There was not too much festive spirit on the allotment at first light. Given Albert’s accident there were but two of us to thaw out the drinking utensils and to release the multitude of chickens, many of whom slunk out as if they too had over-indulged before staying up for half the night watching England devastate the Aussies before a record crowd in Melborne. The hen’s demeanour couldn’t have been down to that however for coops are one of the few places not yet under the communications control of Rupert Murdoch.
So far as I could see there was less ‘sledging’ in the Test match than is usual on Boxing Day. This was probably down to the fact that no Australian batsman was at the wicket long enough to say anything. How that Aussie crowd yearned for Warne. He was not only the best spin bowler of all time but one of the champion ‘sledgers’. And he received a fair bit too. I always remember the arrival of an England batsman at the Sidney ground. As he took guard Warne said that he had waited two years for another chance to humiliate him. Quick as a flash the ex cantab arrival replied “Looks like you spent it eating!”.
To return to Rupert Murdoch, the signs are that he is in for a very good new year. The final piece in his jigsaw – to acquire total ownership of Sky – was far from guaranteed whilst Uncle Vince Cable ruled the roost. Sadly he blotted his copy book and the responsibility for the biggest decision ever in the history of the British media has been switched to Murdoch’s pal, Jeremy Hunt. Things couldn’t have worked out better for Cameron and his mate Murdoch.
Back on 28th June, Murdoch and Hunt met to discuss the bid by News Corp to buy the 61% of BSkyB it does not already own. They met in secret and there was no one else present. Most unusually no notes were taken. Civil servants took no notes of a second meeting either, this one between the two men on 21st July. These cloak and dagger meetings followed a dinner hosted by Murdoch on 20th May . Within weeks of coming into office, Hunt was there despite the subject not then being within his remit.
Amongst the many arguments put forward by the Murdoch empire is one concerning the BBC free news web pages. They demand their closure and they are not too happy about the British library’s stated intention to provide free public access to the news archive. Free sites reduce income for Mr Murdoch. Perhaps the fact that the BBC has a worldwide reputation for objective reporting may have as much to do with the popularity of its news bulletin website?
Be that as it may the ‘Digger’ is on course to kill off, or at least mutilate, the Beeb and to acquire the ability to do deals with the likes of David Cameron, and to deliver whatever message he desires through the greater part of the British press and media. When he was one of the first visitors to Downing Street after Cameron became prime minister in May we knew that plans were afoot. It followed the Sun’s Tory-based campaign and it was payback time. With Cable out of the way and Hunt resting in the other pocket of Murdoch’s coat the web of deceit is complete. And the BBC is the fly.
Even to such grizzled sceptics as we chicken keepers it is sad to see corruption spreading through a new government that many put their faith in. Perhaps Boxing Day is an appropriate day on which to mull this over. The name comes not as you might imagine from a long-gone riot at Milwall but from a custom when christmas boxes were given to service workers by masters too busy with their own pleasures on Christmas day itself.
After the Murdoch takeover we will certainly get some treats after the event, not least the Ashes Tests, but the real treat of control and shaping of public opinion will have gone down under !
A WARNING FOR ANDREW LANSLEY!
I was at a Christmas party last evening when a man collapsed and was clearly having serious problems in getting his breath. We rang 999 and within four minutes an ambulance was at te door. Meantime we were given constant instructions by the Ambulance Trust operator.
All ended happily but it caused us all to reflect on the crazy plans that Lansley is promoting. He intends to ‘modernise’ the NHS by which he means localise crucial commissioning decisions and slash staff numbers. Fewer ambulances will be high on the Lansley agenda of lunacy.
The present system for emergencies is a brilliant one. Reduce the vehicles and staff and people will die. The tragedy is that the only protests are about tuition fees. What Lansley is proposing merits a mass occupatiuon of London! We won’t bother and we will die regretting it!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Torquay 2. The Ewings
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Sybil Thorndike died in 1976. Who was her husband from 1908 until his death in 1969? 2. The ctreator of ‘Little Grey Rabbit’ died in 1976. What was her name?