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Showing posts with label US foreign policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US foreign policy. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Stream of consciousness … and the BBC

I like to have a specific topic to address, but today I haven’t. But since I didn’t blog yesterday, and since some regular readers rapidly reach the reasonable conclusion that I’m dead if I don’t blog for a couple of days, I feel obliged to give proof of life …

So I sit at the keyboard with no plan, in the hope that something will come from the Id at least as far as the Ego and perhaps even reach the Superego. I’m not entirely certain that I have an Ego or Superego anymore, but I’m in regular touch with my Id, something closely resembling its manifestation in Forbidden Planet.

Today’s Radio Times confidently states on page 56


12.00 The Politics Show  Analysis and debate. Includes News at 12.00 and at 12.30 Scottish stories.

Good old reliable BBC - my trusted public service broadcaster, telling the truth to the four nations of Britain, calling the rich and powerful to account, champion of the ordinary people of these isles, in this great united kingdom - Dunkirk, Churchill, muffins for tea, cricket on the lawn, stiff-upper lips, guardian of the free people of the world, men in fancy dress in great cathedrals, monarchs, Royal weddings, knights, Lords, Ladies, colourful ritual and spectacle, stronger together than apart, etcetera, etcetera. You know the rest …

No need to consult the online guide on my television - after all, it’s not a public holiday, although something called Pentecost has knocked The Big Questions out of its 10.00 slot. The Andrew Marr Show was the predictable load of old Westminster village pap it has become since not-so-super injunctions have killed the mojo of its eponymous host.

I switch on just before midday and wait expectantly, laughing in sardonic delight because the tennis has been rained off. May it piss down on that tedious game for evermore, a game that is healthful exercise and a legitimate pursuit for those who actually get off their arses and play the game, but an exercise in mindless voyeurism for those non-players who watch it …

I should have been warned by the fate of The Big Questions. Midday passes, and the mindless chatter of those under the umbrellas continues, with the kind a vacuous gossip and idle speculation that characterises acres of sporting commentary. Panic-stricken, I switch to BBC2, only to find more crap, so I belatedly consult the online guide. Nae politics today, mate. If we can’t have tennis, you’ll have to be content with Country File, or some such rural idyll.

So at the end of a week in which we have seen the care of the old and vulnerable across the UK threatened by the rabid greed of speculative capitalists, the continued revelations of criminal behaviour by our UK newspapers, a week in which the implications of the behaviour of the UK Supreme Court for the Scottish Justice system becomes even more worrying, a week in which more young men and women are dying in misconceived foreign wars, a week in which we contemplate yet another involvement in Syria, and a week in which the Brian Rix Whitehall farce that is called the UK Government - the ConLib Coalition - move seamlessly from one disaster to another, a week in which Miliband Minor’s relevance to his party and to the nation is placed under question, the main political vehicle for examining events and placing the powerful under scrutiny - and where Scottish affairs get a real discussion platform - is sacrificed to a tennis match that didn’t take place and some countryside rambles.

I’m your long-term friend and defender, BBC - but when you behave like this, I shout aloud for independence, for  a free Scotland, with its own public service broadcaster, employing the fine journalists, presenters, creative artists and technicians that make up the present BBC Scotland, but freed from the dead hand of London.

And by God, we’ll have it, sooner rather than later …

Here to the Scottish Broadcasting Corporation - the SBC!

Roseanna Cunningham tweeted me to say it (?) was broadcast at 11.30 am. If so, I kick myself for missing it - but the criticism stands.

Stop press: I've now checked - it was broadcast at 11.00 am - now watching on the iPlayer. Will I apologise to the BBC? Will I ****! You ruined my morning - am I suppose to plan my day on not believing the Radio Times and cross check the transmission time of every programme if there's bloody sport on?

Friday, 4 February 2011

Question Time, Melanie Phillips and political labels

Question Time last night wasn’t half bad. I did some live tweeting, with the usual results - premature judgements, misspellings, etc.

The right-wing raver slot - which the BBC feels must be part of the panel, in the interests of ‘balance’ - was occupied by Melanie Phillips this week, a regular in this chair. There is no real slot for a left-wing raver because the genuine article is hard to find these days - we have to be satisfied with the likes of George Galloway, who now occupies a political planet entirely of his own creation, a planet - or maybe a rogue asteroid - that now hovers dangerously near to the Scottish Parliament

Bob Crow is sometimes meant to fill the slot, but the format  and  the chairman usually attempt to contain him within the stereotype of trade union militant. Since Crow is anything but a raver, with a much broader political view that just his union, always displaying an icy, objective calmness in all that he says, and refusing to be contained by anyone, this fails, and the programme comes to life, to the discomfiture of the party and media hacks on the panel, the spluttering indignation of the right wing raver, the impotence of David Dimbleby and the delight of the audience -and me. The Question Time panel is not a place for real people. They are supposed to be confined to the audience.

Melanie, however, is entirely predictable, and has been for many years now, so there were no surprises when the question about Egypt’s revolution came up. On any international issue, anything Melanie says has to be decoded in the light of the foreign policy of Israel and its view of Muslims and international terrorism, which to ultra Zionists are one and the same.

There was a certain irony in the fact that the programme was recorded at  the same time - or probably before - the transmission of Louis Theroux’s BBC2 documentary, The Ultra Zionists, at 9.00 p.m. last night.

On other topics, she gives evidence of the penetrating intelligence and incisive comment that once graced the pages of - incredibly - The Guardian. (I remember her from those days, and mourn the loss of the Melanie-that-was.) She is now flits between her two natural journalistic homes, The Spectator and The Daily Mail. Penetrating intelligence and incisiveness are, however, no guarantors of wisdom, clear vision or objectivity, as history - and Melanie - abundantly demonstrate.

My comments on her performance led to a tweeted response from a supporter of Melanie, to the effect that she always spoke the truth, thus enraging ‘the lefties’,  among whose number I am delighted to be included. (Such commentators never think of themselves as righties). Indeed, I count it a badge of honour to be described as a leftist separatist, which appellation happily combines my basic political orientation with my Scottish nationalism. My critic also referred to ‘mad’ lefties, and I had to remind him that in my recollection, this epithet had only been applied before to Mad Mitch of Aden and to a political columnist, panellist and journalist whose name escapes me for the moment.

I was once asked to put my political philosophy in a nutshell, and came up with Left is right and Right is wrong, and that still just about describes my position. Of course, if I wanted to take a more anodyne position, I would describe myself as a social democrat, but many on the right of the political spectrum think of themselves as such, so I am wary of that label.

I visited Melanie's website to update myself on her written views, and found the title of her book The World Turned Upside Down - The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power, a suitably apocalpytic title. I reproduce a paragraph from her plug for her book.

The loss of religious belief has meant the West has replaced reason and truth with ideology and prejudice, which it enforces in the manner of a secular inquisition. The result has been a kind of mass derangement, as truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. In medieval-style witch- hunts, scientists who are skeptical of global warming are hounded from their posts; Israel is ferociously demonized; and the United States is vilified over the war on terror-all on the basis of falsehoods and propaganda that are believed as truth.

Since I disagree with every line and every word of that, and believe that it is Melanie, fundamentalist religion, Israel and US foreign policy that have turned the world upside down, risking a return to the Dark Ages, I offer as an antidote another book - Allies for Armageddon by Victoria Clark, which explores with chilling forensic skill, the destructive links between right-wing, American Rapture fundamentalist Christians, the ultra zionists and the Bush/Cheney regime that dragged the world, and the UK under Blair into the present lethal instability of global politics and two disastrous wars.

And that’s about all I have to say for today. Have a good weekend …