Tag Archives: Leveson

Maria Miller grinds slowly

Which member of the Privy Council is best qualified to be Chancellor of the Exchequer? It is not, obviously, George Osborne, who famously doesn’t even have O-grade maths and who is driving the UK into double-dip recession because he has no notion about economics beyond “tax cuts for the rich=GOOD”.

Oddly enough in a Tory Cabinet, it’s actually a comprehensive-school kid from Wales. Maria Miller, Minister for Women and Equalities

Maria Lewis went to Brynteg Comprehensive School/Ysgol Gyfun Brynteg in Bridgend and took a BSc in Economics at the LSE. (When she married Iain Miller in 1990 she took his surname and has stood for election as Maria Miller ever since.) She isn’t a crony of Cameron from the Bullingdon Club (they don’t let girls in), she didn’t go to Oxbridge, she wasn’t privately educated, and she didn’t marry into the web of privilege: she will never be one of the Secret Seven. I imagine as a member of the Conservative Party since she was 19 she’s got used to that kind of thing.

Maria Miller has been MP for Basingstoke since 2005. As she was born in 1964 she’ll be aware that to David Cameron (born 1966), she has a useful life only to 2018, even if the Tories scrape a win in 2015: Caroline Spelman was sacked in the reshuffle for being too old at 54.
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Fifty Shades of Brick

Samantha Brick on This Morning:

“I’m not a prude. I live in France. France is the home of erotic literature. In France if you refuse to give conjugal rights to your husband you can be sued.”

(Am I the only one who thought this was a four-statement example of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking?)

Samantha Brick criticised the widespread availability Fifty Shades of Grey, saying supermarkets and high street giants shouldn’t be selling explicit content where children could view it.

“Madonna released an explicit book in the Nineties that was sold on the top shelf of the supermarkets in a special cover. It was sealed and there was a warning on it.” …. But there is nothing stopping children and young teens picking up Fifty Shades, she said.

I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey but I have listened to Mark Oshiro reading from FSoG and it sounds hilarible. (WARNING. DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS AT WORK. NOT EVEN IF YOU HAVE HEADPHONES IN. MAY CAUSE UNCONTROLLABLE GIGGLING.)
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Our constitution, July 2012: Parliamentary privileges

“Protection of Parliamentary privileges, election of Presiding Officer, etc”

In April 2011, Ryan Giggs’s lawyers managed to convince a judge that Giggs’s girlfriend had had an affair with him for six months with intention of blackmailing him, and so ought not to be allowed to name Ryan Giggs in any interview, nor ought the UK media to be allowed to publish this, and the judge granted a superinjunction, which of course attracted the intention among the vast majority who didn’t care who Giggs was having an affair with. On 22nd May the Sunday Herald took advantage of its ambiguous position as a Scottish newspaper to identify Giggs to anyone who’d been following the story… but on 23rd May he was named in the House of Commons under Parliamentary privilege by John Hemming. The woman who’d been falsely accused of blackmail went on to clear her name in court, and the judge then suggested with remarkable meiosis that “There is no longer any point in maintaining the anonymity” though the gagging order wasn’t dropped until February this year.

Because of this incident, and because of the other more justly famous incident in the precursor to Leveson, when in November 2011 Tom Watson told James Murdoch that “You must be the first mafia boss in history who didn’t know he was running a criminal enterprise” probably what most people know about “Parliamentary privilege” is that an MP speaking in the House of Commons can say literally anything and cannot be prosecuted for defamation or for breaking a superinjunction.
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Scottish, British, European

Today Ahmed Abdullah Ahmed is being deported, if a campaign to let him stay does not succeed. I was tweeted this link by an independence supporter who argued (she didn’t have to argue with me it would be wrong to deport Ahmed, of course it would!) that Ahmed would not be deported from an independence Scotland. Well, I hope he wouldn’t be: he has been a refugee from Somalia for 20 years, he has lived in Britain for 7 years, he has a sister who has the right to remain in the UK – he should not have to go. (Action today!)

But I haven’t yet seen a definite policy committment from the supporters of an independent Scotland that would ensure refugees and asylum seekers who needed to stay in Scotland would be treated decently and helped to stay. For this to be more than “the sun will shine more often!” happy thoughts, independence needs a constitutional convention, and needs it long before autumn 2014.

Ed Miliband said:

“People can be Scottish and British, it’s OK. And if they feel primarily Scottish that’s fine too. But if they leave the UK they won’t be British any more: it stands to reason.”

There’s a general lesson there. Any time you find yourself ending a statement with “It stands to reason!” you are probably wrong. It often doesn’t.
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I hope you like the solution!

At the beginning of December 2010, Vince Cable was the Minister responsible for the BSkyB decision, and he wasn’t minded to give it to Murdoch.

By 20th December 2010, a sting operation run by the Telegraph had ensured that Cable wasn’t the quasi-judicial decider on BSkyB any more – Jeremy Hunt was.

David Cameron, George Osborne, and James Murdoch all knew before 20th December that Vince Cable didn’t favour the NewsCorps bid for BSkyB and James Hunt did.

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BSkyB: What are the Telegraph’s links to Murdoch?

Cast your mind back to the palmy early months of coalition government, back when Andy Coulson was Director of Communications for the government at 10 Downing Street, on £140,000 a year, and Rebekah and Dave could go hacking together without a care in the world.

In mid-June reports confirmed that News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch, was holding talks with BSkyB shareholders with a view to acquire the remaining 61 percent of BSkyB.

By October, a coalition of media organisations including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the the Guardian, the BBC, and Channel 4, were pushing for government intervention. Vince Cable, then Business Secretary, would have got a letter from this coalition making the case that a merger of News Corps, the UK’s largest newspaper group, and BSkyB, the UK’s biggest subscription television service “could have serious and far-reaching consequences for media plurality”.

Vince Cable & Rupert Murdoch
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Sexism, social ineptitude, and Samantha Brick

Whenever a Daily Fail story suddenly explodes all over the Internet. there is one thing I try to remember: The Daily Mail lies. Articles published in the Daily Mail may or may not be based on the facts: they will be heavily sub-edited and the subject of the article may well have been distorted out of all recognition.

My name, image and brief details of my life had been used to fabricate a story which bore no resemblance to me or my life, then presented as fact, said by me, in my own words. It was damaging to me, my children, my friends and had a significantly negative impact on my life.

I emailed the other three women who’d been interviewed for the article – I found their addresses on an email the journalist had sent about the photoshoot. They each confirmed that they’d been horrified by the article, that it bore no relationship to anything they’d said and that they too had complained to Associated Newspapers and been similarly stonewalled.

The Daily Mail is no more a newspaper than The Sun. It is a daily means of selling advertising and boosting the personal fortune of Viscount Rothermere, who is registered as “non-domiciled” in the UK and so doesn’t have to pay his taxes. (Associated Newspapers is owned by the Rothermere family. The company has weathered the recession quite well – primarily by making thousands of the people who used to work for them redundant.)
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Murdoch, Salmond, and the Swamp of Destiny

On Tuesday 13th March David Cameron proved himself a brilliant game-player – albeit the kind that buys cheat codes.

He left the country for a state visit with Barack Obama.

Early that morning the Metropolitan Police arrested Cameron’s life-long friend Charlie Brooks and Rebekah formerly-the-CEO-of-NI Brooks and four other News International employees. By the time anyone knew about this, David Cameron was safely on a British Airways plane, mid-Atlantic.

As Fleet Street Fox notes, the convenient timing of this arrest just when David Cameron could not be ambushed with questions about his friendship with Charlie, Rebekah, and the horse, must be purely coincidental, and:

It is entirely coincidental that a public inquiry currently scrutinising relations between the police and members of the trade under examination has heard in recent days of senior coppers who have not been doing their job properly.
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Rape

My car was stolen, but I didn’t report it to the police. I know who the thief is. We’ve gone out for dinner more than once: I see him every day at work. Last time I went out for the evening with him, I felt I was over the limit and I let him drive my car. This time, when I gave him my keys, he got into the car without me, locked the doors, and just drove off. He abandoned it, tank empty, miles away. The police eventually contacted me and I had to pay a fine for illegal parking and the towing costs, and then the car had to go to the garage for repairs. But what’s the point of telling the police the car was stolen? I’d let the man drive the car before, I know him socially, I was drunk both times when I let him drive me home and the time he just drove off without me. No one would believe me, would they? It’s a really gorgeous car, anyone would say I shouldn’t drive it where people might see it and want to drive it themselves. And I didn’t exactly say “No” when he got in and drove off without me. He might not have known I didn’t want him to do that – maybe I didn’t give clear enough signals. So really, it’s my faultit wasn’t theft at all. I did get the car back, eventually.

Yeah, that makes sense.

If I’m talking about rape.

10% of car thefts turn out to be false reports. 2-8% of reported rapes turn out to be false reports. Yet if you google on “car theft” you don’t find pages and pages of sites of people warning of the risk of false car theft reports – of how predatory car owners will lie that their car was stolen when they had totally given their consent and just wanted to get revenge on the car driver – of how easily a false accusation of car theft can ruin a car driver’s life.
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What did Rupert Murdoch know and when did he know it?

In conversation with American friends, they often identify a paper as “The Times of London” or even “the London Times” and sometimes I correct them – since its name actually is The Times and has been since 1st January 1788, and since officially it is a UK-wide paper, sold from Campbelltown to Norwich. And sometimes I don’t, because as a practical matter of fact all of the papers published from London are London papers – the rest of the country (let alone the rest of the UK) is not regarded as of particular interest – the same line of thinking that leads David Dimbleby, in Edinburgh, to squelch Nicola Sturgeon when she responds to a question that requires an explanation of Scottish election law, on the grounds that Scottish elections are of no interest to Question Time’s audience.

This attitude in the UK-national media that Scottish politics are not something they should have to care about has been to Alex Salmond’s benefit on a few occasions – most notably over his MP expenses. Or rather most non-notably. But Salmond’s courtship of Murdoch is an extraordinary piece of chutzpah – a certainty that while the Scottish papers may take note, this won’t turn into a thing in the UK-national ones – and it is the UK-national papers that are focussing their attention on the Leveson revelations about Rupert Murdoch and News International.

Alex Salmond & Rupert Murdoch on 29 Feb 2012
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