Blind Trials For Politicians and Journalists?

Keeping politicians in the dark may be enlightening for the rest of us. Presenting quotes shorn of attribution is a far superior method for catching out a politician.

Tee hee: Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was caught out by Krishnan Guru-Murthy last week. The politician assumed that the journalist had read out a Jeremy Corbyn quote, and so dutifully proceeded to attack the words spoken. But Guru-Murthy then revealed that the quote was actually something that Boris Johnson, a Conservative colleague of Mr Fallon, had written in 2005.

There has been much anger expressed by the Corbyn-supporting left this week, after the Labour leader made a gaffe in a BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour interview. He could not remember the financial figures attached to a childcare policy. Many people (including myself) felt that Mr Corbyn was treated unfairly in subsequent media pile-on: its not as if he and his policy team have failed to publish any figures (which would be genuinely shocking) or that the figures they published did not add up. Rather, he simply did not remember the precise figure that the party had published. This kind of ‘gotcha’ journalism says nothing of interest about the man, the party or the policy. There, but for the grace of God, walk you and I. Continue reading “Blind Trials For Politicians and Journalists?”

The Execution of Gary Glitter

The Execution of Gary Glitter was morbidly fascinating TV, but in choosing such a sensational protagonist, I fear it might have missed the chance to examine how such a sinister and inhumane practice could worm its way into law, and retain the popular support of the people

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I watched The Execution of Gary Glitter tonight.  Just as executions have a morbid fascination, dramas about executions, like Dead Man Walking or The Green Mile seem to have that same fascination (although perhaps one degree removed).

I think the death penalty is a valid subject for Channel 4, a public service broadcaster.  Though it is not a live debate here, it is a real and divisive issue for our cultural cousins in the USA.  The hanging of paedophiles is an oft repeated thought experiment, whenever a Huntley or a Vanessa George is arrested, and it is sufficiently discussed in the UK for pollsters to regularly ask the public’s opinion on the issue.  According to the programme, 54% of British adults support its reintroduction.

The device of using Gary Glitter felt like exactly that, & hopelessly crass. If we executed people in the UK they’d be poor & unknown. (@leylandrichard on Twitter)

There’s no doubt that the choice of Glitter as the anti-hero was was a fantastic marketing ploy.  He is, shall we say, the most culturally significant bogeyman we have.  However, this also gave the narrative extra depth, because his rock-star past allowed the programme makers to pass commentary on popular culture. The Daily Mirror headlines for a Glitter trial felt real, and the MP3 remix sending Gary Glitter back to No.1 (on downloads) on the day of his execution was an obvious slam dunk. It is an uncomfortable thought, but I think he is the protagonist many writers would have chosen.  The device cannot simply be marked down as the product of pure cynicism.

Continue reading “The Execution of Gary Glitter”