Market traders in the West Midlands say business was already tough before coronavirus – and now they fear a second wave or local lockdown could be the “final nail in the coffin”.
The borough of Sandwell, which includes West Bromwich, Oldbury, Tipton and Smethwick, is currently in the top 10 of areas in England with the highest rates of infection.
This leaves it in danger of having local restrictions being forced upon it by the government.
Sandwell’s rate of infection rose to 28.1 per 100,000 people in the week up to 27 July, from 26.9 the previous week.
Last month, West Bromwich Albion was promoted to football’s Premier League but now the area is climbing a less welcome table.
In the town’s market, trade is only just beginning its return to health after the rigours of lockdown and none of the stall holders or shopkeepers want to see a second wave.
Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings at the market for more than 15 years.
He said trade was already tough before coronavirus.
“It used to be heaving here on a daily basis, Monday to Saturday,” he said.
“But this could be the final nail in the coffin. And if we get a second wave that could really devastate the whole area.
“If they lock down Sandwell and Smethwick, people will drive to Birmingham, they’ll drive to Merry Hill. They’ve got to do their shopping somewhere.
“And the danger is they might not come back.”
The council is trying to forestall the sort of government intervention seen in Leicester, Greater Manchester, Blackburn, Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford.
It held an emergency meeting on Friday, and has issued amended advice to keep the infection rate down.
The council’s deputy leader Maria Crompton said: “Nationally, the government has advised people who are shielding they could stop shielding from Friday 31 July, but anyone in Sandwell who is shielding is strongly advised to continue to shield to keep themselves safe.
“We know people are looking forward to going out again. However, we are very strongly advising people who are shielding to stay put for now and go out as little as possible.”
The council has issued the following advice:
Continue to shield if you are already shielding
Do not go inside other people’s houses
Get tested and isolate if you have symptoms
The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has said there are no plans to lock down any boroughs within the region.
But authorities in Sandwell add the caveat that if the new advice is not heeded, more restrictive measures are “highly likely”.
Women Fitness gets in touch with Guin Deadman, LeChat Nails Educator, a nail tech for last 25 years and a salon owner for 17 years. She is also 2019 Nailpro Cup Champion. During Covid-19 there are are certain factors to keep in mind to avoid infection.
Guin answers Top 5 to keep in mind while opting for Nail Art Treatment.
Q. Should I opt for nail art during these times?
A. Yes! Absolutely! Always remember that due to extra time requirements for cleaning, your nail technician may not have time for complicated designs, but even a simple accent nail can make your set more special.
Q.Products I should be using and avoid?
A. All professional nail products are safe when used properly, always make sure your nail artist is properly trained. Avoid dipping powders that are being used directly from the jar—the powder should be placed in bowl with the excess discarded afterwards.
Q. Top 5 smart tips to make a right choice of a nail artist?
Make sure they’re following all cleaning and disinfection protocols, don’t be afraid to ask about their practices.
Are they helping you make an informed decision about you nail services, asking lifestyle questions and explaining why different products and nail styles will be best suited for you.
Don’t cheap out, choose the best artist your budget allows, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to nails.
Make appointments, and develop a relationship with your nail artist, your services will become more personalized as they get to know you.
Use pictures for design inspiration, but don’t ask for exact match to photos, let them create their own artistic interpretation.
Q. Precautions to take while dealing with a nail experts?
A. Especially in current times it’s more important than ever to make sure your nail experts are following all cleaning and disinfectant requirements. You can view your state’s requirements online.
Q. Early sign of trouble and need to consult a doctor?
A. Do not go in for nail services if you have open wounds around your nails (it’s actually illegal for them to work on you if you have any open wounds). It should not be painful to get nail services, you should not leave salon with cuts or abrasions. If this happens find a new salon.
Allergies to nail products are not common, but always pay attention if you have burning or itching around nails after services. If you notice signs of infection around nail area seek medical attention.
In the wake of Cardinal George Pell’s acquittal, commentators have asked whether the Australian national broadcaster, the ABC, engaged in a witch-hunt.
I shall not address this question directly but ask instead what a witch-hunt is. Or rather, I shall offer an example of what we might regard as the paradigm case of an anti-Pell witch hunter, the Twitter handle @LyndsayFarlow. I will do this by sampling just a single month of tweets by Pell’s antagonist in which the witch-hunt is evident. I shall go on to consider how it all began. I will end by suggesting that at least the ABC appear to be “in bed” with the witch hunters, a revelation that the ABC would probably like kept under wraps, and which they cannot bring themselves to admit.
I have written on Farlow previously identifying the close links with the lawyer who acted for Pell’s complainant Vivian Waller.[i] However, it may be worth stressing (as the point may have been lost) that I never thought that Farlow was Waller literally. I had at least three reasons for this. First, I knew that Farlow had originally misspelt Waller’s first name, second, that Farlow tweeted so often that he or she could not possibly be the same person as a busy lawyer, third that Farlow did not appear to share Waller’s concerns when he or she first started tweeting. That last point raises the question of just when Farlow became so interested in Catholic sex abuse.
A quick insight may be gleaned from the fact that although on 6 June 2013 when Pell appeared before the Victorian commission Farlow was not preoccupied by the event, nine months later, in the week 24-27 March 2014 when Pell appeared at the RC sitting in Sydney, that issue has become an obsession. In between, from February 2014 Farlow has started tweeting with @Clan.au, an association that will be maintained regularly. CLAN are strongly supported by Yvonne Smith who is associated (on Twitter at least) with Doug Smith, the head of SANO when Pell’s accuser made his complaint amidst Operation Tethering.[ii] Of all those on Twitter it is Farlow who takes the closest interest in SANO, though he or she is very careful never to mention “Doug Smith” or “Tethering.” That brings me to a fourth reason for not identifying Farlow with Waller the lawyer’s influence is clearly mediated somehow so that she stands at “arm’s length” from the public.
Let us then sample the tweets of @LyndsayFarlow throughout March 2014. A quick glance from one day, 1 March, shows that Farlow made around 150 tweets, often retweets. That’s a tweet every ten minutes without sleep, a multitude that even raises the question of whether Farlow is a bot.
Because that’s a lot of data, and to avoid an information overload, I will only consider tweets including the word “Pell.” By simplifying in this way we lose sight of some important angles, for example, that Farlow buys into the Carl Beech story, not yet revealed as a hoax,[iii] but it makes our task more manageable. Moreover, it’s very easy to pull out the tweets on any given day and then move on to the next, for example, on 1 March one performs the following search and then one adjusts the dates accordingly:
The results are shown in below in Appendix 1 which, for any detective interested, will also indicate when I performed the search (yesterday). To get an insight into the diary of a witch-hunter, then, I shall run through all 31 days of March counting the Pell tweets (which are often retweets of news items) and also numbering the cartoons (as the Twitter feed is pockmarked by hateful images). I shall sometimes add a very brief comment after each day offering an impression of key themes. These are shown in Appendix 2.
As can be seen, Farlow seems to have had a holiday (or a briefing) early March, but then late March he or she seems to have attended the RC in Sydney, tweeting furiously when Pell appeared. The chief concern is obvious. Farlow takes the perspective of a lawyer interested only in redress. Quite obviously again, the tenor would hardly be deemed ethical in a court of law. The speech is hateful.
We had already noted Farlow’s close association with victim support groups such as CLAN[iv] and Broken Rites[v] who in turn are mostly preoccupied with redress especially in the light of the Melbourne Response (set up by Pell in 1996). It is worth now considering how the Pell obsession grew over time as Farlow was not preoccupied when Pell appeared at the Victorian inquiry in June 2013. To do this we simply count the Pell tweets in each month from mid-2013 to early-2014. These total: July (1), August (2), September (0), October (10), November (1), December (8), January (0), February (29). In other words, the Pell interest is relatively minor until an upsurge in February, actually from the second half of the month. Those tweets date from 18 February almost to the day when Farlow begins to tweet to CLAN regarding Pell. Farlow’s Twitter association with @Clan.au actually began, though, on 4 February 2014[vi] in a tweet about keeping CLAN informed, and mentioning a DM, that is a direct message that the public cannot see.
The most natural reading of this data is that Farlow has been “recruited” as a media influencer by CLAN. Certainly Farlow was already engaged in retweeting news items, perhaps partly in order to make money, but Farlow certainly engages in anti-Catholic abuse, using derogatory language for Catholics such as “tike,” on over a dozen occasions,[vii] including conversations with @Peter_Fox59 from December 2012.[viii] Perhaps Farlow was at first on an “unpaid internship” as a witch-hunter. The anti-Pell tirade seems to have taken off in earnest from around February 2014.
Given CLAN’s associations with Doug Smith and the police, and also lawyers such as Vivian Waller, it seems likely that Farlow’s presence on social media points to a deeper strategy implemented in the wake of Operation Tethering.
Let’s now turn to the ABC. The organisation would no doubt espouse values of fairness to all including Catholics, and aspire to treat controversial topics such as sex abuse and redress even-handedly. Insofar as my analysis of Farlow would be accepted, I am sure that the ABC would repudiate the idea that Farlow’s concerns are that of the state broadcaster. Even if Farlow “hunts witches” the ABC does not.
Here it may be worth offering a general description of the likes of Farlow (or CLAN), namely, that they are “hawkish.” A typical hawk is both polarised and polarising. Hawks will have a particular, single focus and view everything through that lens. They will then divide the world into friends and enemies accordingly, sometimes mirroring the equal and opposite pole.
The example that I spent a year studying in fine detail before I ever wrote on Pell was the “grass roots Zionist hawks” that agitate for Israel having a special concern to ward off the threat of boycotts. No doubt pro-Palestinian pressure groups exist that mirror such hawks, but from my experience it is the pro-Israel faction that is especially well-funded and organised. Although quasi-autonomous from the state of Israel, such groups will be well briefed (winning the information war is compared to winning the skies in military warfare) and also (covertly) funded by Israel as indicated by the exposure of Shai Masot delivering £1,000,000 to Joan Ryan MP to discredit her leader Jeremy Corbyn.[ix] It was my impression that the shrill, unreasonable, and abusive “group-think” (“group speech”?) of the redress-for-abuse hawks was astonishingly similar to the pro-Israel-anti-boycotts hawks.
Now, just as the BBC would officially distance itself from the pro-Israel hawks, in reality they and the mainstream tend to treat them uncritically, not least because the hawks can and do provide kompromat. In the case of Jeremy Corbyn, an MP on the fringes who was surprisingly victorious in the 2015 Labour leadership (after changes to the voting system that gave power to his grass roots), it was the hawks who had already been collecting information on him regarding his Palestinian Rights activity since 2010 well before he was prominent that supplied the data to the mainstream. This was then distorted and reproduced amidst artificial hysteria at a time of acute tension in Israel and after Corbyn had done surprisingly well in the 2017 election and might well progress further.
In other words, the hawks act like a “ginger group.”[x] Their aim is always to “ginger up” (agitate, enliven, stimulate) the mainstream. To repeat, hawks are not merely polarised but they are polarising, agitating to normalise an extreme agenda. I would argue that this is what we see with Pell and the Australian mainstream.
In the case of the ABC, with reporter Louise Milligan especially, it seems that the hawks have infiltrated the state broadcaster, something that was no doubt made easy given that many in the ABC loathe Pell’s Conservative social values (on gender issues such as abortion and gay rights, but also climate change). Thus we find a close (but covert) association with Doug Smith and many of the “Ballarat survivors.” Many, but not all. One such victim of sexual abuse has told me how he viewed the over-riding concern with redress as a cynical exercise in greed, and how Milligan had a closed mind to evidence that contradicted her pre-conceived ideas[xi] and he seems to me very well informed.[xii]
And as a matter of fact, as I have shown, we find direct contact between Milligan and Farlow in May 2015 when the complainant was just about to make his official complaint.[xiii] By that time several others in Ballarat had collectively and recently remembered what Pell had done to them 40 years back and they could recall the colour of his goggles too.[xiv] It was in May 2015 that Milligan had met up with Phil Scott and told him that others had come forward information derived perhaps from Ingrid Irwin who Milligan openly acknowledges. Just recently, it seems, this early contact has been airbrushed out of the official narrative. The conspiracy theory is bunkum because for her the story began in December 2015.[xv]
Curiously, when in May 2015 Milligan first has a conversation on Twitter with Farlow, the topic is the very same as Farlow’s first conversation with CLAN in 2014: iView, the ABC’s free internet TV service in Australia.[xvi] In each case Farlow is addressing technical problems. Perhaps this gives some idea of the symbiosis between the nodes in the network.
To sum up here, what I am suggesting in this paper is that that the anti-Pell network were very much like a “ginger group” and that although the ABC are not by nature a ginger group, and they certainly cannot admit to being one, still they have been “gingered up” by such factions. A ginger group is polarised and polarising. But this is very hard for the ABC to admit, especially now that they have to “stand by their Milligan.”
One consequence (of this, that polarising factions have acted to ginger up an organisation that is not officially polarised) is that certain things must remain invisible. Milligan’s meeting with Scott is one such unmentionable. Another figure lurking in the shadows is Peter Saunders who Farlow references in around 30 tweets from December 2014 including one with the “60Minutes” hashtag.[xvii] For a while in Rome as a member of a pontifical group looking at child abuse, Saunders travelled to Australia and on 60 Minutes had called Pell a sociopath those two words never appear together in Milligan’s Twitter feed and neither does “Peter Saunders” and nor does @NAPAC, the organisation he set up. I have argued that although remotely “the Pell affair is haunted by the ghost of Southwell,” the more proximate conditions emerging at the time of Tethering appear with the lurid tales of paedophile rings in Westminster (again, never mentioned by Milligan). Saunders was an ardent champion of Carl Beech long after the case had turned to jelly.[xviii]
This brings us to another unmentionable maverick. Apart from one recent and general reply, Milligan has never mentioned Shane Dowling @Kangaroo_Court in any tweet.[xix] Dowling’s links with Farlow are curious indeed.
On Twitter Farlow and Dowling go way back, with Farlow recommending that Dowling be followed in 2011.[xx] It is quite astonishing, then, to see only one reference to Pell between the two, just after Pell was found guilty.[xxi] Now, Dowling was championing Carl Beech with the corollary that something similar applied down under (Pell is pictured with former PM).[xxii] Moreover, Dowling is well acquainted with Southwell, a commentary on which is found at the Broken Rites site as Dowling tells us on 25 March 2014 in an article on Pell’s “perjury” at the RC. The full version of the Southwell report was not available at that time but just three days later a “supporter” of the blog called Jock helpfully gives a link to a site where documents are kept in perpetuity, Jock explaining that “the Internet never forgets.” On Twitter on 9 April @LyndsayFarlow (who had referenced the Broken Rites version of Southwell just before, on 20 March) seems to be the earliest to reference to the link that Jock uses.[xxiii] Given that that phrase, “the Internet never forgets,” also appears in Farlow’s Twitter feed, it seems likely that Jock is Farlow.[xxiv]
More interesting still is the Brandis theory often cited by the “usual suspects” as a search involving “Pell,” “Brandis,” and “Rome” will show.[xxv] Dowling has a blog on this in July 2015[xxvi] and on Twitter Dowling frequently promotes it.[xxvii] The idea is that “Federal Attorney-General Senator George Brandis QC secretly met with known paedophile protector and alleged paedophile Cardinal George Pell in May this year.” The subtext seems to be that Pell was being warned not to return to Rome (though why a phone call would not suffice goes unexplained) and the reason why Pell must not return is I find no trace on Twitter as to just what this, not at first, but it seems clear that it is because of something. However, on the day that Lucie Morris Marr breaks her “police probe Pell” scoop in February 2016 a chorus of “Ahas!” sound out, a little too quickly for those of us inclined to be suspicious. Noteworthy here, it also seems to us, is @Shellzzz[xxviii] who as it happens is an old friend of a Det. Sgt in VicPol with whom she appears to discuss matters Pell.[xxix] On 25 July Farlow duly asks about the secret meeting too.[xxx]
Of course, a politician such as Brandis is not completely neglected by Milligan.[xxxi] But what is interesting is that Peter Fox tweets a photo of the page (315) in Cardinal that references a tip off from Milligan’s “deep throat.”[xxxii] I had previously conjectured that Farlow was the source, despite the fact that I knew the theory did not fit the data well as Milligan’s source seems to be a Melbourne man with links to the legal community.[xxxiii] Milligan explains that immediately after interviewing Les Tyack[xxxiv] (which is when she officially and sceptically began work on the Pell case) she received a call from “a senior member of the Melbourne legal fraternity” who had given her tips that had stacked up before.
“Somehow or other, he gets to talking about Pell. I say it is funny he should mention him, as I had just been to interview a man who knew some pretty concerning information about Pell. The deep throat then tells me that the Herald Sun story was right on the money. He says that a number of people at Victoria Police and the law were extremely frustrated when Pell had cancelled his trip to Australia in December 2015 (two months before) to give evidence to the Royal Commission. He tells me he believed, as did anyone who had knowledge of this, that His Eminence had been tipped off about the Taskforce SANO investigation. That’s why he didn’t fly, and that’s why his heart problems suddenly became so problematic that a cross-continental plane journey would simply be impossible. He has some ideas as to who he felt might have done the leaking to Pell. He told me in the strongest possible terms to keep investigating the Pell allegations. He gives me a number of lines of inquiry not, incidentally, to the complainants themselves, as he does not have any knowledge of who they were or who was representing them. We speak for about an hour. Many of the things he mentions subsequently stack up.[xxxv]”
We may observe here that Milligan is slightly misleading as she uses the word “complainants” in the plural which only makes sense if her deep throat knew about the swimmers allegations that Milligan told Scott that she was aware of at least she says she told him that others had come forward. It seems to us here that she is caught awkwardly between trying on the one hand to make out as if she was gradually making discoveries from February after an initial scepticism partly thanks to deep throat, and on the other hand already in the know with regards to what deep throat is saying.
But the more obvious point to make is that a more likely candidate for the senior member of the Melbourne legal fraternity is Shane Dowling himself. The irony, of course, that we suppose Milligan would rather be lost, is that a reporter from the ABC was being sourced by a Kangaroo Court!
Let’s sum up here. Supporters of Pell will likely be incredulous that the ABC did not pursue a witch-hunt against Pell, and those sharing Pell’s conservative values will be sensitive to the biases that are openly on display. The ABC, however, would disavow such a breach of their stated code, pointing out where they have given the right of reply and so on.
But I would suggest that the really pertinent issue regards the Southwell inquiry emerging, as it happens, in 2002 when the bribe claim was aired.[xxxvi] Milligan has taken up that thread, arguably drawing on groups with a dubious agenda, and inspired by those who would champion the most lurid of stories from the other side of the globe. Those polarised and polarising figures such as Saunders, Dowling, and Farlow, it seems, have covertly fed in to her investigation. In virtue of such forces the ABC has been impelled to join the witch-hunt, an embarrassment it now finds very difficult to admit. An unfortunate corollary here is that the real questions are stifled.[xxxvii]
The Phil Scott story, and of course, Carl Beech. That had collapsed by 2016 and now the Metropolitan Police stand accused of “institutional stupidity” given, for example, that they took at face value Beech’s sketches of Dolphin Square when a search through his computer would have revealed numerous searches. In the Pell case something similar obtains given that it can be shown that the complainant’s knowledge of the sacristy was first of all based on too-recent knowledge of a storage kitchenette where the boys found the altar wine but which was a wardrobe at the time of the allegations and, moreover, that the story suddenly shifted when the police learned about the 2004 installations which they did in 2016 a time when, to repeat, Beech’s fraud was now obvious.
VicPol have little excuse and neither do the ABC. This subversive truth has been in the public domain for nearly six months now,[xxxviii] but clearly the ABC have not caught on, blinded as they presumably are by the delusion that Pell might have been guilty after all though the HCA clearly agreed that the first incident at least was impossible given the continuous traffic in the sacristy when it was unlocked after Mass. It turns out that there were no witches after all, yet the hunters remain ever vigilant!
Such is the stupidity of the witch hunter, but how to explain it? For those not afraid to open the pages of a medieval theologian we actually find a mini treatise on stupidity.
Stupidity, St Thomas Aquinas explains, stems from dullness of heart.[xxxix]
Appendix 1: @LyndsayFarlow Pell tweets from 1 March 2014
Appendix 2: Tweets of @LyndsayFarlow through March 2014 referencing “Pell”
01 March 4 Tweets: Pell rules the Catholic world
02 March 1 Tweet: “Ellis Defence” referencing Broken Rites
12 March 7 Tweets: Pell’s lawyers boasted
13 March 1 Tweet: Pell blind to justice
14 March 3 Tweets 1 Cartoon: Pell is the key, he “sees no evil”
15 March 3 Tweets 1 Cartoon: Pell is greedy and blind to justice
16 March 4 Tweets: Lawyers!
17 March 6 Tweets: Pell’s Lawyers!!
18 March 11 Tweets: Pell’s ruthless lawyers!!!
19 March 3 Tweets: #Ellis
20 March 15 Tweets: Church lawyers blame #Ellis
21 March 6 Tweets: Dishonest Pell needed $$$ for his home
22 March 6 Tweets: What motivates Pell? David Marr and Joanne McCarthy
23 March 37 Tweets: Lying, arrogant, indignant Pell! What would Jesus say?
24 March 93 Tweets 1 Cartoon: Pell interrogated. Claims that things changed with Melbourne Response but under pressure to admit that Ellis was damaged. Pell waffles, throws Casey under the bus, is not pastoral.
25 March 36 Tweets 4 Cartoons: Church is loaded. Gail Furness on how Ellis was handled.
26 March 61 Tweets 3 Cartoons: Obstinate, venomous, belligerent, pontificating Pell. Mea Culpa not in vocab.
27 March 30 Tweets 2 Cartoons: Bluster and no apology from Pell.
28 March 28 Tweets: Anthony and Chrissie Foster meet with Pell. Pell dragged kicking and screaming to act for victims
29 March 1 Tweet: Church fought abuse victims tooth and nail
30 March 5 Tweets 1 Cartoon: (To Peter Fox and Chris Wilding) Pell excuses self and blames Rome
31 March 6 Tweets: Catholic Church has lost its soul.
[xi] This mirrors the antisemitism crisis in which a significant minority of Corbyn supporters are Jewish (and who are therefore deemed anti-Semitic!) a fact that the mainstream have difficulty acknowledging.
(The writer Doctor Chris Friel taught maths for many years before undertaking, first, a masters in Philosophy, and second, doctoral research on value and credibility in the thought of Bernard Lonergan. In 2018 he investigated at length the “purposely timed hysteria” of the pro-Israel hawks in the UK amidst the antisemitism crisis, and commencing in 2019 has devoted an equally lengthy exploration of the Cardinal George Pell case and its context).