johnny9fingers: (Default)
I saw this last night:

And I can recommend it to all and sundry.

If necessary, get yourself a proxy so you can watch it on BBC's iPlayer. This was the best telly I've seen in a while, even if I didn't agree with everything in it.
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Caught Jacob Rees-Mogg on Newsnight last night, with of all people Will Self.

Rees-Mogg made a number of uncontested claims during the interview, at which Self was the other guest. At one point Rees-Mogg suggested that the UK's 'Structural Deficit', at some seven-point-mumble percent, which he claimed to be "almost eight" is amongst the highest in the world. Neither the interviewer, nor Self questioned Rees-Mogg on which countries had a greater structural debt. Sloppy interviewing, or giving Rees-Mogg an easy time? Who knows?

As it happens, the countries with higher 'Structural Deficits' than the UK are (figures for 2004 alas):

USA -25.56%
Japan -24.86%
China -9.75%
Germany -8.33%
France -7.46%

And the UK -7.43%

So all the countries with larger structural debts have larger economies. And as the 5th or sixth largest economy in the world we have the sixth largest 'Structural Debt'.

I mean, I don't think that Will Self should necessarily have all this stuff at his fingertips....but the journalist interviewing Self and Rees-Mogg should have at least a grasp of the questions at hand. Shoddy, Newsnight, shoddy.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Sometimes the coalition can get things right. 

Not breaking up or selling off the BBC is one way of putting the coalition in my good books: not that such would worry 'em, though it might just irritate Roops and his attack dogs.

And if, as it seems, they are going to fine-tune the child allowance cap, then there will be two things on which I can agree with 'em.... and counting?

Giving Little Gideon a quick read of Stiglitz-Greenwald, Sappington-Stiglitz, and Shapiro-Stiglitz may just make me even happier.
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Now, how the Tories/LibDems respond to this information in their new coalition government....given the Tories backing from NewsCorp et al, will count for something in my estimation of their attempts at governance.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

And as for why?

Though this link is of course, not proven. However, birth defects 13 times higher than in Europe may have other aetiologies: it could be that these folk are all foreign.

Besides, if they didn't want us to come and save them from Saddam with our very wonderful modern unborn-deforming-weaponry, they should have said so.

Isn't it nice to be on the side of the liberators when we think of all the good we've done for the people of Iraq? Because, as we know, this wasn't about WMD but it was about regime change, and giving the folk of Iraq a better life. Well, some of them certainly have that now. Just think of the opportunities for these newborns to work in carnivals or appear in Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Now that wouldn't have happened under Saddam now, would it?

Bliar and Bush can be truly proud of themselves. And as for the rest of us, I should lead you in salutes to these two fine patriotic ex-leaders who have done so much for so many people in Iraq.

History will remember them both, and both their names will be held up as educational examples to the coming generations. 
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Well, if I have to spell it out in words that anyone can understand.

To my mind the BBC is the greatest English-Language force for good that there is. In some respects it could be said that the UK doesn't need a foreign policy if it has the BBC.

The BBC is our first line of defence: it presents us to the outside world, and its presence in all areas of the market should not be subject to commercial considerations any more than our armed forces should be.

It is the communication medium which we use to talk to the Linguistic Commonwealth of English-speaking peoples of all nations.

And just to really piss the ideological freebooting end of the Tory party right off: it is, because of all these things, beloved of HM, and further, is beloved of the British people. Strange, how the dip in the Tories popularity has coincided with all this, isn't it? It would be a shame if Dave had his 'Poll Tax' moment forced upon him by his laissez faire colleagues before he even took office.
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So the Tories have put pressure on the Beeb. Was this ideological or driven by 'outside forces' (ie Roops et al)?

Now I've been going on about this for some time, though the battle between Murdoch and the BBC has been ongoing for over two decades. My last four outbursts on the topic contain the gist of my arguments and opinions.

To those of you for whom this is all tl:dr, I'd advise that you don't put your head above the parapet, as sarcasm in reply often offends. Nevertheless I'll encapsulate the arguments for you.

Quality (in the sense of excellence and merit) is, to me, more important than any ideological 'correctness' whether political, or economically capitalist.

In the media war between the forces of profit (Murdoch) and the forces of the publicly financed and overseen (the Beeb), the publicly financed has triumphed in those most important factors: excellence and merit. Standards of journalism have never been better than at the Beeb. Breadth, depth, and reach have never been surpassed. In its core statement about nation reaching unto nation, and its principles of educating, informing, and entertaining, the Beeb set out a course which it has followed for many years. It is not beholden to shareholders, but rather public oversight. It also costs a damn sight less than cable.

If any of the Tories castrate the Beeb when they come to power, I will hound each and every one of those concerned to their graves. My only weapons will be invective, sarcasm, verbal spite, and the panoply of maledicta to which I have access. And I will put all my inventiveness into making the aptest and most debilitating comment.

I rather hope that those who make such decisions know just how ostracised they will be if they fuck with the BBC. And I also hope that this ostracising extends into the social sphere too. They may even be worse pariahs than bankers. Time will tell.
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I've been thinking of Rupert Murdoch's coming attempt to charge for news and his ongoing battle with the BBC.

Murdoch has stated that he will attempt to charge for online access to News Corp's various online titles like The Times, and The Sun, and Fox News sometime next year. Evidently this will be after the Conservative Party win the coming general election in the UK, and his tame puppets-in-government enact legislation to prevent the BBC from putting its news content online.

Now, for all my US chums, which news organisation would you rather read or watch online? Fox News? or The BBC? And even if you'd rather read or watch Fox, which organisation would you trust to give accurate facts?

I think the Tory Party have to distance themselves from Murdoch. The old model of newsgathering and journalism is dead, much like the old model of the Music Biz, or the old model of the retail book trade before Amazon. Recognising this fact, and also recognising the fact that this is the last election which an old-fashioned newspaper Baron will ever be able to influence, does David Cameron really want to emasculate the BBC just to pander to either Roops, or the anointed son James.

If he does I will not forget, nor will many other folk.

As is Roops appears to be batting on a losing wicket. Even if he manages to charge for news on the web, he won't be able to stop people from disseminating the information across the web. I await to see the stroke-of-genius (apart from, of course, suborning the Tory party) which will rescue the old-fashioned notion of journalism from the evils of the interweb.
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From it's Reithian beginnings to its present dominance of the culture of the language of Shakespeare the BBC has always had enemies.

That James Murdoch should ally himself with those, the historical enemies of the BBC, is....understandable. However the list of enemies is as long as the list of enemies of the British state, (and its allies) or perhaps now, one or two more.

It isn't a requirement to be anti-British to hate/dislike/be in competition with the BBC but it certainly helps. After all, commecial television has always had an uneasy relationship with the BBC.

However, when it comes to the dissemination of High Culture and ideas associated with such, the BBC is without equal.

For example BBC_Radio_3
Radio 3 is the world's most significant most significant commissioner of new music*.

And as for BBC_Radio_4, for most Englishfolk who listen to radio, it needs no introduction.

Apart from sponsoring and organising arguably the largest and greatest music festival in the world (The_Proms) and funding some six orchestras plus choirs, the national levy that goes to the BBC pays for a lot more than just TV without the adverts.

Y'see Murdoch is in some ways right: the BBC is a monolith, but if he's setting up NewsCorp as the alternative then he really is on a hiding to nothing. Without the BBC, stations with editorial agenda like FOX would have their say with no major dissent: few others apart from the BBC have the resources and editorial and journalistic integrity to present a story as free of bias. Most private newsgathering organisations are answerable to the whims of their owners. Because the BBC is payed for by public money, established with a Royal Charter, and subject to the scrutiny of its board of governors, Parliament, and ultimately the people, it wouldn't be allowed to get away with some of the egregious (or some would say deliberate) errors FOX's output is strewn with. Republican sex scandal Senators being labeled Dems for example; never mind the network's OxyContin-driven commentary that substitutes for journalism, unnoticed by its audience.

Yeah, criticise our health service and we'll get up in arms. Set about the beeb and....upon reflection, the consequences could be worse: folk will start looking at the alternatives, and then people like me will start taking collections and buying two or more TV licences every year. I may leave money to the BBC in my will, or try to covenant money to it in some way or other. And really, I don't care if the Murdoch organisation goes out of business, despite the TLS. In fact, that may even be a win. Newspapers have had their day, perhaps private broadcasters like FOX won't be far behind. I'm sure some will mourn their passing: thinking about it even Al Megrahi will have some mourners at his funeral, too.

*Source wikipedia, so it may not be gospel, but I'd lay odds on it being correct.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

I want to write at length about this. & I want to dissect the Murdoch Empire's Journalistic standards and editorial bias, and the transparency of the process involved and the respective levels of scrutiny in the BBC and the Murdoch Empire in general.

Murdoch's speech resonates in so many ways, especially to free marketeers. But given the fact that the two biggest news media organisations in the world have been going head-to-head for some fifteen years it is unsurprising that James Murdoch should talk so disparagingly about the Murdoch Empire's main competitor.

This is important not because if the BBC goes, in many places the only international News agency left will be Rupert's baby: News_Corporation. You know, Sky, Faux News....the mouthpiece of the marketplace, the Oligarchy, and big business.

The BBC has a board of Governors comprising 'the Great and the Good' in British life.

So now you know the protagonists. On Monday, I hope to speak of the battlefield, the casualties, and the propaganda war. And why I regard the BBC as one of the great achievements of humanity (and I am serious here). And also why I see the BBC's journalistic standards and independent editorial control as being beyond comparison with NewsCorp's. There is one thing in all this: I have some small residual sympathy for NewsCorp for one reason: it subsidises the Times Literary Supplement, which though much debased, is still something almost as wonderful as Radio 3 or Radio 4.

Whether the BBC can be blamed for newspapers going out of business is something I doubt: structural changes in information gathering (the internet) have done for all sorts of industries, including the one in which I work (music).

But for the time being I'm off to Edinburgh to see chums and to catch the last of the festival. I shall return on Monday, refreshed and ready to take up arms against....well, rather than against anything, passionately for the BBC both as a cultural edifice, and as the premier newsgathering organisation in the world. And to be quite candid, I'd trust the BBC board of governors to ensure I get the actual news rather than the board of NewsCorp, or the whims of the members of the Murdoch family.


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