The sad story of Sumanto

If spinach be the food of love, read on

This morning we travel to Indonesia, courtesy of Papua New Guinea's Weekend Courier newspaper.

I think this might be my favourite story so far. I'm going to list the reasons why. I do like a list.

a) The protagonist is an ex-cannibal.

b) He's looking for love.

c) It contains the quote: I love meat... all types of meat as long as it's cooked. But I don't eat people any more. (Mostly spinach.)

I can see why some might not take to the plight of Sumanto. (He once dug up a corpse. And ate it.) But in the spirit of Second Chances, and New Beginnings, and generally supporting lonely, strange people the world over (one of the manifesto commitments of this blog - watch this space for further manifesto commitments as and when they occur to me), I'd like to suggest a general surge of goodwill in his direction. I also really like the idea of an ex-cannibal lonely hearts column. Surely My Single Friend could easily diversify into My Ex-Cannibal Neighbour?

Anyway, good luck to you, Sumanto. I hope you find love, and I hope that said love likes spinach (the greatest euphemism for flesh I've ever heard).

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.