Unbalanced reporting is feeding our ignorance

I overheard one of my colleagues at work the other day. He was listening to a news report about the prospect of British jets bombing Isis targets in Syria. “Let’s bomb them,” he said. I often hear him saying such things. He’s not a right wing bigot or a racist, although he might be Islamophobic. Many people are Islamophobic these days. I said, “that’s exactly what they are saying about you right now.” He turned from his frame and looked at me sceptically. “So what would you do?” Unfortunately my answer was a lot less succinct than the three words … Continue reading Unbalanced reporting is feeding our ignorance

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?

The austerity fairy story

In my last column I referred to austerity as “fake”. You may have wondered what I meant. I’m not the only person to have understood this. Prior to the election Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote an article in the Guardian calling austerity “a delusion”. Other people have described it as “a con” or as “a myth”. Two thirds of economists surveyed by the Centre for Macroeconomics disagreed with the statement that Government policies since 2010 had a “positive effect” on the economy. Even the Treasury’s own forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, estimated that austerity slowed down … Continue reading The austerity fairy story

Variation on Zero Hours Contracts at Morrisons

I was pleased to read the letter a fortnight ago from Gordon Mowatt, Managing Director of Morrison’s Local, in which he says that remarks in my column a few weeks back were “simply factually incorrect.” I’d described the jobs on offer in the new Morrison’s store, due to open in Whitstable in the near future, as “a variation on zero hours contracts”. I stand by that statement. Many of the jobs on offer are 8 hours a week. Mr Mowatt is disingenuous when he says that the reason for this is to “attract people to work in retail.” The fact … Continue reading Variation on Zero Hours Contracts at Morrisons

Threat to our sovereignty is from big corporations

As always I went to exercise my democratic right last Thursday, casting my vote at the polling station in Windsor House on Belmont Road. There was a long wait in the queue, after which I enjoyed my half a second’s worth of democracy, before being shovelled back into the political wilderness again. The voting paper was extraordinarily long, with a bewildering number of parties, many of which I’ve never heard of before. A lot of them were anti-EU parties, which I agree with. The trouble is most of the anti-EU protest votes went to UKIP, who have made a lot of … Continue reading Threat to our sovereignty is from big corporations