With David it's his intelligence that makes him sexy. Obviously he's a good looking boy and in good shape, but fundamentally it's his intelligence, he is curious and full of ideas. He is also rock solid Labour, which is always a plus.How could that conceivably be a "plus" in relation to his acting or general suitability to portray a Time Lord from Gallifrey? I am a huge fan of Dr Who. I consider the Tardis to be the cleverest construct in the whole of science fiction and love the humour of the show compared to the po-faced, up-themselves worthiness of other great sci-fi franchises. But it's hard not to notice than any business-person who makes an appearance is seeking to profit from the sufferings of others or to destroy a planet in order to revenge himself on the board that fired him.
I grew up listening to Radio 4 and still, from habit, turn it on in the morning. The constant diet of Fabian filth usually irritates me into turning it off within minutes but not this morning. There was a bland piece by what sounded like (but wasn't) some breathless intern desperate to make her name. That's just the house style at the BBC these days; every presenter has morphed into a Blue Peterite of the 1970s talking down to an audience of children. I listened in rather the same spirit as someone trying not to look at a car crash.
Her theme was "serendipity" and I cannot say she did not educate me at all. She interviewed a poetry professor from SOAS, who told her that "Serendip" was the Persian name for the island now known as Sri Lanka and that the connection with our modern use of the word is an ancient fable of which the moral, to the Persians, is that good may come of the worst events.
Then she spoke with a professor, his name hardly matters, engaged in the study of luck; the William HIll Professor of Chance at the University of Dudley, for all I know. He suggested that serendipity will be manufactured on an industrial scale by the application of information technology. He said that the NSA's computers in America are capable of processing so much data that (and I paraphrase loosely) it's closer to everything than a lot. Soon they will have the ability to ask for "anything interesting connecting X with Y" or even just "about X" and find information previously inaccessible in any practical fashion.
He sounded indecently excited about this. I was also interested in the thought because, while the NSA's SuperStasi ambitions are old news, it occured to me that the "peacetime" applications of such "military" technology might be immensely valuable. The most likely answer to the Needham question, after all, is that China's then peaceful security provided less incentive for technological advance than the insecurity of Europe's warring states. How wonderful if the outcome of the NSA's wickedness was - accidentally -a great leap forward! A leap in human knowledge, not of the quotidien activities of hundreds of millions of innocents (and a few dangerous nut-jobs) but of stuff that really matters.
One positive thought over breakfast, I find, is good for the health.
So much, so BBC, but here's the creepily funny part. Our breathless intern journalist and psychologist asked if such an 'engine' could process the data of her own life in order to detect, explain and even promote serendipity. Our professor of chance laughed and answered that, by comparison with the data being processed by the NSA, the facts of her life were relatively trivial, so yes. I actually felt hurt for her at this monumental insult, but she seemed very relaxed.
Statism, so often, arises from just such a lack of imagination. Even someone as active online as me does not share a googolth of his thoughts on the 'net. Nor is even the worst internet nerd sharing most of his human interaction in any readily recordable form. We are all - even BBC presenters - far more than the data we present for external analysis. Only someone who thinks that a human life can be reduced to facts, and that they in turn can be adequately analysed by wise and well-equipped masters, would say such a bizarre thing to a fellow human.
It only remains to be asked why anyone forms such a view, given that they are blessed with the same brain, heart and spirit as the rest of us. Perhaps their desperate quest for equality-by-violent-force is shaped by the secret fear that they really do lack something wonderful enjoyed by their fellow-men? Perhaps they are just not equipped by nature to know it's not mere money or power?
There you go, Aleks. Serendipity. I listened to a show out of curiousity as to just how condescending one woman could be, and obtained an insight into the cold, dark, empty souls of British statists.
Has there ever been a better demonstration of the BBC's political bias than this story of sexual abuse in North Wales children's homes? It happened, years ago, in a solid Labour area. I grew up there. I was standing at a bar in Clwyd (as it then was) on the night Mrs Thatcher won her first General Election. A local cried out in genuine disbelief;
"How can she have won? I have never even met a bloody Tory!"
It's therefore a scandal of the Left. Children in the care of socialist public authorities were abused due to the actions of some public employees and the negligence of others. That's why it was barely mentioned by the BBC for decades. Given the opportunity to accuse one enemy of the Left, however, and - decades old though it was - suddenly it was the top of the BBC news.
I applaud the BBC's decision to allow Panorama to investigate what it knew about Jimmy Savile's misconduct and why the Newsnight story about his alleged paedophilia was pulled. The video is available for a while to UK residents on the BBC iPlayer here:
Any organisation that is not dependent upon its customers, whether a state or private monopoly, will eventually become self-serving. During my career I was party to many conversations about how to maximise profit for the owners of our businesses and provide attractive employment terms for our staff, but they all turned in the end to what our customers would want, or at least accept. We spent much more time worrying how to please customers than please ourselves. Satisfied customers who choose to come back are the only guarantee for owners, managers and workers in the private sector that they can achieve their personal goals.
As will all state enterprises funded by taxation, the BBC has become, in effect, a worker's co-operative. The "customers" have to pay regardless, so they become irrelevant and the focus turns to the interests of its own people. No private business would survive the shit storm that is heading the BBC's way. The share price would now be collapsing as investors tried to get out before the lawsuits begin. I confidently and sadly predict however that the BBC will survive. It has the coercive power of the state behind it and will simply take your money to settle the cases. It is the left establishment's propaganda arm and they will rally to restore its reputation.
We are about to have an instructive, but depressing, demonstration of the realities of modern Britain. We will be able to compare and contrast the BBC news and current affairs teams' handling of this story with their campaign against News International. Just imagine if the phone-hackers had worked for Newsnight and Savile had worked for Sky News!
Predictable though it all was, it was still disturbing to follow Panorama's account of the decision-making process within the Corporation. There was lots of high-falutin' stuff about editorial independence and a clear concern for the BBC's reputation. There was also some po-faced nonsense about depending on the trust of a public that, trusting or not, it will continue to plunder by use of state force. Not one person (apart from those making official statements once the story was out and the lady reporter from Newsnight who will no doubt pay for it when the storm has passed) expressed any convincing concern for their customers-by-force. Some of whom have, it seems, been abused by members of the collective and friends under their protection.
I watched the faces of the people making the allegations and it brought back another memory from the days of watching Jim'll Fix It. I found a girl from my school in a drunken heap at the side of the road on my way home from a date with my girlfriend one night. I tried to help her to go home. It turned out she was in social services care and lived in a nearby childrens' home. When I offered to take her there she begged me not to. She offered sex if I would take her somewhere, anywhere, else. Indeed, "offered" is something of a euphemism. If I had a victim mentality, I would say she attempted rape. I was able to restrain her and decline her offer.
I asked if she had relatives and she told me about an uncle who lived in the area. In retrospect, I worry that she made him up or that her relationship with him was rather different, but I was a naive teenager. I took her to a nearby pub and gave her the money to call him. I left her in the care of the publican, once assured her uncle was on his way.
I later found out that she lived in one of the homes at the centre of a notorious scandal. It rather explained both her reluctance to go there and her use of sex as a currency. I now dread to think what she was going through while I was enjoying a safe and happy childhood. I am ashamed to have ever thought myself hard done to by my strict parents, when I consider what that girl had been put through by the "caring" state professionals paid to look after her.
Here is the fatal flaw in all collectivist thinking; the reason why public service organisations are all more or less corrupt and can never fully be trusted. Here is the reason why Britain's public intellectuals are not merely gullible, idealistic, fools but a serious threat to our welfare.
All organisations funded by force are essentially immoral.
In their detachment from the relentless reality of having to satisfy customers and in their assurance that livelihoods do not depend upon that satisfaction, selfish, abusive behaviours will grow among their staff. Whether in care homes for the elderly, childrens homes, the Parliamentary expenses office, army barracks or police stations bad things will happen not by accident but flawed design. To be clear, I am not saying that public sector workers are all, or even mostly, evil or ill-intentioned. I am just saying that a disproportionate number of the lazy, greedy and wicked in any society will be attracted, as Savile was, to positions they are able to abuse. Nor am I saying there should be no public sector. I am not an anarchist. I accept the need for a state. But here is a strong argument for it to be kept to an absolute minimum.
There is a reason socialist states have always had to resort to prison camps and shootings to maintain discipline and reduce corruption in the ranks. At least, that is, within limits that don't threaten the corrupt gains of their ruling elites. In the absence of Stalinist discipline, what happened at the BBC - the way the collective closed ranks to protect an insider - is not a sad exception to the rule. It is the rule.
BBC News - Today - Europe 'living in fantasy' over crisis.
The tone of the interviewer's voice as Terry Smith of Tullett Prebon tells her (among other home truths) that there have been no cuts and that the public sector must shrink dramatically is music to my ears.
Something tells me Mr. Smith's career as a BBC pundit is over.
h/t David Vance at Biased BBC
In Praise of the BBC's Political Coverage - Robert Smith - Dale & Co..
[The linked article is a rather implausible defence of the BBC's political independence. Having written a long comment on it, I thought I would cross-post it here].
Come off it! There is no justification for having a state broadcaster at all in a free society; still less one with such an iron grip on political opinion-forming. As there is no good reason for a perfectly commercial operation to be state-owned, it seems reasonable to infer there is a bad one!
The BBC's bias is very consistent. Whether it's a Freudian slip of a Today presenter saying "if we win" to Tony Blair, the champagne bottles littering the BBC's corridors after a Labour win or the permanent outnumbering of the Conservatives (in opposition and now in government) on all BBC shows, it could not be clearer. Even deadbeat Labour has-beens like John Prescott are treated as kings in exile. The reverential tone towards the Labour leadership is really quite sickening.
The sheer number of discussion panels on Andrew Marr, Newsnight etc., that are comprised entirely of Labourites and their luvvie fellow-travellers makes it implausible that you are at all serious in claiming neutrality.
Nor is this either new or limited to the news-gathering function of Comrade Auntie. I recently watched the DVD of one of my favourite old BBC dramas, "The House of Cards" trilogy and - when considered in the political context of the time - it was nothing short of systematic demonisation of the Conservatives.
Most dramatically; consider how, when leftists run riot at a 'cuts' protest, they are called 'anarchists' by the BBC (as if anarchists would demand a BIGGER state!) while the Norwegian butcher or any BNP lout is described straightforwardly as 'right wing' (not even 'extreme right wing')
It is true that this is as much a class issue; a form of snobbery, as it is leftism. Our lords and masters used to assume divine right. Now they assume ideological superiority. Such is the command of the left in British academia that the apparatchiks of the BBC probably don't even notice their own sneering at ordinary people and their 'reactionary' views.
The primary teacher tone of most BBC presenters tells us all we need to know about how they view us. Every bloody show is 'Blue Peter'. No-one speaks to us as adults to be respected.
Presumably that's why the old-fashioned paternalistic Tories of the modern Conservative Party are also weirdly comfortable with a Soviet-style state broadcaster. The BBC is simply the media arm of a nasty, condescending elite which is utterly contemptuous of the ordinary Britons on which its members feed.
For many of us, the feeling is mutual.
The oligarch supporters of President Yeltsin discovered by accident how to get their drunken but reliably corrupt puppet re-elected, despite national embarrassment at his failings. In desperation, they bought the national TV stations, whose newsdesks informed the political opinions of a decisive majority. To their surprise it worked. Their unsavoury skins were saved.
When Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was made Yeltsin's political heir, their media machine got him elected. They were confident he would reward them, but they underestimated their man. He and his "Chekist" faction didn't want to depend on them for power, so they seized those TV stations "for the nation". They used them to develop what they amusingly call a "managed democracy".
Having ensured a consistent line from key news desks, they found they could cheerfully ignore the otherwise free press. You can read criticism of VVP in Russian newspapers and magazines. You can hear it on local TV and radio too. He will happily point to it as evidence of Russia's free press. But you won't hear a word of effective criticism on national TV, which is all he cares about.
The occasional murder of a journalist seems born of exuberance, not necessity.
Living in Russia for several years, I wondered if the Chekists got their ideas from observing the relationship between the BBC and the British ruling elite. Why did the Conservatives not win the last election outright, despite economic circumstances that would have made Labour unelectable in any other place and time? Two reasons. Firstly a rigged election system. Voting figures that would have given Labour a working majority were insufficient for the Tories. Secondly the BBC News team (and their incestuous faux-competitors at Channel 4) did the same job for Labour that their Russian counterparts do for United Russia. The same team now consistently keens and wails about "Tory cuts" despite the fact that public spending is still rising, thus keeping the hapless Boy David firmly to leftist lines in all key respects.
By the way, how can that rigged election system remain in place? Because the BBC will never give airtime to anyone who points it out - and will report any attempt to reform it as Tory election-rigging. So there's really only one reason.
Love him or hate him (and he doesn't make himself easy to love) Rupert Murdoch represented the only well-funded and plausible threat to the BBC hegemony in British opinion-forming. For the good of the same ruling elite that loved him when they were successfully bribing him to do their bidding, he therefore had to be stopped from gaining full control of BSkyB. His reported remark that Sky News would be more like Fox News if his British management ever listened to him made that very clear.
Search Twitter today for the hashtag #newsnight and see the vengeful, malicious British Left in full triumphant cry. Having pitched the pompous right-on comedian Steve Coogan against a carefully-selected rat-like specimen of the tabloid press, the BBC's Newsnight team could barely contain its near-sexual excitement last night. It was glorying (as the BBC has for days) in doing immense damage to its only serious enemy.
Today's Telegraph leader has it almost right.
To punish the whole of the press for News International’s misdemeanours is wrong; so, too, is the sneering disdain of the political classes for the tabloid newspapers that are read by the majority of their constituents. It was a revolting spectacle to see Labour politicians cheer the closure of one of this country’s oldest newspapers, with the loss of 200 staff, most of whom had nothing to do with the scandal – especially since they only found their voice once News International had ended its support of their party.
Why almost? Because this is not about "them" - the Press, but about us, the people. What the dangerous new coalition of vengeful slebs, spurned and furious Labourites and politicians determined to ensure no repetition of the expenses scandal threatens is our very way of life.
The Britain I knew and loved, now fighting for its feeble life, was formed by centuries of press freedom. The broadsheets might debate the issues of the day, but few were following them. It was the ferocious tabloid press that kept the elites in line. It instilled fear into those who, by dishonesty, excess, immorality or even mere snootiness towards the public that feeds them, deserved popular disapproval.
The BBC is a primary source of work for Coogan. It has the ability to enhance the career of Hugh Grant. They and other celebrities have their own reasons (for which the public had no sympathy before Millygate) to hate and fear the tabloids. After all these are the papers that personify the prurient interest in their private lives of the British public on whom they live - and for whom they feel such disdain.
We know what they want from new regulators. We also know what the BBC and Guardian will want. Most of all we know what the politicians of all parties will want. But it's not their disparate agendas that are the problem, it's what they have in common. That is a desire for working people to have neither ready access to anti-statist views, nor regular evidence of the moral corruption of the British ruling elite and its luvvie running dogs.
We don't need to like Mr Murdoch to recognize this. His employees' disgraceful misconduct has given our elites their greatest chance for decades to undermine that sturdy contempt for the powerful that makes us free men.