I approached this blog post with my head almost full to bursting with so many varied things; all told it’s been a rather eventful period recently, both personally and globally.
On a global level there is North Korea intimating an intention to test another long range rocket following their recent failure. No need to worry though, it is apparently only required to allow a satellite to be launched – no need to consider any nuclear warhead attachments. Then there is the telephone and internet blackout in Syria; whilst I worry about this development, the Assad regime must realise that such actions will not prevent satellite surveillance of chemical weapon movements.
On a UK level one of the big stories of the last few days has been the publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the future of Press Regulation – I’m not sure just how much it interests the general public but the chattering classes have been stirred into action and the Sunday papers were full of analysis. I did try to follow some of the inquiry but certainly don’t claim to be an expert. With almost 2000 pages and over a million words I think it rather futile for people to claim so quickly to fully understand it and rapidly establish their positions.
I certainly wasn’t impressed when our Prime Minister announced ahead of publication that he would support the recommendations if they weren’t ‘bonkers’ – for a supposedly serious politician he can certainly manage to come out with some rubbish – it doesn’t say much for his choice of Leveson to conduct the inquiry if he thought that the report might be ‘bonkers’? Then again, maybe he should just ‘calm down dear!’
On the face of it I do tend to believe that it would be much harder for the UK not to seem hypocritical when urging other regimes not to control and manipulate their media if we were seen to be seeking to introduce statutory controls. On the other hand I am lucky enough not to have been a victim of the excesses of the press and as such maybe don’t fully appreciate just how destructive previous aggressive and predatory press practices can be. I just wonder why the illegal practices that appear to have been employed couldn’t simply have been dealt with as breaches of the existing laws. In my opinion it is crucial that journalists continue to be able to expose corruption and abuse of power – a self-regulatory body would seem to me to be the best solution – but clearly what we have had so far hasn’t been 100% effective – and there is always the question of how to deal with those who refuse to comply with a voluntary code. I do, however, fully support a limit on the percentage of media that any one person or corporation can own.
As newspaper sales continue to decline perhaps it is less important to consider press ethics and practices and be more concerned with the exploding use of social media by all sorts; and not just bona fide journalists. As global events unfold the internet is an extremely important route for information to be spread – as already noted, the cutting off of internet and telephones in Syria certainly is a very worrying development and makes me wonder what more the Assad regime wishes to hide.
The way my mind works, perhaps it won’t come as a surprise to find me now mention Lord McAlpine. His recent decision to seek to sue all those who Tweeted his name recently following a BBC Newsnight report, could have major implications and cost some prolific Tweeters such as Sally Bercow and Alan Davies substantial sums, but even less well known people who retweeted are in the sights of Lord McAlpine’s lawyers.
Thoughts of Lord McAlpine led me to reacquaint myself with an album from the 1970s which included a suite of songs that were critical of the then Sir Robert McAlpine and his business practices; this time there was no false identification – the construction company were involved in massive projects, all apparently legally sanctioned, but some forerunners of the environmental lobby were not happy about some of the results.
I am certainly very happy to have found myself listening again to ‘The Asmoto Running Band’ by Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, including the suite that considers ‘McAlpine’s Dream’ about major construction projects and it’s implementation. I also reminded myself about the content of the band’s first album ‘Soundtrack’, which was the very first LP that I ever bought. Despite its age, I am still very happy to note this as my first purchase – I did have to place a special order for it with a local department store in Stirling, so it was very much a considered item even back then.
With these items, and many others, looking as if they might have a major impact on many aspects of life for millions – this morning’s press and other media news sources, seem to be entirely consumed by the fact that a woman is pregnant. Personally, very little will stop me eagerly anticipating another trip to catch the amazing Kenelis live when they launch their new EP on Friday!