Posts Tagged ‘Sky’
Albert’s brother arrived on the allotments this morning. Why he chose this miserable wet morning was unclear, the best guess is that the twins are creatures of habit and their monthly squabble was due. The sight of Reg hurling insults at his sibling who is standing ankle-deep in hen’s muck is truly a sight to behold. But some good came of it for, when his brother had gone, Albert remarked that it is better to stick with the devil you know. The perfect headline for what we wanted to say about the beleagured BBC.
Regular readers will know that we codgers value the Beeb, the one constant in our long lives. High amongst the reasons lies our reluctance to have every hour of entertainment punctuated by fifteen minutes of ridiculous ads about Meerkats yapping about confused-dot-com, Rooney’s hair transplant or a fat idiot with a waxed moustache. We also happen to believe that the Beeb is without equal in costume drama, nature programmes and such features as the Antiques Road Show.
And right now we are jittery. We all know that the incestuous link between Rupert Murdoch and leading members of the government was about to lead to emasculation of our revered state broadcaster when the phone-hacking scandal broke. We all suspect that the very same bunch are now wetting their lips at the prospect of a second chance to attack. And their friends in the rest of the media are likewise inclined.
For evidence of that you need look no further than the coverage given to the astonishing action of Phillip Schofield who, on ITV, handed a clearly visible list of suspected paediophiles on air to our dear leader and was obliged to admit that it was based solely on a quick trawl of the internet. Minimal coverage. Contrast that with the Newsnight saga coverage!
Not that Newsnight can be easily forgiven. Its recent handling of the Savile affair and its aftermath was abysmal, especially when compared with the usually high standard of journalism evident in the BBC current affairs menu. But it seems important to us to remind anyone prepared to listen that this whole debacle centres solely around Newsnight. The widely trusted News bulletins have impartially reported the failings, and have pulled no punches. Can you imagine that happening on Fox or Sky?
In some ways the Beeb is fortunate in having Chris Patten at its helm at a time like this. Yes, he has made serious errors, not least in appointing George Entwistle to a post that he was clearly ill-suited for. But he is an influential member of the Tory establishment and, as such, respresents a tough target for ministers determined to finish off the BBC.
For that reason alone we hope that he continues to hold office. Whether he is right to publicly denounce the whole management structure for the failure of one small part is open to debate, but it is perhaps appropriate to hold a review of the entire organisation which often looks top-heavy and overly bureaucratic. It might also be time to take a look at the mega-stars, such as Humphreys and Paxman, who have lost no time in making things a good deal worse by lashing out in all directions.
We like the approach of such leading lights as the two Davids, Attenborough and Dimbleby. Both have reflected on the thousands of good productions over so many years, both have called for a perod of calm reflection. Hopefully Patten and his Trust colleagues will listen and avoid rushing into hasty judgements which they later regret.
For what it is worth our group of ancient viewers believes that Newsnight should be rested for a couple of months, and returned in the New Year with a new and experienced editorial team. That way the target for the tabloids is removed and even they are hardly likely to turn their venom on Strictly Come Dancing and the like. We also believe that the post of director-general should be supported by an editor-in-chief with the responsibility for all investigative journalism.
Our final thought is one regrading the licence fee, so often used by politicians in the Murdoch pocket, as a reason for switching to an all-commercial network. They tend to forget to mention that watching, say, Sky comes at a price. Subscription to all their channels would cost around £70 per month. Yes, we like the Sky Sports coverage but the rest of their ad-strewn offerings are far below BBC standards.
The BBC didn’t earn the nickname of Aunty for no reason. For the most part it is regarded across the world as a trusted elderly relative, one to turn to for unbiased coverage of the latest worldwide madness. Yes, it has its weaknesses, but far better the devil we know!
Unlike all of its competitors the Beeb has maintained high standards of impartiality. It is surely no coincidence that both the Conservative and Labour parties regularly accuse it of bias!
Several of my allotment pals have enjoyed my problems with the great new communications highway. Admittedly the ones saying ‘we told you so’ are those who still use two cocoa tins with string rather than mobile phones, but as one disaster has followed another I must confess that my sense of wonder at the new age instant messaging has become somewhat dulled. But we seem to be up and running today even if the facility for exchanging comments has yet to resurface.
But everyone seems agreed an one thing. The rolling over of the government on its proposal to sell off our forests is great news for democracy. Thanks to organisations such as ’38 Degrees’ over one hundred emails were sent to MPs and over 530,000 members of the public signed a petition. Caroline Spelman was forced to apologise and admit that “we misread the public reaction”. Pity they didn’t seek it before blundering in!
Ed Miliband has predicted that an even greater storm is building on the Lansley plans to privatise the NHS, and he could be right. This time around the coaltion faces massive opposition from the British Medical Association and General Practitioners who believe that the plan to allow private companies to ‘cherry pick’ easy-to-run services will damage our hospitals and lower the standards of clinical care.
Having experience of NHS hospitals I am quite clear that what is proposed will do enormous damage. But as at today I am even more worried about the immediate affect of the massive cuts in funding. Yes, cuts. When ministers claim to be protecting NHS funding they are lying. All hospitals face huge ‘efficiency targets’, cuts by any other name. Andrew Lansley talks about cutting administration, and in regard to Primary Care Trusts he is right. But hospitals are already down to the bone and such admin staff as now remains is largely involved in key tasks such as medical records and appointment setting. So the cuts will have to come from front line doctors and nurses.
The fatal action is already underway. Yesterday 986 redundancies were announced at two London hospitals, St Georges and Kingston, and doctors leaders warned that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing is hoerified and warned that “there is no way that the loss of almost 100 staff will not affect care for patients”. He added that the rhetoric “of protecting the frontline and what is actually happening on hospotal wards is widening by the day”. At the two hospitals in question those losing their jobs include consultants, doctors and nurses and the number of beds is being reduced.
Across the country there have already been cuts in numbers of medical staff totalling 3,400, and the number is growing by the day. The government has waived waiting time targets and the chances are that the queues will begin to lengthen over the next few weeks. The number of older folk is growing and the demand for services with it. Our hospitals are beseiged and are heading for collapse. A good example is to be found in Southend where the Foundation Trust is having to axe 400 jobs and close six wards and in Croydon, where twelve elective surgery beds are being closed. Even the most famous hospotals are tottering, Barts is shedding 630 staff includng 250 nurses.
Add to all this the potential chaos of the widely disputed Lansley plans and you have the assurance of meltdown. Trust me, I know what I’m doing, says Lansley. Exactly the words Spelman used when fighting for the Forest sales!
The government is right to look for highly paid non-jobs such as many which exist in local councils. But they don’t exist in our hard-pressed hospitals. Has Andrew Lansley ever used an Accident and Emergency department?
’38 Degrees’ is gearing up for a campaign to save the NHS. Everyone should pray that it repeats its success over the Forests. If it doesn’t, this will not be a good country in which to become ill!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY “ I’m not against half-naked girls. Not as often as I would like to be”….Woody Allen “People think I hate sex. I don’t. I just don’t like things that stop you watching television”…Victoria Wood ” A sexagenarian? At his age? That’s disgusting”….Gracie Allen “I asked this girl out and she said, ‘You got a friend?’ I said yes, she said ‘Then go out with him”….Dom Irrera “I was dating a transvestite. My mother said ‘Marry him. You’ll double your wardrobe”…..Joan Rivers “The nice thing about stalkers = they’re always there for you”…Jenny Abrams “I asked my accountant if anything could get me out of the mess I am in now. He thought for a long time….’Yes’ he said. ‘Death would help’ “……Robert Morley “What is it about people that repair shoes that makes them so good at cutting keys?”….Harry Hill “I used to sell hearing aids door to door. It wasn’t easy, because your best prospects never answered”…Bob Monkhouse “Wanted: curate for country parish, slow left arm bowler preferred”..Advert in Times “Did you ever hear of a kid, while playing, pretend to be an accountant, even if he wanted to be one? “…..Jackie Mason “Of course prostitutes have babies. Where do you think traffic wardens come from? “…Dave Dutton ”Living on earth may be expensive but it includes a free trip around the sun”….Ashleigh Brilliant “If the universe is expanding, why can’t I find a parking space? “….Woody Allen “A computer is like an Old Testament God – lots of rules and no mercy”….Joseph Campbell “We live in an age where the pizza arrives at your house before the police do”….Jeff Marder “LA; any town that has an all-night, drive-in taxidermist has got to be weird”…Billy Connolly. ” If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it!”….Ken Livingstone.
ANSWERS TO THE LAST QUIZ; 1. Presbyterians and Congregationalists 2. Princess Anne
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1 In what year was Jimmy Carter elected president of the USA? 2. Which member of the British royal family was killed in a flying accident in 1971?