I met today with a Spanish journalist who just came back from Gaza. We talked about the situation there. He was very friendly. I asked him how comes we never see on television channels reporting from Gaza any Hamas people, no gunmen, no rocket launcher, no policemen.. We only see civilians on these reports, mostly women and children. He answered me frankly : “it’s very simple, we did see Hamas people there launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dare pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.” Wooh, impressive. Then I asked him “would you mind saying that on camera? I can film you explaining this…” For some reason I cannot really understand he refused and almost ran away. I guess my camera is as dangerous as Hamas threats… So just for you to know, the truth will never appear on the images you see on television.
This has been a terrible year for horseflies. It’s bad enough if you’re human: often by the time you swat them off the damage has already been wrought by their revolting, cutting mandibles and it’s not till 24 hours later, I find, that the bite reaches peak unpleasantness, swelling into a huge itchy dome which somehow never quite generates the massive sympathy you feel you deserve. But obviously it’s worse if you’ve no hands to swat them with, as Girl and I were reminded when we went out for a summer ride.
Every few yards our mounts shuddered and twitched and twisted their heads back under sustained and vicious assault from the evil clegs. Sometimes, you could see the blood. ‘Kill them! Keep killing them!’ commanded our teacher, Jane, explaining how you had constantly to watch each other’s horses and squash all the biters that their own riders couldn’t reach. It struck me that the horse’s tail is a perfect example of Darwinian natural selection: any proto-horse that lacked such a vital anti-cleg device would soon have been driven by madness to early extinction. (Lessons there for the Conservative party, surely?)
Anyway, days later, I was reading the July entry from my monthly literary treat TheShepherd’s Calendar and I came upon this couplet about horses: ‘Switching their tails and turning round/ To knap the gadflys teazing wound’. And as I often do with John Clare I felt that thrill of delighted recognition at yet another instance of rural life so acutely observed and perfectly expressed. Truly if you love the country there is no finer poet than Clare.
“There aren’t a lot of functioning democracies around the world that work this way where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. What it means is ordinary Americans are shut out of the process.” Barack Obama, White House press conference, Oct 2013.
Yes, indeed. But the millionaires and billionaires doing the damage are Obama’s allies on the liberal-left, not his enemies on the right. So says a devastating report published today by the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.
The report details how an elite group of rich liberal donors such as Tom Steyer and Hank Paulson – “the Billionaire’s Club” – is directing and controlling the far-left environmental movement, “which in turn lobbies and controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”
Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snow is back from Gaza. In an obviously unscripted, from-the-heart piece to camera he had this to say to British TV audiences about his experiences:
I’m back. And in the comfort of this studio its hard to imagine I was ever away. I don’t need to imagine, though, because what I saw is etched into my mind. What I never knew is what I know now which is that those people who live in Gaza are mainly unbelievably young. The average age is 17. That means that about quarter of a million are under ten. And you know if you know any ten-year olds, seven-year olds, five-year olds, four-year olds, the idea in the looseness of a war zone that you can control your children, that they won’t be somewhere where they can be hit is beyond the imagination. You can’t hope to control that. So, in a very densely packed urban area if you decide to throw missiles, shells and the rest then undoubtedly you will kill children. And that is what they are doing.
“Fracking” was the second most popular UK search term in the “what is?” category on Google in 2014.
(The top ten were: Love; Fracking; Gluten; FGM; Lupus; Anxiety; Twerking; Instagram; Gout; Bitcoin).
What this tells you is that capitalism in general and the fracking industry in particular is losing the argument.
How does it tell you this?
Because what it instantly suggests is that “fracking” is a controversial process.
And indeed fracking is a controversial process. But only because it has been tarred that way as a result of several years of very successful propagandising by the green movement, which the fracking industry and its allies in government have proved hopelessly inadequate at countering.
If there’s one thing everyone knows about BBC comedy it’s that it’s going downhill. According to Danny Cohen, now Director of BBC Television, it’s too white and middle class; according to producer John ‘Blackadder’ Lloyd, it’s run by idiots like the bureaucrats in the BBC satire W1A who don’t understand what comedy is; according to the gag-inducingly PC Dara O’Briain, it’s too gag-inducingly PC (he means the quota system they’re trying to introduce whereby every comedy panel show must have a token female); according to John Cleese, it’s never been the same since John Cleese left; etc.
Probably they’re all right. I hardly ever watch comedy series any more because they’re invariably full of young people being free and having lots of messed-up fun while yet asking us to feel sorry for them. But this week, just to check what the kids are up to, I thought I’d have a look at Comedy Feeds — the BBC’s now-annual newbie talent contest for sitcoms and sketch shows.
A few years ago a friend who wishes to remain nameless suggested that it was about time I started writing a blog.
“Why would I want to do that?” I said.
“Because it’s the future and you’d be good at it,” he said.
So I gave it a go and I’ve been here ever since. But not for any longer I’m afraid. Today is the sad day when I must bid you all farewell. I have been appointed Chief Sustainability Consultant at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, working directly to one of my all-time-heroes Ed Davey, with a juicy, taxpayer-funded salary, a ring-fenced pension and a bio-fuel-powered Aston-Martin just like the Prince of Wales’s.
No, not really, about the second bit. Just the first bit: I’m off to pasture…
Benefits Street, Channel 4′s hit, fly on the wall documentary about a Birmingham street full of welfare claimants, is a gross distortion of reality.
We know this because a group of charity heads has written to the Telegraph to say so. They claim to speak for more than 100 charities and community groups, all of which are “calling on Channel 4, as a public service broadcaster, to review how this damaging and grossly unbalanced programme came to be shown.”
Apparently the series focuses on “an unrepresentative minority”, “reinforcing harmful stereotypes where the most extreme examples are presented as the norm.”
Gosh. I wonder how they know. For example, when I checked the annual accounts of one of the concerned charities, I couldn’t help noticing that its top paid employee – presumably the chief executive who signed the letter – get…
So now we know yet another reason why the BBC is so biased in its reporting on climate change: because in 2006 the Labour government effectively paid it to be so. It was a £67,000 grant from the Department for International Development (DFID) which paid for the notorious, secret high-level seminar at which the BBC was persuaded to abandon all pretence at neutrality on the global warming issue. I expect the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin just can’t wait to get his teeth into this major scandal.
Oh no, wait, I forgot: Harrabin was the seminar’s organiser. (Don’t worry, Rog. I promise not to remind anyone. We Oxbridge English Literature graduates must stick together, eh?)
Anyway, I notice one or two feathers have been ruffled by the Mail On Sunday’s suggestion that…