Saturday, 21 April 2012
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
There seems to be a split in opinion amongst people over recent changes to fundamental rights. Some people seem to accept changes to our society that to others are sinister and unacceptable.
Some people say that these changes are inevitable as we have "been over-spending." Others recognise change will lead to ordinary people paying for services we were given through our tax system - a tax system that reached its zenith of fairness in the 1970's - but a system the Tories and the corporations who drive their ideology, recognised prevented them from further profits. "Overspend" is, of course, part of the language of the right which when stripped away, actually means tax money spent on those who need it rather than the arms dealers and those who want to exploit our tax system, such as the PPP/PFI corporations. "Stagnation" and "growth" are their language - language that leads directly to the financial and ecological disasters that capitalism inevitably brings.
Why is there such a divide in opinion over fundamental change in our society? Why are people accepting changes that increasingly mean that ordinary people are less likely to be educated to degree level and are leading to treatments we currently receive from the NHS being available only to those paying for extra insurance?
|Originally from http://www.defendtherighttoprotest.org/|
I would argue that the ownership and control of the media, and their "manufacturing of consent" can explain a huge amount of the apathy that is leading us to a more expensive and less free society and a society less likely to critically analyse. The language the media chooses to use is hugely important.
The fear of negative publicity and shareholder flight meant that the Murdoch controlled media outlet offered no critical analysis of the scandal after its recent confession of phone hacking. Anyone watching the 24 hour news station wouldn't have known that it had confessed to hacking at all. Sky News unquestioningly uses the language of the Tories - today, as I write they are quoting Chancellor Osborne as being "shocked" that rich people avoid paying tax. I wonder if any of the Osborne family cars and buildings are offset against their company tax? I wonder if any of the top share-holders in Sky offset items in their tax returns? What journalists are in senior positions in Sky, the BBC or the print media who have used hacking as a means to get information? There was no analysis of Osborne's shock on Sky. They have done nothing to have these legitimate questions answered. But what is more shocking is that there was no proper analysis of this faux shock on the BBC either.
In my opinion, the only way our media can be publically accountable and reliable is through a publically owned, publically policed news service.
"Our" BBC is owned by UK PLC, but recent stories and the adherence to the pro-profit ideologically driven Tory line has exposed the inadequacy of the power structures that control the BBC. Let me say, before I go on, I am a huge fan of a national broadcaster that is not driven by the profit motive, though I don't doubt for a moment the threats from the Tories on BBC budget go some way in shaping content.
To take one instance of how overt the seeming adherence/compliance to the neo-liberal/corporate Tory line is, take the use of the word, "reforms." This word has been used to replace the words "political change" to our services, for example, Education "reforms" that are anything but, according to the majority of educational professionals - many of the protests against thechanges to the English education system have gone largely un - or under - reported (like the scandalous forcing of schools to be Academies).
And of course, NHS reforms that have been passed to the disgust of most doctors and nurses. There were demonstrations against these changes to our NHS - some of the recent ones policed in a way the UK hasn't witnessed since the height of the Northern Irish troubles - largely un-reported by the BBC, Sky or the UK print media (Police were issued with machine guns!).
The argument that Scotland was subsidised by London has been totally destroyed, and in Scotland has moved on, , yet this is never reflected in how the BBC report the unionist "case." We also see Danny Alexander and Tory MP David Mundell on BBC news commenting on Scottish independence as if they represent some sort of equal voice on the subject here. This is patently not the case, as Mundell is the only Tory MP- in Scotland, and Alexander is part of a coalition in Westminster that Scots did not vote for. If the BBC were doing its job properly, the voice of the pro-independence parties would be heard much more clearly as they are very much in the majority.
According to the BBC over the past few years, we are all cap doffing royalists - and to say anything against this love-in of Wills and Kate etc is almost to be likened to Satanists. Where did the voice of the other very British/ Scottish/ English institution, the "Republican" suddenly go?
And to say the equivalent of Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est about our troops in the Middle East invites scorn and accusations of "traitor!"
Democracy and critical thought is only possible with an informed electorate. If the press and rest of media are driven by fear of shareholders, or fear of government interference, then democracy has been compromised. The use of the positive word "reform" to mean change in the face of the fact, at best, we don't know what the outcome of these changes are, suggest that the BBC should be taking a neutral stance in its use of political language in its reportage.
Other news television channels completely out-doing the BBC in balanced reporting are Russia Today, Al Jazeera and Channel Four News.
Sky nor, regrettably, the BBC are being balanced. They are adding to the mis-information sent out by the pro-profit newspaper proprietors.
Monday, 2 April 2012
|Christ of Abu Ghraib by Trill Zapatero|
The men sat on the hill, looking out over the darkened city.
“Look. Only you can know this. Tell no-one else. When it is done, you must flee.” He didn’t look at his friend, his face was drawn. His friend was not used to seeing him as he had been in the past few days. Serious, stressed even. Gone were the smiles and the serenity of the campaign. From the day they had arrived in the city, all had changed. The campaign had taken a new turn. Was this the end-game?
He stood up and faced his friend. If this was the end-game, then it should be on their terms. “The only way we can rid our lands of this dreadful, exploitative system is to make allies and together we can rise up!”
His friend shook his head and looked at him. He signalled for him to sit, to calm. “Believe me, what I have planned will mean the power of money will be diminished forever. We have shown through our actions and our activism that the only way for mankind to survive is for us to work together. To be as one. To share.” He clasped his hands and pointed them towards the other man. “ To make sure the weakest and most vulnerable have opportunity and the essentials in life. The Imperialist Occupier's system only brings poverty, greed, envy and betrayal.”
His friend was not for calming. His voice rose to almost a shout, “No! We must take up arms! These people arrest and torture our people daily. We have to show them we are not their slaves! They steal our resources and bribe our officials. Our spokes-people are in their pockets. They lie to the people and hide the truth from them. We have to fight back!”
His friend turned and looked across the city again. He was deep in thought. It seemed like an age before he spoke again. His face lost its lines and the serenity returned. “Let’s not become like them. The way to win is through peace. Through living the change we want to see. You are much too impatient. Freedom can only be true freedom if it is won peacefully and by not engaging in their means. They have no right to be here. Our struggle is for a fair, independent country, fair for all. Violence won't create fairness.”
The man’s face looked pained. “You say that, but then only last week you exposed the exploitation of the poor and women by the money-men. You even blockaded their market!”
“Yes. But that was different. I know I can’t stop this happening in all of the places it happens, but I chose to blockade the main place they profiteer. The message from that day will be distorted and suppressed if we don’t make sure the entire message we have been trying to spread is given to all of the people.”
He sat beside his friend. He was calmer. He knew what his friend was asking him to do now; something so terrible yet something, he knew, would change everything. “They own the voices. The people only hear from those who are in the oppressor’s pockets. I still think we should attack them. Attack a barracks. They will have to report that.”
His friend placed his hand on his shoulder and looked at him. “But then, you know, our message will be lost. Our message of freedom and of peace gets lost in the act of violence against them. As you said, only their voice gets transmitted across the land. Our act of violence would be transmitted as an act of terrorism. We can’t let that happen.”
Something happened. A moment of absolute understanding. The years wandering through villages and towns, teaching equality and love were coming to fruition. He knew that now. Even though he knew, he had to play the conversation out. “Then what are we to do? All of our work, our activism, our agitation will be lost because they control everything!”
“They don’t control everything. They don’t control us. We are many. We can spread out across the land and bring our message to the people. I blockaded their trade. We occupied the place they made their profits. They want me now.”
He studied his friend closely. Was he afraid? If he was, it didn't show. “But you know they will punish you, even kill you.”
“And that is their downfall. We use their violence against them. My capture or death will mean our message lives on. If the profiteer is guilty of killing the message of peace, then the message of peace will spread. They will have lost and people will take heart against the occupiers.” He smiled. “You are my true friend. You must do this. Go to them. Tell them where I am.”
“This will split our group. What of our money?”
“Use it to make sure you all have places to stay, and have food to eat. Travel to the heart of their empire. Send letters out to all people who preach peace. How much money do we have?”
He detached the bag from his belt and held it up. “Thirty pieces of silver…”