Sunday, 29 November 2009

Belle de Blog

Two weeks ago, a blogger unmasked herself. A research scientist called Dr Brooke Magnanti fessed up to being Belle de Jour, the well known ex-hooker blogger. I say well known. It seems the blog was well known to everyone but me. But now I’ve caught up.

I have followed the story for the last two weeks and all its ups and downs as I had followed the NightJack story before and the Girl with a One-Track Mind unmasking before that.

My interest is because, like her, I blog under a pseudonym. Now, my reasons are different from the three much better bloggers previously mentioned. NightJack was a serving policeman blogging about the madness of everyday policing. Belle and The Girl were hiding the intimate secrets of their lives.

I blog anonymously because (a) I have a professional life and want to divorce my private musings from my work, my employer and my profession, and (b) it allows me to be so much more free with my thoughts and language.

Question: should bloggers be allowed to be anonymous?

Answer: does the right to free speech (accepting the reasonable constraint of libel) no longer exist? After this year's NighJack ruling, it seems not. Silly really, becasue I guess that large organisations can track down bloggers or close them down if they put their mind to it, so why does it matter? In reality, I think it doesn’t. Not at all in fact.

But the media hates blogger anonymity and various journos have tried to unmask some of us, viz the three previously mentioned bloggers and more. Why?

Two reasons methinks:

1.The print media (aka the dead tree press) are failing badly and are on a constant downhill trajectory. Trade and regional titles are closing left and right. Fleet Street margins are now almost non-existent. Why? Because you can now get so much content for free online. Wake up guys. Your business models are fucked. Thus, they love to attack their new growing competition as they fail.
2. Journos love exposing secrets. It’s what gets them notoriety and thus more money. It’s not for principle or any laudable reason, trust me. Just money.

But here’s the thing: exposing bloggers achieves nothing – apart from selling some more papers – and in fact makes society less rich, less interesting and less informed. We know less about the madness of policing now that NightJack is dead.

Blogs that expose how stupid society now is, make fascinating, insightful and riveting reading. I love Random Acts of Reality as it graphically reminds us how appalling our society now is and how the London Ambulance Service has to deal with us binge drinking morons. The Magistrate’s Blog shows us how ridiculous our court system has become. Inspector Gadget and The Policeman’s Blog tells us the reality of policing in 2009.

We need these guys and their insights.

But, I can see that the political class with their arrogant belief in regulating everything, aided and abetted by journos who like King Canute want to halt the rise of free internet content, will conspire sometime in the future to try and regulate the blogosphere. One moron has already suggested it.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Loving This...

Manufactured Political Outrage

FACT 1 - One of the duties of central banks is to prop up banks when they look like they might collapse, to forestall a run on the wider banking system.

FACT 2 - This is always done secretly and has been all over the world for centuries.

FACT 3 - The Tories and Lib Dems need to prolong the recession story right up to the General Election to help them and hinder NuLab. The fact that the Tories' and Lib Dems' mock outrage lasted just one 24 hour news cycle, tells us all we need to know about their reasons.

The only thing surprising about this week's £62 billion story is that the Governor of the Bank of England thought is wise to tell everyone what he'd done. Transparency is one thing but some things we proles don't need to know. Whatever next? MI5 and MI6 telling us all their secrets?

Update: Could this be the reason why the Governor spilled the beans?

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Beautiful Game?

I follow rugby much more than I follow football. In part, this is due to the fact that I have always been so bored by the disgusting behaviour of footballers and their managers. These over-rewarded thugs are poor role models in so many ways.

Dominic Lawson covered this so eloquently in this week's Sunday Times, I feel compelled to share it here.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

What is Heroism?

So this weekend, much of the Cumbria flood news coverage focused on the sad death of PC Bill Barker. The media hailed him a hero. We all awoke on Saturday morning to breathless reporters telling us how he died, where his body had been recovered, that it was his birthday, how many children he left behind, reading the hastily prepared media release from his wife, his Chief Constable saying that he was a modern day hero etc.

Now I don't want in any way diminish the life of PC Barker. He was no doubt a popular policeman and a good man. What I want to criticise is the media coverage of these sorts of situations.

PC Barker was a policeman doing his job. He was directing traffic on a bridge in the early hours of the morning when the bridge he was standing on collapsed. A good public servant doing his duty when tragedy struck.

But not heroism.

Heroism is a young man who, realising his colleagues were taking heavy enemy fire, that there were already several casualties and more were likely to be killed, got up and rushed straight in the direction of the enemy, just 20 metres away, raking them with automatic fire, allowing the rest of his section to withdraw back to safety so the casualties could be treated. He was later found dead beside the enemy he had killed in his aggressive counter attack (Corporal Bryan Budd VC, 3 PARA).

Heroism is a young man who's vehicle mistakenly came under fire from a pair of American ground attack aircraft (great allies, huh?). Having escaped from the burning vehicle, he returned to it when he realised that his gunner was trapped in the turret and succeeded in rescuing him. Realising that his comrades were all injured, he returned to the vehicle a second time to inform his headquarters of the situation. He then proceeded to help the wounded gunner to safety even while the two aircraft carried out a second attack, hitting him in the lower back and legs. Finally, he returned to the scene of the attack a third time to attempt to rescue the injured driver of another burning vehicle (LCoH Christopher Finney GC, Blues and Royals).

Heroism is a young girl who jumped out of her armoured vehicle and climbed up the side of it to rescue the vehicle commander who had been shot in the mouth, all while being heavily fired upon by enemy snipers at night. One bullet hit her rucksack as she climbed the vehicle. She then helped drag the vehicle commander back into the safety of the vehicle while still being fired upon (LCpl Michelle Norris MC, RAMC).

Again, I am sure PC Barker was a great man who behaved with dignity and great public spirit last week, but we must not let media hyperbole cheapen what real heroism is. As the death toll in Afghanistan mounts and we all become numbed to the regular casualty roll, we would do well to see detailed coverage of how each of our dead gave their life.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Just Love This...

A piece of graphical brilliance from Guido Fawkes.

Where Weak Governments Seek Shelter

Three wonderful examples from today's media of desperate news management by 'right on' weak politicians:

1. Child Migrant Apology - A totally manufactured 'crisis' over apologising for sins past. Always a good one, this. The pathetic media, always desperate for a contrition story as it serves the current societal appetite for being outraged over nothing. Why apologise to all these ex-British Australians now? Why not in 1997? Or 1998? Or 1999? (I could go on). You have had a number of years to so this, Gordy. Such a desperate attempt to regain control over the news agenda and play Gordy as a brilliant compassionate leader, it's pathetically transparent. Pah!

And while we are on the subject of style over substance political apologies, where do we draw the line? Where is the apology from the Norwegians for raping and pillaging? And for that matter the French for invading Britain in 1066? And what about the Italians for letting Julius Caesar come over here and start the first road building programme? Trendy lefty governments love this sort of crap. Pointless political bullshit, which the media should ignore but suck up like lap dogs.

2. Pointless Summit - A summit that achieves nothing substantial but a photo op (funny how Obama is always there) and a 'really strongly worded communique', viz the APEC summit. I have opined about summits before (here, here and here). Can we all grow up? We Proles can see through the bullshit, you know.

3. Scapegoat-itis - Always blame someone else for your mistakes. Blameshift is a well recorded political tactic. Thus politicians, who have I recall been raping the taxpayer on pay, expenses and benefits in kind for decades, are still desperate to blame the evil bankers and their fat cat bonuses for our financial woes. Again, you fuckwits, it was a failure of Government regulation not a banking failure or greed on the part of any bankers.

I might as well piss into the wind.