Marcus rashford

The best children’s books: a Spectator Christmas survey

J.K. Rowling Poignant, funny and genuinely scary, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was one of my favourite books as a child and the story has lingered in my imagination ever since. Blue iced cakes always put me in mind of Cruella de Vil’s experimental food colourings, and whenever our dogs whine to get out at dusk I imagine them joining the canine news network, the twilight barking. There’s simply no resisting a book containing the lines ‘There are some people who always find beauty makes them feel sadder, which is a very mysterious thing’, and ‘Mr Dearly was a highly skilled dog-puncher’. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall There are countless children’s

Alastair Campbell’s Marcus Rashford ‘joke’ backfires

Gavin Williamson has been widely mocked after mixing up footballer Marcus Rashford and rugby player Maro Itoje. But Alastair Campbell’s bid to get in on the joke appears to have backfired in rather spectacular fashion. The New Labour spinner – who now spends his time rallying against Brexit – shared a picture of two black waiters alongside the caption: ‘So happy this day. Marcus Rashford and Maro Itoje were waiting tables at a wedding. There was me thinking they were sportsmen!!’ Oh dear. Campbell also posted a picture on Twitter of himself next to a portrait of Bob Marley with the words: ‘Had a great time at the Marcus Rashford museum in Jamaica

The Marcus Rashford mural – an anatomy of a moral panic

Late on Sunday night, less than an hour after England lost on penalties to Italy in the European championship final, a mural of the United striker Marcus Rashford was defaced in his hometown of Withington in south Manchester.  Shortly afterwards the defaced part of the mural was hidden by black bin-liners and an online campaign was launched by the artist to repair the mural. Mr S believes the first report from the Manchester Evening News described the vandalism as ‘indecipherable lettering, daubed in blue paint on Sunday night, [which] can barely be seen over the powerful black and white image.’ On Monday morning, Greater Manchester Police released a statement which

Britain is a tolerant country and a few football racists don’t change that

The racist messages sent to England football players in recent days are shameful, but to suggest that the UK is a festering hotbed overflowing with racist thugs is a step too far. Out of the hundreds of thousands of social media posts about the Euro 2020 final, only a tiny number contained racist words. Of course, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out against such abuse. What happened is indefensible and the culprits should be dealt with by the police. But the frenzied debate the messages have generated risk giving those responsible the attention they crave and which they do not deserve. As well as failing to see the bigger picture here – that Britain, generally

The real reasons children are going hungry

‘We’re idiots, babe, it’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.’ I listened to The Food Programme on Radio 4 this week, because the channel finder on my car radio wasn’t working and so I was stuck with it. It was, as it almost always is, four left-wing ratbags moaning to one another. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the template for almost the entirety of the station’s output: miserable women carping endlessly about everything. It is almost impossible to know what particular programme you’re listening to. You have to keep your ears tuned for key phrases which might give you an indication. If it’s a woman teacher moaning about

Before Rashford: sports stars who got political

It can’t be easy, holding down a place in the Manchester United and England teams while also serving as de facto Deputy Prime Minister. But Marcus Rashford seems to be managing it. After the footballer’s high profile campaigns on free school meals and homelessness, we look at some of the other sports stars who swapped the pitch for politics. George Weah Rashford’s predecessors in the world of soccer haven’t always focused on Lamborghinis and nightclubs. The Brazilian Socrates founded the Corinthians Democracy movement to oppose his country’s military government, while in 2014 his compatriot Romario went one stage further and got himself elected to the Brazilian senate.  In 1997 Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler

Do we really need a football hate crime police officer?

Marcus Rashford is right when he says the racist abuse he has received is ‘humanity and social media at its worst’. And it is right too that police take action against those who target football players like him because of the colour of their skin. But is it wise to appoint a dedicated hate crime officer based in a football unit, as West Midlands Police have done? The argument for doing so is not convincing. Why? Because when the abuse levelled at footballers goes too far, police have already shown they can be swift to act. Greater Manchester Police is investigating the latest racism directed at Rashford, and it would come

Just give them cash: a solution to the free school meal box row

The pandemic has not been kind on either libertarians or people in poverty. The libertarian argument that the state should generally leave people alone to make their own choices has not often succeeded as government, largely backed by the electorate, has chosen to respond to a collective risk with collective action, even if some of that action is compelled. For people on low incomes, Covid-19 has meant more economic hardship and an increased chance of death. It has also meant that their children are more likely to go hungry. At the Social Market Foundation, we reckon 16 per cent of children – nearly two million – went short of food last

The morality of free school meals

The main problem with the government giving in over free school meals during the holidays — other than that it is immoral and unconservative, neither of which have been bars to Conservative policy-making in the past — is that it is a hostage to fortune. What if, next week, another highly paid professional footballer — Tottenham’s Harry Winks, for example, or Liverpool’s Joe Gomez — decides that the nation’s children should also be given by the taxpayer elevenses and high tea? Such a campaign would generate enormous traction, especially among the affluent. Newspapers would feel unable to resist. Come on, Prime Minister, how can you deny a starving child his

Matthew Parris

Why I’m ducking the Rashford debate

Moments arrive when it becomes clear you’re losing the zeitgeist. Whatever might be the spirit of the era, you don’t get it any more. For me such a moment occurred last week as I followed news and commentary about the footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign for meal vouchers for disadvantaged children during the school holidays. A Nottinghamshire Conservative MP, Brendan Clarke-Smith (Bassetlaw), had spoken in the Commons debate. ‘Where is the slick PR campaign encouraging absent parents to take some responsibility for their children?’ he asked. ‘I do not believe in nationalising children.’ ‘Brilliant!’ I thought. And well put. Of course I don’t believe that all children who go hungry do