millionreasons: (Default)
Steve Coogan on Newsnight pretty much sums it up. "This has come about not because of pressure from the government or the opposition or the police or even the Press Complaints Commission but by the tenacity of the Guardian and a few other people brave enough to stand up to an intimidating organisation".

The Guardian pisses me off sometimes with its ill-advised campaigns (write to US voters in swing states, vote LibDem) and its stubborn belief in Tony Blair during his first term ("He just needs to win a second term, then he'll be really radical!") and its Islingtony lifestyle complacency, but I will feel a little bit of third generation Guardian reader smugness in my heart as I buy it today. Obviously, they had something to gain (the (probably vain) hope that NOTW readers would switch to the Observer), but, somewhat ironically, I think it shows the power of a free press and investigative journalism that wants to expose more than a footballer's love sex life.

millionreasons: (men)
I don't usually watch TV in the mornings as I like to face the world with a bit of peace and quiet rather than anger (I don't like to speak until about 10.30 and I prefer not to talk when I'm eating which makes me a less than ideal breakfast companion (and probably why David leaves the house half an hour before I arise)), but I happened to listen to the BBC Radio news on Sunday morning which featured a conversation between Andrew Marr and....someone or other about last week's strike, public pay and pensions. Unfortunately, this set me off on a rant which started at the cereal and was still going on by the toast. I understand that the Coalition don't really use public services - they use private doctors*, send their kids to private schools and they don't need lollypop ladies because they have nannies to make sure Jemima and Flopsy don't get run over. They probably have interns to personally take their rubbish to the landfill site. But what about the Tories' supporters, those Mail and Sun readers who believe that teachers are paid too much and were wrong to strike? I'm not sure who exactly they think is going to do the teaching, nursing, librarianing, social working etc if these jobs are not paid properly. This isn't liberal "let's be nice to poor people" hand-wringing, it's simple logic. If you pay badly, more people will leave the public sector or won't go into it in the first place and eventually there won't be anyone to fight fires or serve the Jamie Oliver approved meals at lunchtime. I suppose the tabloids don't think we need social workers - a pitchforking mob could just beat up anyone not looking after their kids properly and if a paediatrician gets hurt in the process, well, that's just collateral damage.

The tabs are usually very keen on moral outrage, claiming last week that a girl killed by a falling tree branch was the fault of the striking teachers, so it seems strange they haven't taken up the Milly Dowling/News of the World phone hacking story to its mouth frothing conclusion and called for the head of Rebekah Wade. What could be more outrageous than not only the atrocious idea of hacking a dead child's phone, not only bringing false hope to the Dowling family, but disrupting the police investigation as well? But no, it's not just the non-Murdoch press seemingly unbothered by the story (The Mail and the Express are more concerned with killer fridge freezers and the Cole couple).

I don't understand how anyone could take seriously the political views of a newspaper group prepared to do something so disgusting. Yet sucessive governments are in thrall to the Murdoch press. The 1992 election, so winnable by Labour, is thought to have been lost by the Sun's anti-Kinnock rhetoric. Blair and Mandelson got Murdoch on side by promising them there would be no curtailing of the press privacy laws. Cameron, well, he and Ms Wade are bezzie chums. The government needs the Murdoch press to promote their right wing views on strikes and so forth, the Murdoch press needs the government to not make anti-monopoly/press privacy laws, or, indeed, the police to fail to investigate phone hacking claims. It seems that the only people who can break the vicious circle are the Sun/NOTW/Times readers themselves, the pawns in the game, so to speak.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this given that anyone reading it is pretty likely to think Murdoch is a vile viper. Calls to boycott the News of the World seem rather pointless since anyone who's agreed to it is unlikely to read anything but the Observer or the IoS of a Sunday. Instead, I'd suggest people give up their Sky Boxes. Come on, you can live without Game of Thrones. No doubt, after Vince Cable's fuckwittery, the Murdoch BSkyB ownership deal will go through but you can still sign the petition.

*Methinks that all the doctors who trained through the NHS and then go onto solely private practice should pay some kind of bastard tax.

January 2017

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