Trump: America’s first CEO

Six months have now passed since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States and, whilst this may be a short time in the scheme of things, already enough evidence exists for a reasonably informed view of the shape of Trump White House. Aggregating the rhetoric, the views and the policies of the 45th President over this time, what emerges is certain singularity; the moment at which political and corporate America collided to form a mass in which neither part is any longer distinguishable from the other. Continue reading “Trump: America’s first CEO”

The BBC lifts its skirts

19th July 2017

This morning was unusual for me in that as I found myself in the car having just driven my daughter to the airport at some ungodly hour. This gave me the rare opportunity to listen to the full edition of the morning news magazine on the BBCs Radio 5. It was an interesting morning for the Beeb as, following new legislation, today was the day when they were to release the names or all their employees earning in excess of £150,000 a year.

This led to a bizarre situation whereby a BBC employee, Nicky Campbell, found himself grilling his boss – BBC Director General Tony Hall – on the iniquities that were to be revealed at 11.00am concerning both earnings and gender inequality. Mr Campbell did his usual excellent job, his questions were , relevant, penetrating and quite cunningly designed to wrong foot the DG. Why would he do anything else? This is, after all, precisely what he is paid to do. However, aside from the oddness of BBC employee grilling BBC boss, it dawned on me that, whilst Nicky Campbell cast himself in the rôle of defender of the suppressed – directly citing fireman, nurses and policemen – he was himself squarely part of the problem. This made uncomfortable listening. Continue reading “The BBC lifts its skirts”

Charlie Gard

Friday 14th July 2017

The case of baby Charlie Gard is one of those seemingly intractable moral issue that arise from time to time and or which we crave some kind of Solomon like wisdom to put us out of our misery. If you’re anything like me, just considering creates a mental state somewhere between muddled thinking and down-right panic. Continue reading “Charlie Gard”

the oxygen of publicity

On the London Bridge Terrorist Attack

6 Jun 2017

Back in the 90s the then PM of Britain Margaret Thatcher coined the phrase ‘the oxygen of publicity’ to describe what she sought to deny the IRA. Then, as now, it was considered both ill-advised and counter-productive. Not only was the law swiftly circumvented by the use of silhouettes and voice disguising techniques, but the mystique appended to anything banned only served to promote the very thing she wished to suppress.

The debate continues but, being of an age to remember the IRA bombs in London, I am bound to compare then and now. Why do the three recent attacks somehow feel different? To some degree, with the IRA, one at least knew who your enemy was and what there objectives were. There was also a curious stab at somehow being honourable by giving warnings – for all the good a 30 minute warning does when a hidden, ticking bomb is involved. However, this is not where the difference lies. What has changed is the wall to wall, 24/7 news coverage from which three really bad things accrue.

Continue reading “the oxygen of publicity”

Troll-la-la! Who’s strangling the Internet?

July 2015

It’s been a tough week the defenders of liberty on planet internet. The announcement that The Verge and The Daily Dot have suspended commenting, gives pause to those of us who dreamt that Tim Berners-Lee’s TCP/IP brain-wave would lead to some kind of Elysian universe where we were finally freed from the bondage of censorship, patrician medalling and nanny-knows-best interference.

And then the Impact Team smashed open the infidelity site Ashley Madison. Whilst there may have been some brief hilarity as those fingered (ahem) by the de facto internet plod rushed to defend themselves, there was an uneasy feeling amongst net-liberty watchers that we were seeing here, and in the ending of comments on The Verge and The Daily Dot, the signs of a disturbing trend. The ultimate ice bucket challenge, if you will, on the heads of those who might have thought that they had found the answer to JJ Rousseau’s chains.

Continue reading “Troll-la-la! Who’s strangling the Internet?”