Sunday, January 14, 2007

Turning a Blind Eye

Come on boys, lets play nicely now.

Who needs the dried frog pills.

The last week would best be described as being strange. I have been busily checking my stock of dried frog pills and none are missing. My stock of Nightswerve's Velvet Cudgel remains firmly under lock and key. I've also taken to asking if anyone has taken to adding unusual herbs to my meals. Yet however hard I try, I cannot seem to shift the idea that I have slipped into an alternate reality without realising.

I urge all of my sturdy yeomen out there to be wary. It looks to me like that some of the weirder realities are seeping into this one.

Take Kelvin MacKenzie for example. Kelvin used to work for Rupert Murdoch's Evil Empire as the editor of The Sun newspaper. (Note 1)

At the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, Sheffield, 96 Liverpool football supporters lost their lives in a crush before the game as fans rushed to get into the ground before the kick off.

In the same week, The Sun published a front page article claiming that fans caught up in the disaster beat up a policeman who was trying to give a fan the kiss of life, picked the pockets of victims and urinated on police. All of these claims were found to be false by Lord Justice Taylor who chaired the public enquiry into the disaster.

Reaction in Liverpool to the story in Liverpool was one of intense anger. The Sun still struggles to sell as well on Mersyside as it unfortunately does in the rest of the country.

Now some of my more astute yeomen may be wondering just why I have to taken to dredging up what is essentially such old news.

Reaction in Liverpool to the original story was for people to boycott the paper and burn it in the street.

This week, Kelvin MacKenzie was chosen to take part in BBC Question Time. (Note 2)

In response to a question about Iraq, Kelvin MacKenzie had a good rant about how Tony Blair should have the good grace to stand up an apologise for being wrong about the reasons for taking us to war.

All very noble. All what people wanted to hear. Hmmm.

Yet when the topic of apologising for his decision to run the incorrect story about Hillsborough came up, he steadfastly refused to apologise.

There you have it. To get to the top in Murdoch’s Evil Empire isn’t anything to do with having principles and sticking with them. Just saying what people want to hear. How would a politician be judged if they behaved like that? I bet there would be a front page story demanding their resignation on the front page.

The happy, smiley face of another editor in the Evil empire, Andy Coulson.

This week, we saw the Evil Empire trying to con us that it occupies some moral high ground. (Note 3) They announced haughtily that the News International Group would not be using any pictures taken by Paparazzi of Kate Middleton, Prince William’s girlfriend. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’ll stop using other paparazzi photographs, just ones of Kate Middleton.

Now this is all very laudable and I’m sure it has nothing to do with all of the publicity surrounding the inquest into Princess Diana, William’s mother. At the time of her death she was being chased by paparazzi.

Although using paparazzi photographs is nothing compared to bugging the phones of the Royals and celebrities. Yet, you may remember from a previous blog entry, is just what one of Ian Coulson’s staff at the News of the World did.

If a politician was in charge of a department that bugged people’s phones and then used the information for their own ends, I bet there would be a front page story demanding their resignation.

Do you spot the pattern yet? Kelvin MacKenzie and now Ian Coulson. Within the Evil Empire ‘Do as I say not as I do’ is very much order of the day.

Not that the Evil Empire isn’t averse to a few dodgy and underhand business tactics of their own. In order to stop the takeover of ITV by NTL, the Evil Empire took a stake in ITV to block the takeover. Thankfully this is now being probed by the Office of Fair Trading and who knows we may even see some action taken.

Of course, if a rival businessman did that, I bet we would see a front page headline demanding that he resign or be punished.

I watch all of this with interest. Will Kelvin MacKenzie apologise? Will Ian Coulson resign? Will News International stop using all paparazzi photographs? Will the Evil Empire sell their stake in ITV at a loss?

What do you think?

From 14th June, the industry standard Crozzy Standard has been applied to footnotes.

NOTE 1: I believe I am in a very charitable mood here when I describe this as a newspaper. If you discount the sport content, it only gives a passing nod to current affairs and news. The actual content means it is more of a comic. Unfortunately, the Evil Empire understands that it never pays to over estimate the intelligence of the British Public. As a result, The Sun is the biggest selling daily. For me this is a frightening statistic that should be a cause of national shame. Click to return

NOTE 2 : Normally the panellists are chosen because they represent a political party or a particular social group. Somehow, Kelvin MacKenzie slipped in. I can only assume that this means that being ‘in the media’ now means you represent some constituency within the UK. This sits uncomfortably with me, but if media people wish to believe they represent people then they must also be subject to the same responsibilities – that is if they are found wanting then they should be forced to step down (This is an important point for later – trust me, I’m not a politician or a journalist). Click to return

NOTE 3: I find the whole idea laughable to. The best they can really hope for is to clamber up into the gutter briefly until the next opportunity arises for them to dive gleefully into the sewer. Click to return

I’m not at all sure why I thought of this as my ending photo.

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