June 2016 Archive

Very worst of UK culture was on display at gig - Argus Friday 24th June 2016

Posted Monday 27th June 2016   By Ericka Waller

So last weekend I experienced the very worst of our culture. It started with an eight-hour drive to Manchester on a Friday afternoon. Within five minutes of getting on the M25, a car came as close to my bumper as possible, and started making hand-gestures that were hard to explain to my kids. (“Why is that man pretending to peel the sellotape off a cucumber Mumma?” “Because he is an idiot” “Mumma, you said a bad word. Say sorry”). I assume he wanted me to move into the slow lane, which I couldn’t because there was a lorry in it. A lorry that suddenly pulled out in front of me to over-take another lorry. I flashed my lights at him. He shouted something my children interpreted as “idiot” and so started making cucumber-sellotape peeling gestures at him.

Thank goodness for dogs who make it OK - Argus Friday 17th June 2016

Posted Monday 20th June 2016   By Ericka Waller

So comfort dogs have been sent out to Orlando to help grieving relatives, wounded victims and first-responders involved in the nightclub shooting. I think it’s great that dogs have been given a good press for once. Normally, they only make the papers when someone dies trying to save one, or a child has been bitten. Jane Marsh-Johnson, 'top dog handler' for the Lutheran Church Charity's nationwide comfort dog network, told Daily Mail Online she believes dogs have a quality that humans cannot get from one another.

How long will it take for rapists to face justice? - Argus Friday 10th June 2016

Posted Monday 13th June 2016   By Ericka Waller

This week, Stanford student, Brock Turner, was sentenced to just three months in prison for raping a unconscious 23 year old woman behind a skip. Brock, 20, was found guilty of three sexual assault counts for the January 2015 attack; including the attempt to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, and sexually penetrating an intoxicated and unconscious person with a foreign object. These convictions could have cost him 14 years in prison, but But Turner was expected to spend only half of his six-month sentence in jail after the judge, fellow ex Stanford student, Aaron Persky, said positive character references and lack of a criminal record had persuaded him to be more lenient. Persky believes Prison would have a “severe impact on him”.

No one knows what Harembe would have done - Argus Friday 3rd June 2016

Posted Wednesday 8th June 2016   By Ericka Waller

So, without any real understand of Gorillas, zoo-keeping, or perhaps even parenting, we all watched the two-minute and ten-second video of a boy falling into a Gorilla enclosure, resulting in the Gorilla being shot, on Facebook and instantly knew what the right thing to have done was. We have become a generation of virtual experts on virtually everything, based on biased social media footage. I've read arguments from an ex-gorilla handler who is adamant that 400lb Harembe was out to kill Isiah due to his frustration at being kept in captivity. Beneath this, I've read comments from people who don't have a dog in their profile picture, let alone a gorilla, claim it was 'blatantly obvious the gorilla was rescuing the boy.

Press awards show the power of local papers - Argus Friday 26th May 2016

Posted Wednesday 1st June 2016   By Ericka Waller

So last week I won 'Columnist of the year' at the Regional Press Awards (RPA). A friend of mine sent his congratulations, and then added 'does this put you into a national final?' My answer was no, because I don't write for a national paper, I write for a local and I am proud of it. Yes, there is pride in regional journalism. The Liverpool Echo earned a standing ovation at the RPA as it was presented with a special chairman’s award by Trevor Hicks, president of the Hillsborough families’ support group. Trevor lost both his daughters in the disaster that killed 96 people 27 years ago. He singled out the paper’s Hillsborough reporter Eleanor Barlow, who attended almost every day of the inquest, for special mention.