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A Party Leaders debate on Sky – you are kidding right?

By Angela Harbutt
October 5th, 2009 at 6:00 am | 10 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

election-debate2So I understand from a joint press release on Friday that BBC, ITV and SKY have jointly agreed to offer the leaders of the three main parties in England (Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg) the prospect of a three way TV debate – one each hosted by ITV, Sky and BBC.

 I have two questions….


Am I the only one to question why SKY gets a seat at the table when its owner has already declared for one of the party’s involved? Rupert Murdoch’s SKY operation cannot be considered impartial – and I for one would support any of the parties that declined to take part in a debate on that network.

2. WHY JUST A LEADERS DEBATE ? – lets see the lot of them…

I understand that the media are gagging for a “presidential” debate between the leaders . And we might wish that the leaders were “presidents ” standing on their own tickets – but they are not. David Cameron cannot control the ultra “get out of Europe” brigade, so sits on the fence on the issue, Nick Clegg cannot move without the “Federal Policy Committee” approval and Gordon Brown is ….well… fighting everyone in his party…. and teetering on the brink of a coup ….

These are not “presidents”. These are leaders of complex , fractious groups, who without exception, are facing bigger internal battles than they are external ones. I knew that politicians had lost touch with the real world – but when did the broadcasters lose the plot?


(Nothing on Sky thanks a lot – your boss has made his views clear already).
Four debates on ITV , BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4  (these all have independent news programmes that are unbiased).

Each debate covering one of the 4 great offices of state . This would involve the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary and their counterparts from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. At least that way we would get to sample a range of talents from across the parties not just the figureheads. Strikes me as fairer all round (and much more entertaining I’m sure)….


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BBC plugs public service in favour of popularity

By Angela Harbutt
September 8th, 2009 at 9:03 am | 6 Comments | Posted in Culture

chris-evans-and-woganThe BBC (which seems to have even less of a finger on the pulse of the nation than our Prime Minister ….if that is actually possible) seems to have gone and done it again.

Let me give you a bit of background…..

Radio 2’s remit is to cater for those aged 35 and older. Now, Radio 2 has been under considerable fire recently for chasing younger audiences. RadioCentre, (a group representing the BBC’s commercial rivals) has already made a formal complaint to the corporation’s internal watchdog that listeners aged 15 to 34, represent the fastest-growing group of Radio 2 listeners. Note this is with Terry Wogan (aged 71) hosting its breakfast show (the average age of a Terry Wogan breakfast show listener is reckoned to be about 52).

In contrast, Radio 1’s remit is to cater for 15-34 year olds. Radio 1 has also been under fire. Just last month it was identified as a possible sell off target by the Tories for not fulfilling its obligation to the 15-34’s. It’s average age appears to be creeping upwards. Chris Moyles (age 35) presents the radio 1 breakfast show.

With that in mind, the BBC is now faced with the problem. Who to put into Terry Wogan’s seat when he steps down from the most high profile radio breakfast show in the UK. Its a big decision. Radio’s 1 and  2 each attract about 8 million listeners. Thats quite a few people.

So, the BBC’s choice to replace beloved Wogan? erm… Chris Evans (age 43).
I don’t know if this Mandelson-esque arrogance or just pure incompetence on the part of the BBC. Moyles vs Wogan – reasonable choice for the 16million (licence fee-paying) radio listeners that tune in each morning to one or other show. Moyles vs Evans – no choice. Go away oldies and find some other station to listen to.

What we clearly have  are two purportedly public service radio stations both moving inexorably toward the middle ground of those in their thirties. Public Service plugged in favour of popularity.

Personally I object to an enforced tax handed over to an organisation that cant control its budgets, its presenters, or it seems its station controllers. But when it actually falls measurably short of meeting the remits under which it is charged to operate, its time to say enough. If it has got too big. If it has lost sight of its purpose. If it cant carry out something as simple as run two complimentary radio stations without cocking it up, then it really is time to undertake some drastic surgery.

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BBC reports total financial meltdown

By Tom Papworth
August 14th, 2009 at 7:02 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in Economics, UK Politics

Capitalism really is over, with the entire value of shares on the London Stock Exchange wiped out in Friday trading.



The British government are lying, murdering bastards says BBC

By Mark Littlewood
July 8th, 2009 at 11:27 am | 3 Comments | Posted in Culture

david-kellyIf you want a good example of how attitudes to our political masters have changed over the years, look no further than Torchwood, the Dr Who spin-off series that has finally found its feet with its new mini-series this week.

Back in the old days of Dr Who, government ministers and officials were bumbling but benign and had names like “Tubby Rowlands”.

In the new Torchwood epic, the British Prime Minister, Brian Green, sanctions the murder of those good guys who might cause embarrassment to the government and the UK police state is close to assuming pariah status on the international stage. 

Good to see the Beeb’s science fiction output keeping up with the zeitgesit.

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Over 100 hours of glorious television proving two key points

By Mark Littlewood
June 22nd, 2009 at 12:11 pm | 11 Comments | Posted in Culture

the-shieldthe-wireLiberal Vision doesn’t do commerical advertising (yet), but if we did, we’d offer a huge discount to promote these two top quality products.

Arguably the best television drama productions of the last few years, The Wire and The Shield are both ultra-gritty, unalloyed cop dramas exposing the catastrophic levels of bureaurcratic corruption in a largely futile battle against violent crime.

The Wire follows – across its five seasons – the drugs war in the public  housing projects of Baltimore, the corruption of the trade unions, the catastrophes of the state eduction system, the sleaze in the mayor’s office and the changing role of a cynical media.

The 88-episode Shield focuses on renegade cop Vic Mackey, whose gang-busting Strike Team causes as many problems as it solves in the social abomination that is the Farmington district of Los Angeles.

Having now watched both series – practically back-to-back – I was left with two abiding impressions. Firstly, the war on drugs is not just a collosal waste of money, it is crushingly counter-productive, embedding a multi-billion pound industry in the hands of murderous gang warlords and effectively destroying the rule of law in a raft of deprived areas.

Secondly, commerical American television is now producing drama that surpasses the tamer and less imaginative output that is increasingly the fare of the state-financed BBC. In fact, if you refuse to pay your licence fee this year, you can just about afford to buy the full box sets of The Wire and The Shield from Amazon.

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