What would Clement do?

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

Archive for the category “News International/ NewsCorp/ Fox”

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…

 

 

VOTE LABOUR TODAY

Today is polling day in local government across the UK.

Here in London, we elect our Mayor and the GLA, & across the country you get a say in how your local services are managed.

Please remember the awful example of Tory-run Suffolk, where the council is trying to destroy jobs, and make the council “virtual”. The former Chief Executive was payed more than the Prime Minister! In fact, you will find that amongst the unelected Chief Executives, those with huge pay-packets tend to be employed by Tory councils.

After a campaign best described as one huge dirty trick, Mr Johnson and Mr Livingstone will have to wait for the votes to be counted.

The choice is clear – vote Boris for ineffective, though amusing government. Cutting Police numbers, stockpiling Plastic Bullets, ignoring inner London, cutting transport projects. Rambling on in a funny way. Denying the importance of investigations into the corrupting influence of Murdoch. Denying growth. Pressing for tax cuts for his friends and masters. Earning £250,000 outside of his actual job – paid ultimately by tax exiles. His utter incompetence in dealing with the RMT – after all, we have had many more tube strikes under Johnson in 4 years than we had under Ken in 8.


Brian Paddick, Jenny Jones and Ms Benita cannot win, but they have all raised serious points along the way. Johnson will ignore everything they have said once in City Hall, and carry on with Coleman, Malthouse et al.

For Lib Dem, Green and independent voters, the second choice is clear – it must be Ken Livingstone.

– A vote for Ken Livingstone is a vote for fair fares on London Transport, investment in infrastructure, creating jobs. It is a vote for a City Hall that will strive to unite Londoners, not divide them. It is a vote for substance over style. Restoring the EMA Londonwide, a lifelong dedication to London, a proven track record spanning over thirty years.

Of course, the national issues matter – Economic mismanagement, making us pay for the Bankers’ mistakes, pasty taxes, the amazing inability to read a calendar. Cutting too far, too fast, leading us back into recession. Gutting the armed forces, trussing up the NHS to sell off to their mates. Student Fees.Oh, and should I mention Murdoch???

Today you get a voice. Today, just for once, shout “ENOUGH!!!” And vote Labour.

 

The Return of Mr C

It seems that 2012 is the year of Olympic Omnishambles for the Coalition, and it keeps on coming.

Yesterday James Murdoch exploded a truth bomb at the Leveson Inquiry, and Vince Cable found out exactly how he was shafted, apparently by not only Jeremy (C)Hunt, but also George Osborne, David Cameron and Alex Salmond, to name but three.

It is highly likely that Jeremy will not be Culture Secretary for much longer. Yet it must not stop there, the documents implicate both George Osborne  and his advisor in secretly lobbying on behalf of News International, and against his own Cabinet colleague. Alex Salmond also rallied to the Murdoch standard, and unsurprisingly the Scottish edition of The Sun backs the SNP slavishly.

Many would also like to know the name of the “Libdem MP, a former Sky employee” mentioned as also lobbying for his former masters. I bet it isn’t Simon Hughes, but apart from that, all bets are off…

Throughout this scandal, Ed Miliband has played his hand well, acting on principle as well as with good instincts. His backing of Tom Watson does him and The Labour Party credit. He compares very favourably with, say the Mayor of London, who firstly called the hacking allegations “a Labour plot”, and has consistently sought to downgrade Operation Weeting and the associated corruption investigations. He and Kit Malthouse have behaved with naked self interest throughout.

DEAR MR JOHNSON…

With the London Mayoral Elections less than two weeks away, I have a few questions to ask Boris Johnson, our current Tory Mayor…

…dear Mr Johnson, I am struggling to find answers to these questions, I think you can help me on these;

  1. You are paid around £140,000 every year to be the Mayor of London. That is a huge amount of money compared to the London average of £25,000. You are also paid £250,000 a year by The Telegraph Group to write occasional articles. Which one of these is your main job?
  2. Until 2008, you were the Member of Parliament for Henley, which is outside London, although perfectly nice in its own way. You had never previously shown any interest in running this great city, and you were seemingly on-track to be a minister under your Eton schoolmate David Cameron. So why did you suddenly become so enthusiastic about the Mayoralty?
  3. Last year, as the News International scandal broke, you described it as “Labour nonsense”, and you & your political allies have consistently bemoaned money spent on the investigation. Do you have something to hide?
  4. Again, last year during the riots you were on holiday, and took your own sweet time to come back during the crisis. How can we trust you to directly run The Met???
  5. How is Darius Guppy getting on?
  6. At a recent meeting between Ken Livingstone and some of his online supporters, Paul Staines, a conservative blogger, interrupted, shouting “C*nt! You are a f***ing c*nt!” and then demanded someones’  name in a threatening manner. This has been seen by thousands on Youtube. Will you apologise for your supporters’ behaviour???
  7. Why should we pay £1.5 million for a Bus, no matter how nice it looks, when we already have a fleet of larger Buses in operation?
  8. Why are you wasting our money on proposing an airport we arguably do not need, and which will be outside your jurisdiction???
  9. Your supporters have spent the past few years smearing the Labour candidate as being anti-Semitic by virtue of association. As Ken Livingstone has Nicky Gavron (Jewish) as his running mate, and is in a party led by Ed Miliband (Jewish), will you repudiate these attacks, which have heightened racial and religious tension in the Capital.
  10. Why, as your chums in Government seek to make ordinary people pay for the financial crisis, did you decry “Banker Bashing”?
  11.  Which Mayor campaigned effectively, and brought the Olympic Games to London?
  12. Do you still believe that Gay marriage is equivalent to marriage between, say, a man and a dog?
  13. You have attacked Ken Livingstone for his (legal) tax arrangements, yet you gain £250,000 per annum from the Telegraph Group, owned by the tax-exile Barclay brothers, through Ellerman Investments, who also own The Ritz. You have yet to say anything about offshore tax avoidance – is this hypocrisy???
  14. Why have you had more meetings in the past four years with City financiers than with the heads of The Metropolitan Police?
  15. In which way are you to be admired for your many extramarital affairs, which you sought to hide?
  16. Should David Cameron watch his back if you lose, and find a safe Tory seat?
  17. Is £250,000 really “Chickenfeed”, as you said in 2009 during a BBC interview?

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?

Murdoch is Bad News – Everywhere…

What with the dodgy dinners and phone-tapping, NewsCorp is not having a good time of it at the moment, but just in case you are one of those who feel “relaxed” about Murdoch wholly owning BSkyB, read this article in todays Observer – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/30/frances-fox-piven-glenn-beck

 

Once again, Fox News personality Glenn beck has irresponsibly lead a witch hunt against a 78 year old academic – although he has not personally advocated violence against those he attacks in extreme language, his followers have no such qualms.

Do we really want this mans employer in sole charge of a large chunk of British Media?

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…

Phone Hacking – The Scandal Spreads

Former Lib Dem MP Paul Marsden’s  questions as to whether his phone was tapped by the Trinity Mirror Group have led to the continuing Phone Hacking scandal being widened to potentially encompass the whole of Fleet Street – or at least the Tabloids, possibly a number of Broadsheets as well…

It also touches upon issues of Police corruption – were members of The Metropolitan Police Force (sorry, Service) on the payroll of one or more media groups? Where does this leave us as to the reliability of information received? Who are these officers, and will they be sacked and lose their pensions, as they rightly should? Why was Scotland Yard so tardy in bringing an investigation into this?

Scotland yard have reopened their investigations as of yesterday, citing “new evidence” that has come to light. This raises a few more points –

It is now impossible to claim that Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire were working alone – the new investigation includes notes from Mulcaire marked “For Ian” (presumable Ian Edmondson – just sacked by The News of The World), “For Clive”, and “For Gregg”.

Ex-MP Paul Marsdens request broadens this out to The Daily and Sunday Mirror – quite a reasonable assumption, given the prevailing atmosphere in Fleet street. According to the Independent today “If you ask any tabloid journalist, they will quietly say “everybody is doing it”…”

The key personnel in the frame now would be Rebekah Brooks (formerly Wade), Ian Edmondson,  Coulson, David Yelland, and Piers Morgan:

All of these august media operators learned their trade at News International under the fabulous Sun editor and grumpy rightwing git Kelvin Mackenzie.

The Christmas dinner soiree where James Murdoch met Ham-Face Cameron was at Rebekah Brooks’ Oxfordshire home, with Coulson in attendance .

Rebekah Brooks refused to attend a Commons enquiry into the press, and some members of the Committee claimed that they declined to have the Sergeant-At-Arms order her to do so, for fear of News International digging into their private lives.

The whole set-up stinks to high heaven…

What Happened???

Seeing the debacle in the Scottish High Courts yesterday has made me think; how did the proud tradition of the Scottish Left, with such heroes as John Maclean, Manny Shinwell, Willie Gallagher, Bob Stewart, Jimmy Airlie, Jimmy Reed, Mick McGahey etc. End up like this???

I mean really, George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan? WTF??!!??

Should we blame Big Brother? The SWP? Respect? The Socialist Party of Scotland? MI5?The Proclaimers?

Or are they both just vainglorious gobshites???

Sky Sports, Gray and Keys – An Apology

In an earlier post, I intimated that shaved monkeys could do the same job as Andy Gray and Richard Keys just as well.

I know recognise that this is unfair to monkeys. Let me make it clear that I do not, nor have I ever condoned the shaving of monkeys.

May I also say in passing that monkeys are often, along with the great apes, a good deal better behaved than Sky Sports Presenters.

Although the last World Cup proved that an Octopus would be cheaper.

When it comes to Sky News however, I can think of no-one better than the dullards they employ now.

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