All entries for Tuesday 28 November 2006

November 28, 2006

You are an arse and a wife–beater…

...and not only do you smell, you also beat your children.

What ya gonna do about it???

Well, the director of the Press Complaints Commission, Tim Toulmin, says you should be able to go to a Blogs Complaints Commission which acts as a regulator over libelous and nasty comment on the internet.

Like the PCC, it would be self-regulating and have no real bite behind its bark. You’d have to apologise publicly on your blog, retract the original comment and look very very sorry.

But it’s a non-starter. There are far too many blogs for any independent body to be able to oversee them. Even if done in the style of Wikipedia – so the job of regulating blogs was shared between many people – I can’t imagine that a body of work so huge could be adjudicated fairly. Mr Toulmin also seems to ignore the widely-held view that the PCC doesn’t work, so why would a blogging equivalent?

It might work as a voluntary scheme, adding greater credibility to the creme de la creme of blogs. But who would sit on a Blogs Complaints Commission?

I applaud Tim Toulmin for rejecting the idea of strict regulation, governed by law. But I challenge him to come up with a way of making this work.

Michael Who?

What will Michael Grade’s departure from the BBC mean to Auntie? Well, I don’t think she’ll have been crying into her cornflakes when she read the Daily Telegraph this morning.

Michael GradeCertainly, Grade has steadied the ship through two very turbulent years, and nearly negotiated a licence fee for the next five years, but as Chairman his role wasn’t crucial to the BBC’s future direction. It seems he was lukewarm about becoming Chair of the BBC Trust (which takes over from its Board of Governors on January 1st). In fact, he was a slightly odd choice for Chairman in the first place, as he’s a producer at heart and will have missed not getting his hands dirty.

His new job at ITV allows him to do that, and comes with a hefty payrise too. It’s a massive boon for the ailing broadcaster as he’ll effectively be Chairman and CEO for the next two years, before appointing someone to take over as Chief Executive. It might be a more worrying appointment for BSkyB who since last week own 17.9% of ITV. He doesn’t like them, they don’t like him, and he won’t take any interference from them if he doesn’t like it.

But for the BBC, Grade himself accurately described the effect his leaving will have:

The BBC’s bigger than one person. People leave the BBC and a hole opens up. It’s amazing how quickly that hole fills up. Yes there’ll be a few days where they sort themselves out. But I can guarantee you by Monday it will be: ‘Michael who?’

And who will fill it?

David Attenborough probably won’t be interested now. David Dimbleby probably didn’t get the job last time for reasons which will still be the case now. Which leaves Richard Lambert, Baroness Jay and anyone else from the ether. After last night’s scoop, I can only really predict one thing: expect the unexpected.

George Osborne is a pathetic playground bully

Writing about web page,,17129-2475122,00.html

According to today’s Times, the shadow chancellor George Osborne has had handwriting analysis carried out on Gordon Brown which found:

The writer is not shy. The writer shows unreliable and poor judgment. The writer was not in control of their emotions and instincts at the time of writing. There are signs that the writer is someone who does not like to give a clear-cut image of himself. There are signs that the writer can be evasive.

Pathetic George Osborne

If this is the level to which Mr Osborne has sunk, is he really a credible Chancellor of the Exchequer? Not in a million years. Two months ago he called the Chancellor “autistic”. He’s making Punch and Judy politics look good.

The article later points out that Mr Brown can only see out of one eye and that the person who carried out the analysis said that the 14 words she saw were “insufficient information” to come to any firm conclusions.

Didn’t stop The Times toadying to Osborne’s pathetic excuse for news though, did it?

A good old conspiracy theory

The horrible death of the former KGB and FSB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, has kicked up a good whodunnit for the Met, Home Office and even the government’s emergency COBRA committee.

The finger is easily pointed at President Putin, and given the appalling record of his government, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if forces working on his behalf had done it.

But… There’s something so tempting about the idea about a greater conspiracy. I find myself agreeing with the right-wing American Pat Buchanan who says:

In an assassination, one must ask: Cui bono? To whose benefit? Who would gain from the poisoning of Litvinenko? Certainly not Putin. Litvinenko’s death puts him, the Kremlin and the KGB, now the FSB, under suspicion of having reverted to the terror tactics of Stalin, who commissioned killers to liquidate enemies like Leon Trotsky, murdered in Mexico in 1940.

Why would someone working for the Russian government want Litvinenko to die slowly and in front of the Western (notably not the Russian) media? It’s incredibly embarrassing for the Kremlin on the international stage, although Putin’s stranglehold over the Russian media means it is not likely to be a domestic issue for him.

Unless someone in the Russian secret forces royally cocked up, the finger of suspicion surely has to point to someone who has a grudge against Putin and wants to set him up.

So as much as we’d like to put the blame at Putin’s doorstep, we must be open to the idea that it is only his unpopularity which is to blame for Litvinenko’s death.

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