Monday, January 26, 2015

Outdoing Dr. Goebbels: The propaganda war against RT

My new piece for OpEdge.

Propaganda. At its best – a wonderful German pop group of the 1980s who had their biggest hit with a track named ‘Duel’. At its worst – the comments of the new BBG chief Andrew Lack, which put RT in the same category of ‘challenges’ as ISIS.

“We are extremely outraged that the new head of the BBG [US Broadcasting Board of Governors] mentions RT in the same breath as world’s number one terrorist army. We see this as an international scandal and demand an explanation,” says Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief. Anyone who supports genuine pluralism in the international media should be demanding an explanation too...

You can read the full article here. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2015 FA Cup

It's FA Cup Fourth Round weekend. Here's my Intelligent Punter's Guide from The Week:

Thirty-two teams are involved in the FA Cup fourth-round ties being played this weekend, starting with Cambridge United v Manchester United, televised live on BBC1 tonight.
Where does the value lie in the betting market?
The FA Cup is billed as the tournament where anything can happen. Sadly the oldest knock-out competition in the world is nowhere near as unpredictable as it used to be in the 'golden era' of Cup shocks in the 1970s.
This year's third round was largely devoid of surprises, with the top Premier League clubs all emerging unscathed.
Before placing a bet, it's essential to bear in mind three FA Cup stats:

You can read the whole piece here.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Terrorism in Africa: A bigger threat than in Europe, but much less coverage

My new piece for OpEdge.

Are African lives worth less than the lives of people elsewhere in the world?
Last week 17 people were killed by terrorists in France. The events were shocking and quite rightly the murders were subject to unequivocal condemnation. At the same time, considerably more people were reported to have been killed by gunmen in Baga, Nigeria, with figures ranging from 150 to over 2,000. But it’s the French victims who we focus on, showing our solidarity with them by declaring ‘Je suis Charlie’, and holding vigils in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere- while the African victims of violence have – certainly until the last day or so - been ignored. Even Nigeria‘s own President was keener to condemn the Paris attacks than those in his own country. How can this be right? Surely we should be mourning all victims equally?

You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The start of the 2015 UK general election campaign....

Interview with me here on BBC Tees on the (early) start of the 2015 UK general election campaign- and what is likely to happen in May. Discussion starts c1hr7mins

Monday, January 12, 2015

A New Year resolution for Labour- ignore the Blarites

My latest column for Sputnik News.

As British political parties begin jockeying into position before the May general election, they are trying to figure out where their position should be to attract the winning vote: right, left or centre. This appears particularly galling for the Labour party hoping to revive its electoral fortunes.

Played three, won three. When it comes to election victories, Tony Blair's record as Labour leader was ‘perfect'. He was the man who led Labour back to power in 1997 after eighteen long years in opposition — and who again led his party to comfortable victories in 2001 and 2005. So when it comes to advice on how to win elections, surely Labour should be listening to the advice of the man who could with some justification claim to be the Jose Mourinho of British politics?  
Well, er, no. 

You can read the whole piece here.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Make it your resolution to keep a diary

My new piece from the Daily Express.

It's the start of a new year and time for resolutions.
One that I can heartily recommend is to start keeping a diary. Oscar Wilde wrote: "Memory is the diary... that we carry about with us".
But while that may work for the big things that happen to us, smaller matters are very easily forgotten unless they're written down. That's a pity as it's often the things which we regard as mundane that become the most interesting.
Last year I rediscovered old diaries of mine from the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was in my teens. In these diaries I recorded almost everything: what television programmes I watched, what meals my family and I ate, what the weather was like, the national and international news.
Sounds a bit dull? Not a bit of it.

You can read the whole article  here.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Cameron- sacrificing UK jobs to poke sticks at the Russian bear

Inspired by the effect economic sanctions have apparently been having on Russia, PM David Cameron wants the west to maintain its ‘get tough’ approach with Moscow: “We should keep up the pressure… in this respect the interests of the United Kingdom and democracy do go together.”
"The combination of the lower oil price and the sanctions," he told Parliament last week, "are showing that I think it isn't possible for Russia to be part of the international financial system, but try and opt out of the rules-based international legal system." 
I wonder who Mr Cameron is trying to kid? The sanctions on Russia, the fall of the rouble and the current economic cold war with Moscow launched by the west, are most clearly not in the interests of the United Kingdom.

You can read the whole of my latest piece for Sputnik News, here.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Robbed Blind- why Britain is so expensive

Another New Year- and more above inflation increases in rail fares in the UK.
Here's my piece on why Britain is so expensive from Sputnik News UK.

British households would save around £250 a year if energy, water and rail were in public ownership, research says. But even that is a rather conservative figure as it doesn’t include all the services which have been privatised and which we are being overcharged for.
A new survey by the research group Corporate Watch in association with We Own It reveals that Britons pay much more for basic services and utilities because they are privatised.

You can read the whole piece here.