Daily Archives: October 31, 2011


BBC Shame

BBC journalism hit a new low today. The BBC News channel devoted only a single sentence to Palestine’s diplomatic coup in gaining full membership of Unesco. It used that single sentence once at 18.23 and once during the following hour. And this is that single sentence:

“Israel says that Unesco’s decision to admit Palestine to full membership will damage the prospects for peace in the Middle East.”

No other view was given, We did not hear what Palestine says, or what Unesco says, or what any of the huge majority of 107 countries which voted for Palestine say. The only view we were given was the Israeli view, and there was no questioning or discussion of that view.

“Israel says” – what an astonishing opening two words to a report on a great day for Palestinian diplomacy. Everyone connected with BBC News should be utterly ashamed. Why don’t we just save the license fee and let Netanyahu’s office broadcast the news instead?

The vote incidentally was 107 to 14. It was a humiliating defeat for US diplomacy. Latvia, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan are among the states which did not follow the US lead against Palestine but which always have done in the past. The USA was also unable to coerce a single African state – I am proud of Africa, and Ghana in particluar.

Here is the list of the pathetic 14, the overwhelmingly defeated states which tried to block Palestine and which either have extreme neo-con governments or are completely susceptible to US aid blackmail – you can decide which are which:

Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.

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Callous and Twisted

Last week many were genuinely shocked by the news that the UK’s major company directors had awarded themselves average earnings increases of 49%, while most ordinary people suffered a significant drop in real income.

If you need further evidence of the callousness of society’s haves towards ordinary people, look at this from the USA. A Bank of America “foreclosure mill”, law firm Steven J Baum, makes its money by having families evicted from their homes onto the streets. These wealthy lawyers decided to have a Halloween party where they would dress up as – homeless people.

These two were by no means alone – if you google you can find plenty of pictures of other bastards at the party.

We are likely to see a major increase of home repossessions in the UK next year. There are signs that society is rediscovering the notion of horizontal solidarity. The highly effective role of social media in rapid political organisation leads me to think it ought to be possible to set up an organised system of resistance to evictions, with people rapidly converging to aid those under threat.

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Occupy London

I thought I might wander down to Occupy London and chat to them about the lessons I feel might be drawn from my life experience working for government. I particularly wanted to outline the seamless link between western government promotion of dictatorships and terrible human rights abuses abroad, the undertaking of illegal wars for resources and the sucking up of internal resources in our country for the benefit of the wealthy.

I then want to relate that to the narrowing of the space of debate for legitimate political debate or action. Whether you are against the war in Afghanistan or against the bank bailouts, you are at the very least part of a very large minority in the country, yet none of the established political parties will represent you and your viewpoint is virtually never given a media airing.

Can anyone let me know how this idea to give a talk might work in practice? I haven’t been invited and I am not sure if they have any facility for listening to guest speakers, and if so if they would have any interest in listening to me.

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