Imagine if the BBC Were Honest 433


The BBC refuses to answer my Skripal questions to Mark Urban on the grounds they have no legal obligation, instead giving a “statement”. That correspondence follows below. But I want you first to imagine a World in which the BBC and Mark Urban were honest and independent, and imagine these were the answers to my questions:

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
My interviews with Sergei Skripal were on a strictly off the record basis and I felt honour bound not to mention them until I could obtain his permission.

2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
I had not heard from Pablo Miller for decades, since I left the army.

3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
I did not meet Miller.

4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
Yes, with Skripal.

5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
A book on Russian intelligence.

6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
I don’t know.

7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
No.

8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
No.

9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.
That was my only contact with the intelligence services on this matter.

Does anybody imagine that, if those were indeed the answers, Mark Urban and the BBC would not freely give those answers, and show up their accusers as “conspiracy theorists” with no foundation?

If those were the answers, they would be shouting them from the rooftops.

And indeed the BBC statement, while refusing to answer the questions directly, does give responses to questions 1, 4 and 5 which are along the lines of this outcome were they behaving honestly, though their phrasing does not carry conviction, especially on 1.

The questions the BBC has refused to address at all are all those related to Pablo Miller, UK intelligence services and the Steele Orbis dossier on Trump/Russia. That is an extremely telling omission. Their attempt to issue a statement rather than address the questions individually, is a deliberate ruse to disguise that.

On a balance of probabilities measure, I am willing to take the BBC’s refusal to answer these very specific questions as strong evidence that the Skripal case is indeed about Miller, Steele, Orbis and the Trump/Russia dossier. Furthermore the BBC knows that and is deliberately concealing the truth, and instead broadcasting evidence free nonsense about Russian agents, knowing that to be untrue. If that were not the case, it would take the BBC quite literally two minutes to give the answers above. There would be no downside for the BBC in giving those answers; indeed they would be vindicated to a sceptical public.

I asked you to imagine those answers were true. In asking us to imagine a better world, John Lennon told us “its easy if you try”. Sadly I find it is not easy. It is not easy to imagine a world in which Mark Urban is not a morally repugnant lying shill for the security services, that takes a very great deal of effort.

Here is the BBC statement and ensuing correspondence:

From: Matthew Hunter
Sent: 29 August 2018 09:42
To: ‘is’
Subject: BBC Newsnight

Dear Mr Murray,

Matt Hunter in the BBC News Press Team.

I understand you contacted Mark Urban on Monday with regards to meetings he had with Sergei Skripal. Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism, but I can provide you with a more general response regarding Mark’s meetings with Mr Skripal.

Mark Urban met with Sergei Skripal on a number of occasions last Summer in Salisbury and last spoke to him on the phone in August, 7 months before the poisoning. Mr Skripal agreed to speak to Mark to assist with his research for his latest book on post-Cold War espionage, it was not discussed with Mr Skripal whether the information would be used for the BBC ahead of the book being published. The relevant information gained from these interviews informed Newsnight’s coverage during the early days after the poisoning. Mr Urban reported his meetings with Mr Skripal on BBC Newsnight once the details of the book were made public in keeping with the understood terms of the interview. Mark Urban’s line managers were aware last year that he was working on a book and more specifically from 5th March this year that this work had included interviews with Mr Skripal.

I hope these details help clarify the situation.

Please note that all future journalistic enquiries should be made through the BBC Press Office ([email protected]).

Thank you for your enquiry.

Best wishes
Matt

Matt Hunter – Publicist
BBC News & Current Affairs

——–

From: craig murray [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 29 August 2018 14:23
To: Matthew Hunter; Mark Urban
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

Dear Mr Hunter,

Thank you for your email. This is an important matter, which interests a great many people, as I am sure you are aware, and which has caused some damage to the reputation of the BBC.

You state that ” Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism”. My questions were not couched as an FOI request so that is a redundant provision, even if your broad interpretation of the FOIA were correct, which I dispute.

Your email then proceeds on the basis that you should not reveal anything unless you are legally obliged to do so. That seems a very strange stance for a public broadcast body to take. Whether or not you are legally obliged to do so, can I ask you to give the answer to these questions to Mr Urban, or in each case an explanation for why you refuse to give an answer voluntarily, even if legally unobliged.

What is at stake here is the BBC’s reputation for open and honest reporting, and this particular case has done a great deal to increase public distrust in the BBC. All of these are fair and relevant questions which have simple answers. Kindly address them individually.

My questions to Mark Urban:

1. When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2. You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3. When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4. Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5. When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6. Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7. Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8. Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9. In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to your response,

Craig Murray

———-

From: Matthew Hunter
Sent: 29 August 2018 15:09
To: ‘craig murray’
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

I’m afraid we have no further comment beyond the statement provided earlier.

Many thanks,
Matt

———–

From: craig murray
Sent: 29 August 2018 18:22
To: Matthew Hunter
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

Oh, so it was a “statement” rather than a reply to my questions.

May I ask you who drafted the statement, who approved it, and who was consulted on it? The statement, incidentally, does not constitute journalism, so you do have a legal obligation to answer those questions.

Craig

————————————————————

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433 thoughts on “Imagine if the BBC Were Honest

1 2 3 4
  • Anti BBC

    STOP FUNDING THE BBC, yes YOU the guy reading this who thinks its OK to keep paying the TV TAX because you sometimes watch Strictly with the wife and a bit of sport. STOP FUNDING THE MONSTER.

    • Sharp Ears

      What makes you think ALL of us pay up. 😉 btw Capita run the licence fee admin for the BBC.

      • RAC

        No need for the wink emoji, if you do it the right way it’s totally legal to sever your connection to them.

    • RAC

      I did many years ago, had I not done so I would most likely be dead now from heart attack or stroke, they sent my needle so much into the red.
      Apart from peaks when there’s a panic on it’s non stop subliminal conditioning which has a cumulative effect on the sheep.

  • Monster

    The Guardian has a small office whose occupants are non-journalists. They monitor all output to the internet and print. The BBC also has a small office whose occupants are journalists. Their output is sometimes used to fill in the gaps left by the government approved output to the general public.

      • Tom Johnson

        .
        Rather a Kafka-esque approach, dare one say?!

        Do the UK public have any evidence that KKrapitta are fit for purpose?

        Best.

        • Fletch

          Well, as we know Krapita are definitely no fit for purpose regarding ESA WCA. If this is one of their business models, which has been proven doesn’t work, then heaven help other arms of their mother company…such as BBC license admin…and not forgetting council tax debtors that they also run…(couldn’t face using the word manage…as they don’t!)

    • Sharp Ears

      …starting off his career with a 16 month ‘Communications Industrial Placement’ at LEONARDO, whose name ‘was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’. What crap.

      Leonardo in the UK
      Leonardo is the largest inward investor in the UK defence sector, the largest Italian inward investor to the UK, and one of the biggest suppliers of defence equipment to the UK MoD.
      http://www.uk.leonardocompany.com/about-us

      https://uk.linkedin.com/company/leonardo_company?trk=ppro_cprof

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      BBC 4 schedule for tonight. Tankies presented by Mark Urban followed by Filthy cities presented by Dan Snow.
      Urban went to Kings College School (one of the Elton group).
      Snow went to St Paul’s School where he was in the rowing team. Can’t remember my school having a rowing club. Could have used the local canal but the shopping trolleys would have gotten in the way. Dan went on to marry into one of the richest families in the country (Lady Edwina Grosvenor).
      Galling that the BBC should be acting as an employment agency for posh boys from a fiscal perspective. The real damage is perpetuating the myth that it is somehow natural for such people to assume a position of authority. Urban and Snow are a minor irritant, Johnson and Reese-Mog are the cancer on the body politic.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Absolutely. The Dimbelby dynasty, the Snow dynasty, the Magnusson dynasty … doubtless more. All needless to say the products of private schooling. If the BBC was a plc, the Non-Execs and shareholders would be entitled to demand that heads roll in senior management and HR. But the BBC isn’t even a plc, it’s supposed to be a public body.
          The gender pay disparity scandal is real and needs addressing. Wonder what the stats are on private school and Oxbridge brats on six figure packages?
          For my part, I would mark the whole corporation down as irredeemably corrupt and put it out of our misery.

          • Deb O'Nair

            That Dan Snow is the BBC ‘go to’ historian is terrible for the public perception of history from the perspective that he is a direct descendant of WW1 PM David Lloyd George. DLG was a member of the elite who facilitated WW1 and whose policies, along with those of Churchill, extended the war by many years, some claim deliberately. Is Dan Snow going to reflect the historic record accurately or rather tell the nation what a wonderful human being his great great grandfather was? I personally find Dan Snow to be an arrogant egotistical prick who is only on TV because of his ‘breeding’.

        • PhilM

          Especially if you can’t stomach the slog of a PhD but want to be known as the History Guy…
          sing after me children…
          row, row, row your boat
          gently to the beeb
          merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
          life is but a trough…

  • RAC

    I don’t do mind altering drugs so there is no flaming way I could possibly imagine that the bbc were honest. EVER.

  • SA

    The problem is that for such a publicly funded corporation, the BBC appears to have its own internal procedures that are all in house and that is not answerable to anyone. The backup complaint is to Oggcom, who often ignore individual complaints.

  • MightyDrunken

    We know there is at least one DSMA-notice (or whatever you call them) related to Pablo Miller. It seems likely to me the reason why the BBC avoided mentioning Miller and Steele is because of ongoing DSMA-notices.

    • craig Post author

      The D(SMA) notice prevents them only from publishing information about Pablo Miller – and even then is supposed to be “voluntary”. it does not require them to deny his existence in correspondence.

  • Michael Westcombe

    Dear Mr. Murray,

    I would very much like to donate a sum to you – occasionally. Unfortunately, as I also mentioned to Mr. David Henke, who has a similar set-up to yours, my cash flow is sound, but very erratic, so I am not in a position to make “monthly” donations of any kind. I also know many, many people who are in my exact situation, so it would be a benefit to both of you, if you were to make provisions for one-off donations.

    Best Wishes, and keep up the excellent work,
    Michael Westcombe

    • craig Post author

      Michael,

      Thank you for the good wishes and your financial situation is similar to my own – which is partly why I am looking to a reliable subscription model. But it is also true that I would not want to take money off anybody for whom £2 or £5 is a sum which they might be short of, even temporarily. Partly its why I use Paypal for subscriptions too – unlike a bank standing order, there are no penalties on Paypal if you can’t meet a payment, it just skips that month.

      • remember kronstadt

        Sorry, fell out with PayPal – is there an alternative?
        Carry on with the great work

      • Hatuey

        Actually, I already tried to explain this. If you can’t commit to a subscription just sign up for it and cancel. This is the same as a one off payment.

        You can cancel subscriptions on PayPal with one or two clicks. It’s very easy. Let me know if you need help with that.

        Craig Murray, you are terrible on this. Sorry to tell you but people want to donate to you, they just hate committing to regular drains on their money. All you need to do is create 2 or 3 “Buy Now” buttons on PayPal and paste the code in on your widgets sidebar, giving people the option to donate different amounts as if they are buying something. It’s 10 minutes of hassle.

  • Aidworker1

    Interesting that the last edits on Mark Urban’s wikipedia page were made by Philip Cross.

    I note also he was in the Royal Tank regiment. There seems to be pattern developing!

  • Ishmael

    I dunno what’s worse, the “corruption” of the BBC (I think it’s just “natural” for central state agency’s to protest those stuctures) Or those who would use its injustice to essentially set up another blood & soil arrangement.

    Yeah, expose the wrongs. But to then create a mirror image as if that’s right?

  • Dailyshocker.news

    Good work Mr Murray.

    The interesting point for me is how Urban has passed this upwards, basically refusing to break cover.

    I would advise calling him a liar and a shill, as that is guaranteed to lose contact opportunities, plus lowers your moral high ground.

      • craig Post author

        But unfortunately he is a liar and a shill. I am, of course, goading him to sue me, so we get disclosure and get him under oath in the witness box. He will be in difficulty as he doesn’t know what my hacking contacts can get. If he doesn’t sue after being called a liar and a shill, that also speaks volumes.

        • Tony

          Really is that it.
          Why incite him to sue , just print what your hacking contacts have or can obtain.

          • ADHD

            That would be premature and ineffective. Next key event is Urban’s book when he “officially” goes on the record. If Urban and his security services chums were thinking straight they would just pull the book and pulp any copies; if they go ahead, it indicates that they are full of unwarranted self-belief and hubris. No matter how ‘controlled’ the book will be I can’t see that it would lead to anything else other than more questions and doubt (presumably, the exact opposite of the books intention).

          • Ian

            Having now stated your motive, if it got to court (which it won’t, Urban will just ignore you), his lawyers would argue that you are using court proceedings for your own agenda, and will demand the judge rule any evidence inadmissible as it has been obtained illegally and is of dubious provenance, and not relevant to the case. The judge will agree.

        • Tony

          The stated aim is to get the guy into court to be accountable under oath.
          In my opinion Craig is playing silly buggers. Craig is well aware how the sections of the intelligence community and like play.
          Craig composes a list of questions that he knows will receive a non answer, and then uses this in an attempt to enhance his position .Stating that Mark is a liar is not going to induce any reaction, it is par for the course and will be brushed aside like water of a ducks back.
          If Craig is really serious about ruffle the feathers and confident of his hacking sources , then print.
          The conclusion that I draw is this nonsense is a show / facade put in place for this blog audience

        • DGE

          Craig, not everyone is schooled in irony/sarcasm, as responses to your post indicate. Just add a /sarcasm tag at the end of the post so that the literalist peasants will get it.

  • gyges01

    You do realise that the second crop of Novichock poisoning was done to discredit and distract from those who questioned the first (Skripal) attack.

    • Doodlebug

      I don’t know who ‘You’ is meant to represent, but IMO you’ve fallen for the official narrative completely. There was no ‘Novichok’ poisoning or ‘first attack’, let alone a second. Of course the motive for HMG’s shouting ‘Russia’ is being steadily exposed, but that entire spider’s web (Steele – Miller – Skripal et al) was simply shaken as a result of the first incident, consequent upon the victim’s identity.

      UK secret services did not rattle their own cage by attempting to nullify Skripal and his daughter Yulia any more than did the Russians. ‘The Russians did it’ outcry was a panicked reaction, similar to your own, which sought to attribute a deliberately malevolent motive to the Skripal poisonings, on account of the known relationships and where exploration of that trail might lead once the undergrowth was disturbed. Craig and others are getting there eventually, but as much as there is no evidence for the use of anything masquerading as ‘Novichok’, there are good grounds for interpreting both poisoning events (Salisbury and Amesbury) as linked to narcotics transactions.

      Why is it, do you think, that fatal incidents of a similar variety since have not been laid at the door of Moscow’s chemists, if their ‘agents’ were responsible for deployment of the substance in the first instance? if the Russians were concerned merely to eliminate other Russians, then who is killing sundry members of the general public, and why?

      • gyges01

        “I don’t know who ‘You’ is meant to represent,” Craig, the author of the blog. “but IMO you’ve fallen for the official narrative completely.” That whoever poisoned the second group of victims did so to undermine anyone who questioned the narrative surrounding the original victims?

        I think that you’ve misconstrued my initial post; as such I doubt my ‘explainer’ will give you any clarity, but here you.

        • Doodlebug

          “I think that you’ve misconstrued my initial post”.

          I think not.

          “whoever poisoned the second group of victims did so to undermine anyone who questioned the narrative surrounding the original victims”

          If you believe the perfume bottle nonsense (as the Met. Police would wish) then the Amesbury poisoning was accidental. And why wait four months before any attempt at ‘undermining’?

          Whether one subscribes to the perfume bottle explanation or not, the likelihood in any event is that Rowley and Sturgess self-administered whatever toxin affected them, albeit unknowingly (I don’t think for a moment they intended to commit suicide).

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    How come Kirsty Wark is slumming it, hosting the pensioners phone in show on BBC Radio Shortbread this week?
    Wark, you will be flabbergasted to learn is a private school brat (not necessarily common in these parts).
    Are the BBC posting the big guns back North of the border in anticipation of a big Autumn announcement? Shades of 2014 with Jim Naughtie and Sarah Smith (British American Project and spook connections up the whatsit) sent North to soothe the natives?

    • Hatuey

      All correct. It’s the panic before the storm.

      I’ve also noticed they’re squeezing occasional bits of honesty into their news pieces these days, only with totally irrelevant things, trying to win people over so that they can rip them off with lies when the time comes.

      You’ve got to understand that the boy who cried wolf probably spent a lot of time and energy convincing people in between cries of wolf that he was trustworthy. Otherwise nobody would have cared what he cried and nobody would have written about about him…

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Naughtie (Fellow of the British American Project) is not out of the picture. From his Wiki: he announced that “early 2016 he would retire from regular presenting duties” to become a “Special Correspondent”…. “responsible for charting the course of constitutional changes”.
        His position of occasional “Special Correspondent” retains a six figure salary.

        • Hatuey

          He also tried his hand with a book review show. It was awkward and embarrassing for everybody involved, particularly viewers.

          Away from the routine of serving propaganda on breakfast radio, he’s a fish out of water.

          Something creepy about him.

  • N

    Jonathan Sacks

    * participated in the fascist “flag march” through East Jerusalem with thousands chanting “Death to the Arabs”

    * chose as one of his “best books of 2017” Douglas Murray’s “The Strange Death of Europe”, which favourably cites Enoch Powell

    Don’t expect to find corroboration easily for either of these facts by using Google.

    And the current British prime minister Theresa May demands that Jeremy Corbyn answers to this guy Sacks.

    How the f*** long is it until more people apply the same principles to considering the contributions of Nazi rabbis as they do to the efforts of Nazi imams?

  • N_

    British prime minister Theresa May has been oiling the wheels of a contract for a “security agreement” in Kenya. The media have been told to say it’s primarily about “targeting” paedophiles. They have also coyly referred to the involvement of “global tech firms”. Well WHICH ONES? Does any part of the MSM name them? Who has the British prime minister been helping?

    When the world economy crashes, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kenya is a flashpoint. There has been talk of large amounts of money getting stolen through the banking system in that country.

    And how’s the trade in human organs going in Kenya? Mustn’t mention that, eh? Too busy “targeting paedophiles”.

    • remember kronstadt

      UK has nothing to offer developing countries when it can’t manage itself or understand its place in the world. The sight of may in ‘local’ couture is as embarrassing and ridiculous as her dance moves – i’m looking forward to sheiks turning up in london wearing three piece tweed suits and flat caps doing the lambeth walk.

    • Borncynical

      “security agreement” – it’s presumably a toss up between G4S and Olive – who seem to be flavour of the month at the moment. They’ve passed the first test by promptly issuing a very short and sweet denial to the Russian allegation that they are involved in organising a false flag incident in Idlib province. Well, if they say they’re not involved who are we to disbelieve them?

  • Ishmael

    Side note;

    Does anyone know how to re-initiate notificatons of replies on this site?

    `(Though I really must find a more solid way to contribute e.g. £, as most of the content of the above sort is really not stuff I follow well, it’s really very complex macro politics, though obviously important)..

  • N_

    it was not discussed with Mr Skripal whether the information would be used for the BBC ahead of the book being published.

    Mr Urban reported his meetings with Mr Skripal on BBC Newsnight once the details of the book were made public in keeping with the understood terms of the interview.

    “(U)nderstood terms” – LOL. The BBC think they are being clever here. Look at those words “in keeping with the understood terms of the interview”. What do they apply to? To the reporting of the meetings? Or to the making public of “the details of the book”?

    As for British public bodies refusing to release information on the grounds that they are not legally obliged to, that is a very common approach.

  • Clark

    Excellent work Craig; I look forward to the response – or even the embarrassed silence.

    After the BBC attempted to act in the public interest by attempting to protect their source Dr David Kelly, the government viciously attacked the BBC and forced the replacement of senior members. So much for the BBC’s supposed ‘independence’.

    A public broadcaster should of course be answerable not to the government but to the public, and Jeremy Corbyn is currently consulting to shape policy to achieve just that, and much more besides. I recommend the following video of Jeremy Corbyn delivering the Alternative Mactaggart Lecture, part of Edinburgh TV Festival 2018. Use the new communications technologies to hear directly what Mr Corbyn himself has to say, in full, rather than brief clips embedded in editorial distortions which the private interest commercial media will no doubt attempt to popularise instead:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEYy7EATHhQ

    • Clark

      Note: the introduction and lecture start about twelve minutes in; just skip the first bit as it contains nothing relevant.

    • Ishmael

      Yea, the so called left in England have been talking a lot about reform. But still, if they get this kind of thing past, they will then be the “good guys” in central control. …Worse.

      The state is a private interest. It’s their view of the public interest. And the publics whole view of their interest is shaped by the state & it’s institutions, that JC encourages, by sly means like correlating the rise of violence with the lack of police, when there is absolutely no evidence this correlation relates to cause.

      They will do what the state does, protect it’s institutions of violence and control and see to it they persist, as strong if not stronger than before. under the rubric of some virtue.

      Fact is they have no right to exist. & I coundn’t give a monkeys how much of a flock says they do. & I want sites like this to continue to investigate & hold to account the injustice they will perpetuate in the name of justice. So screw the BBC, forever.

      All the people now cozying up to JC are doing it because they see state money & undue influence coming their way, And that privilege seen as “legitimate” has no inherent rights.

    • Ishmael

      Let’s be clear. There is very little of a left wing movement in the UK.

      Those at Novara, in Momentum etc, that’s a right wing movement. It aims to take control of the state in the name of the people. That’s not left wing.

      No such animal as a left wing government. Nor a socialist one (an absurd notion), A government can give space to the left. But it will always be antithetical to it.

      • Clark

        We have to work with what’s available. Current and recent governments were not even going to “give space to the left”; any movement even vaguely to the left has been consistently ignored or rubbished by the mass media. A government under a party controlled by a strong membership can make space for the left. At least look before you dismiss.

        • Ishmael

          O I don’t dismiss. Im just very pragmatic as to the reality of the situation. They do potentially offer an enlargement of the cage that is the state/corporate nexus. But it will aways be a cage.

    • bj

      Many of these “new communications technologies” happen to be “private interest”s as well.

      As you must know.

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T but it might be of interest to Craig who has written about the terrible state of the privatised railways and to anyone else who uses the East Coast line.

    Britain’s ‘Third World railway’: Tourist forced to stand for nearly five hours on over-booked train brands rail bosses ‘idiots’ and says passengers were so crammed they couldn’t reach loos
    Lachie Robertson, 35, from Australia, was travelling to London from Edinburgh
    He was among dozens of people forced to stand for four-and-a-half hour journey
    Social media users hit out at LNER over images, dubbing it a ‘third world service’
    LNER said train was unusually busy due to bank holiday and engineering works
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6110395/London-North-Eastern-Railway-passengers-forced-stand-nearly-five-hours-Edinburgh-train.html

    570 comments thereon!

    • remember kronstadt

      There’s a very simple solution to this problem of overcrowding on trains. Once the seating has been sold any additional passengers travel free. This will both help the franchiser motivate themselves to provide sufficient capacity and the seatless passengers won’t be charged for the inconvenience. You can’t fly a plane with passengers sat in the aisles so why trains?

      • Squeeth

        What a good idea but who thinks that the passengers are the service users? the real service users are those who benefit most from the status quo. Guess who they are?

      • Sharp Ears

        I have just met friends at the station. They have been down to Exeter. The outward journey took 3 more hours than the 3hours and 10 mins scheduled. The train broke down at Chippenham and the driver couldn’t restart it. They are still diesel electric on GWR. A replacement train eventually arrived and everybody (another packed train) had to decamp. The return journey two days later was not a lot better. Late leaving and delays on the way. They are claiming compensation not that alters anything or improves the reliability of the service. The return fare is +£72.

        When I saw the crowds of young people leaving and entering the station while I was waiting, I thought to myself how stressful their lives must be using the railway every day, let alone finding the cost of their travel and the rents they are having to pay – £700-£800 per month for their shoeboxes.

  • Mark

    Reminds me of Pete Townsend’s ‘book research’ when he was caught downloading and paying for child porn. Where is the book? is a question that was asked of him and could easily be asked of Urban too

    • Dustin4Eurovision

      They are wrong. The Eurovision is a unique opportunity. Don’t boycott, get banned at the airport.

      Send a song about Palestine and the suffering they endure. Maybe about a march of return. 12 minutes long. 20+ countries in a row the same song. Be creative. Tear down the facade of tolerance and decency. Turn it into a charade. Humiliate. Point and laugh.

      • bj

        Hmm. That may be an excellent idea.

        Of course there would have to be a song masquerading as the cover, up until ‘le moment supreme’.

        Only that way will the surprise be total.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          With legislation going through the Knesset making it illegal to display a Palestinian flag in Is***l with a punishment of one year in the big hotel, you might be able to smuggle a flag onto the stage but you wouldn’t be seeing friends and family anytime soon.

    • Republicofscotland

      Vivian.

      Yes boycott it indeed, the oppressive apartheid state of Israel shouldnt be hosting it. In fact boycott the Eurovision Song contest period. Its now just a platform to espouse political grievances in the form of song.

      Who could forget Ukraines anti-Russian ditty in 2016.

      https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/may/14/ukraine-wins-eurovision-jamala-1944

      The Eurovision Song contest should be just that European. Of course Israel is an associated state to the EU, but it should not be panderd to in any way. Apartheid states like Israel must be universally shunned.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        In my fever dream an independent Scotland is represented in perpetuity at Eurovision by Arab strap (no pun intended given the current thread). Every year, a misery drenched dirge from Aidan and Malcolm. Every year we exit at the earliest opportunity with a magnificent and unblemished nul points.

    • Sharp Ears

      At the moment they don’t know where to stage it. Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Have they got one of those vast auditoria. And what about the visitors’ accommodation and the Shin Bet search facilities at Ben Gurion Airport, better known as Lydda.
      ‘The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod, and it was a significant Judean town from the Maccabean Period to the early Christian period. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War most of the city’s Arab inhabitants were expelled in the 1948 Palestinian exodus from Lydda and Ramle. The town was resettled by Jewish immigrants, most of them from Arab countries, alongside 1,056 Arabs who remained.
      Israel’s main international airport, Ben Gurion Airport (previously known as Lydda Airport, RAF Lydda, and Lod Airport) is located on the outskirts of the city.’

      Read this flannel. You can tell it’s going well. Not. I would like to see the Israelis discomfited.
      https://eurovision.tv/story/which-city-should-host-eurovision-2019-israel
      Q Can anyone remember their song Toy? I can’t. I remember the odd looking performer with her Minnie Mouse hairdo.

      • Borncynical

        I can remember pre-Contest interviews with ‘Minnie Mouse’ in which she never stopped talking about how she’d always been bullied at school and now she could hold her head up and feel she’d achieved something…and to win would be the icing on the cake, or words to that effect. Very forgetful song (when was the last time anyone heard it played on Radio 2 apart from during the Contest itself?) but I wasn’t surprised when she won, after the sob story.

  • TJ

    “Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism, but I can provide you with a more general response regarding Mark’s meetings with Mr Skripal.”

    One can easily make the case that journalism has been missing in action at the BBC since the Iraq War, perhaps a legal challenge on that basis could be made.

  • frank

    ” Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism”.
    Journalism?
    I think it could be better described as copying and pasting briefings from the intel agencies.

  • Clark

    Ishmael, you could join the Labour Party where you could have your say. There are 550,000 of us now, and 300,000 registered supporters. That is a mass movement.

    And no way am I saying that Craig and others like him should give up.

    The BBC consists of over 20,000 people. The vast majority of them will be honest and decent. You should listen to Corbyn’s lecture because he’s proposing that power be devolved away from the present top-down structure and towards the viewers and working journalists. He is opposed to control by government or any unaccountable body.

    • Ishmael

      I don’t want a say in the Labour party. I want to hold to account as a citizen/person, for their crimes. Nothing more. Not that I believe they have a ‘legitimate job” but imo to be responsive to members is not democratic.

      Not least because most of those members are capitalist market workers.

      Iv been in the green party so I know how these basic totalitarian structures function, how they marginalise the public. How they MUST marginalise many voices to function. I fundamentally don’t believe they have a right to exist. Again it’s the analogy of the cage. I may back one with more room, but I still don’t believe they are right in their nature. They may include a wider spectrum, be more accountable, better, but still.

      “What we proclaim is The Right to Well-Being: Well-Being for All!”

      The states basic function maintains the rights of private property & the market etc. The idea of the left should be disruption, I can do more, we can do more, outside. Who will test it really ? Who will see if they allow people to do things themselves? like transactions outside the market? Outside the state?

      They want to control everything still, accountable or not. They see it as their legitimate job. I don’t want the state to exist ultimately. How can they be accountable to that? They have no legitimate rights over us imo. To join would be to go against what I believe in.

      Ps Sorry for the language in my initial reply. I know your a very mild character who doesn’t like such things. Im still very impulsive. I don’t like it myself much.

      “”Anarchism”,
      from The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910.

      Peter Kropotkin

      ANARCHISM (from the Gr. av, and aoxn, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent – for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary – as is seen in organic life at large – harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.”

    • Ishmael

      Also, putting aside it’s unjust at it’s core, I would never even potentially allow my voice defending people of Palestine to be compromised. These kinds of internal disciplinary things, it’s all part of this totalitarian structure of control.

      And they seek to educate …The Public? …Those who are meant to serve the public? The “left” in the party are an affront to my dignity & liberty, & that they seek to overstep there own clique into public education ?

      No words Clark, no words.

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