It is cold enough to freeze a brass monkey this morning and if I had any long-johns I would definitely don them, but I turned down the offer of a loan from Albert not least because he believes that too frequent washing damages fabrics! The first signs of the promised return to Antartica are here and although she-who-must-be-obeyed constantly warns me against wishing my life away I find myself yearning for Spring. Perhaps that isn’t wise but just how wise are any of us? We may imagine that if we watch the news on the Beeb and scour the newspapers we are truly in the picture. And we would be wrong!
I have always suspected that there is far more collusion between the media and the government of the day than it appears and it seems that I was right. A good deal of information has now become public knowledge on the invasion of Iraq. We all knew that Blair and others lied, what we didn’t know was that the media did likewise.
In 2003 no fewer than 700 ‘embedded’ reporters and camera crews accompanied the invading forces. Embedded is the term used by the authorities for those being given full facilities and comforts in exchange for patriotic reporting. In other words the reporter only covers the things he or she is shown and does not ask difficult questions about scenes said to be damaging to the national interest. Standing outside 10 Downiung Street on the night of the invasion Andrew Marr said “Tony Blair said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating and on both points he has ben proved conclusively right”. In actual fact, even as the words were uttered, Iraqi civilians, men women and children were being slaughtered in huge numbers.
Rageh Omaar was there for the BBC and became a familiar face over the period of the so-called liberation. On the main news that night he said that “people have come out welcoming the Americans and holding up V-signs. This is an image taking place across the whole Iraqi capital’. In actual fact the bloody conquest and destruction of a whole society was taking place whilst reporters watched staged scenes of people toppling statues.
Today Omaar looks back with regrets. He says ” I didn’t really do my job properly, I hold my hand up and say that I didn’t press the most uncomfortable buttons hard enough” He now describes how British military propaganda successfully manipulated coverage of the fall of Baghdad which the BBC News 24 reported as having fallen peacefully “17 times”.
Omaar is one of those now telling the whole truth. In studies of the television coverage, by the University of Wales , the BBC’s coverage was found to reflect overwhelmingly the government line and reports of civilians suffering were relegated, they simply didn’t happen.. Speaking now, Jeremy Paxman reflects on the whole Iraq reporting. Speaking to a group of students he said “I am perfectly open to the accusation that we were hoodwinked”. David Rose of the Observer is even more forthcoming. He reflects on articles that toed the government line of a link between Hussain and al-Quaida. “I can make no excuses …what happened was a crime. a crime on a very large scale” Does that make the media accomplices? Rose replies “yes..unwitting perhaps, but yes”
If deception on such a huge scale happened over Iraq how can we trust any other major coverage that requires government assistance to the media? The answer it would seem is that we can’t!
CUTS ARE UNFAIR SAY LEADING ANALYSTS!
If there is anyone still inclined to swallow the claim that the Osborne cuts are fair, they should cast an eye over today’s report from the highly respected Institute for Financial Studies.
It shows that on top of the 3.4% fall already experienced, middle-income families will lose a further £300 in real terms over the next two years, and at the lower income level more children and working adults will be pushed into poverty by 2014.
The report paints a stark picture for the poorest households. Cuts to housing benefits alone will force another 100,000 children into poverty over the next two years and a staggering 900,000 children and adults of working age will progressively slide into absolute poverty.
Financial analyses tend to be as interesting as watching paint dry but this one is startling. In effect it says that the coalition is either talking through its hat or is deliberately misleading the electorate. I wonder which it is!
AN INJUSTICE THAT SHAMES OUR COUNTRY!
At twelve years old Amy Houston had a long life ahead of her. But as she was walking to the local shops she was run over by Mohammed Ibrahim who fled leaving the child to die. He was already disqualified from driving, had no licence or insurance, and had a string of criminal convictions. He was sentenced to a mere four months but it was intended to expel him from the country.
Yesterday judges ruled that to do so would infringe his human rights and he is to be allowed to stay here. Not surprisingly, Amy’s father, Paul, is distraught.
In January he received a letter from David Cameron saying that it was clear that srrious mistakes had been made in this case and a Conservative Goivernment would replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights. This would ensure that ” rights are better balanced aginst responsibilities”.
The sheer injustice of the case are breathtaking. And so is the coalition’s tendency to break every pledge that it ever made!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The Cupwinners Cup won by Rangers 2. A car accident
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. In which country did South Moluccan terrorists seize a train in 1975? 2. Which Western movie veteran finally won an Oscar in 1970?