Archive for the ‘television’ Category
I have seen nothing so shameful, crass and ignorant as the behaviour of staff in the BBC newsroom during the Queen’s visit today.
I saw not one bow, curtsey, nor even a bow of the head as Her Majesty passed by. Instead, in vulgar and embarrassing fashion virtually everyone was pointing their mobile phone, gawping, intruding, forgetting themselves. ‘Chav’ seems the perfect moniker for such individuals.
If this is the behaviour of well educated people at the world’s leading news organisation at the pinnacle of British cultural life then we are sadly diminished.
This is finals week and I never knew you could get teared up about cooking!
My hot tip is Natalie, the ‘common as muck’ but charming ingenue. Personality plays a big part.
It’s worth watching. The music, which reveals the rhythm of cooking, is a vital ingredient.
An extraordinary and bizarre event took place tonight between 10.30 pm and 10.35 pm.
Newsnight was running its lead story about Panorama’s story about Newsnight not doing a story about Jimmy Saville.
Five minutes later Panorama started its story about Newsnight not doing a story about Jimmy Saville.
Meanwhile on BBC News the lead story was Panorama, Newsnight, Panorama on Newsnight, Newsnight on Panorama on Newsnight.
You have to give the BBC due credit and respect.
Clearly bad things took place on its premises and under its auspices but the absurd level of guilt by association or even suspicion is pernicious and evil. MPs are grandstanding over it, including John Whittingdale, chair of the Culture select committee, whose politicking and pre-judgement of his own inquiry is disgraceful. Obviously the print media and other broadcasters are exploiting it for their own ends but I admire the BBC’s handling of the scandal. Any other media organisation would have covered it up.
The BBC is its own fiercest critic and I congratulate it for that.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and a dreadfully cruel thing for those who had the best intentions.
This is a wonderful new HBO television series of the standard of the Wire, The Sopranos, ER and, most significantly, The West Wing. Its writer, the legendary Aaron Sorkin, also writes and produces The Newsroom. Official website here.
It is beautifully done and sows so many seeds of so much plot and character potential in its first episode – and it gets even better in the second.
Emily Mortimer is gorgeous as the female lead. It amuses, irritates and then enrages me that this delightful British actress plays the noble American “land of the free” story but at least she doesn’t feign any accent and it’s clear she’s a Brit.
It starts as the Gulf of Mexico disaster is breaking news and it has a great, inspirational philosophy too – do you remember when we used to regard journalists as heroes and seekers after truth?
The Newsroom is exciting and very special.
It’s not my favourite programme. It’s the BBC doing tabloid exploitation and sensationalising crime. Since Fiona Bruce was kicked off for being “too old” it’s lost all semblance of any dignity. I watched it tonight though and was struck how three out of four of the vile. disgusting crimes featured were all, quite obviously, the product of prohibition.
The first two were characterised by levels of risk or violence totally out or proportion to the potential gain – crack or smack heads in need of a fix or a pipe. The third was clearly a punishment attack over drug debts.
These evil crimes are the product of government policy. I make no apology nor claim any excuse for the scumbags that committed them but if prohibition was ended, the criminal markets were undercut , then there would be no motive for such evil. Those few that wished to destroy their lives could do so without being forced into crime against those innocents who choose a more productive and decent life.
It is the most absurd idiocy of modern government that this moral retribution against those who err is the cause of most crime in our society.
Is it not time that we opened our eyes and employed a touch of common sense?
Cameron On Cannabis Part 5 is here.
David Cameron’s mistakes about university places, immigration and cannabis have been on my mind over the Easter holiday. Given the huge resources he has to ensure that his information is correct, it’s not really acceptable for our prime minister to be so error prone. If the problem is that his attempts at spin are not working and he’s deliberately telling untruths but being caught out, well perhaps that’s even more worrying.
Whichever may be the case, and I’m ready to give Mr Cameron the benefit of the doubt about his sincerity, we are entitled to call him to account. I decided to give him another prod about the errors and mistakes he’s making about cannabis.
Dear Mr Cameron,
I refer to my last letter of 5th April 2011.
The statements you made about cannabis in your Al Jazeera YouTube interview were inaccurate and misleading. Please will you now correct them?
“Incredibly damaging…very, very toxic…leads to, in many cases, huge mental health problems”
This is simply not true Mr Cameron. Professor Les Iversen, chair of the ACMD, your chief drugs advisor, is on the record, repeatedly, stating that cannabis is very, very low in toxicity and relatively safe. Furthermore, all the experts agree that the risks to mental health are very, very small, certainly much less than alcohol or tobacco.
On the medicinal use of cannabis you said:
“…the science and medical authorities…are free to make independent determinations about that.”
This is also untrue Mr Cameron. The Home Office stands obstinately in the way of medicinal use despite overwhelming, peer reviewed scientific evidence. It denies the relief of a safe and inexpensive medicine to thousands who are trapped in pain, suffering and disability. This is a cruel policy and a disgraceful shame on our nation.
Please will you now correct these untruths Mr Cameron? They were your words. You were not advised by the Home Office. CLEAR represents the interests of at least six million regular users of cannabis in Britain, thousands of whom use it as medicine. We are reasonable, responsible, respectable citizens and taxpayers and we are entitled to insist that our prime minister speaks the truth
Recently, you also spoke misleading words about cannabis and mental health on “Jamie’s Dream School” and you said that “…if you legalise drugs you will make them even more prevalent than they are”, yet this too is contradicted by all the evidence in Portugal, Holland and the USA. Even the No 10 Strategy Unit Drugs Policy Project reported in 2003 that “There is no causal relationship between availability and incidence…problematic drug use is not driven by changes in availability or price.”
This time though you were talking directly to young people, those who your government says it is most important to send the correct message to. Mr Cameron, the only message that government consistently sends to young people is that it does not tell them the truth about drugs.
Please Mr Cameron, we are entitled to expect that you tell the truth and that you correct errors when they are made. These statements were not matters of opinion nor of interpretation, They are determined by scientific evidence. Will you please now correct them?
You can see the previous instalment here: Cameron On Cannabis Part 4.
I am still waiting for a further reply from Mr Cameron.
In the meantime, the subject of cannabis cropped up again on “Jamie’s Dream School” a Channel 4 programme in which a group of young people are given a second chance at education. Mr Cameron was challenged by the inspirational, 17 year old Henry Gatehouse, who proposed legalisation and a £1 per gram cannabis tax.
Mr Cameron responded:
“We concluded it would be wrong to make cannabis legal for two, I think, quite good reasons. One is, there is a link between that and mental health issues so it’s not harmless. And I think the second thing is that if you legalise drugs you will make them even more prevalent than they are. So I don’t think legalising is a good idea.”
Another inaccurate and misleading statement from Mr Cameron. This time though I think we should be even more concerned. Successive governments have stated that their main concern about drugs policy is children and young people and that they must be careful to “send the right messages”.
In fact, the only message that governments have successfully delivered to young people again and again is that they never tell the truth about drugs. While the Home Office throws millions every year at the Talk To Frank campaign, the only thing it achieves is for ministers to pat themselves on the back and for the self-serving drug support industry to soak up more public money. Frank is held in complete contempt by young people. The misinformation and untruths told about, in particular, cannabis, ecstasy and mephedrone are a scandal and a grave disservice to young people.
Of course, for children and young people, the use of any psychoactive substance in a still-developing brain has the potential for harm. Cannabis should only be used by adults. Cameron is distorting the truth though. The links between cannabis and mental health are trivial compared to those with alcohol, cigarettes or even energy drinks. It is dishonest and irresponsible to give such a misleading answer to a young man who has clearly done his research and knows the truth.
Cameron’s second reason though has no basis in fact at all. All the evidence is that where a system of regulation of drugs is introduced, use goes down. This is clearly proven in Holland, Portugal and the USA. Cameron’s assertion is entirely false and, I regret to say, he must know that it is. In Britain, which now has one of the most repressive drug policies in the world, young people’s consumption of drugs is one of the highest anywhere.
Once again, Cameron reveals the dishonesty at the heart of his government’s drugs policy. This time though he is misleading and misinforming our young people. What greater mistake can he make?