British Biased Corporation ?

There has of late (and in my opinion), been a great deal of biased reporting in support (almost on behalf) of the establishment that rules over our green and pleasant land. I’ve never been under any illusion that the British Broadcasting Corporation was impartial, but as a news, sports and entertainment source it was always my de facto medium choice. That was until recently, when I decided to divorce myself from “her” completely (being “Auntie” the BBC must be female).

I have since uninstalled the various BBC apps on my mobile devices in my personal quest for impartiality. My switch coincided with an article I had read in The Independent around two months back regarding the situation in Gaza, as down the line one could get in the local newspaper shop on a Saturday morning I thought. And it was at this point I switched my online feeds to The Independent, Reuters, Huffington Post and Al Jazeera, as well as subscribing to Russell Brand’s “The Trews” which is both entertaining and entertaining.

More recently I have gone on to uninstall Reuters and Huffington Post as there appeared to be a growing sense of sensationalism, the reporting of un-newsworthy articles and a general feeling of bias which wasn’t what I thought the raison d’etre of such organisations to be. So that left me with just The Independent and Al Jazeera.

In a recent episode of The Trews, Russell was shocked to discover that both The Independent and Huffington Post launched a polemic, a diatribe against him and his views regarding issue in Iraq, wrongly accusing him of blaming “everyone” in the West for causing the current predicament in the Middle East which he clearly didn’t if you follow him. So the uninstalling of The Independent app followed, leaving me with little old Al Jazeera and the post-modern bearded bard himself.

russell-brand

Weeks passed and the debate and focus duly changed to Scottish Independence. I was made aware that the BBC was televising a live debate between the Yes and No campaigns, the entire audience being made up of sixteen and seventeen year olds. Keen on seeing the response of the young voters I tuned in to watch, and very interesting it was too, and I was great to see tuned-in kids very keen on the outcome (on the face of it) of the vote later this week.

And it was on that day that several feeds started to appear on Facebook. My wife has friends who live in Scotland whose children attended the debate in Glasgow, and to my utter disgust I learned from them that the majority of the kids who attended were in the Yes camp, and the BBC subsequently took it upon themselves to try and even up the score by trying to coerce children to jeer the Yes campaigners, and act out pro-No noises when appropriate. Allegedly even members of the production team were in on it too, raising the pro-No sound levels unfairly.

Then there was the huge NHS demonstration in London. A complete and utter media black-out on the BBC by all accounts, no indication that anything significant had taken place, again fed through my Facebook feed.

Over the last few days I have been flicking between Al Jazeera and the BBC just to see the difference and the difference is massive. A special report yesterday on Al Jazeera took us to a roving reporter who gave an excellent snapshot of the true situation as it stands in Scotland, the history behind its inclusion in the union, what may or may not happen if the vote goes one way or the other, interviews with both Yes and No voters and no leaning to any one side. Impartiality if ever there was.

I then turned over to the BBC to see the complete opposite. The opening graphic on their special report said it all for me. A group of people were all holding flags, a room full of No flags surrounding one person with a Yes flag. Bullying if ever there was.

Then there was the reporting the concessions Westminster had agreed to give Scotland should there be a successful No vote, concessions which would never have come if the percentile differences still showed 15% in favour of the No’s. Bribery if ever there was.

Then there was the travelling roadshow, all three main party leaders doing their upmost to put pressure on the people of Scotland not to leave the UK and to stay with Westminster as their HQ, none of them could be bothered getting involved before the polls indicated otherwise, and that they would have to get their comfortable asses out of seat 300 miles nearer to the equator. Desperation if ever there was.

And finally, then there was the corporation’s response. The BBC report stated that the banks would migrate south of the border (leaving out that all operations would remain in Scotland thus not affecting jobs) and from the food corporations who stated that prices would go up in most of the major supermarket chains (leaving out the response from Morrison’s which was words to the effect of “don’t be ridiculous”). Bias if ever there was.

I’d had enough at that point and went to take the dog for a walk and claim the first conkers of the autumn from the local Horse Chestnut trees with my son, but what was clear to me was that the BBC was biased and will likely remain biased (and Sky for that matter), aligned far too closely with Westminster and I still have to pay for the privilege of paying a licence fee to them even though I don’t intend using their services in the future.

Although it’s plainly obvious to me, I just hope that the Scottish people who watch and use the BCC realise and underhand the tactics that are going on at present, and don’t  believe everything that the BBC are peddling just now.

I remembered a line from The Young Ones back in the 80’s that came out of an old transistor radio on the table of the four would be students, which went something along the lines of “This independent and impartial programme was brought to you by the BBC on behalf of The Conservative Party”. So here we are thirty years later and nothing has changed…

ADDENDUM:
You only need a UK TV licence if you stream live schedule content (via any device). If you only use Netflix and On Demand apps (like I do) then you don’t need one. So disconnect your Freeview/Sky box, fire your content through your SMART TV via the apps and save yourself £149.50 per year.

Should I stay or should I go…

To quote the delectable Natalie Imbuglia on the topic of Scottish independence, I’m torn.

On the one hand, I think the devolution of power from the political behemoth that is Westminster (or any powerful centralised government for that matter) is a good thing, as it lessens the power and the might of the “UK” on the global stage, whilst at the same time it gives back to the people of Scotland a sense of being in control of the separate nation it once was, with the ability to administer policies and finances solely on and for the people of Scotland.

However, on the other hand, there would inevitably be the erection of yet another border (manned or otherwise, invisible or otherwise), yet another area of our little blue dot segregated from the rest, yet more nationalism both sides of the border. For those left in the UK who are not of the capitalist / nationalist persuasion, it could spell danger. There is the potential (if not inevitability), that those aligned to the right may swell in numbers, which could lead to further segregation (albeit from a social class perspective) if the Conservatives gain a majority government. This could herald a wave of neo-nationalism in England, including the potential (if not inevitable) rise of UKIP and pave the way for an extraction from the EU, as well as no end of multi-culturism problems.

As coincidence may have it (not that there is such a thing of course), I was doing my weekly ‘big shop’ and stopped off at the magazine rack to see if anything caught my private eye. Sitting next to The Private Eye was a copy of the New Scientist which I had never read before, so for the first time ever at the weekend I bought it, as its cover made reference to a special report inside which read “End of the Nation?” It was a very interesting read which went through the inaugural birth and associated definition of nation. It was full of very long words, so it was an article I would definitely have to read twice due to the offspring (not the punk band) vying for my weekend time so I only skim read it. I knew I was in London this week so decided to give it some serious “strokey beard time” on the train.

Many moons ago I purchased a DVD box set, a classic from the BBC archives. The “Ascent of Man” by Dr Jacob Bronowski is a series of essays made into thirteen documentaries, in which Bronowski details from his perspective the ascent of man through the ages. The series starts off with the story with Australopithecus, the first bi-pedal of the primates and in his opinion the earliest hominid which evolved four million years ago, and which arguably played the most significant step-change in human evolution. Sadly after six episodes Dr J seems to be a material reductionist, I hope that changes by the end of episode thirteen.

Dragging myself back on topic, one needs to consider the full chain of events that led up to the formation of what we call nation, the full chain of events and the concept of the hierarchy. The definition of a hierarchy is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being “above,” “below,” or “at the same level as” one another.

As Bronowski rightly points out, hierarchies can be found anywhere. Take the atomic hierarchy, atomic order. Particles join as nuclei, nuclei join as atoms, atoms join as molecules, molecules join as bases, bases join as amino acids, the building blocks of life itself. And so it is with geographic order. Homes joins as roads, roads join as villages, villages join as towns, towns join as cities, cities join as territories, territories join as nations. And so it is with social order. Selves join as families, families join as class, class joins as society.

So that which we find in nature seems profoundly to correspond to the way in which we join geographically and socially with our nation.

Following the path of biological order (on the basis that we are modern-man at this point), we evolved and started wandering the land as families, then extended families and eventually formed larger bands of hunter-gatherers, not bound by any rules or laws of the land, nor any boundaries as they did not exist (besides physical ones of course). That was until around 10,000 years ago, when the agricultural revolution started. Due to a “coincidental” amalgam of wheat grasses on the plains outside Jericho in then Palestine, modern man realised the theory of Neil the Hippy from The Young Ones: “We sow the seed, nature grows the seed, and then we eat the seed…”

The agricultural revolution moved man away from his previous hunter-gather, nomadic “camping and caves” lifestyle and developed the first settlements. Early agrarian collectives required little governing as they were largely self-organising and happy living the hippy life. But with the advent of agriculturalism came complexity, as collectives turned into settlements, existential complexity increased.

As time went on, places like Jericho, Damascus and Aleppo came into being (the first cities) and became fixed places on the yet to be penned map of the world, and within the city boundaries there began the production and storage of food. Once food surplus was being stored, inevitable skirmishes between the haves and have nots broke out. Once it was clear that in order to progress, rules and laws were needed to exist to keep law and order, and the first ruling powers took seat.

This was the true birth of the human hierarchy. Society was born and with it the hierarchical class system and more and more cities started to spring up around areas of natural resources. As the social complexity grew so did the concept of trade, with settlement exchanging produce, for produce cash or favour. As society was becoming ever more complex, the apparent need for leadership arose, whether that be monarch or government or warlord, as often territory warred against territory. I guess this also heralded the birth of greed, of capitalism (perhaps).

As lines started to appear on the map, so did the birth of the nation, both visible and invisible boundary lines were drawn segregating one nation from the next. And with the birth of the nation came the notion of national identity, a sense that a population which belonged to one area of a map was glued together by common language or cultural inheritance. For the first time people belonged to something bigger than their local environment, patriotism grew as man pledged allegiance to one’s nation.

Ever since, nation has fought against nation, over boundary lines and natural resources, over religious and cultural beliefs and there seems to be no end to it.

Mother Nature has a reset button and it has been pressed a few times already. Whether it be asteroid, ice age or biological (plague/black death), there have been times in our four billion year history that our little blue dot has changed course. It now looks like man will at some point press his own self-created reset button, that I am almost certain. It looks like Mother Nature has been put out to pasture, for now.

I’d like to see “Un Monde Sans Frontiers”, a world without borders, a world which devolves power to smaller territories in order to look after the needs smaller numbers of folks, where folks are free to roam and settle in places that suit them, where folks all work together for the good of everyone and not the self, all in peace. I think that’s called The Venus Project.

I for one am not patriotic. When I think about pride and allegiances, I am proud to be a father of three amazing kids, proud to be the husband of a remarkable woman, proud to be a friend and confidante to others I hold dear. I have a sense of belonging to my local community as well as Liverpool my home town but that is where it stops. I don’t see myself as English, or British or European, my allegiances lie with man in general, not any one kind of man but all kinds of man. My allegiances do not lie with political ideologies, corporations or boundary lines on a map, it lies with the Universe, with the global collective consciousness.

I personally don’t feel connected to Westminster or the UK one bit. I would feel more connected to a devolved territory, and I guess that’s the decision Scotland has to make next Thursday. They have an opportunity to reconnect. Good luck to them.

Slainte Mhath…