or see it carry through to his new enterprise. To verify the debt, they said they would patch through his accountant’s firm. “The firm” answered but said his accountant was on lunch and patched him through to someone else on the team, who confirmed the debt was real and recommended he pay it immediately.

But it doesn’t matter how elaborate the scams were. Rickard stresses that the circumstances surrounding the pandemic meant consumers were more susceptible to scams in the first place.

“For periods, people were under lockdown and stressed. People were online who weren’t used to being online. People were lonely and experiencing financial difficulty. These were all circumstances that scammers like,” Rickard says.

Scammers also took advantage of older Australians who had been forced to spend more time online by the pandemic. Scammers would call promising to fix a tech problem, gain access to the victim’s computer, and drain their bank accounts.

The first red flag, according to Rickard, is if the call is unsolicited.

“When someone has contacted you out of the blue, don’t give them any personal information, bank details, or superannuation info. Do not give them money and do not give them remote access to their computer,” Rickard says.

If you want to return a call or text from someone who claims to be your phone provider or a government department, independently search on Google the provider or agency’s official contact details and get in touch that way.

Cameron says another warning sign is the tone of the phone call or message.

“Scammers typically want to suggest that something is urgent. You either owe money, or you need to fix something, or you need to do something really pronto,” Cameron says.

“If this person is in a hurry, aggressive or threatening in any way, the best advice is to pause and hang up the phone.”

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New Sony earbuds win rave reviews

New Sony earbuds win rave reviews

Image Matrix tech Editor Djuro Sen told Sky News Sony has produced the “best” wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation you can get.

“They are absolutely brilliant,” he said.

“Once you get the seals right in the ears … you’re in a world of your own.

“These things are a breakthrough in audio technology”.

The WF-1000XM4 earbuds have eight hours of battery life and will be available in July.

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Ryde Wharf Markets


Quality markets come to Ryde Wharf, Meadowbank

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Why? Great shopping on the waterfront

When: 8am – 2pm – 2nd Sunday of every month

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Flippin’ good time at Fresh Point Co Cafe in Parap with free pancakes on offer

A popular cafe in Parap is celebrating its one-year anniversary this week by serving up free, delicious pancakes to its customers.

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Kendall Jenner and Devin Booker Celebrate One-Year Anniversary: Inside their Road to Romance

Kendall Jenner and Devin Booker are marking their first anniversary as a couple. See their tributes to one another and a timeline of their relationship.

Happy anniversary, Kendall Jenner and Devin Booker!

On Saturday, June 12, the 25-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star and 24-year-old Phoenix Suns basketball player celebrated one year of dating. He shared on his Instagram Story photos from a trip they took to Sedona, Ariz. and a video taken at a lakeside restaurant, captioning them “365 [days],” “52 [weeks]” and “1 [year].” Kendall shared his latter post as well as a couple of photos of the two, including one of them cuddled together.

Back in April, two months after the couple made their romance Instagram official, a source told E! News, “This is the happiest Kendall has been in a relationship. It’s getting more and more serious and she is very happy.”

The source added, “Devin is quiet and not interested in being in the spotlight or a celebrity. She really appreciates that about him and is attracted to that. They are really similar and love just being low-key and staying in and laughing together.”

Kendall and Devin first sparked romance rumors in April 2020, two months after they officially started dating. At the time, they were spotted riding around together in his Mercedes-Benz Maybach on the way to Sedona, Arizona. A month later, in May 2020, the rumors about Kendall and Devin were fueled further when she was seen driving him in her Mercedes G-Wagon at Van Nuys Airport.

As the speculation continued, in August 2020, Kendall and Devin were spotted with her sister Kylie Jenner at celebrity-favorite restaurant Nobu in Malibu, Calif. Also that month, the model and the NBA star were seen leaving a pet shop in the coastal town with his dog Haven. A source told E! News, “It was a very casual outing, but it seems they are spending more time together for sure and getting closer.”

In September 2020, Kendall and Devin vacationed in Idaho with friends, including Justin Bieber and wife Hailey Bieber.

This past January, things seemed to be heating up between Kendall and Devin, as he reshared her Instagram post showing her in a bikini, captioning the pic, “Whew” along with a panting emoji.

Finally in February, on Valentine’s Day, Kendall made their romance Instagram official, posting a photo of them sharing a humorous and intimate moment on top of a kitchen counter. Days later, Kendall was spotted in the stands at a Suns game. Also around that time, she shared a photo of a gift, a Louis Vuitton handheld case, monogrammed with “KJ + DB.”

See photos of Kendall and Devin over the past year:

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Junior Garden Master Challenge | Darling Harbour

Junior Garden Master Challenge

Harbour Garden


Be enchanted by an explosion of colour in Darling Harbour. This spectacularly vibrant, giant inflatable installation, called Harbour Garden, will descend on the Australian National Maritime Museum for Sydney Solstice. Colourful and immersive, it will delight and surprise people of all ages.

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The House After Dark

Take a late-night tour of the Sydney Opera House.

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