Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

Money, money, money

Listening to the news this week has been even more horrendous and soul crushing than normal.

The Syrian regime’s bombing of their own people in Homs whilst the world stands back is brutal beyond words.  Why is this different to Libya?  Why is there no concerted international pressure?  Every night on twitter there are messages of support to the French journalist Edith Bouvier, injured in Syria and hoping someone will get her out.  I listened with disgust and horror to Paul Conroy’s widow talking on the radio on Sunday about how the Foreign Office had explained to her that it was too dangerous to send someone to rescue her husband, the Sunday Times photographer who was injured in the bomb blast that killed Marie Colvin.  How she wanted someone to say to hell with the protocol, they were going to go and get him.

I thought the tragic death of  Marie Colvin  (read her final report for The Sunday Times here) might have been a game changer, but apparently not.  When the news came in of her death it made me realise that this is a true journalist, someone who believed that the independent reporting was essential and would go to any lengths regardless of her own personal safety to get the truth.  I thought back to the Leveson Inquiry into Media Ethics and J K Rowling’s testament, where she talked about there being two types of journalists, those of the calibre of Marie Colvin who are essential to ensure a fair and democratic society, and the other sort that just invaded her life (and countless other public figures) and caused untold levels of stress and upset for no true journalist purpose. If you have time to read her written witness statement, the extent of press intrusion is quite staggering.  She said they should have a different name, that you could not compare the two.  J K Rowling is absolutely right.  We distinguish between photo-journalists and the paparazzi, we should do the same for journalists and what I don’t know.  Muck-raker hacks?  Bottom-feeder fantasists?  Mmm not that catchy.  I think they need some work.

Yesterday the Leveson Inquiry heard from the Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commission, Sue Akers who said “there was a cultural of illegal payments” at The Sun.  Bribery was openly discussed.  Multiple payments were made to officials in Government, Police, Prisons, Health Service.  One journalist was given £150,000 for payments to “sources” not for stories in the public interest but for “salacious gossip”

This coming the day after the launch of The Sun on Sunday, and Rupert Murdoch crowing that he had sales of 3 million yesterday.  Do you think Murdoch knew what was coming and rushing out that launch before Sue Akers’ statement?

It is worth pointing out this is The Sun, not the News of the World.  The Sun.  The Sun that accused other papers of a witch-hunt against them last week.   The levels of corruption just make me sick.  But what worries me more is, is anything actually going to change?   We have to ensure that they do, and we can all start by not buying The Sun, ever.  I am surprised twitter haven’t started a campaign to boycott major Sun advertisers too.  We have to stand up and say we will not accept this.

If that wasn’t bad enough Barclay’s Bank, the only British High Street bank that didn’t need a handout from the Government during the financial crisis has been outed as trying to claw back £0.5 billion from the Treasury on tax it hadn’t even paid.  This being announced on the day that Occupy London protesters were removed by bailiffs.

So one of the very few voices daring to question the ethical nature of big business practices has been snuffed out on the day one of those billion pound companies are found to be “trying it on again”.

Really I am not feeling a lot of hope today for the future of this country.  How have we got into this mess?  What is the answer?  Everywhere in my own life I meet with decent, kind, honest people.  I have experienced altruism on life-affirming levels.  I think I a fairly moral and decent person.    Is it true, is it as simple as power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?   I haven’t even touched on the Workfare scheme.  News out last night was that McDonalds had taken £20 millions from it and used it to enhance their existing employees, they had  not created one single job, Asda have started cutting the hours of paid workers and using the unpaid labour instead.  These again are companies making millions every year.

Is it endemic?  How can we stand up and say not in my name?  Any thoughts and views are extremely welcome.  Surely if we all  stick together and say we demand better we can make a difference?


Back to School…. In a Hurricane

What cruel trick of fate would send everyone trudging back to school and work in high winds and pelting rain?

Is it not hard enough to get up, in what already seems like the middle of the night, on this first dreaded day, without having to battle a force 8 gale?

The kids were very excited when the elements knocked out the tv.  The power of nature on full display.  It felt as if the weather was mirroring our own heavy hearts.  The wind wuthered and throughout the night I kept being woken by a tap, tap, tap as if Cathy herself wanted to come inside.

In the morning, in the cold (very cold) light of day I realised it was just the Christmas lights on the window, but it led to some dreaming, including one where I forgot to pick the children up from school.  Even in a dream the horror of looking at my watch and it being an hour after the bell had rung was horrendously panic inducing.

Rupert Murdoch, may or may not have tweeted that for a broke country the UK have too many holidays, but this Christmas-New Year break seems to have gone in the blink of an eye for us.  But at least we have had a wonderful time, time to treasure with the children, despite the usual amounts of squabbling and bickering.  I had a lump in my throat seeing them lined up at the door this morning.. all shiny shoed and scrubbed faces.  Bags and PE kits and homework in hand.  The house seems supernaturally still and quiet now.

Still the school day goes by also in a flash and it will feel like they are tumbling out of school again any minute.  We will back in the routine before we know it, all the activities starting up again, those time-markers of my week, ballet, swimming and the rest.

So I wish you all a gentle day today, a quiet easing back into the flow of work and school, that the harness of timetables and schedules return lightly on your shoulders.  That you are not strickened with the back to school blues.   At least the wind has died down a bit.