Doctor Who IS Craig Murray!

David Hare, David Tennant, Craig & Nadira Murray

Well David Tennant is- Saturday 20th BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play- Murder in Samarkand

David Hare’s witty portrait of an unlikely hero, based on the memoir by Craig Murray. Craig is proud to be sent as Ambassador to Uzbekistan, eager to work hard and also eager for fun. The combination takes him on a dangerous course both professionally and personally, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Starring David Tennant as Craig Murray.

Murray has yet to hear the play and joked: “I’m a bit surprised they couldn’t find a better looking actor.” He added: “Obviously I’m delighted David Tennant was me, it’s a tremendous honour in many ways. I’ve been a big Doctor Who fan all my life.” Hare had put a “huge amount of work” into the play, he added. “It is slightly different from the book because he went to Uzbekistan and interviewed people who were present for key events. To go to Tashkent is extraordinary dedication when you think about it. I think the play is positive towards me, but he’s reached that conclusion himself rather than taking my word for it.”

Murray is portrayed as an intelligent but slightly naive diplomat given the ambassador’s job, aged 43, in Uzbekistan, a country ruled then and now by the human rights-ignoring Islam Karimov. The play is set in 2003 when the “war on terror” was at its height and information obtained by the regime’s torturing of Muslim terror suspects was proving useful to the west.

It is the shocking torture and murder of one victim, who was boiled alive while being beaten, that pushes Murray to make a stand. He gives a lecture accusing the Uzbek regime directly.

Recalled to the Foreign Office, Murray is given a dressing down and told that “moral questions aren’t our business”.

The story of Murray’s personal life is told in parallel to the diplomatic one. While still married, he had fallen in love with a lap dancer, Nadira Alieva, whom he wed last year, and who plays several small roles in the radio play, although not herself.

After his sacking by the Foreign Office in 2004 he stood unsuccessfully for parliament in Blackburn against his nemesis, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw. He now campaigns on human rights and African development issues.

Posted in BBC, Media. Tags: . 4 Comments »

UN & Amnesty International Say Trafigura Toxic Waste Dumping Led To Deaths

So why did the BBC back down? United Nations-

On the basis of the above considerations and taking into account the immediate impact on public health and the proximity of some of the dumping sites to areas where affected populations reside, the Special Rapporteur considers that there seems to be strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste from the Probo Koala. Hence, there are sufficient grounds for considering the actions of relevant stakeholders prior to, during and after the dumping from a human rights perspective, in addition to the consideration of relevant standards in relation to the movement of hazardous wastes and marine pollution.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights, Okechukwu Ibeanu Addendum, Mission to Côte d’Ivoire (4 to 8 August 2008) and the Netherlands (26 to 28 November 2008)

Amnesty International-

In August 2006, toxic waste was brought to Abidjan on board the ship Probo Koala, which had been chartered by oil-trading company, Trafigura. This waste was then dumped in various locations around the city, causing a human rights tragedy. More than 100,000 people sought medical attention for a range of health problems and there were 15 reported deaths.

Also note-

An attempt to defraud victims of the Trafigura toxic waste dump disaster out of $45 million must be stopped, Amnesty International said on Friday in an open letter.

An organization known as the National Coordination of Toxic Waste Victims of Côte d’Ivoire (CNVDT-CI) is falsely claiming to represent some 30,000 victims who brought a court case against Trafigura in the UK. The organization has applied for the $45 million compensation owed to the victims to be transferred to its bank account.

CNVDT-CI will today appeal a decision in the Ivorian courts that blocked it from receiving the compensation awarded in the UK settlement.

In an open letter to Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Justice, Mamadou Koné, Amnesty International said that there is no evidence that CNVDT-CI represents the 30,000 victims and described it as a “blatant attempt to perpetrate fraud”.

“This is a barefaced attempt to steal from the victims of this toxic waste scandal,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director, International Law and Policy at Amnesty International. “These people have suffered enough and the Cote d’Ivoire authorities must ensure that justice is done so that the claimants receive the money that is owed to them.”

The $45 million is currently subject to a freezing order and the victims have yet to receive their money.

Ht2 Richard Wilson who also found-

according to CNN, the often-cited “20 experts” who concluded that Trafigura’s waste “did not harm anyone” were not independent – they had all been hired by the company.

Pass it around, they can’t silence all media.

PS. Note especially in the UN report the health effects and deaths as a human rights issue, so when our politicians, particularly Tories and corporations propose repealing the Human Rights Act and tabloids cite ludicrous stories one of the real reasons is to strip victims of such abuses of any protection or redress.

Posted in BBC, Human Rights. Tags: , . Comments Off on UN & Amnesty International Say Trafigura Toxic Waste Dumping Led To Deaths

Early Pilot For BBC’s Treatment Of The BNP

Under Mark Thompson (now there’s a mental image to run screaming from), BBC history repeats itself, first as satire then as policy. Hmmmmm.

Meanwhile, oh no, more leaks than a sieve and while this is a bit underhand… I mean really if you are ashamed of being a hateful nazi then…d’you think that might be telling you something? I would recommend this for the reality of what the BNP contributes to (the BBC giveth and it taketh away).

Posted in BBC. Tags: , , , . 4 Comments »

ID Yachts

On the BBC story-Will you sign up for a new ID card? the comments are mostly- No! But one stands out for it’s elegance-

I have nothing to hide so why would I not want to have an ID card.
Anon

Now as spEak You’re bRanes makes clear the HYS threads are notoriously fuckwit rich but I’d like to think this was some neat conceptual wit at play.

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . 10 Comments »

BBC Report Of Craig Murray’s Evidence

Link or below, will be interesting to hear Craig’s account and hopefully some youtube will emerge.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . Comments Off on BBC Report Of Craig Murray’s Evidence

Make The BBC Call Torture Torture

In this article –CIA ‘amnesty’ dismays campaigners– the BBC adopt various euphemism for torture, they do not call it torture. I would ask you to complain via this online form and request they use the correct language. This is what I wrote:-
Re: CIA ‘amnesty’ dismays campaigners http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8004319.stm
In this article the reporter chooses not to refer to the techniques used as torture. This is not balance, by any objective assessment of the techniques and by the legal definition as well as basic dictionary definitions the techniques were torture. To not call it that is to be biased towards the Whitehouse’s preferred language. The practices were torture, only the administration’s lawyers and officials argue they are not and as this news is worldwide the opinion of a small number of people from one country -people who were intimately involved in the process and therefore have an incentive to obscure the facts through misuse of language-  should not dictate the BBC’s terminology. Any euphemisms should be put in quotes, the BBC’s language should reflect the legal and universal definitions of torture, therefore the BBC should call it torture. A failure to do so is to propagate a corrupt linguistic meme that has political objectives.

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . 11 Comments »

BBC Threaten Police PR Flacks Jobs

When many important questions remain unresolved about Hillsborough, the BBC offer-

Ninety-six people died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989, and Liverpool fan David Gillooley believes he would have been among them if not for one woman – police officer Fiona Nichol.

Now tell me that wasn’t set up by the police public relations office with a pliable BBC hack looking for an angle that isn’t too controversial. The police will wonder what they pay their flacks for. Meanwhile HarpyMarx

And now Maria Eagle, junior justice minister, has said that South Yorkshire police should ‘come clean’ about what she described as a “conspiracy to cover up” the force’s culpability for the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died at an FA Cup semi-final, 20 years ago this week.

Margaret Aspinall, of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said this was still “a big issue” for the families. “It is quite obvious the police wanted to cover up and accuse everybody else. If they gave us the whole truth now, and are accountable for what they did, it might alleviate some of the pain and hurt we have gone through for 20 years.”
<…>
I think the quote from Phil Scraton below in the introduction to his excellent book, Hillsborough, can equally be applied to any death(s) at the hands of the state:

It is a story of those in authority seek to cover their tracks to avoid blame and responsibility. It is a story of how the ‘law’ fails to provide appropriate means of discovery and redress for those who suffer through institutionalised neglect and personal negligence. It is a story of how ordinary people can be subjected to the insensitivity and hostility of agencies which place their professional priorities ahead of the personal needs and collective rights of the bereaved and survivors. (Hillsborough – Phil Scraton, 1999)

Posted in BBC, Lockdown. Tags: , , . Comments Off on BBC Threaten Police PR Flacks Jobs

UK Army Special Forces Back To Spy In N. Ireland

This story from the Beeb popped up in my RSS feeds-

Special forces monitor dissidents
Today, 06:00 PM
Members of the Army’s special forces are to help gather intelligence on dissident republicans, the BBC learns. Read more…

But clicking it gives a 404, for this url-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7927074.stm

the story has been scrubbed and no cache exists that I can find, two other stories relating to it are published on the BBC-

The intelligence service MI5 is still devoting considerable resources to Northern Ireland, according to a report from a Parliamentary committee. The Intelligence & Security Committee Report has revealed MI5 allocated 15% of its resources in 2007/08 to what it calls “Irish-related terrorism”. However, this was down from 17% in 2006/07. The committee reports that dissident republicans continue to pose a threat in NI and the rest of the UK.

And-

The government and security services believe dissident republicans pose a greater threat than ever. The threat assessment has been raised to “severe”, meaning an attack is regarded as highly likely. The decision to upgrade the level was made by MI5 – responsible for gathering intelligence on dissident republicans.

So I guess the Beeb got a phone call, yes big up the fearmongering but No don’t blab our special forces are back doing the do in the occupied territories. After all that worked out so well in the past, if by well you mean collusion with loyalist death squads. The War of Terror, the gift that keeps on giving.

Update: A version has turned up thanks to commenter Watching Them, Watching Us of Spyblog!

Adam Curtis- The Way Of All Flesh

[NB. Image quality improves after the first minute, stick with it]

Or higher quality watch/download @ The Internet Archive

At long last it has finally made its way to the World Wide Webular Tubes of the Internets!

Follows the story of the cells of Henriettta Lacks. She dies in 1951 of cancer, before she died cells were removed from her body and cultivated in a laboratory in the hope that they could help find a cure for cancer. The cells (known as the HeLa line) have been growing ever since, and the scientists found that they were growing in ways they could not control.

Also see Wikipedia on Henrietta Lacks.

And in order for this online debut of this rarely seen Curtis doco thanks must go to-

  • John Whiting (and check his KPFA site) who got this topic going when he provided The Living Dead.
  • To commenter Bill (sorry it took this long, the wait is over!) who tracked a VHS copy down to a lonely library shelf in Customs House Library, Sydney Australia.
  • So unto the World Wide Thingamy-Jig I appealed Hey Australia! And who should answer that call so selflessly and heroically? Non other than Anne of People’s Geography and the mighty PULSE. She undertook the crucial mission of borrowing the VHS tape and transferring it to DVD. Then after safely encasing the disc in a very nice plastic sleeve she AirMailed it to my oceanic lair c/o wild & windy secure undisclosed location.

And…that’s where it got a little bogged down. Sorry. I Handbraked it to a web video friendly format and uploaded to Google Video on Boxing Day! But…this version in the process of Google er, processing it, ended up with totally out of sync A/V, so I deleted it and set about recoding it (the bad sync was encoded using h.264 which I like but maybe GV didn’t, anyway old skool mpeg4 we go). Then Gaza got attacked and that took focus for the duration.

Then, some weeks later with a super new file to upload the sorry saga plods into another morass of disappointment…First off, did you know Google Video are discontinuing the service? Keeping the vids that are there, expanding the search engine functions but they will soon no longer provide a service to upload new content. Maybe that had something to do with the trouble. But a couple of weeks of faltering uploads, crashing uploader and I was set to go insane. One last try on another computer with another connection under a different ISP, while simultaneously sending it up to the Internet Archive via another line and would you know it? They both worked. Proviso- the Google vid has some terrible resolution/artifact issues at first but they soon resolve themselves so don’t worry keep with it. Internet Archive has the highest quality version plus you can download it (also rather than use the Google Video option for iPods I would use the Internet Archive versions, but that’s just me). Also if an enterprising soul wants a DVD version to torrent, then get in touch (HAL top left) and something can be arranged!

[And a final note on copyright, this film is not available commercially, nor is it likely it will be, so this is not taking away from someone’s income. This is posted not to make money, but because knowledge should be shared. It was made by the BBC so as a UK citizen and occasional licence fee payer I have in fact part paid for this. And after the BBC’s stance on Gaza, they owe the world back anyway!]

Write To The BBC Trust

Well after getting the form reply from the Beeb I wrote back and firstly got an hilarious reply by accident reassuring me about some program called ‘Hunter'(Nah, me either) then I got a proper reply-

[This first bit is about the ‘Hunter’ mix up) Further to our most recent email, we would ask you to disregard that response as it was sent in error.  Our intended response is as follows:

Thank you for your further email about the BBC’s decision concerning the DEC Gaza Appeal.

The Director-General has explained the BBC’s position and is the BBC’s Editor-in-Chief so this cannot be considered at a higher level by the BBC’s Executive.  We cannot therefore add more to our previous response but if you wish to take the matter further you can contact the BBC Trust about the decision.  For details of how to do this please see the information on the BBC Trust’s website at:

www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/appeals/dec_gaza_appeal.html

Thank you again for your email.

BBC Complaints

Click that link and you get this at the BBC trust-

Arrangements for handling appeals against the Director-General’s decision not to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal
28 January 2009
The BBC Trust is responsible for setting standards for the BBC and ensuring that they are upheld. We ensure that BBC management has appropriate frameworks in place to deal properly with complaints from those who feel these standards have not been met. We also act as the final court of appeal if complainants are unhappy with the way their initial complaints have been dealt with by management. One of our overriding principles is that the BBC Trust must act independently of the BBC management in dealing with complaints.
The Trust published a complaints framework which came into operation on 1 August 2008. It applies to all complaints handling within the BBC and sets the principles to which complaints procedures and participants in those procedures must adhere. It allows the BBC to vary the procedures to ensure that complaints covering more than one subject can be dealt with efficiently and effectively. Further information about the new framework and procedures is available on the Trust website.
In the case of appeals against the Director-General’s decision not to broadcast the Disaster Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal on the BBC, appeals to the Trust will be considered in the first instance by an ad hoc committee consisting of Richard Tait (Chairman of the Trust Editorial Standards Committee), Chitra Bharucha (Vice-Chairman of the BBC Trust and Chairman of the Trust General Appeals Panel), and Sir Michael Lyons (Chairman of the BBC Trust). Richard Tait will chair the committee, which will make recommendations to the full Trust for final decision. The decision to hear these appeals via an hoc committee reflects the probability that appellants will raise a range of issues, which may cut across the Trust’s usual complaints handling boundaries.
The Trust will deal with this matter speedily – while also ensuring that those who wish to appeal have an opportunity to do so and that all sides, including the Executive, are given a fair hearing.
The appeals process involves a number of steps. These are:

  • Receiving the appeals
  • Summarising their contents to ensure that all relevant issues raised are considered by the Trust
  • Receiving a response from the Executive to the points raised by appellants
  • Presenting this with appropriate legal advice to the committee
  • Final consideration by the full Trust.

The decision of the Trust will be posted on the Trust website.
The email address to send appeals (on the DEC Gaza crisis appeal issue only) is: dec.complaintsappeals@bbc.co.uk

So get that, this is beyond the complaints procedure which they allege cannot compete with Mark Thompson’s authority so the Trust is now the place to go.

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

Malcolm Balen, Hutton, Iraq & The DEC Ban

2003 and relations between the BBC and the Israeli government had broken down, concurrently relations between the BBC and the British government of Tony Blair were also strained over the lies of the Iraq war. The Jewish Chronicle-

14/11/2003 THE BBC’s appointment this week of a top broadcasting figure to oversee its Mideast coverage was welcomed by Israeli and Jewish community leaders as a recognition of their protests over alleged anti-Israel bias.

In an unprecedented move, the corporation named Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the “Nine O’Clock News,” to monitor its coverage of the region.

A BBC spokesman said Mr Balen, appointed by head of news Richard Sambrook and World Service chief Mark Byford, would “build our relations with all people in the Middle East.” He would also be a “point of contact” for viewers and listeners.

The move came in the wake of a series of meetings in recent months, in both London and Jerusalem, involving Israeli officials, figures from the British Jewish community, and top BBC representatives.

Relations have been increasingly strained amid accusations that BBC coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war, and other Middle East issues has been slanted against Israel.

Relations hit a low earlier this year when BBC representatives were barred from briefings during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s London visit, and Israeli leaders refused to appear on BBC programmes.

The Chronicle are excited by the post Hutton tamed BBC and by the new Balen brand-

14/11/2003 WHAT exactly prodded the BBC’s extraordinary move to name Malcolm Balen, a respected broadcasting veteran, to oversee its Mideast coverage is impossible to say with certainty. Israeli and Jewish community spokesmen clearly see the appointment as a sign that their long campaign against “Beeb bias” has borne fruit — that the corporation recognises that its coverage has been slanted against Israel.

BBC officials, by contrast, seem at pains to portray the move as an effort to address concerns on all sides of the conflict. Unspoken, but not necessarily unimportant, is a third possible catalyst: complaints from the British government over BBC broadcasts on the war in Iraq, the debates that preceded it, and the controversies which have followed. Whatever the origin of the BBC decision, it is welcome.

How nice, the cowed BBC simultaneously less antagonistic towards Blair (now of course peace envoy to the region, a peace envoy who has yet to visit Gaza) and Israel. The BBC have fought long to keep the report Malcolm Balen wrote about BBC coverage of Israel & Palestine secret, the idea put about by Israel friendly/BBC antagonistic media is that it found the BBC biased against Israel, at least in Balen’s eyes. We don’t know though, some vague mentions of context being more important could point either way. Although his judgement when asked about an independent report –Bad News from Israel– that found BBC bias in favour of Israel was to dismiss it before even reading it. So that and subsequent BBC coverage suggest the rumoured appraisal is correct. Then there is the hush-hush trip BBC director general Mark Thompson made to Israel to hang with Ariel Sharon (in fairness he ‘held talks’ with Abbas, although should the BBC DG follow the US & UK lead at the time and not talk to Hamas? Now that’s an interesting understanding of independence and impartiality). It’s possible to see BBC management becoming too accommodating to Israel (and its US and UK elite allies) a blindness which is resulting in the shameful banning of the DEC appeal.

Alex Brummer in 2003, the city editor of the Daily Mail also earning a crust writing opinion in the Jewish Chronicle, displays the allegiances of those who have pushed the BBC to this shameful state of affairs-

Slowly but surely we are moving towards a new BBC. In the year or so since government scientist and Iraq-expert David Kelly took his own life, sparking an official inquiry, the corporation has been turned on its head.

Listeners and viewers may yet find it difficult to detect changes. It may also be that the politically correct views of BBC reporters take time to adjust. But, as a result of the changes to management and news leadership, there could be, over time, a return to the Reithian values of quality and fairness which many ob-servers feared had been abandoned.

Ooh, just feel the Daily Mailian pomposity and flowery prose (Reithian, give me strength) of pretending doing the warmongering governments of the world’s bidding is quality and fairness. He goes on (oh does he ever)-

But as head of the World Service, with its reach into the developing countries, Sambrook’s new role will be equally important. We know from the UN General Assembly vote on implementation of the International Court of Justice ruling on Israel’s security barrier how much work there is to be done if a more balanced interpretation of Israel’s objectives is to be achieved.

It is an uphill task. The disputed barrier is still routinely referred to on BBC news output as a security “wall,” even though only a few of the hundreds of kilometres are solid concrete. In a recent “World This Weekend” broadcast on Radio 4, the presenter referred to the barrier as “Ariel Sharon’s wall.” Yet the plans for the barrier were first drawn up by the IDF and the intelligence services when Labour was in power.

In the struggles which the BBC faces as the charter review looms in 2006, coverage of the broader Middle East is likely to play an important role. After all, it was Alastair Campbell’s war of attrition during the Iraq war, when he bombarded Dyke and the governors with a series of complaints about the failure of the Beeb to provide full-on support for the war effort, which triggered the events which eventually led to the Kelly tragedy and the shake-up at the top.

Oh and he, er, likes the Dubya-

21/11/2003 He [Roger Mosey] regards being “impartial about President George Bush,” this week’s state visitor to Britain, as something to crow about. The assumption in this is that it is having to bend over backwards to be fair to the American leader.

But why? Mr Bush is, after all, the elected leader of the free world, the protector of Britain’s security through NATO, and a vitally important economic partner. There is no need to work on impartiality — just report the US President as he is, unadorned.

It must be love! The Blair lies of Iraq and the pressure to acquiesce to the Israeli lobby and to the Bush cabal (counter)-revolutionised the BBC. Such that in 2009 management were able to convince themselves airing a charity appeal for the casualties of war is a bias against the poor beleagueredaggressor.

PS. The ‘Kelly tragedy’ was found likely a homicide after an investigation by Norman Baker MP.

Not Anti Beeb

Update: And here is the ad they banned, shown on all the other terrestrial channels only the BBC and Murdoch’s Sky helped cover up the damage of the attack on Gaza.

Donate to the DEC appeal, details below or here.

Is the BBC a news channel? It is not, it is public broadcaster who as well as news makes and broadcasts all manner of radio and television shows available in various media. They have shows about surreal puppets who live in the woods, they have shows about time travellers and their enmity towards malicious dustbins, they have shows about quaint EastEnd folk and their inability to act very well or ever have even a halfway happy life. They have music shows, DIY shows, gardening shows, cooking shows, look you get the idea. So the BBC as a whole is not a news organisation that is only one of its functions, therefore to air the DEC appeal does not immediately mean its news operations are synonymous with the appeal, in fact it doesn’t mean the BBC is, they are simply doing their job as public broadcaster to give leading charities a platform to raise money for a region in dire need. That the DEC saw fit to focus on this the BBC should respect their expertise and assessment of needs, people at the BBC are not more expert than personnel from the charities making up the DEC. Claims this impacts impartiality is like claiming because Have I Got News for You ridicules public figures the current affairs department can no longer do its job as the BBC clearly takes a stance all politician’s are feckless grifters.

There is only one answer as to why the DEC appeal is banned from the BBC, and make no mistake banned is an appropriate word. The answer is they are overly open and sensitive to the partisan concerns of pro-Israeli parties, be they lobbyists, Zionist organisations or the Israeli government itself. The result is the BBC is now, by banning the ad, reducing help to people Israel has only recently stopped killing. By default that makes this decision not impartial but actually a helpful part of the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza. Only looking at it from a partisan pro-Israel position does the decision even approach appearing ‘impartial’. One can only assume the military forces in the Congo neglected to spend money on effective lobbying of the BBC as that appeal was broadcast without the BBC panicking what Hutu militia’s thought about ‘bias’. It is also extremely offensive to the peace groups and human rights organisations in Israel who themselves opposed the attacks and are trying to help the Palestinians in Gaza. The BBC is lining up with the pro-war faction in one nation on Earth against the needs of a starved and bombed populace. That is not impartial. Humanitarianism trumps political and religious factions, perhaps the most recent and well known precedence for ignoring such basic ethical approaches was given by the Bush regime in denying Red Cross access to prisoners they were torturing, that is no example to follow.

On screen talent at the BBC now have an opportunity, presenters, chat show hosts, DJ’s can use their allotted broadcast time to give out the details of the DEC appeal. Those that do should be lauded for their integrity and professional courage, those who choose not to, well we can make our own choices about whether to include them in the media we consume from now on.

Those details-

Online: Click here to donate online

CAF Card: Click here to donate by CAF Card

Phone: Call our automated 24 hour credit card hotline 0370 60 60 900

Post: Make
cheques payable to DEC Gaza Crisis and post to DEC Gaza Crisis, PO Box
999, London EC3A 3AA or go to any Post Office quoting Freepay
number: 1210

You can also download our Gaza Donation by Post form to make your donation payment and send it to PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA

I think like many I have great affection, even loyalty to the BBC, it’s an institution that does make me proud. A long time ago working for it freelance it was thrilling to be in the same places The Goon Show was made, or On The Hour. And as a viewer, it makes some of the best programmes on Earth (Two Pints of Lager notwithstanding). So, much like a friend or family member who makes some appalling choices it makes it all the more acutely felt because of the relationship you have with the transgressor. From all accounts it is a tiny cabal of management who are holding firm in this decision while BBC staff find it appalling, so this is more of an intervention for a loved one who has gone astray, ended up in bad company and needs help, than an attack on the institution. It’s always difficult when you dig yourself into a hole hanging on for pride’s sake to the insistence you are right to admit you are wrong, it feels like defeat more than what it is- the intelligent and responsible admittance of reason. It takes a lot of ego to be head of a large institution which means reversing this decision will be even harder for those in power, but they must recognise they serve the BBC not that it serves their personal need to be ‘right’. The damage of continuing this ban to the BBC will be immense, another nail from the same batch that Hutton came from. Only one side is praising this ‘impartiality’ which of course by definition makes it not impartial at all.

Bravo Jon Kelly at the BBC

A nice piece about how people on low wages are betrayed by the Labour government’s recent tax changes-

Hoarding loose change. Always having to buy the cheapest groceries. Dreading the arrival of utility bills through the door. Britain’s low earners say their lives are already difficult enough. But changes to the tax system could mean that making ends meet becomes even harder for many.

Under the new system, standard income tax has been cut from 22% to 20% and tax credits raised – but the lowest 10p band has been scrapped entirely…

“As it is I always try to buy the cheapest own-brand groceries but it’s never enough. I’d love a fresh wardrobe but I can’t remember the last time I bought new clothes. I don’t think it should be people on low incomes who have to pay more. It should be those with higher incomes – like MPs.”