Who do we trust?

A friend of mine asked me a question a while back, which has been niggling me ever since. I put up a post on Facebook, which I got from fair.org. “F.A.I.R.” stands for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. It was about the reporting of Russian airstrikes in Syria by the mainstream media. What it showed was that there was a certain amount of false reporting going on. The news appeared to be different before and after the Russian intervention. On the 30th September the New York Times had reported airstrikes in Homs, but then added that it was a region of Syria not under the control of … Continue reading Who do we trust?

Airstrikes for Dummies

Last week David Cameron presented the case for airstrikes in Syria. He said: “Throughout Britain’s history we have been called on time and again to make the hardest of decisions in defence of our citizens and our country. Today one of the greatest threats we face to our security is the threat from Isil [Isis].” I took the report from the Guardian website. You will notice that they felt the need to explain who Isil are by adding an alternative name in brackets. This is just in case there might be some confusion. The group are also known as Daesh … Continue reading Airstrikes for Dummies

Is Blair beginning to feel the heat over Iraq?

The news this week is that Tony Blair has finally apologised for the Iraq War. Well not quite. This is what he said, in an interview with Fareed Zakaria for CNN: “I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.” This is the mendacious wriggling of a lawyer trying to get himself off the hook. I can clearly remember a counter-dossier, by Alan Simpson MP and the academic and campaigner Dr Glen Rangwala, which reviewed the same intelligence available to the government at the time but concluded that there were no WMDs. Blair would certainly have seen … Continue reading Is Blair beginning to feel the heat over Iraq?

Let’s show refugees our compassion

You will have seen the front page headline of the Gazette last week: “Fury over plans to house refugees”. I was a little puzzled by it. Someone obviously doesn’t know the meaning of the word “fury”. To quote my on-line dictionary: “unrestrained or violent anger, rage, passion”. So is someone on Vulcan Close roused to violent anger at the possibility that some migrant children may be moving into their vicinity? People may be concerned; they may be fearful; they may be unhappy, but it would take a very seriously unbalanced person to fly into a rage over it. As it is, some people –  … Continue reading Let’s show refugees our compassion

The Killing Fields then and now

  The Killing Fields was on TV recently. Maybe you remember it. It’s about a journalist and his translator during the time of the Khmer Rouge take over in Cambodia in the 1970s. It came out in 1984, won eight BAFTAs and three Oscars and starred Sam Waterson and Haing S. Ngor. The movie hasn’t aged a bit. It worth watching both for its depiction of the extremes of war, and of the deep personal relationship between the two men. It also shows you the violence of the Khmer State in the years after the war. What struck me while … Continue reading The Killing Fields then and now

Christmas Eve: we must stop wars for the sake of our children

Christmas Eve. It’s like a pause – isn’t it? – between the preparations that went before and the festivities that are to follow. The presents are bought and wrapped, the turkey is in the fridge, the drink is in the cupboard. The carpets are clean. We have everything we need. Everyone is waiting. It’s like the whole world is holding its breath. Me, I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I’m spending Christmas with my new grandchild, meeting the in-laws. I’m sure we’ll get on. The baby will be the centre of attention and the subject of most of … Continue reading Christmas Eve: we must stop wars for the sake of our children

Neoliberalism and the New World Order

  Everyone knows there’s something wrong with the world but nobody can say what it is. We’ve got people going hungry in the UK for the first time in nearly a century; wages are falling and living standards are in decline; our schools are failing and our National Health Service is being privatised; the retirement age is rising, child benefit is means tested and large numbers of our young people are finishing their education massively in debt. Meanwhile the rich are getting richer and we’re involved in our sixth war since 1990. There’s always enough money for wars it seems, … Continue reading Neoliberalism and the New World Order

Nice to know we’re on the side of progress

So we’re at war again. Because all the previous wars have worked out really well haven’t they? We bombed Afghanistan and the Taliban grew stronger. We bombed Libya and the terrorist armies spread throughout the Middle East. We bombed Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. So – remind me –  which of these countries is now safe from terrorism? This is the fourth time we’ve bombed Iraq. The Iraqis must have got used to it by now. We’ve been bombing them, on and off, since 1990. Islamic State (IS) used to be known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. When we first bombed … Continue reading Nice to know we’re on the side of progress