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You hate Corbyn if you want to but do you really want to live in a right-wing dictatorship?


Hate is such a strong word.

But passions do indeed ‘run high’ at election time, even if this is the third plebiscite in two years. Indeed, today is the anniversary of the 2015 general election.

The EU referendum was a landmark event in British politics for all the reasons which have been well rehearsed elsewhere. But why it is particularly noteworthy is that it somehow managed to galvanise members of the Conservative party into a strongly anti-EU party under the rationale of ‘will of the people’.

It is this ‘will of the people’ argument which has totally ignored the will of 48% (and even some of the 52%) who have never had an official way to articulate what it wanted to be on exiting the European Union. A perfectly possible position for the Labour Party to take would have been to be side opposite to UKIP but still respected the ‘verdict’ of the referendum.

We all have differing views of ‘leadership’. Angela Eagle MP had her chance to articulate her views of ‘real leadership’ last year at a time when the Labour Party was faced with a bland option of Owen Smith and Angela Eagle, or rather than supporting Jeremy Corbyn.

I heard a new Labour person sneer on the radio the other day, “I’d be surprised if Jeremy Corbyn had a smartphone.”

Let’s get this straight – this is not debate, this is BLATANT AGEISM.

Jeremy Corbyn clearly hasn’t done everything right – but he has been dealt a very bad hand. His 172 MPs are revolting in every sense and, with a few exceptions, have been sitting on their hands and sticking fingers in their ears, when they haven’t been openly slagging off Corbyn as is the wont of Alas Kinnock and Woodcock.

There was never a coherent debate within the parliamentary Labour Party of how the potential policy arms could be reconciled with Middle England.

Let’s be blunt. The behaviour of the ‘liberal press’ has been far from liberal. It’s given a disproportionate time to certain voices and the expense of annihilating the character and reputation of Jeremy Corbyn.

I would list at this point all the Guardian journalists who have been snide, antagonistic, pathetic, vituperative, negative, snide, smarmy, malicious, nasty, uncooperative, arrogant, unpleasant, but I can’t be bothered with them as human beings.

The Guardian has successfully, with others, turned England into a far right dictatorship, where it is acceptable to put up with robotic words such as ‘coalition of chaos’ and ‘strong and stable’ in the absence of a lack of debate about lack of meeting NHS targets including A&E times, the burdgeoning PFI bills, the closure of mental and physical health beds, the lack of access to your local GP, the anger amongst junior doctors over their new contract, the pain of junior nurses with training and cost of living pressures.

The Guardian are the Daily Mail of the left, except with the odd veneer of pseudointellectualism which is now fooling no-one. They spew bile and hatred towards any well meaning debate from left, and it’s pure hatred – in the name of Corbyn being an ineffective leader.

And for a couple of years this has been mainstreamed, and nobody bats an eyelid. The plan B to make UKIP a big force in politics has failed (apart from the fact that racist, elderly bigots have now been safely rehoused in the Conservative party).

The plan C to make the Liberal Democrats the third party has been doomed due to unnecessarily hostile tribalism from its leadership, and problems on its position over gay sex. Also, nobody at all can take their position on an extra penny on income tax for health and social care seriously after their Herculean somersault on tuition fees.

I salute the journalists in Guardian for not only carrying out the most complete character assassination of the left in my living times, but also for trying to extinguish the hopes and dreams of people like me who felt completely stuck in the rut of the same failed policies by the same hierarchy.

And all this for a woman who will not debate her policies, can only go to empty warehouses in England by helicopter, and who thinks that regurgitating the same memes wherever she goes is worthy of her second class degree from Oxford.

That woman can be intensely proud of her pathetic attack on the leadership of the European Union, but I for one thinks that she will get a firm two fingers salute from their leadership when she comes to negotiate the UK position. And 28 are more powerful than 1.

None of Corbyn’s critics can mount a coherent criticism against any of his domestic policies.

Call it what it is, please – this is simply a personal hate campaign with very sinister aspects of ageism.

I have no time for the new emboldened Tory, Unionist and UKIP Party. The Guardian can go to hell too.


Like Matisse’s artwork, living well with dementia is a triumph of hope over pessimism

You can feel it from start to finish.

Matisse is innovation all over.

It’s about experimenting.

It’s about not being frightened of failure.

It’s about not worrying what people think of you.

It’s about cracking a few eggs to make an omelette.

It was a delight to go to London SE1 “Tate Modern” to see “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” this afternoon.

A dementia expert is reputed today as saying that Alzheimer’s disease impacts ‘not only color, awareness and your ability to process [things] but also your field of vision.’

‘By then your brain says “I can’t deal with this data coming from two eyes” and it says “I’ll just pay attention to one.”

‘You lose all depth of perception, you’re not able to figure out [if things are] three-dimensional or two-dimensional.’

And indeed it’s scary stuff.

I am unable to bring you the image as it would be a breach of copyright.

I object very strongly to these scare tactics.

But they’re utterly in keeping with the “timebomb” school of reporting of dementia.

The facts are as follow.

Vision is not affected in early Alzheimer’s disease as the part of the brain which is typically affected are the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, a part of the brain near the ear.

The visual areas are somewhere completely different.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia worldwide, though there are about 100 different types of dementia.

There might be a case for saying vision is affected in some other types of dementia, for example visual hallucinations in diffuse lewy body disease or in 3D visual perception as in posterior cortical atrophy.

But this is completely different.

The advertising campaign is in fact disgusting, but entirely in keeping with how corporate-behaving charities can resort to shock-doctrine type tactics.

In contrast, Matisse is a triumph of hope over pessimism.

Matisse 1Matisse 2Matisse 3Matisse 4

It’s brilliant that, while Matisse’s own movement was severely limited, in “The Acrobats” he was able to depict bodies in extremes of motion.

The assistants would clamber around the giant pictures with pin cushions and hammers, realising Matisse’s vision.

The colour was sensational, at a time when this was not the “done thing” in art at the time.

In fact, Matisse epitomises everything which the doom-mongers, sometimes ably assisted by some dementia charities and the media, portray dementia to be.

Living well with dementia for me is about the assets-based approach.

It’s about celebrating what people can do as individuals, rather than what they can’t do.

It’s not about propelling our fellow citizens into an early grave.

I know which world I prefer to inhabit.

George Osborne and the Defamation Bill: a government of all perspectives

The Government has a busy agenda, having to enact legislation on defamation at one end, and people in the media wondering whether George Osborne has in fact overstepped the mark beyond the customary “rough and tumble” of politics. There has been a lot of hoo-ha about whether George Osborne’s comment in the Spectator was defamatory. This aside, as reported here in Business Week, is as follows:

“Osborne said in the Spectator that people close to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for whom Balls worked as an aide before becoming a minister in the previous administration, “were clearly involved” in the Libor affair and that “we just haven’t heard the full facts.” “My opposite number, who was the City minister for part of this period and Gordon Brown’s right-hand man for all of it, so he has questions to answer,” Osborne told the magazine. “That’s Ed Balls by the way.””

Put simply, libel is defamation in permanent form such as in writing (slander is oral). A defamatory statement is one which injures the reputation of another by exposing him to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or which tends to lower him in the esteem of right-thinking members of society (Sim v Stretch [1936], 2 All ER 1237, 1240, per Lord Atkin).

In this discussion which follows, it is important to understand that no legal claims have been brought. The discussion is only for theoretical purposes, and no criminal offences have been demonstrated.

The putative claimant (Ed Balls) must prove that the statement was defamatory, that it referred to him, and was communicated to a third party. The onus then shifts to the putative defendant (George Osborne) to prove any of the three defences: truth (or justification), fair comment (in the matter of public interest), that it was made on a privileged occasion. ‘Vulgar abuse’ is not held to be defamatory (Thorley v Kerry [1812]), and it could be that George Osborne argues that it was ‘vulgar abuse’ made ‘in the rough-and-tumble of politics’. A problem for George Osborne is that innuendo can be held to be defamatory, and therefore such a statement may be defamatory; here the test is that ‘the hidden meaning must be one that could be understood from the words themselves by people who knew the claimant (Lewis v Daily Telegraph [1964]), and must be pleaded by the claimant. Here, the test therefore refers to the people who know Ed Balls, who presumably are not confined to the readership of Labour List or Left Foot Forward? The potentially defamatory remark is specific, as a remark aimed at a wider class of members which is sufficiently wide may not be defamatory (this issue is considered in some detail by the House of Lords in Knupffer v London Express Newspaper Ltd. [1944]).

Since its original publication in the Spectator, secondary reports of this accusation are now widespread. For example, the reports are now by Hélène Mulholland, Peter Edwards in Labour List, Andrew Trotman in the Daily Telegraph, Dan Hodges in the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian website, World News, Yahoo, and Nicholas Watt in the Guardian. However, such people who have reported on this would not be held to have committed a defamation, enshrined in s.1 Defamation Act [1996] as a defence of ‘innocent dissemination’, for a number of valid reasons including if the people knew or had reason to believe that what (s) he did caused or contributed to the publication of a defamatory statement.

We now have good reason to believe that the statement was false, but was made to discredit Ed Balls politically (therefore lower his reputation amongst right-thinking voters, quite literally.)  Jill Treanor, Rajeev Syal and Nicholas Watt write in the Guardian: “Amid Tory unease over Osborne’s tactics, Balls demanded a public apology after Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker repeatedly told MPs that he had not been encouraged to lean on ­Barclays to cut its submissions.”

5.49 pm on the Guardian blog yesterday reads as follows:

Labour MP Chris Leslie has put out his response to Tucker’s evidence, calling for an apology from Chancellor George Osborne.

Osborne said last week that “people around Gordon Brown” were “clearly involved [in the scandal around the manipulation of Libor]… That’s Ed Balls, by the way”. Leslie says:

The game is up for George Osborne. It is now crystal clear that the allegations he threw around were completely wrong and without foundation.

The deputy governor of the Bank of England has made it 100% clear that neither Ministers nor officials leaned on the Bank of England to ask Barclays to fix Libor rates. In addition Bob Diamond has also said that he did not believe he was being asked by Ministers or officials to fiddle Libor rates.

The last Labour government was rightly concerned with legitimate policy changes to reduce inter-bank lending costs during the global financial crisis. The Conservatives at the time even said they did not go far enough to reduce Libor. But that is completely different from the deliberate fixing of the Libor rate, which Barclays traders were involved in over several years.

Statements made in either House of Parliament are subject to ‘absolute privilege’. The actual publication in the Spectator itself may not be subject to parliamentary privilege, though this would be a media lawyer not me to opine about. Osborne, if a claim for defamation were ever made, might be able to argue that this was a legitimate point of debate, raised in the public interest. Angela Newsom, on the Treasury Commons Select Committee, said on BBC’s “World Tonight Programme, “I think it was a very valid discussion at the time about who knew what and it has now been completely squashed by Paul Tucker.” Generally, this public interest defence would normally apply to the ‘activity of public figures’.

At the other end of government, the Coalition is producing the Defamation Bill, and this has now reached the ‘report stage’ of legislation. You may review of the pdf of the Bill here. However, the emphasis of the new defamation legislation is different.

However, these worthy libel law reformers are missing the point when it comes to science. Scientists do not usually get sued for writing peer-reviewed articles. Similarly, scientific publishers do not usually get sued for reporting on what happened at a scientific conference. They are normally sued over news or investigative articles or comment pieces, as the above two cases demonstrate. The proposed reforms for science would not have made a jot of difference to either case. An interesting article, written by  Niri Shanmuganathan and Timothy Pinto are media lawyers at international law firm Taylor Wessing, who in fact represented Nature in the libel case brought by Professor El Naschie, raises the relationship between media law and scientific writings.

If parliament wishes to help prevent the law censoring scientific free speech, it may wish to consider two points. First, for science-related articles of high and genuine public interest, perhaps the claimant should have to prove that the publisher was being reckless in publishing in order to win. That is how American law deals with its “public figure” defence. Second, in any event, there should be a streamlined procedure so that it does not take two or three years for a publisher to dispose of a claim. This would help claimants too, as justice delayed is justice denied. Such a procedure could limit the length of parties’ submissions, the number of witnesses and the duration of cross-examination; with the judge firmly in charge of resolving the case as quickly and cheaply as possible.

It will be most interesting to follow the development of the Bill until it obtains Royal Assent in due course. These are certainly exciting times for the Government, as another issue of massive constitutional significance gets assessed summarily today in the Houses of Parliament – that is, reform of the House of the Lords.


Law centres and legal aid funding

This is not a headline you will normally see.















Firstly, I should like to acknowledge Krish, who tweets at @TheTCHawk, for providing the inspiration for this blogpost. He has recently written on his experience with the Citizens Advice Bureau for which he works.

Instead, I have been working in a famous law centre in London for the last few months. This has been an incredibly rewarding for me, as I am looking forward to studying law further in my LPC in January 2012. I have already spent four years in legal training, but one of the many things that I have learnt of some importance is that lawyers do not get emotional.

Once I was aghast when a law student tweeted at a friend of mine, “Is there a difference between a law centre and a CAB?” However, it was a perfectly reasonable question.  As members of law centres, we must confront this issue of what we’re (=law centres) doing that’s different from CABs. Marketing professionals must have an understanding of the awareness of any particular brand, for example the CAB or the law centre, before proceeding to develop a marketing strategy. I feel that law centres will need to develop a professional marketing strategy to raise their awareness amongst the community and investors. In my belief, whilst the CABx brand is very strong indeed, perhaps for historical reasons, the ‘Law Centre brand’ is virtually non-existent in comparison. I would be interested to know whether this is borne out by any hard data.

I have been thinking about how my law centre, especially my area of welfare benefits advice for disabled citizens like me, can benefit from alternative sources of funding, like the Big Lottery Fund, but this fundamentally depends on what pitch I should make. Is it that we are any more central to the communiy than the CAB? Or is it that we have more specialist qualified legal advisors than the CAB who can act as advocates? Are any generalisations possible or warranted? Furthermore, legal aid funding affects private practice stakeholders, as well as legal centres and CABs, and market forces affect all three. For all stakeholders to benefit the public the most, which is their ultimate aim after all, they need to have a clear idea of their values and which services they’re providing, so that all stakeholders can achieve optimal market and strategic positioning in a crowded, funding-challenged, market, perhaps.

Whatever – I personally think all legal practitioners should be given support, acknowledging that funds are limited. but funding bodies will have to prioritise unfortunately. In fact, a focus on funding may have the beneficial effect of providing better precision to all stakeholders in their strategy and core competences of their legal services, whatever sector they are in. However, fundamentally, I most agree with the observation that, at this late stage, arguing over a sense of entitlement is totally unhelpful. It is desperately important that we fight until the end for our common purpose in protecting legal aid. I would find it very hard to support law centres if they wished to campaign at the expense of CABx or other stakeholders, but they should think about how they differ from other stakeholders when applying for London Borough grants for community investment or structural upkeep, I feel.

Immediately this throws you into the territory that, as a lawyer to-be one day hopefully, I am getting emotional. Worse than that, I am getting political. Of course, central to the whole debate, is access-to-law and the rule of law. The Law Society and Bar Council provide that the legal aid cuts offend this fundamental right, and indeed many blogposts and the Guardianistas have thus far pressed home this  vital point. However, an issue that my colleagues in the Law Centre I work at feel enormous frustration at the fact we are simply unable to get our message across.

We have, as citizens of society, to acknowledge that no political party will be in power forever, and it is not impossible that this Bill will become repealed in time or amended drastically. I feel that all employees in all legal institutions should not feel frightened in giving a voice to the opinions of citizens wishing to protect legal aid, and should be allowed to express such opinions in this organisational change.  As part of my MBA, I studied in enormous detail critical success factors for relatively-rapid organisational change like this in the public sector, and by far the most important issues are trust and openness in the followers (including legal professionals) in ensuring the change goes smoothly. This is in addition to the demanding structural changes which are necessitated in this reform.

An issue is that the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill, as proposed, could have a selectively detrimental effect on certain groups of society, including the disabled. Many of us have been prone to defend our own patch, and there is somewhat an element of ‘divide-and-rule’ in the debate which has ensued. Yet again, whilst I find repugnant that welfare benefits legal advice is being cut at the expense of some other fields of law, I feel that we all should be pulling in the same direction of protecting all areas of law (but especially for the socially disadvantaged.)  In other words, lawyers and bloggers appear to the outside world to be not “in it together“,  talking at cross-purposes, and becoming constituted by tribalistic vocal subgroups which are easy to ‘defeat’ as a whole. Secondly, I believe, that there is an element of where looking forward to the holiday has become more exciting than the holiday itself. I had a feeling of this in our opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill, where Labour loved opposing, but were completely incompetent in articulating arguments about competition, quality, value and cost in the NHS. Indeed, further, like perhaps #OccupyLSX, the opposition for the left has become more exciting than the substantive points of the opposition itself; I do not deny the inspiring success of @SoundOffJustice, and others. In fact, I met them at the DODS meeting in September, and was overawed personally about how much passion they had put into their campaign.

Thirdly, some elements of the ‘progressive left’, for example the Liberal Democrats, perhaps could have been more articulate about the effects of the legal aid policy on children, families, and wellbeing, which are now central planks of Liberal Democrat policy. Fourthly, whatever the reasons for it, the Legal Services Commission has been criticised, and there is a huge amount which could be done to improve the legal aid funding mess which has developed for a number of decades, including the last Labour governments? Whilst I do not feel the need to be perjorative in quoting the “most expensive service in Europe” statistic, which is actually untrue, we do need to address how best to develop legal aid funding. Fifthly, and this is an economic and quasi-political argument, I am a Keynesian and I do not agree with the ‘maxing out the credit card analogy’, but likewise, albeit as an utilitarian, I do believe we have to prioritise given the deficit which has come around in a large part through recapitalising the banks in #gfc1 (a policy which I am still uncertain about).

Finally, we need to get people interested in this subject in the media. I don’t mean the Guardianistas necessarily, otherwise we’re preaching to the converted. Whilst Sepp Blatter and racism, superinjunctions, anonymised injunctions and Andy Marr, and the BBC’s Children in Need are very important issues, we could do with much more focused coverage and debate of the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill. I think this is essential, as I bet my life that this will obtain Royal Assent without any difficulty in due course.

Emergency debate in the Lower House (courtesy of the BBC Democracy Live channel)

This is the recording of yesterday’s complex debate in the Houses of Parliament about the issues raised by the phone hacking scandal enmeshed in the culture of parts of Fleet Street. Chris Bryant MP explains in his opening statement that the problems go well beyond ‘one rogue reporter’, and considers the complete moral failure which threatens to undermine the reputation and hard work of talented journalists in the print media. What has gone wrong in Fleet Street reflects a failure of managerial and executive decision-making, according to Bryant. If this is the case, in the context of a huge profit-making corporate, one is obliged to look at the ethics (as well as the legality) of making a profit. LegalAware specifically has a page on corporate social responsibility.

The Streisand Effect and *that* footballer

This graph shows the spike which happened for the footballer at the centre of the Twitter legal battle which happened at Friday 3pm.

The plot can be done easily from Trendistic.

The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove an item of information has the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely. The effect is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity. Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cases of attempted suppression of files and websites. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.

Mike Masnick of Techdirt introduced the term after the singer and actress, citing privacy violations, unsuccessfully sued photographer Kenneth Adelman and for US $50 million in an attempt to have an aerial photograph of her mansion removed from the publicly available collection of 12,000 California coastline photographs. Adelman said that he was photographing beachfront property to document coastal erosion. As a result of the case, public knowledge of the picture increased substantially; more than 420,000 people visited the site over the following month.

This issue has frustrated many organisations: when MI6 wanted to remove a list of its agents from the site, it was frustrated by the site’s American owner. The Church of Scientology has been similarly frustrated in its efforts to keep secret its “briefings”. When the British-based Internet Watch Foundation tried to ban the digitised cover of the German rock band Scorpions’ Virgin Killer album from the net, its attempts led to wider circulation of the image than would ever have happened otherwise.

Time for the BBC to give up on the pretence of responsible journalism

Today, I loved reading the Times on my iPad. Indeed, parts of the British media are world-class, and worthy of our reputation abroad. The Times and Financial Times are probably my most favourite media publications of all.

Unfortunately, in the run-up to the General Election, the BBC were without shadow of a doubt gunning for Gordon Brown – to lose. Many of my friends were appalled about the highly personal comments made towards him in both style and manner, and this includes so-called respectable people in respectable institutions (for example, Nick Clegg’s conduct in the Lower House in Prime Minister’s Questions). For the BBC and people like Adam Boulton, ‘Bigotgate’ was possibly a gift.

Some have said that senior presenters of the BBC, Laura Kuenssberg and Nick Robinson, put the most unbelievable gloss on the Tory Party, that a large number of my 2400 friends on Facebook were talking about not renewing their TV licence as class action protest. Maybe, taken as a whole, the BBC does not suffer from lack of impartiality, and indeed some of the output of the BBC is first-rate (for example, the Today programme). Some items on BBC online news would be more fitting for a tabloid on a bad day.

Right-wingers tend to claim the BBC has enormous left-wing bias, therefore providing evidence that it produces balanced coverage. My parents, who have lived in this country since 1961, used to have enormous respect for the BBC, and indeed the brand of the BBC used to be superb internationally, but now that they have zero respect for it. Whilst there used to be goodwill for ‘Beeb’, the illusion has nearly become shattered to an irreparable state. Now that its standards have declined so much, it is vital that an external entity should look at the functioning of the BBC as a professional media operation. The BBC investigates complaints internally mainly, leaving little recourse for complaints, because OFCOM’s terms-of-reference are so narrow.

The journalists are supposed to obey the Editorial guidelines of the BBC which are widely publicized, but within a single day it is ‘dead easy’ to find examples of problems in accuracy, balance and impartiality. However, one has to wonder whether journalists should declare a ‘conflict of interest’ in the same way that directors of companies in England have to declare a financial interest under the Companies Act (2006)? Does it matter that a highly influential person within the BBC News machine, Nick Robinson, was a prominent Tory at University? His argument will be that his professional manner can be divorced from his political views, in that a doctor with severe depression can be a psychiatrist, but might it be worth the while of the BBC to publish once-and-for-all some statistics on the volume of complaints for a definable and measurable period, such as the 2010 General Election? Throughout the election campaign, the coverage towards David Cameron and Nick Clegg was much more lenient than towards Gordon Brown.

The BBC has for some time been producing inaccurate coverage of news stories, some of which are clearly not in the overall public interest but constitute a ‘witch-hunt’ at best. The BBC regularly contravenes rules of responsible journalism as explained in Reynolds v Times Newspaper case from the House of Lords. The recent debacle has been that Question Time has been accused of demonstrating left-wing bias, when David Dimbleby was virtually shouting down answers given by Hillary Benn. Even when it comes to defamation, it is not a problem as they have a well-funded legal team, paid for by millions of tax-payers. Protecting the identity of ‘Stig’ in the public interest did not come particularly cheap, ‘reliable sources claim’.

Apparently, a Conservative source said:

Now, more than ever, is the time for the BBC to be careful and frame the debate responsibly so that the facts are properly heard. The spending review is a serious topic for all of us, it needs to be treated as such.’

Surely 150 days is a bit early for right-wing political paranoia to start setting in?

Today, we have a main news item concerning Wikileaks suggesting that all we see in the media may not be what is happening in real life.

How transparent is the BBC machinery? Sure, they can publish the salaries of Directors who are earning £500,000 a year, or more, but is this what is really ‘getting the goat’ of ordinary licence payers? Was it correct that the BBC refused to play the DEC humanitarian appeal? The Glasgow Media Group repeatedly has shown the BBC is more right wing in coverage; a genuine public interest point is that, with the BBC attacking pensions of BBC workers and now to make 16% cuts, we can expect even more right wing bias.

Take specifically what happened last Wednesday. An individual has written to me the following:

“My part of my union (Revenue & Customs, PCS) had a small demonstration outside our HQ @ 100 Parliament Street (opposite the HOP). I was offered a spot on the Radio 5 Question Time being held on the Green after the cuts were made. There was some confusion and I was advised that the BBC didn’t want any trade union representatives on air!!! However, a few of us hung around whilst the political heavyweights were being interviewed. No one from any UK news outlet paid us (or any other protesters) any notice at all.

However, my colleague was filmed by Al Jazeera – who seemed more interested in what the protesters were saying than the politicians. She also did a longish interview for a Danish TV station and an interview for the Portuguese press. I was intervied by Helsinki Sanomat in some depth. The European press were interested in the lack of action by the TUC. I was asked if I would rather be French. The day before we were followed by Japanese TV for a documentary there and today we were interviewed in London by the French TV.”

On the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is mooted that BBC still broadcasts much more pro-war views, even when 76% think troops should be returned. The most sinister development in their editorial policy is that they appear parrot ‘we have got to cut the deficit’ views without even providing the evidence from the Nobel Laureate, Paul Krugman, and David Blanchflower CBE, that the cuts will be a disaster. The BBC then creates editorial imbalance by not presenting half of the argument, thus making the entire argument grossly inaccurate. It is then easy for the BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson to satisfy the Conservative PR machine to present the coalition’s cuts in a favourable light, and for George Osborne to claim that Labour has no alternative.

The spin that has been propagated on this is truly mortifying. No mention is made by the BBC that the Conservatives supported the Labour borrowing plan between 2001-2007, the UK had the lowest debt of G20 countries on entering the recession, the recession was truly worldwide (as they might be forced to admit when we go into a double-dip), and that the reason Labour does not wish to specific which would it cut first is (a) because Labour with the Fawcett Society think the budget contravenes the Equality Act (b) Labour does not agree with the macroeconomic policy in the first place. Labour has made it perfectly clear in the public record for a long time that it does not support the rate or depth of cuts. It is especially nauseating that the Coalition does not command any authority on narrowing the ‘tax gap’.

The BBC could do a lot for public confidence in its reputation by reporting on tax avoidance by millionaires, or reporting on the alternative funding of the public sector services, rather than what it seems to spend most of its time in: gutter, trashy witch-hunts to grab headlines, so-called “breaking news”.

The real reason that people appear to hate the cuts is actually – shock horror – because real people (not millionaires) hate the cuts. The Coalition will be hard pushed to find a city sympathetic to their cause – maybe Middlesborough was a bad choice, but I look forward to Question Time from the BBC, in my home city of Glasgow next Thursday.

It’s all getting a bit serious isn’t it?

Here’s a video of Adam Boulton ‘losing it’ with Alastair Campbell

and Nick Robinson potentially contravening the Criminal Damage Act (1971)

Your journalism is safe in their hands? I’m saying nothing..

Dr Shibley Rahman is a research physician and research lawyer by training.

Queen’s Scholar, BA (1st.), MA, MB, BChir, PhD, MRCP(UK), LLB(Hons.), FRSA
Director of Law and Medicine Limited
Member of the Fabian Society and Associate of the Institute of Directors

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