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With whistleblowers it's onl y what they tell us that matters

Leo Varadkar and Alan Shatter find themselves in diametrically opposing positions this weekend, thanks to the former describing Sgt Maurice McCabe and retired Garda John Wilson as 'distinguished', and criticising the Garda commissioner for his use of the term 'disgusting'.

The thing is, who knows which they are? More to the point, who cares? It doesn't really matter if they are both saints or both demons – it is the content of their allegations that is relevant, not their characters.

The world of whistleblowing is full of wonderful people. It's also full of complete arses. And neither personality trait impacts on the revelations.

Edward Snowden ain't exactly a barrel of laughs with a wide circle of friends. So? David Shayler (the MI5 leaker) is as odd as two left feet. What does that matter? Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning isn't a lady you'd want to get caught sitting beside at a wedding. So what?

They don't need to be Serpico. They don't need to have fought a valiant struggle for the truth. They don't need to be nice. They just need accurate data.


Kylie Minogue is suffering a backlash for being in a sexy video 'at age 45' (true, it's the kind of 'backlash' that generates publicity you couldn't possible pay for. But it's backlash nonetheless).

Since when did 45 become 108? Kylie (right) looks pretty much unchanged from her 20s. She's been dancing around in her pants since her 20s, so there's no reason for her to stop now. Surely the bigger question is why there has to be a correlation between female chart success and semi-nudity. Look at Kylie's recent hits – Spinning Around; hot pants. Can't Get You Out Of My Head; jumpsuit slit to the navel. Slow; semi-transparent mini-dress.

And Kylie ain't alone – Rihanna is essentially a professional stripper. Shakira ain't far behind her. And as for Miley Cyrus ...

This new norm for female artists is what we should be getting activated about.

Pharrell Williams wears a hat and jeans. Not a thong. Jay-Z – no matter how unclothed his wife gets – is always totally covered up.

Pitbull, Tinie Tempah, Paolo Nutini, James Vincent McMorrow – all known for their music, not their capacity as male strippers.

Shouldn't we be all het-up about this extraordinary double standard, not Kylie's (tremendous) 45-year-old bottom?


Art exhibitions can be an acquired taste.

And the written descriptions of them don't always make you think 'wow, I'd love to go see that!'

But you wouldn't think a single sentence at the start of a review could make you instantly decide to avoid the exhibition at all costs.

Well, such a sentence appeared in a paper this week. Here it is: "Nail Clippings, Human Hair and a model of a testicle feature in a sculpture exhibition currently running in a Dublin Gallery."

Best of luck with that, lads.


Best story of the week – police are seeking a man who attempted to suck women's toes in Wal-Mart. This is not a joke. Cops in North Carolina are trying to find a man who went up to women in the shoe section of two of the retailer's outlets and announced himself as 'a podiatry student'.

He then asked to inspect their feet as part of a 'survey' he was carrying out into the feet of women of different races and nationalities. One woman took off her shoe, but became suspicious when he asked her to whip off her sock as well. She was right to be suspicious, because another woman agreed to the sock removal and was (one assumes) somewhat surprised when the man took the sockless foot and jammed it in his mouth.

The reports don't detail what happened next, but it's probably a safe bet that she removed the foot and raised the alarm.

It's not appropriate to blame the victim. But if you find yourself in a shop with your foot in a stranger's mouth, you'd have to accept that you some-times make poor decisions.