Tag Archives: the 4th estate

Scotsman is grumpy

…when heckled by annoying woman. Film at fucking eleven. Seriously, as of this Gillian Duffy thing? I’m beginning to wonder about this election becoming far too American. Neither she nor the Prime Minister’s brief moment of temper are worth five minutes on News24, let alone all bloody day.

Edit 15:57 In fact, how cynical do we want to be? For the first time in two weeks, no-one is talking about Nick Clegg…

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Independence Day

The Sun newspaper failed to publish a YouGov poll showing that voters fear a Liberal Democrat government less than a Conservative or Labour one. […] (The Liberal Democrats have) taken comfort from YouGov’s unpublished finding that more voters would be delighted by the formation of a Liberal Democrat government (29 per cent), than by a Tory government (25 per cent) or a Labour one (18 per cent).

Only 21 per cent would be dismayed if a Liberal Democrat administration were formed, compared to 45 per cent for the Tories and 51 per cent for Labour.

In the 1990s I read the Indy as much as I read any other paper. They seemed to me to be quite independent, and I approved. I was also 16. It became apparent during the course of Back to Basics that the Indy was a fundamentally right-wing paper which talked a very good game but couldn’t back it up with impartiality.

But Simon Kelner’s slavering hacks have, over the last couple of days, performed so far out of that kennel that I might well have to buy a subscription for my new pub. There’s been a series of indications that the Indy alone of the papers usually considered as Cameron’s Crew might be thinking about regaining some honour in journalism. Then, as far as we can tell, James Murdoch decided to take a hand. The replying salvo is a vigorous expose of the counter-democratic and unethical practices of the Murdoch empire.

We all saw the delightfully inept attempt at GOP-style campaigning from the Murdoch empire and their running dogs at CCHQ. We all saw them trot out a different line from the YouGov attack poll in each paper, thus making it clear that it was a co-ordinated but unaimed assault with a single guiding will. Nick Robinson has confirmed that it was the Tories who orchestrated the media bombing campaign, which makes it pretty clear that it was also the Tories who put the attack poll in the field, using YouGov and Murdoch to do it.

Murdoch Loses Britain was a trending topic on twitter tonight. Too fucking right.

The Independent is causing feelings of respect and affection in me. I hope they can keep up the good work. Signs are good: Andrew Grice includes at the bottom of his article a step-by-step deconstruction of each headline in the smear campaign, with the true story summarised alongside. John Q.’s hat is duly tipped to a rare independent voice in the British print media.

Edit: 1357 The Indy have reprised their “Murdoch won’t decide this election” wrap-around, which precipitated this, with another, saying “Neither will Lebvedev”. Someone’s been eating his Wheaties.

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Myth Factory

Broken Britain?

I’m not alone in noticing that the Economist are doing a good job of contrasting Conservative rhetoric with the data. The most significant bits of the article for me:

Chief among people’s worries is their security. Under Labour, fear of crime climbed until by 2007 it had become the issue that pollsters identified as the main complaint among voters. The heightened fears are a puzzle to criminologists, who point out that over the past 15 years Britain has experienced a steady, deep fall in crime. The statistics are notoriously hard to interpret, but according to the British Crime Survey, the Home Office’s most reliable measure though still far from perfect, crime overall has dropped by 45% since its peak in 1995. […] Violent crime has fallen too. It is now almost half what it was in 1995, and no higher than in 1981.

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Back to Basics

Well, that was a lot of blog posts. I will admit I have not read all those published by the writers I follow since I effectively went offline; that’s because you guys posted over a thousand articles in that time and much of it is no longer in any way “news”. But I did find a few things I felt rant-worthy in my trawls through the blogosphere.

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One in the Eye

Look! Over there!

Bizarrely, from the Daily Fail, comes good news for British moderate muslims. While arguing with idiots on the internet, of both the UK and US varieties, I’ve become accustomed to certain stock insults being thrown about. Formulas, oft repeated, are much easier than nuanced positions which modify to fit the facts. One of the ones often leveled at the moderate muslim community (apart from “There is no moderate muslim community”) is that if they existed, and cared, and were not tacit fascists, they’d be out in the streets protesting against or confronting the militants in their own community. Where are the moderate muslims shouting down Omar Bakri? Where are the muslim Britons defending our troops from the insults of extremists?

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Culpability V: That which is seen

“Police brutality is not new”, say the right-wing blogs. Well, no. “Police brutality is worse elsewhere”, say the trolls. Well, yes; so what? We’ve been doing this Enlightenment thing longer than any other continuous democracy: we’ve had more chances to learn from our mistakes, and therefore we as a people cannot be excused from civilisation because we forgot to do our homework. So if police brutality is neither new, nor local, what has changed in the last ten years? After all, the police started a riot at Gleneagles and then violently subdued it, and there was none of this fuss.

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JQP in brief

Not sure when I’m next going to get writing time, so a context update: this pdf report has now come out. Now we know what the orange jackets were doing, and can see why the police may have been targeting them. It’s worth reading. Considered thoughts to follow.

In other news, LibCon in making me think shocker. Sunder’s document is intelligent and well-written, and the goal is not only admirable, I think it’s necessary. But this instance of it is tied to party-political in-fighting and that shows. I’ve not got a considered response yet, but I’m working on one.

The Evening Standard are still desperately trying to dig themselves out of their fantastically bad reporting in the immediate aftermath of the police riot. More, and more, and more data has come out which illustrates that they were a, wrong and b, blood-thirsty in their early reporting. It seems their spin is to focus on the only thing they can legitimately report on without being hoist on their own petard: the hiding of identity numbers. Old news to anyone who was watching at the time, but at least the Standard will be putting a lot of people’s eyes on the problem who wouldn’t even remotely believe it if it weren’t in the Standard, the Torygraph or the Times.

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