Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Media's agenda and my bad habits

CARLISLE BNP are having concerns about their PO Box. There were difficulties with mail going missing when it was first opened back in May but then, after a complaint, the mail started flowing again. Now it's going AWOL again and Carlisle organiser Alistair Barbour, has made a formal complaint and informed the Police. He has sent a number of test mails through which haven't arrived, so it looks as though someone at the city's sorting office is pilfering, diverting or withholding the BNP post.

There's a valid point made in the editorial of the The Independent this morning over all the fuss concerning Hurricane Gustav. At the very same time as our TV screens are full of images of residents fleeing New Orleans - some say to escape the looting and lawlessness that a hurricane encourages as much as the weather - the catastrophic floods in the Indian state of Bihar, where hundreds have died and more than a million people have been left homeless, barely gets a mention.

What is wrong here is that it is the media that is setting the agenda, telling us what is important and what isn't. To qualify that a little more, it is individual editors who are dictating priorities and each of them will have their own political axe to grind. The BNP knows about this more than most, as we almost always suffer as a consequence of the political leanings of those who have power within the media to compile the sort of news that suits them best.

As usual the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning was playing the 'sackcloth and ashes' card asking why, in an incredulous tone, Britain wasn't providing aid for those suffering in India? As I covered the miles on my exercise bike I told my trusty transistor that a country that can spend a small fortune on nuclear arms and already receives Oversea Aid from us should be able to look after its own people in time of need.

We also had Thought for the Day with the Right Reverend James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool telling us that criminal aren't as bad as they might seem. Of course this mis-guided cleric was talking about meeting offenders inside prison when they are feeling contrite and sorry for themselves at being detained at Her Majesty's pleasure. He should meet them when they are out on the street, full of bravado and committing their crimes before asking us to feel any sympathy for them.

The sorry state of Britain's Premier League couldn't have been better encapsulated that in this morning's news that Manchester City has been taken over by a United Arab Emirates investment group. Joe Mercer must be spinning in his grave. If I was ever Minister for Sport, I would ban foreign ownership of British football clubs, ban foreign managers from managing British clubs and limit foreign players to one player per club per season. These vast sums of money swilling around the Premiership should be being invested in grass roots football.

Finally I've picked up a bad habit from holiday - reading crime thrillers. Rather than watch the box in the evening I'm off to my bedroom with a book and can recommend from this week's reading Hilary Bonner's A Fancy to Kill For and A Moment of Madness and Val McDermid's The Mermaid's Singing. Tonight I'm starting The Safe House by Nicci French.

Like my football with Workington Reds, these books provide a nice escape for a couple of hours from the depressing political situation in the country.

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