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Showing posts from October, 2012

What can they mean?

I see the Scottish Daily Record has a story about the drastic fall-off in support for Scottish independence since the start of the year . What is interesting is the rather convoluted mention in the piece of "the same bar that Salmond plucked his independence poem from" and "bar room doggerel". OK Daily Record, out with it: shouldn't you actually publish a story about the gathering rumours about Alex Salmond's drinking instead of merely leaving sly hints? I have no love for the portly first Minister, but if he is an alcoholic then he needs help and not a conspiracy of silence.

The impunity of the BBC

In a way the bombshell that has hit the BBC in the past 24 hours over the raft of allegations about the sexual conduct of Jimmy Savile- and the apparent long-term cover-up- is entirely appropriate. Yet to my mind the storm that has broken is also slightly mis-aimed. It is rather like Al Capone being convicted of tax evasion, rather than the much grosser crimes that he undoubtedly also committed. The fact is that the BBC has an ever longer charge sheet of misconduct, and the cover up of what seems, to say the least, the creepy, probably criminal, antics of one of its stars is actually a bit beside the point. Although I believe Rupert Murdoch to be a criminal who should himself now be in gaol, his constant criticism of the Corporation was not entirely self-serving. The fact is that from the gold plated hypocrisy of its expense accounts culture to the naked bias of its news programmes, the BBC has moved a long way from the trusted, Reithian ethos that prevailed even up to a couple of de

On a street corner in Minsk

I am not sure where I finally lost it with Minsk. It  could have been on the corner of Lenin and Karl Marx streets or maybe walking down Kirov or Sverdlov street or any one of a dozen or so streets named after the brutal thugs who followed the gangster Lenin and his depraved Soviet creed. The Soviet demonology was of course missing its chief demon and near anagram of Satan- Stalin- but still the streets of Minsk proclaimed Soviet power unvarnished with hyphens or humanity. The Soviet era flag, the Militia, and the KGB all survive in "Europe's last dictatorship".  Yet the visit to Belarus had begun with good humour. Black humour admittedly: "Welcome to Belarus where the local time is 1983".  We were here to meet friends and celebrate the wedding of an attractive young couple, and whatever my misgivings about the reputation or the Belarusian state and its eccentric leader, Alexander Lukashenka, they were assuaged by the knowledge that I would be there for only

Radical Liberals

The slight bounce in the polls for the Liberal Democrats after the Brighton conference, now up to 15% support, may well be part of the froth of the conference season. On the other hand, support at that level has often been the norm for the party at this stage in many previous Parliaments. So those pundits gleefully hoping for the demise of the party seem set to be disappointed. Certainly the atmosphere in Brighton was more of a party on the way back than one on the way down. In fact I see a renewed commitment to Liberal ideas and a more genuine debate as to what the priorities amongst Liberal values should be. For myself, as this blog makes pretty clear, I am mistrustful of both big government and big business. In that sense I harken back to the classical Liberal tradition which respects entrepreneurship and which believes in the older Liberal virtues that, in short, we exist "to build a Liberal Society in which every citizen shall possess liberty, property and security and none