What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the category “BBC”

Labour Uncut Post – In Defence Of The BBC…

The previous post, about working conditions, was pretty well received, however my next effort gained me my first ever  cyber insult. Yes readers, if you defend the BBC, you must want sex with young girls (sigh)…

 

labour-uncut.co.uk/2012/10/26/governments-of-every-stripe-want-to-tear-down-the-bbc-don’t-let-them/

I’m Proud of The BBC – Are Labour???

Back in 2010, Mitch Benn – a comedian and songwriter of nearly godlike genius if you ask me, had his biggest hit so far with “I’m Proud of the BBC”, extolling the very real benefits that we all gain from auntie.  Newsround, Newsnight, iPlayer website – the list went on and on. And it hit a chord with listeners and viewers across the nation.

Well, we’ll know what we had if we lose it. The recent reshuffle was nothing more than another stacking of the deck against public service broadcasting as we know it. True, Mr C has moved on, but the tune remains the same – beggar the Beeb, and give a helping hand to Fox – sorry, Sky News.

Does it matter? Well yes it does. Every Government since Harold Wilson has accused the BBC of bias against them, and many have threatened to emasculate the corporation. As part of the fall out of the Hutton Inquiry, the last Labour government may just have started the process. However it was not irreversible, and we are now in a much more dangerous situation.

After all of ten minutes thought, The Coalition decided to cut funding via a freezing of the Licence Fee, then to stop funding The World Service via the Foreign Office. Yes, our Government took one ;look at our greatest soft power asset and said ” fuck it”. And fuck it they have.

As jobs are lost across the corporation, Unions are leading a campaign to stop the cuts – UNITE, BECTU, EQUITY and others, posing an alternative to the cuts – savings on top salaries, and a proper, forward looking policy.

 So where are the Labour MPs? Who is standing up for one of our great national institutions? One that unites us all much more than lousy weather, class snobbery and football? They, shamefully, seem as quiet as the grave, and I call that an outrage of the first order.

 Maybe it is simply an unwillingness to talk about shared culture, or to sound anti- big business. Maybe this is some kind of twisted revenge for Paxman, The Today Programme and trying to be unbiased in its foreign coverage. I don’ honestly know, and if these are the reasons, it must stop now.

Just look at the people throwing mud at the BBC – The Daily Mail, Express, Murdoch, the Tory right and any weirdo who read Ayn Rand and never grew up…

Carlton TV gave us David Cameron, whereas the BBC has given us:

Round The Horne, Miranda, Who Do You Think You Are? The day To Day, Nigella, Panorama and Bagpuss, I Claudius, Absolutely Fabulous!

Sherlock, Fireman Sam, Bruce Forsyth and The League of Gentlemen, The Thick of It, Jeremy Hardy Final Score, everything on BBC Four…

And something that can never be replaced – Sarah Jane Smith – did I mention Doctor Who? 

 

 

apologies to Mitch Benn, hope he doesn’t mind…

 

 

London Olympics 2012 -( am I allowed to write that?)

First off, what a few days we have had in London since the opening ceremony! 

What an opening ceremony, the first that I have ever watched twice by the way. Let me explain, we had it on in my workplace with the sound off – which led to most of us watching thinking it was utter crap. I mean, why was it in The Shire? Then the giant Andrew Lansley frightening children with young Conservatives, then an inflatable Boris Johnson? Without the BBC commentary and the music, it made no sense at all.

Luckily Lady P recorded it, and made me watch it all over again, whilst repeating “Danny Boyle nailed it!” until I got it. It was a glorious, seemingly chaotic evocation of Great Britain, miles apart from the usual regimented pseudo-totalitarian Disney-esque horror you usually endure at these things. Danny Boyle managed the first original opening to an Olympiad since Goebbels in 1936 – with a much better underlying message. The only low point would be Paul MaCartney, although as neither The Kinks, The Jam, nor the surviving members of The Clash were available, so be it…

And the Sport – Pendleton, Tweddle, Murray, the efforts so far from Ogogo, the sheer exhilaration watching Florence, Baillie and every competitor on the Lee Valley white water course. Wiggins and his “real celebrities” speech, Mo Farrah. Adlington,  The Brazilian Zannetti, flawless on the rings,  the GB Womens’ Soccer team showing their overpaid, self satisfied male counterparts how to do it…

…it just seems to be a pleasure after pleasure. Usain Bolt, Phelps, the fact that if Yorkshire was an independent nation, it alone would rank an astounding tenth in the medal table, above Australia, New Zealand, Hungary,South Africa, The Netherlands etc. And that the rest of Great Britain would STILL be third in the table! The BBC doing what it does best, and better than all the rest…

Yes, there is a lot to be be happy about in austerity-hit Britain at the moment, but also some nasty things to ponder once the cheering and celebration stops, such as:

  1. The Mayor of London, nominal head of The Metropolitan Police, taking  Rupert Murdoch as his guest to the Games. Thats right, the head of an organisation that The Met are actively investigating. Taken on an official Jolly. By Boris Johnson.
  2. The use by numerous construction firms who built the Stadia of a shared Blacklist of potential employees. Not only to weed out leftists, but also Health and Safety reps, or those who reported accidents.
  3. The 300% overspend from the initial (and hopelessly wrong) estimate.
  4. The tax breaks given to multinational sponsors, some of who have relented to the pressure of the mighty 38 Degrees campaign.
  5. The G4S security farce, and the resulting use of soldiers instead. Some of whom now face redundancy in the autumn due to defence cuts. 
  6. The Olympics Act of 2007, which has given a shot in the arm to the enemies of free speech. An Act of Parliament whereby the very use of such words & phrases as “Olympic”, “Gold”, “Silver”, “Bronze” and even “London 2012” became the property of LOCOG, and in effect handed Corporate Censors the right to police the English language for private gain.
  7. The fact that the selling off of state school playing fields, a national scandal, has returned under Michael Gove. He allowed 21 of 22 applications since 2010. From 1979 to 2008, we lost at least 10,226, mostly before Labour tightened up the regulations in 1998.
  8. That Labours’ minimum standard that all children receive at least two hours PE per week has been undermined since 2010 by Gove, who has disastrously cut the £162million funding for the School Sports Partnerships by 69%. 

So, lets all get behind Team GB for the rest of the Olympics and The Paralympics, but be prepared to ask the hard questions when the party is over.

Morning shock – PORTILLO REFUSES TO BACK BORIS JOHNSON!!!!

Last night on this week, senior Tory Michael  Portillo said that he will NOT be backing Boris Johnson for Mayor of London.

It just goes to show what I have always thought, that the closer you get to Johnson, the less you trust him.

Utoya nine months on…

Today, as the trial of Anders Breivik gets under way, I am thinking about solidarity, about the family and friends of those seventy seven mainly young people murdered in cold blood last July in Norway.

Nothing can ever replace a life cut short, nor could I ever dare to imagine what their relatives and mates have been going through for nine months. Norway is a small place, it is estimated that one in four of the population knew one of the butchered. They were killed as “legitimate targets” in Breiviks opinion because they were members of the Norwegian Labour Party, fellow democratic socialists to us here in Britain. They were, and remain, our brothers and sisters.

As a civilised nation, Norway has no death penalty, so the martyrdom that the assassin seeks will elude him. In place of that, we have seventy seven heroes between the ages of fourteen and fifty one, with an average age of just under twenty.

They died as true martyrs to the causes of tolerance, decency and democracy. Today I salute them, and all in our worldwide movement for justice and human rights. I salute the fundamental decency of the Norwegian people.

Our only lasting memorial can be the re-doubling of our efforts to combat the messages of hate spread by groups such as the BNP and EDL, and hate-filled clerics of every religion. We must concentrate on what unites the vast majority of humanity, regardless of race and creed, once more we must call for the workers of the world to unite, and make all men brothers.

If we could stand silent at this years May Day marches and rallies, it would be a fitting tribute.

I Told You This Would Not Go Away…

Its been quite some time since I last posted, and I was considering stopping altogether. Yet with the News International phone hacking scandal  involving such a variety of the, ahem, “Great and the Good”, i just thought I would leave one post more…

So, Rebekah Brooks, having been arrested, will probably be able to dodge any awkward questions in Parliament, presuming that she is at liberty to attend either the Culture or Home Office Select Committees.

The head of The Met has lost his job, though not his pension, nor his Knighthood. Boris, of course, is waffling as only a former grub street hack can. Lets not forget that during his tenure as editor of The Spectator, he honed his investigative talents by getting old buffers drunk at lunchtime and publishing the results.

His refusal to apologise for calling the allegations against The News of the world “politically motivated codswallop” speaks volumes. He has managed in a trice to rehabilitate the image of Ken Livingstone in the eyes of those concerned by just how close the media and politicians are. Even John Prescott has been vindicated across the land…

And Ed… so far, the boy has done very well indeed. We now need o broaden the attack to include all those grubby little “special interest” cliques that dominate our public life.

My own experience of the Murdoch Empire is very slight, firstly my Great uncle Rab was father of Chapel when the Digger first bought The Sun. An upright, staunchly anti-graft FoC (he started when The Sun had been owned by the TUC as The Daily Herald), he was a bit of a rarity on Fleet Street in those days – honest, soft spoken and non-swearing. the family tale is that after twenty minutes with Rupert, he threw an inkwell at the wall and pronounced “for all the good you’ll do you might as well f@** off back to Australia”. Today, in heaven, Rab is doing a merry jig.

Secondly, a few years ago I was working in a bar near to Westminster, when a tallish grey haired man walked in, requesting our back room for himself and his colleagues. It was a quiet day, so no problem, and around six or seven suited men and women duly filed in, ordering some sandwiches and coffees for what was evidently a working lunch. All was duly prepaered and served, to the satisfaction of the party, and as they made to leave, the bill was presented.

Grey-Hair came up to the bar, disdain dripping from his very visage. He demanded that the bill be halved. When it was politely pointed out that he had seen the menu and prices before he ordered, his air of peevishness intensified, and he produced his business card. Sadly, its not one I have kept, although I seem to remember it did say “News International” at the top, and seem to recall the words “Legal Department”, or something to that effect, on it. The upshot was that I, to my eternal shame, caved in and reduced the bill and this upright example of our fine legal tradition got what he wanted.

Sadly, no names, no pack drill, but I was reminded of this with the exit  of the two top legal officers in Wapping last week, with generous payouts, that some might speculate could be seen as hush money. It also reinforced to me the utter contempt that those who work in News International and NewsCorp have for those of us not lucky enough to do the same.

Instead of offering unwanted advice to Tom Watson et al, all I can do is congratulate them for what they are doing on behalf of us all.

There are just some of the questions that we need answers to, to whit:

  • Just when did News International start paying The Metropolitan Police for information?
  • Where was this money stated in the accounts?
  • How stupid would a Policeman have to be to believe that £1,000 was all he could get for information on confidential Royal phone numbers? ( I would have held out for at least £10,000)
  • Will any Police, either serving or retired, who are fingered in the ongoing investigation lose their pension?
  • Just how many times in the past two years has Mayor Boris Johnson met with  the Murdoch family, employees of News International, and in the case of Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charles ( an old Etonian who was at school with Boris and David Cameron)?
  • The same question for both David Cameron and George Osborne, who recruited Andy Coulson to the Conservatives in 2007.
  • How deep are the links between News international and Robert Peston, who seems to get a staggering number of inside “scoops” here? 
  • If you have to spend a Christmas dinner with Rebekah Brooks, what do you talk about?
  • What does Inspector Gadget think about all this? Worried that that elusive Sky serialisation will disappear?

Getting Rid of Gaddafi – How do We Help???

After the horrible scenes we see daily on the news, it is finally clear that the madman is not going without a fight. Unlike Mubarrak, who is under army guard in his villa, Gaddafi has nowhere to run, and is now proving in deeds what his son broadcast in those terrible words.  It looks as if he will do what Saddam said he would, and fight to the last. Unlike Saddam however, he has the means and the fanatical support of some to do this.Ninety British subjects in Libya are trapped with around three hundred other foreign nationals in a camp too far from Tripoli to get out, with no transport, and decreasing supplies. At the very least these people need a rescue mission as soon as possible. Even The Times is calling (rightly) for the freezing of the Gaddafi family assets here in London, although no one is talking about redistribution to rebuild a shattered nation.

Around the Western World, in Boardrooms and the corridors of power, there must be a whole bunch of nervous people, not least Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian elite – lets not forget Italian investment in Libya, nor Libyan investment in FIAT. Government ministers here in Britain, from every Government since 1992 are no-doubt worried as to what may come out as to dodgy deals over getting Shell and BP concessions, including the Al-Megrahni affair, and the cosying-up to Gadaffi since the end of the 1991 Iraq War.

Yet behind the headlines, what can, indeed what should we in the west be doing?

  1. Much as I hate to agree with David Owen, a no-fly zone can be established by NATO forces over Libya. This needs to be U.N. sanctioned, and my suspicion is that neither China nor Russia will agree. Nonetheless we must try. Once applied in Bosnia and Iraq, no-fly zones prevented, or at least lessened the slaughter.
  2. Hit tyrants where it really hurts – in the pocket. Freeze their assets right now.
  3. Mount a rescue operation for the trapped workers too far from Tripoli. This is not impossible, nor impractical, as the operation could be mounted from NATO bases in Southern Italy. If Israel could rescue hostages from Entebbe in Uganda, surely we could do the same now.
  4. Demonstrate outside the Libyan Embassy – as ordinary citizens, show our support for freedom.
  5. Stop emasculating The World Service. Increasingly, we see the shutting-down of the internet and international TV broadcasts as a tool of repression. This that the good old short-wave World Service can be the ONLY reliable and trusted source of news. The cuts being made now are simply madness.
  6. Support Refugee and Dissident groups. Instead of shutting down these centres, like Hammersmith and Fulham Council, now is the time to engage and nurture them.
  7. Support democratic organisations in the regions. Civil groups, Trades Unions, feminists, democratic political parties need money and support right now. Show solidarity wherever and whenever you can.

An Open Letter To Honest Opponents.

In the past few months I have met many Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters in the blogosphere, and in the main, I have found them to be courteous and respectful of other opinons. Obviously I avoid blowhards like the plague, and with Lady P at my side I know better than to simply be rude for the hell of it (however much fun it would be).

I have also noticed that supporters and members of both parties are disgruntled to say the least with certain aspects of the Coalitions policies. In politics, it never does to attribute uniform beliefs to your enemies. In this spirit I ask my Liberal Democrat colleagues in the Yes To Fairer Votes Campaign, and Conservatives of a truly One Nation frame of mind to read on and ponder…

Is it honestly true to your principles to restrict the British people’s access to their land? To sell off ancient forests held in common, for the benefit of all?

Is it wise to fillet our Defences, as this administration is doing?

Is it just to erode the living standards of agricultural workers by abolishing their independent wages council?

Is it wise to allow one multinational company unheard of control over the media?

What patriotic Government allows such levels of tax evasion by the wealthy and large British corporations?

Is it good Conservatism, or Liberalism to erode our access to, and connection with Parliament, by destroying long cherished geographical boundaries and regional loyalties?

Is it fair play to instigate campaigning by smear and inference, as in the London Mayoral campaign?

Do you really believe that the upheaval this Government is instigating is in the true benefit of the NHS?

Does it really make sense to further atomise our national Education system, potentially excluding the talented poor for a generation?

Is it not simply politically motivated spite to add further needless anti-Trades Union legislation to the toughest Trades Union laws in Europe? Is this not something Disraeli would have baulked at?

How wise and patriotic can it be to seriously harm Britain’s universally respected voice to the World – The BBC World Service? Is it responsible? Is it truly what you want?

Are you entirely comfortable with a Government that is enacting legislation that was in neither of your parties’ manifestos, nor written into The Coalition Agreement?

I realise that we will not agree on everything, that is the nature of politics. But I also see that many of you oppose some, if not all of the measures listed above. I hope that we can all work together to help ameliorate the flood of ill-written, ill thought out legislation we see coming out of westminster and Whitehall.

For our nations’ sake I know that we will be able to work together at times…

Gutting The World Service – & Then Dinner With A Murdoch…

Am absolutely disgusted that any Government, of any complexion could let this happen. The BBC has a worldwide reputation, earned over decades, for the honesty and the depth of its coverage across the world.

Unlike Radio Moscow or its US equivalent, throughout the Cold War, the BBC not only covered stories worldwide with journalistic impartiality, but provided an honest picture of Great Britain to the whole world – warts and all.

Now is the time to email Jeremy (C)Hunt and deluge him with protest.

Although he will probably be too busy, chowing down with a Murdoch, whilst the Lib Dems are nowhere to be seen…

Email the following addresses: Hunt in Parliament – huntj@parliament.uk

DCMS – enquiries@culture.gis.gov.uk

Get going…

Ham-Face and The Dirty Diggers Son…

Is it really appropriate for the Prime Minister to hold a “private” (e.g. secret) dinner with the son of Rupert Murdoch over Christmas, whilst the Government prepared to make a decision as to whether Daddy can take over the whole of BSkyB???

When will fatty answer to Parliament about this????

The silence on this issue from certain parts of the media speaks volumes…

Exactly what was discussed? Why was this meeting held in secret???

What did Jeremy “Mr C” Hunt discuss in HIS private meeting???

Smells very bad people…

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