Daily archives: July 26, 2011

Dr Who is a TV Programme

Time does not exist. It is an abstract concept invented by humans as part of our effort to rationalise the extraordinary fact of our existence. The past no longer exists, and the future has never existed. You can’t physically travel around time any more than you can physically travel around mathematics or ethics. All that exists is the fleeting instant.

I would not have thought that needed saying. But there you are. I am not however questioning the value of what sounds like a tremendous piece of research – only the BBC’s populist presentation of it.

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Why the Mainstream Media is Doomed

Laziness. Sloth will kill the minstream media. All those well-paid journalists resting their fat bottoms on padded office chairs will become extinct as a breed, victims of their own inability to raise a sweat, just like the poor old dodo.

On Saturday, when I posted on Brevik’s links to Pamela Geller, a google advanced search for posts containing both Breivik and Pamela Geller brought up just two results.

Today, there are hundreds, mainly from the mainstream media, and including many comment articles. But all of the mainstream media articles are predicated solely on the endorsement of Geller’s website Atlas Shrugs in Breivik’s “manifesto”. Not one of these MSM pieces, not the New York Times or the Washington Post or the LA Times, picks up on the fact that Pamela Geller had posted a whole series of virulent specifically anti Norwegian-Muslim posts on her Atlas Shrugs website, that Breivik had posted comments on this website or – most importantly – that Geller had attended a hate rally in Oslo in 2009.

It took me half an hour on Saturday morning to discover all the above facts, but that is half an hour the mainstream media are not prepared to put in. One mainstream media outlet found the Geller references in Breivik’s manifesto – 24 hours after I posted – and the hundreds of other mainstream articles have been lazily based around that single fact.

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Recognise Palestine

I urge you to sign the Avaaz petition for the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN. These petitions have more effect than you might imagine – politicians are scared of voters, and the Murdoch petitions on Avaaz undoubtedly had a role in thwarting his BSkyB bid.

I do not hold out enormous hope for recognition – this is an area where the EU’s adoption of “common positions” on foreign policy holds back progress. I also am no fan of a two state solution, much preferring a single, secular, ethnicity-blind state on the lands of Israel and Palestine. But recognition as a state by the UN would greatly strengthen the hand of the Palestinians in a variety of extremely important ways. Please sign,

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Charles Moore’s Epiphany

I am posting, very late, about one of the most discussed mainstream comment pieces of all time. Charles Moore’s excellent comment piece in the Daily Telegraph, “I am starting to think that the left may actually be right” has attracted over 12,000 facebook recommendations and over 4,000 tweets in four days since it was published.

Moore is not, of course, actually saying he has converted to socialism. He is however making for him a gut-wrenching admission that our capitalist democracy is deeply flawed, and rather than a beneficient free market, we have a society in which institutions skew society horribly in the interests of a wealthy elite.

The revelations of the Murdoch affair have caused Moore’s epiphany, but I think his argument is precisely the same as the one I put forward on November 5 last year in my post “The Stew of Corruption.” On a much smaller scale than Moore, that posting remains the most visited of any archive post on this blog, being read around the world every day. The much greater reaction to Moore saying the same things makes it plain that this is an analysis that people believe captures something very important about what has gone wrong in our society. In fairness, I would say that the right wing commentator Peter Oborne has been doing tremendous work across these themes for years.

I have never met Charles Moore, but his parents Richard and Ann Moore had a fundamental and lasting influence on my political thought, and particularly my views on international relations. They also bought me my first ever pint in a pub, when I was 15, and introduced me to the joys of real ale! I was delighted to speak to Richard again in Birmingham last year, in his eighties but sharp and feisty as ever.

I fear there have not been a huge number of Charles’ articles with which Richard would be wholly in sympathy, but I am sure this is one.

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