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Hello dear followers!
It’s been a little while since I’ve flung a comment piece your way, so I thought I should update you a little.
I have been working - a lot. My responsibilities in my current role have evolved steadily, and I am proud to say (and hopefully, with some due humility) that I have achieved more in the last 8 months in my professional life than ever before. The biggie was when I held the head role of organising our stakeholder event, Water Innovation Europe, which drew in 150 delegates from around Europe, and the world. It was a success - but don’t let me blow my own trumpet too much. You can check out the website here (content and website built by yours truly). And below this little boast is a picture of me engrossed by the fantastic Wim Van Vierssen, one of the two pictures I had captured of me during the event. (On an unrelated note now is probably a good point to say that my opinions in this blog are my own and do not represent the Platform I work for.)
Following this, I was lucky enough to attend the European Commission’s Green Week, an eye-opening and truly thrilling experience. The theme this year was “The Water Challenge: Every Drop Counts”, and it was interesting to see the struggle between depth and breadth in creating productive results. Sometimes I worry about the money involved in these matters, but I think on the whole, the Commission did a good job in encouraging active collaboration - which is actually an incredibly difficult thing to do. So many people in Brussels talk about collaboration, that actually making it happen turns into quite a feat.
I’ll be in my current role till September, rocketing back and forth between England and Brussels, but am opening my doors to any prospective employers for the autumn (contain yourselves, please). But seriously, you can access my CV on this page, or see my website for my portfolio in full.
I’m pretty angry about a few political matters which revolve around an assortment of, but not limited to: George Galloway, Cote D’Ivoire, Kony 2012 (was there anything ever as terrible as this?) and Syria. Soon, my friends!
Let’s be absolutely clear about this – politics may not be dead, but the concepts of left and right in England are getting there.
I have a lot of friends whose political persuasions are mildly to dramatically different to my own. And whether we are left wing or right wing, we all have a pretty similar outlook on how we want to see our country. Policy is policy, and ideology is ideology, but I rest comfortably at night knowing that we count our freedom of speech and our position as active citizens’ precious things we would not throw away. People trying to cut a clear line between Conservatism and Liberal Democracy against the backdrop of the riots will inevitably fail to make much of a point.
Neither is it making much of a point against the police – while the injustice of 1000s of people dying in police custody without any officers being charged is an important factor to consider, I despair that it’s come to such measures where the statement of protest has turned into a statement of violence that undoes this original central message, and if anything, will only make the police come off looking better.
Let’s be clear about something else as well – policy is not always constructed in a whirlpool of toffish laughter and ignorance, or by Boris Johnson. For all those people screaming that they could have run the country better – you didn’t and I am genuinely sorry about that. There is a clear reasoning behind why there is social unrest – there is always a reason. At this point it stems from years of inequality, a sharp stab of funding cuts and a group of people who have nothing left to lose.
Those who argue that there is nothing political about the intentions of a group of thugs jumping on a band wagon to steal nice gear – I’d agree. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t stem from or contribute towards politics, and this is a fact we simply cannot ignore. Last night, Manchester youths announced openly that they’d carry on looting because the cells were full and the worst they’d probably get was an ASBO. In the same vein – London youths who ransacked a small business explained their action to a protesting bystander:
Why would you gut his shop –it’s all he has. He’s one man, what good has this done?
But he’s one rich man, and we’re going to show all these rich people that we can take back what we don’t have.
Whatever you might think of these statements, they cannot be ignored. Of course, this is not how people “should” be thinking. When I think about the basic freedoms those in other countries riot for, I feel ashamed that its trainers and television the youth of England believe will satiate them.
But I disagree with the statement that this has come from no-where. The handkerchiefed youth who said the main thing he’d achieved was having his voice heard epitomises the issue here. As Just WY rightly outline, education, integration and economic standards in Britain are worsening and have been doing so for the past ten years. The reason people are rioting is because they can. Let me map it out like this – do you honestly believe that if those rioting now weren’t doing so, they wouldn’t have as tough a time finding employment as those coming out of prison? They have absolutely nothing to lose, and plenty of material to gain.
If you do want to be left or right about it, they are the group of people the Big Society has to chew up and spit out to actually function properly and achieve the nuclear family perfection it desires. Whether they realise it or not, their uprising signals how much these people have been put on the backburner, that their moral compassing is so askew to not even realise the damage they are doing to themselves, their cities and their country.
The black police officer standing guard behind Cameron as he gave his first press conference on the riots, and the agreeing black guy nodding his head next to Miliband were PR packages that especially made my skin crawl. If the government weren’t so concerned to be seeming to do something, they might actually be doing something far more constructive, and listening to those voices that are speaking in a non-violent way from the hearts of communities.
I can only assume that Bradford hasn’t fallen into the trap yet because it still carries the scars of extreme rioting, and works cohesively to keep the city that is loved by its inhabitants together. As soon as the EDL rile up enough hate to want to purge the blacks and Asians from “our” streets however, the picture may well change, though I hope it does not with all my heart.
And that’s another thing I wouldn’t want to deny. While you can sweep over and narrow down the potential causes for the riots: money, race, class and police treatment, there are plenty of people who operate in any society under a large degree of hate. The spirit of those marching up to rioters and prodding them in their chests, those cleaning up the streets patiently and making tea to help out – these are the people who contribute above and beyond what the Big Society ever wanted, and I hope their selflessness will be the reason it fails.
When confronted with a problem, it is easy to apply an aggressive hindsight, or “I told you so” attitude, but I for one, hope I can contribute more than this analysis to making Britain, and the world, a better, less selfish place.
As the coalition governments debate rages on as to how far involvement in Libya should go, and as the situation begins to cripple itself into stagnancy, I had a muse and decided to ask whether Muammar Al-Gaddafi is actually a target.
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I’ll start off by saying that I thought Obama (or whoever wrote the speech for him) was eloquent and articulate in talking about Osama Bin Laden. You all know my feelings on the issue, but I thought that he calmed the hysteria somewhat by making a reference to the “irrelvance” of Al Quaeda. I think this word is highly effective, and does all kinds of dismantling. Whether I agree with how the US’s has executed its war on terror or not, this is how terrorists of any kind should be treated by the media - as pathetic. This applies to state terrorists too (which makes what I’m saying essentially hypocritical)- but we all know that once someones killed, especially killed those we consider bredren or innocent, it’s difficult to ignore their twisted plight.
That’s about where my good feeling ends. His references to old icons (classic US speech tool) are quite sickening - especially his use of Rosa Parks. Pulling on the strings of ancestory to softly coerce those who are listening into believeing your intentions are pure is just a bit lame.
As far as his outlining of the Middle East Revolution has the hugest hole in it. To quote one debate from The Economist:
Hundreds of demonstrators have been killed in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt, and Western governments did not only stand by: they in fact stood firmly in support of the dictatorships there (and it is not clear that the Libyan tyrant killed more of his people than Hosni Mubarak or Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, but Western governments exhibit more concern for civilians in countries rich with oil or gas, as it happens). Barack Obama did not call for Ben Ali to step down until he was sure that his plane had left Tunisian airspace, and he managed to conspire with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu (neither of which stands as a champion of Arab democracy) to prolong the life of the Mubarak regime. The code word then was “reform”, which is a euphemism for prolonging the lives of dictatorial regimes by implementing cosmetic changes to soften public anger and undermine protests.
I noticed shortly after the speech that the US State Department tweeted documents to “proove” it’s helping hand in Bahrain. Obama’s insistence on the US’s hand in the Middle East Revolution confirms the media paradigm that is being created - that a group of old Arab kings with shawls on their heads are being usurped by a group of young, new-Arab men, who watch MTV and know how to fight what they want. What guys! Aren’t they great? They’re so strong. Etc. The media are watching a battle unfold with some relish, and not really zoing in on the context of each regime seperately - when they have had more than enough time to stretch to do so. If I were editor of anything I would have asked somebody, by now, to do a high profile piece on the context of each regime. One a day for a couple of weeks. Doesn’t take a lot - just saying.
And then, we really got rolling, with a lovely bit of development:
“In a global economy based on knowledge and innovation, no development strategy can be based solely upon what comes out of the ground. Nor can people reach their potential when you cannot start a business without paying a bribe.”
This really is rich (pun unintended). It is also incredibly clever - it acknowledges that famine and pain do not come from just the rain. But it discounts that it comes from weapons selling and trade sanctions that favour and hinder different places. And it doesn’t break the development paradigm of Afro-and what is now becoming-Middle Eastern-pessimism. Here’s another one of my favourite quptes. I’m not going to even comment on it - because I really don’t need to:
The West was blamed as the source of all ills, a half century after the end of colonialism.
Following this was an over -concentrated look at how technology is going to save everyone (bit weird considering how smart weapons seem to - oopsidaisy - keep missing their targets and killing people in abit of the old “collatoral damage”). Nice bit of triadism to build up the fist waving getures, and then - the biggy - the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When you start this area off with the following statement - which completely discounts the ethnic cleansin of Palestine, you know things are not going to end so well:
For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could get blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own.
With the way the Israeli Lobby operates in America, it is a difficult task. But the rhetoric which surrounds his proposal buries it in the ground, even before a group of so-called religious man bombard him with requests to “terminate the plan like Bin Laden”.
In general conclusion: Obama makes some “valid” and antiquated points which were nice in a way, to see again, the alternative being bleak -
“A failure to change our approach threatens a deepening spiral of division between the United States and Muslim communities.”
But the manner in which he follows them implies that no change will be wrought. His speech continues with the regular anti-Iranian sentiment, pure propaganda - with no explanation, just dictation on one facade of a huge issue. It kind of undermines the above quote.
If I were to be objective, I could look back at a history that balancing on a thread, where any nation involved, including the US, has got drawn into a fight they could not escape. I acknowledge this, and use it often to calm my own fury and cyncism down.
However, this is not the past. And this speech indicates that the future, as delicately as it hangs now, is not going to be something easy or logical to govern, nor should it be governed. There is an edge of real indecision to Obama’s speech, as convincing as it sounds. The outright rejection of the 1967 border deal in Israel shows that nothing will be as clear as he’d like to make it, because the world is not all stars and stripes.
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Into takes on the Syrian regime. To maintain balance, here are a couple of pro-Israeli slants on the issues, which I think are valid (to some degree) and interesting.
“How much longer will Palestinians allow themselves to be captives to extremism and intransigence, and pawns to rogue states such as Syria? The only path to their independence lies through reconciliation with the State of Israel.”
(Oh! I suppose that’ll mean the ethnic cleansing will stop? Sorry - its not meant to be objective, just balanced).
Reports that Syrians were bussed to the border. I think this is an interesting take, and potentially not that far from the truth.
“For the first time in his 11-year reign, Mr Assad demonstrated to Israel, the region and world that in an uprising that has posed the greatest threat to his family’s four decades of rule, he could provoke war to stay in power.”
Matters of attention:
First of all, the Live AV blog didn’t go 100% to plan, though I definitely kept up with it on the Twitter if you were watching. Over the space of three days our team contributed as political “experts” on 2 newspapers, a live website, 6 live radio bulletins and 2 live TV slots. If you want to see a sample of my work, click here. When the TV and radio is uploaded I’ll provide a link to it.
I have to say that I enjoyed working on the radio bulletins the most fun - and the most interesting. The adrenaline, and the opportunity to work with a team of people I know only as friends/acquaintances, as well as working closely on high pressure research and debate with my closer classmates and friends, really was wonderful.
We stayed up all night on Thursday covering the results of the local election live - I’m going to write a big piece on this today hopefully. I’ll also include my thoughts on the huge dissapointment that is the failure of AV.
Thirdly: the focus this week is Syria, present, past and potential options for the future.
Off to a lecture shortly on the moral obligation of objectivity in conflict reporting, hope you all have a lovely day.
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Hello dear followers and readers,
I have to say I am overwhelmed with the number of people who appreciated my opinion piece on BinLaden, and hope it is a sign of this blog working harder and getting more readers. It’s actually the first time that I’ve promoted this little blog in other social media, so to get such a response is a real honour.
Back down to the real stuff! Today is the voting day for local elections and the AV referendum in the UK. Until a couple of days ago I really was quite undecided about AV, but after much research on both arguments I am a concrete Yes2AV supporter. I feel that First Past The Post doesn’t let the majority win, and that the main argument that AV lets people have “more bites of the cherry” a void one - in this scenario having more bites of the cherry weakens your vote each time. So the idea that the BNP will be in government because of a thuggish minority and an AV system is ludicrous.
Production week has been a lot of fun and very interesting so far. As political correspondents we don’t take part in the hectic technicalities, but we do get to sit in on the broad news meetings and schedule settings, which is probably the most fun part of planning TV, radio, print and web. On Tuesday I recorded a slot for a TV program which was screened in the department yesterday, and on Wednesday I got to spin my views for a short time during the live 5pm radio bulletin. I have to say, I’m now quite drawn to broadcast.
Anyway, today will consist of:
The adrenaline and team work this week has really made me sure I want to be some sort of journalist. I’ve loved pretending to play grown up and then realising -actually, some people are actually listening to what I say - what a surreal feeling.
Aside from all of this international news is, of course, building an enormous pressure. I as incredible saddened to see a classmate, also studying global journalism, state simply that Pakistan should be “bombed” this morning. As someone who is generally completely against violence of any sort, seeing this sentiment directed at anyone, at anytime, always upsets me. In this particular case, it shows how divisive world matters have become. I’m not sure we can pretend that war brings peace any more, if it did, the whole world would be at peace now, surely, followed the century of such action?
Keep your eye out on here, and follow jus news if you want a really comprohensive update overnight. I’ll also be updating my twitter feed: @heatheriqbal
All the best for now,
So - today was Nick Clegg’s visit to Bradford, for a question and answer session organised by the T&A local newspaper.
If you don’t know much about Bradford here’s the situation in a nutshell: residue of the 2001 race riots, general poverty, poor education and a serious youth and homeless problems. It’s not the worst place to live, but neither is it the best. This article by the Economist actually sums up some of the challenges Bradford faces.
Overall, Nick did well today. Sadly, the internet in the room the talk was held in was inaccessible, so I couldn’t tweet or blog along the way.
Here are some of the claims he made:
In essence, all these claims are true. But there is a chunk of about 10 years when these plans will effect, extremely negatively, what is actually a generation of people.
These people, currently about 17 years old are perturbed by the amount of money education will cost - no matter how much Clegg tries to convince them that it will not - and these are the ones will be geniunely worse off - no EMA, more to pay, less to earn, pension barriers and no jobs.
A few people inadvertently made this point, and Nick Clegg simply made the “long term effect” defence. My question, really, is this: taxpayers money poured into the wedding and the AV referendum (which couldn’t really work effectively given the current instability of the nation) could be spent on creating a better system to regulate banking, which should, and could, easily start paying back the deficit. I don’t feel like I’m hyperbolising in this claim - but I need to read up on my economics, doubtless, to back it up.
I have to say that something that resonated with me was when Nick responded to a student’s claim he had “lied” when it came to tuition fee policy:
“No, listen. When you are in politics - when you make commitments for policy - you do so, quite candidly and openly, on the assumption that you have won the contest. We didn’t win. It’s very unfashionable in politics to do this - to remind people of the limits of our success. We came third. I am a leader of a party which has got 57 MP seats out of 600. You expect me to behave as if I won a landslide - I didn’t. What happened was - no one won the election. What we could have done was stand aside and said we were going to take no responsibility for the future of the country, we’re just simply going to comment from the side lines. Or, we did what I believe to be right, at a particular time during an economic crisis, we said, “No, we are going to play our part in trying to sort out the mess in this country”. I have never, ever hidden from anybody that that would involve difficult compromises.”
While his point is a pertinent one, and one that he should make far more often to former (and current, if there are any) LibDem supporters - how far will his compromises go? Presumably the plans in the LibDem manifesto were valid and executable, otherwise he would never had made the promises he did, given the above claim that he would not make blatant Uturns. How far is it before the party’s role in the coalition becomes completely redundant? We shall find out this week following the local elections and referendum.
Thanks for reading, if you have. Good night and good luck for now. More tomorrow.
Hello everyone. Though today is internationally significant (as most days are), its also the start of my live AV blog. Which is also internationally significant, you might say.
This week, us journalists at Sheffield will be covering the AV referendum in close detail during our annual production week. As a politics student, I won’t be taking part in the production aspect, instead I’ll be asked to frequently voice my opinions - hooray!
However, I’ve been given the very, very prestigious chance to meet Nick Clegg this afternoon, so thought I’d dive back into live blogging and start my reporting on the AV referendum now. I’m going to be looking at this from the viewpoint of a Bradford citizen, and what impact the local and referendum elections will have on our town.
If you want to follow my stream on Twitter, my name is @heatheriqbal but I should hopefully be embedding my Twitter feed on here at some point today.
There are various arguments for and against AV. Shall we start with one for? This mathematician has made some pertinent observations on why we should vote AV. It is well argued, and though I’m against AV for other reasons than those he outlines, I really see his point.
Coverage kicks off this afternoon so keep your eyes peeled! And please, please let me know what you think of everything and anything!
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Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing.
The media’s reflection (or barrage of emotional jubilation) over the death of Bin Laden recalls a very 1984-esque situation. In case you haven’t read it, it goes a little something like this:
“The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one’s teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one’s neck. The Hate had started. As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen.”
“In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy…The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out “Swine! Swine! Swine!” and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen.”
Goldstein is framed as the enemy for the empire in Orwell’s tale of dystopia, but the misguided hate for Osama Bin Laden is an amazing parallel. Now – as a precursor – I am not a Bin Laden supporter by any means. However, I feel it’s incredibly dangerous to focus on an individual as the one responsible for the state of the world today.
Of course, you could argue that Bin Laden is highly symbolic of the so-called war on terror. What has to be remembered is the strategic moves Western Powers have made will be their own tragic undoing. The media’s incredibly narrow-tunnelled view of the division between bad and good has veiled the eyes of British and American citizens both, and led to the automatic trigger in many people’s brains of “Arab and Muslim bad” à “Getting rid of will stop terrorism”. (Please note I’m being deliberately sweeping to set up my argument – I’m sure that’s not what you think).
The good guy vs. bad guy paradigm also provides a conspiracy-seam which implies government and media control.
Abbottabad is a very small town. And by that, I don’t mean its small in size, but that the community sense of it heralds that of any other small, close-knit town. Along with the ostentatious speculation that Bin Laden was living in a house worth $1million, the idea that he’s been living there undetected by Google Maps and local citizens for months is absurd.
A large chunk of Pakistani people are not as the Western media paint them – they are aware and well-informed, (@ReallyVirtual tweets, a man from and living in Abbottabad will give you a quick and spontaneous illustration of this), and given the number of innocent civilians killed by US drones and grooming attempts (when the US isn’t even technically at “war” with Pakistan), they have the spectre of the Western definition of terrorism in their face at all times. It is not something you forget about just because you’re looking forward to a new version of Sesame Street.
The fact that Hitler was also “killed” on May 1st creates an additional façade of resonance. The rumours circulating round Pakistani government pockets that Bin Laden has been dead for years cannot be discounted simply because Al Jazeera has a few grainy video tapes.
I suppose what I’m trying to say, completely non-objectively, is that Bin Laden is not the only problem here, and the media’s slightly-grotesque-climax-framing of his apparent death creates a large space for a lot of foreign policy, and disconnected incidents, which could harm a lot of people, all round the world and at home.
The construction around Bin Laden has created a modern-day devil, and his death changes nothing, from no-one’s point of view, whether patriot American, liberalist Arab, or anti-Western dweller. It gives elite powers the excuse and opportunity to follow through with their plans, while giving momentary relief to those who have lost a lot. Undoubtedly, the numerous news reports that the new generation of al-Qaeda are far more vicious and violent should provide more than enough worries.
Bin Laden joins a group of Arab elites which are being framed as the central problems to all East/West conflicts. He is, along with Mubarak and Gadaffi, instrumental in these problems, but this is not a Hollywood movie, and the behind-the-scenes story is right before our eyes. We can undoubtedly, in our everyday life, marker people as good and bad, and therefore if we could divide the world’s countries and cultures into good and bad, spontaneous war and invasion could be truly justified. But we cannot, and it is not.
Close to 3000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, which were brutal and cannot be justified. Neither can the 7/7 attacks in London. But the American and British government both, with their half-a-century policy over the Eastern world, are ready to harm their own citizens by convincing them they are purely fighting those who terrorise them.
Think about what Bin Laden said to justify the brutal actions he primarily denied, and think hard. Chris Hedges has already made a pertinent observation of what the Arab spring will lead to, and I can only hope that the growing compassion of contra-flow media will stop dividing the world into George Bush’s “with us or against us” dialogue.
There should be no delusion that the sieges against Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine have damaged both “sides” in the Third World War. It is crucial not to treat the death of Osama Bin Laden as a black and white event, when it could be used against the Western and the Eastern side of this apparent world ideological division.
We need to calm down and review the facts, instead of allowing the media, once more, to frame an event disconnected from context and background. We are not stupid – and we need more than a Goldstein to remove the feeling of injustice done unto all of us, Western or not, by imperial powers.
Today, Ofcom’s decision regarding the ownership of BSkyB was passed to the government, for the final word. Before I continued to look at this, aside from contra-flow organisations like Al Jazeera and Telesur, I feel priviledged to live in a country where the press and the media is as free as it is, and has taught me as much as it has. Having said that, given how, in an immensely short amount of time, the Conservative “coalition” has managed to make a teetering Britain crumble completely, and especially given Vince Cable’s recent embarrassment, I have very little doubt that the decision the government makes will only add to the demise of a nation I was once proud to live in.
Vince Cable, said some “bad” things about Murdoch, stupidly, to randomers, who turned out to be reporters, now been replaced by Jeremy Hunt, pro-Rupert man, who will make the final decision on BSkyBIt would be naive to mark Tony Blair’s relationship with Murdoch as an insignificant detail in his rule as Prime Minister. After all, it’s only because of News Corp that the 45-WMD-minute-dossier-claim about Iraq was smashed in our faces as a justification before Tony and his friends sauntered off to the desert with their own weapons. Relatively speaking the press in England is the freest in the world, and has a large spanning authority and capacity. The trouble with the press in England is, however, that each paper is aligned to a “type” of British person. So I choose to be sceptical about whatever is written in the Daily Mail, including its theories on its links between immigrants and carcinogenic materials, and a Daily Mail reader chooses to be sceptical about The Guardian and its “lefty” smug faced approach. When it comes to broadcast media, however, its a different story. The visual will always implicate greater problems, which is why Ofcom exists, and why there is only self-regulation of the press, rather than a set of legal rules.Considering the statistics, although online newspaper consumption has increased, most people are becoming increasingly selective with what they read, whereas what they watch is caught in a snapshot of a few minutes, which has a far greater impact. Roland Barthes always highlighted the importance of the visual vs. the textual:
“We live according to a generalized image-repertoire. Consider the United Sates, where everything is transformed into images: only images exist and are produced and are consumed … Such a reversal necessarily raises the ethical question: not that the image is immoral…but because, when generalized, it completely de-realizes the human world of conflicts and desires, under cover of illustrating it.” — Roland Barthes (from Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography – which I’m reading at the moment – an absolutely amazing book to bring the new year in with.)
The BBC, The Times, The Independent, ITV – these are the most popular media institutions in the country, and are regular under academic scrutiny as to how impartial they actually are. The British are constantly under the illusion that their press is superior to others in the world, because freedom of speech is marked as a cornerstone of it. Having spoken at length with my Chinese classmates, who comes from a nation where freedom of speech is a nothing (I see freedom of speech as an absolute, not a tapered discipline) the BBC’s complete disregard for the cultural implications of the conflict with Taiwan are an important omission. We could all find many international events where we notice an omission of the culturally significant in the BBC, or even the UK’s most liberal paper, The Guardian: the portrayal of Israel, the conflicts Hezbollah is involved in, the presentation of Ahmadinejad, the painting of the bombings during the 60 year independence (from British colonisation) anniversary of Nigeria – this list goes on.This is something which Britain has to sacrifice to have a secular press – but this division from actual reality is extremely misleading. There is the general assumption, that because the appearance of a balanced argument is laid out by our professional looking press and media, that they transmit the true impartiality. This is the only good thing that come out of Rupert Murdoch owning BSkyB – a majority of the country are well aware of the fact that a media monopoly is about to be created – and perhaps with more and more people regretting voting for who they did – perhaps we will begin, as a public, to question the information we are fed by official government sources, and by News Corp. Not only this, but in times of civil unrest, the alternative press in any nation peaks to the highest quality: Media LensMedia TenorCeasefire Magazine
The Sheffield protests were far less brutal than the London ones, and even though I realise how little smashing the window of Topshop does, and how much it undermines the principles behind demonstration, I am proud of every person who has stood up for their education.
I am not a believer that education should be free. It is a privilege, and we should spend part of our working life giving back to the institution which taught us, for people younger than ourselves to gain the same, or a better experience.
What I don’t agree with is paying £9000 a year for that privilege. I was also surprised to see so many people stand up to defend those privileges- I’ve always been of the opinion that there is actually very little love for self-education in this land.
But maybe, suddenly people my age are beginning to realise that, without it, the hole in their lives would become a lot bigger.
When I went to the polling station and crossed next to Nick Clegg, I hoped with all my heart that others would do the same – choosing to ignore the advice on tactical voting, because I wanted to see the cornerstone of democracy in its simplicity.
I was part of the foolish middle chunk which wedged the Lib Dems into a space they couldn’t back out of, only to watch them turn their back on us and slip out another way.
Education is a cause where we can be violent in protest – war, human rights, vivisection – these are instances where being violent would undermine the cause.
Violence is also something which Cameron and Clegg cannot translate – I don’t agree that aggression is the best way, but in my three years at Cambridge, I witnessed countless times people acting out of line, confidently so because they knew that there was no consequence but a toffish chuckle. Whenever I intervened with any kind of anger or disgust that was seen as impropriety – I remember the first time I did this someone called me a “rude girl”. Not a “rudegal”. A “rude girl”.
I am proud of you all for standing up for yourselves, and for every student in the country. I am aware of the police casualties, and for this I feel sad. But not that sad, since stuff like this was going down:
Jody McIntyre, journalist dragged from his wheelchair (photo by Germain Arnold). You can read an interview with him here.
And since I’ve never really felt protected by the police – not now, and not when a mass of racists descended on my city in 2001, and they were allowed to rip our town and our lives apart – I’ll choose to take the side of my bredren, and shake my head in disgust at headlines such as this: “Student protests: Met launches criminal investigation.”
Probably the only amusement that’s come from this is seeing Camilla and Charles looking “bare cheesed off”.
Everyone seems outraged that the anger was taken out on the “Royals” a.k.a. “two poor old people”. It was bad, especially when they went back to their palaces and their endless supply of job seekers allowence. Beautiful irony, really.