Posts Tagged ‘BBC’
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.
In order to protect patient confidentiality and against the sort of sabotage which is so often seen in the cannabis campaign, we are not releasing details of who we are meeting or when. Suffice to say that this breakthrough has been achieved by many months of behind the scenes work, meetings with MPs, doctors and the courageous efforts of several CLEAR members.
The focus is to permit medicinal users access to the products of Bedrocan, the Dutch government’s official producer of medicinal cannabis. We now have written confirmation from both the Department of Health and the Home Office that doctors are fully entitled to write prescriptions for Bedrocan products, just as they are for any other unlicensed medicine.
The next stage is to obtain an import licence from the Home Office, either a personal import licence for each individual or a licence for a pharmacist to import and dispense. The recent re-scheduling of Sativex makes our case for obtaining these licences much stronger.
We are not there yet but we are now closer than we have ever been to enabling legal access to medicinal cannabis. The delegation will be meeting face to face with people who can make this happen.
We also have a BBC documentary producer with whom we have been working for a few months concerning a programme to be broadcast in the autumn. This visit to parliament could form an important part of the programme.
If you are interested in being considered as a member of the delegation, please email me with a concise description of yourself, your condition and your history of medicinal cannabis use: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bias in favour of Israel
Following the bus attack in Tel Aviv today the only voices heard on BBC News are in support of Israel. Three interviews come from representatives of the Zionist authorities and one from a British tourist clearly supportive of the Israeli policy of oppression and brutality against Gaza. Then William Hague condemning the bombing. Why no one condemning the massive increase in Israeli attacks?
Your presenters portray this bus bomb as an escalation likely to endanger peace negotiations when in the last 12 hours Israel has massively increased its attacks on Gaza. All the time you fail to point out the grossly disproportionate violence from Israel and although your report the facts (5 Israeli deaths, 150 Palestinian deaths) you skip over this in editorialising as if there is equality of responsibility.
Israel is a brutal, oppressive regime in breach of 64 UN resolutions, regularly murdering many times more Palestinians than are killed by its resistance. You fail entirely to remind viewers of this context and of the illegal nature of Israeli policy
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.
Just in the past week, the BBC has commissioned 26 new documentaries about Jimmy Saville, Channel 5 has put out a general appeal for independent production companies prepared to investigate the scandal. Channel 4 is dedicating a month of Jon Snow’s time to this vital work and Rupert has instructed Sky to prepare a special nightly news bulletin, combined with Premier League stars in dedicated condemnation of the disc jockey from hell.
The Home Affairs committee, the Culture, Media and Sport committee, the Health Services committee, the Justice committee and the Cabinet Office are launching their own inquiries next week and the Speaker is also considering a five year long investigation headed up by the Right Honourable Dame Sally Bercow, newly appointed head of the Scumbag Saville charity, patron HM The Queen.
Esther Rantzen is facing 25 years in jail for failing to report her suspicions. Mother Theresa is accused of complicity because she once said Saville had done good work and Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday columnist, has been sent to the Tower for life for his preposterous suggestion that we may be focusing too much attention on Jimmy Saville and his legacy.
A life size dummy of Jimmy Saville is to be hung, drawn and quartered at Marble Arch, historical site of the Tyburn executions – David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband will be in attendance . In Paris, the guillotine is to be rolled out for another Saville-faced crash test dummy to face its doom. In the US, simultaneous executions by electric chair, gas chamber, firing squad and lethal injection are to be performed on Saville dummies.
The High Court has ordered that everyone who ever watched an episode of Jim’ll Fix It should receive 25 years counselling at the BBC’s expense and Lord Justice Leveson is to head up a new inquiry into whether the media has expressed sufficient condemnation of Mr Saville’s actions.
Meanwhile, criminal prosecutions are to be brought against every member of the Leeds social services department and their heirs and successors for the next fifteen generations.
In a speech tonight, Harriet Harman, Labour party guru, said “We are not doing enough to condemn the allegations against this man… Sorry, I mean this man and his allegations which are now pronounced as fact by all right thinking people with no right of reply. Dead? Is he? Already? What a shame we were about to call for chemical castration for all BBC staff”
I really am sick to death of all the pious wailing and weeping about Megan Stammers running off with her teacher, Jeremy Forrest.
Now, of course, a teacher should not be engaging in a relationship with one of his pupils. Megan is also beneath the age of consent but the ludicrous, preposterous idea that he is responsible for “child abduction” shows just how easily the police can be swayed by media pressure.
These are two young people in love who have eloped, foolishly but understandably. The BBC, in particular, has pushed this story to a quite ridiculous and irresponsible extent. Mr Forrest has been demonised as if he is a violent rapist and paedophile. He and Megan are the victims in this story, abused shamelessly by a prurient, sanctimonious and hypocritical media.
Megan is 15. Very shortly she will have passed the age of consent. In France, where the couple were discovered, she is already past the age of consent, so what is the crime?
I feel very concerned for Mr Forrest. He has been stupid and irresponsible and probably committed a technical breach of the law but he has been villified beyond reason. I am far more concerned for the horrific ordeal his parents have been put through than the parents of Megan whose incontinent displays of emotion hide, I suspect, responsibility for Megan’s willingness to elope.
It’s the media though who deserve real condemnation. It is they who sexualise girls at a younger and younger age and yet when this young woman follows their lead, they turn on her and her partner.
It’s not that long ago that girls younger than Megan would already be married and that is still the case in many countries. I’m not suggesting that is a good thing but the hysterical overreaction to this young couple’s romantic adventure disgusts me.
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?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.
It was at its best as the brave Clark French and Cure Ukay gave their personal testimonies as medicinal cannabis users at the European Student Drug Policy Reform Conference. It was at its worst when Peter Hitchens confronted me and Sir Ian Gilmore at the University of Bedfordshire “A Ceasefire In The War On Drugs?” debate.
I am so proud to have been associated with both Clark’s and Cure’s contributions at the Manchester conference last weekend. There were tears in the audience as first Clark, who has MS, then Cure, who has Crohn’s, explained the reality of their daily lives and the relief that cannabis provides. The following day, Clark had a relapse and he hobbled to the front to explain, his legs in spasm. He went outside to take his medicine and literally skipped back into the conference hall. It was like watching Christ telling someone to take up his bed and walk. It was intensely moving. It refreshed my enthusiasm. It reignited my rage. They are both warriors for the cause of great courage and dedication. They are my inspiration.
The conference was a worthy and well-organised event. Lembit Opik gave a barnstorming speech which had them whooping and cheering in the aisles. There were fascinating contributions from Sebastian Saville and Niamh Eastwood of Release, Darryl Bickler of the Drug Equality Alliance, Chris Hallam and Tom Lloyd of the International Drug Policy Consortium. There were very practical workshops on campaigning and an engrossing lecture from Chris Rose of Campaign Strategies. I know I’m biased but I think Clark and Cure were the stars of the show!
And so to London on Wednesday evening for the debate at Kings College University, near Waterloo. As I walked into the lecture theatre, there was Peter Hitchens chatting with Sir Ian Gilmore. I marched straight up and introduced myself, explaining to Hitchens that I am responsible for the four Press Complaints Commission complaints that he is currently facing. I enquired after his brother’s health and he gave me a long and detailed explanation about Christopher’s oseophageal cancer. He was extremely courteous to me. I took my seat directly in front of him.
Hitchens spoke first. He is the arch dissembler, presenting facts in such a way that he draws you towards a false conclusion. To be fair, he is a fine speaker but at the heart of his argument is an intellectual vacuum.
Sir Ian Gilmore, ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians went next. He was quiet and dignified and presented a very scientific approach to harm reduction. Finally, Tim Hollis, Chief Constable of Humberside, stood in for David Blunkett. He was an entertaining speaker. I always rather like intelligent policemen. They have a difficult job to do and I think the good ones are very valuable to society.
So to questions…and I was fidgeting in my seat with impatience! I had my go, talked about the harms of prohibition, about taking the more pragmatic approach with a regulated system and the evil injustice of the denial of medicinal cannabis. Right in front of me Hitchens was visibly seething. When I pointed out that his brother is a passionate advocate of medical marijuana he snapped. He pointed at me, glared and shouted “Leave my brother out of it!”.
Steve Rolles from Transform spoke as did Harry Shapiro from Drugscope. Tom Lloyd, who had also spoken in Manchester contributed and there were many other intelligent observations and comments. Hitchens was clearly unhappy.
We went back to the panel and Hitchens was aggressive in his response, gesturing at me and talking of “idiots” and accusing Sir Ian of talking “drivel”. I heckled him. he promised to “deal with you later” with another Alan Sugar-style stab of the finger. Sir Ian was next and he rather politely suggested that “Peter has his head in the sand” – at which Hitchens exploded!
He grabbed his coat and bag and made as if to leave. It was a very deliberate flounce in high dudgeon. Later it was suggested he did it for dramatic effect but no, it made him look foolish. He was flummoxed by the opposition.
The chairman, ex-BBC presenter John Silverman, skillfully restrained him and persuaded him to stay. In his closing statement Hitchens quoted some statistics from Portugal in an effort to disprove that country’s success with decriminalisation. It would be against the rules for me to accuse him of anything more than dissembling but no one in the room recognised any truth in his figures.
It was an entertaining evening and a good opportunity to raise the profile of CLEAR. I’m back next week for another session entitled “How the World’s View of the Drugs ‘war’ is Changing”.