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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Yellow Paper

Election coming up and after a serious review Labour announces that the License fee will be renewed for 10 years. Unlikely to be connected.

THE BBC won a ten-year extension to the licence fee from the Government
yesterday for the modest price of seeing its board of governors split in two.
From 2007 the corporation will be regulated by a BBC trust, to be headed by
the current chairman, Michael Grade, and managed by an executive board led by
Mark Thompson, the Director-General.

However, in a clear victory for Mr Grade, coming a year after the Hutton debacle, there will be no external regulation. Nor will the BBC have to share its £2.8 billion licence fee income with other broadcasters until 2017

As the Times observes

The Green Paper on the future of the BBC published by Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, yesterday, might be more accurately described as a Yellow Paper. It displays an intellectual cowardice on too many questions confronting the corporation. It meekly endorses the status quo on issues such as the licence fee despite the transformation of the universe of broadcasting since the royal charter was last renewed.


Super Bowl of Rice

Looking at the Way Condi was turned out in her European tour I was afraid that we were going to have a Janet Jackson moment. In fact for a moment I thought saw glimpse of a tit; then I realized she was just shaking hands with Gerhard Schroeder.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Everyone Wants to be Heard

There’s some controversy raging over at the Belmont Club over the statement by Jack Stokes that
“Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people”

And it turns out that this sentiment is relatively widely held, Frank Gardner, who was recently shot in Saudi Arabia says in an interview in the Telegraph:

"Ironically, said Mr Gardner, Arab contacts later told him that his would-be assassins regretted shooting him.
"I am one of the few people who have tried to bother to explain what al-Qa'eda is about, and now they have taken me off the air for several months," he said.
"Initially their supporters thought it was great that they had hit the BBC because they got lots of publicity, but once they found out it was me they realised it was a bit of an own goal."

This reasoning seems to comes out of the pop psyc belief that problems aired are problems solved. But even it you believed this at an individual level, you’d have to question whether this reasoning is valid when applied to groups as a whole.

VME
From a world you couldn't make up:-

"The Metropolitan Police will no longer describe black people as black, as part of a new attempt to counter charges of racism in the force. Both black and Asian people will in future be referred to as "visible minority ethnics".....

"The official claimed that the term would allow these communities to be distinguished from others - such as the Irish and the Greeks - whose members are, according to the new terminology, "invisible" because they tend to be light-skinned."

So what would a sun burned paddy be then - a visible or invisible minority ethnic.



Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tail Wags Dog

Reporting on the release of the two French hostages the Times report contains an embarrasing typo:-

"France managed to get the Islamic organisations on its side, and then to arrange a discreet hand-over in Baghdad."

Er other way round mate -

"Islamic organisations managed to get France on its side, and then to
arrange a publicity stunt in Paris."


All that is required for evil to prevail is that good (wo)men do nothing.

A Home Office minister suggested yesterday that the violent protests that forced the cancellation of a play about Sikhs would ultimately benefit the author and the show.

Fiona Mactaggart refused to offer support for either the theatre, which came under siege, or the author, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, who is in hiding after reportedly receiving death threats.”

In fact I don’t even think she’s doing nothing. What she’s actually doing is condoning the violence in much the same way as those who claimed Rushdie only did it for the publicity.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Muppets Puppets

Ok so you’re doing an report on free speech and want to quote an expert to well, I don’t know, give the impression you know what you’re talking about – dumb girl in glasses idea. So who you going to call? Well if you’re the BBC you’d call in Index for Censorship – yep the very same group that celebrated the murder of Theo Van Gogh.

Needless to say the expert's views are within wailing distance of Tehran:-

“I get a bit disturbed when people talk about a right to offend. It's not a positive thing," says Mr Mullin. "The UN declaration talks about freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, not our freedom to offend."

Indeed- perhaps because the drafters never expected their legislation to be interpreted by idiots? But onwards and downward he continues:-
"It's damaging that people see free expression simply as a right to cause offence," says Mr Mullin. "The right to freedom of speech is still relatively new and we are like adolescents, insufficiently mature in how we should use it. “
Indeed, indeed, speak for yourself mate.
But you really have to ask where this rampant abuse of language can from – here we have the Idex for Censorship arguing for censorship and the BBC, well its not British, this isn’t Broadcasting and its not a Corporation, its crap.



Sunday, December 19, 2004

Standards Slipping

"CANDIDATES for sainthood will be exonerated from the requirement to have performed a miracle under guidelines being considered by the Pope. "

So I'm eligble now then?



Saturday, December 18, 2004

Oi Look At that Cute Fuselage

The British Council to celebrate its 70th birthday

“..asked people learning English with us all over the world to tell us their most beautiful English words.”
40,000 votes from 102 countries yielded the usual smalch such as “cherish, freedom, liberty, serendipity” but a couple of interesting ones crept in. At 67 we have “fuselage”!?? I can quite picture the context under which this could be construed as beautiful” – “the fuselage of the 747 is nearly twice as wide as that of the 727”, ah yes vedy butiful, angi san!

And then we have “oi” at 61? In my experience “oi” usually preceeds either an insult or a head-butt, so I can only presume that the there’s a large body of English students out there who enjoy being abused – by guys like Harry

The Stuff of Nightmares

The BBC series “The Power Of Nightmares” made the rather fantastical claim that actually the cold war was a CIA inspired plot. Yeah right no one would believe that? No. Well yes. One month later and Lord Hoffman delivers the rather extraordinary judgment that the

“Indefinite imprisonment in consequence of a denunciation on grounds that are not disclosed and made by a person whose identity cannot be disclosed is the stuff of nightmares
What he was actually talking about was the detention of terrorists whose home countries won’t accept them back, meaning that they cant be deported. This is sort of equivalent to the local dealer leaving his psychopathic pitt bull in your garden and then refusing to accept it back, at which point the eminent Hoffman opines that it is your obligation to give it the freedom to you’re your house.

But this is besides the point; a lot of people say that the BBC propaganda is harmless it is not, it seeps into the thinking of even, or perhaps particularly the highly intelligent.

My dissenting opinion – nuts!

Friday, May 28, 2004

AN EASY MISTAKE TO MAKE

The Guardian corrects a slightly misleading headline:
”. It read: "Hungary foils 'Jewish' terror plot."
Sharon up to his old tricks again? In fact
"On April 13, the Hungarian police arrested three Arabs suspected of planning to attack a Jewish museum in Budapest."
But shurely the idea that the Jews would want to bomb Budapest is patently absurd? Actually it was
"Only after reading the entire article did I realise that the headline was completely misleading. The plot was not by Jews but against Jews. A typical case of the victim misrepresented as the culprit. “

Who needs idiots when you can have editors?


Tuesday, May 18, 2004

MINISTER OF THE SPINELESS

After a couple of days of tough talk about “red lines”, Jack Straw reverts to form
Britain yields to EU over criminal justice
The Government signalled yesterday that it was willing to breach the first of its "red line" safeguards on the European constitution by agreeing to cede Britain's veto over sensitive areas of criminal justice.
Oh well red lines, yellow lines, whats the difference?

Update. Yep, here’s the next: red/yellow line
“JACK STRAW gave business leaders a guarantee last night that he would not accept a European constitution that watered down Britain’s industrial relations laws, including those on secret ballots and secondary picketing.” .


UBIQUITOUS WMD

The explosion of sarin shell of in Iraqi raises a couple of interesting questions. Firstly who used it: it was either a member of the former regime or a freelancer. The first possibility can probably be discounted since they would not want to jeopardise the propaganda value of the lack of WMD. If it’s the second then that suggest that chemical weapons are probably quite common, since presumably the terrorist just stumbled across the shell. Interesting. Although I doubt we’ll hear much more about it.



Sunday, May 16, 2004

A FEDERATION
A good article by Peter Galbraith argues
”A federation of Shia, Sunni and Kurdish states will avoid civil war”

Its worth remembering that the United Arab Emirates, a federation, is one of the few successful states in the Middle East.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

IF YOU CANT BEAT ‘EM JOIN ‘EM
This looks pretty desperate
“KERRY-McCAIN AGAIN....More speculation about a Kerry-McCain ticket, this time on the front page of the New York Times.”

Maybe Bush should put Michael Moore on his ticket to show that he can take criticism?

HEY HEY
The Good News:
“The British bloke is slobby, saggy and self-deluded... and that's just the way we like him!”

The bad news it’s a guardian moose that feel this way.

THE EMPERORS NO CLOTHES
The clothes are starting to come off Brown’s economic miracle :
”Frank Hoole, 50, was last in a job 11 years ago. That was the year he was made redundant from his job with TSB, the bank subsequently taken over by Lloyds.
He is one of 2.4m people in Britain on incapacity benefit. Add the 311,000 who receive the government’s severe disablement allowance and 2.7m are on health-related benefits, three times the figure in 1979.
An increasing number of people, like Hoole, are suffering stress and other mental health problems. Since Labour came to power in 1997 there has been a 38% rise in those getting incapacity benefit for such reasons. The figure now stands at 718,000.
They are not the only ones excluded from Britain’s apparently booming job market. Official figures show that these benefit claimants are part of a near-record 7.8m people of working age who are “economically inactive”.
This sits strangely with other government figures showing employment at record levels and the number claiming jobseeker’s allowance, the main unemployment benefit, down to a 29-year low of 876,300.
Gordon Brown, trumpeting those figures last week, declared that “Britain is working”. [as in massaging the figures gordo?]…
There are many reasons for economic inactivity. Some of it reflects higher numbers of students, or women who were working and have taken time off to have children. Early retirement, particularly among men, and the legacy of the industrial shakeouts of the past, when men were left with obsolete skills, also account for some of the inactivity.
But there are also less explicable developments. Among men aged 25-34, who would normally be thought of as the most employable in a strong job market, employment has dropped by a quarter in the past two years.
Even the record on youngsters, regarded as a success story by the government with its New Deal programme, may not represent quite the achievement it appears. According to the Tories, more than 1m of those aged 16-24 are without jobs, educational qualifications or training. They call it the “lost generation” and point out that Britain’s youth unemployment rate, one in eight, is higher than the 10% in sclerotic Germany.
The apparent good news of a rise in self-employment, up 300,000 to 3.6m over the past two years, is also open to challenge. Critics say much of this reflects “involuntary” self-employment — people who have lost jobs and have had no option but to try, often unsuccessfully, to make it on their own as consultants or tradesmen.
The biggest puzzle of all, however, is the rise in incapacity, particularly the big increase in people who are off work for long periods — more than 80% of those on incapacity benefit haven been claiming for over a year — because of stress and associated problems. “


A DOUDLE EDGED SORWD
The Guardian reports
“Encouraging schoolchildren to experiment with oral sex could prove the most effective way of curbing teenage pregnancy rates, a government study has found.”

And will also increase the demand for interns.

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