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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘sky

The Trivia That Obsesses UK Media.

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Overpaid Ponce.

Overpaid Ponce.

It is absolutely ridiculous that anyone can be judged or penalised for holding their arm across their chest.  The Football Association is a disgrace, promoting and encouraging such ridiculous political correctness.  Shame on its weakness and paranoia for how it might be seen of it did not bend to the media hype.

Similarly, except for his closest allies, every commentator is scared to speak up for the difficult situation of Lord Rennard, probably a bit of a fool but undoubtedly the victim of manipulative and sanctimonious women, hiding behind their self-righteous feminist victimhood.  There are two sides to this story.

All this is diversion, away from the  issues that really matter to people.   It feels suspiciously like rice pudding, sweet, satisfying, comforting. It’s what BBC and Sky do while the real news goes on in the background.  You think this is what’s important or deserves your attention.  Believe me, it doesn’t!

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Written by Peter Reynolds

January 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Politics, The Media

Tagged with , , ,

A BBC Preservation Order

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TAKE NOTICE

This noble institution should be preserved.

It is not perfect but it is better than any alternative.

It contributes enormously to the culture of the nation.

It is our BBC

This notice should be nailed to the door of Broadcasting House and all BBC premises.  Damaging or cutting off parts or branches of the institution is not allowed.  Adequate space must be given to the institution’s roots which must not be interfered with.  Severe penalties will be applied to anyone who knowingly or recklessly damages the institution in any way.

Then David Cameron, Nick Clegg and a heavyweight team need to take Mark Thompson aside and give him a good talking to.   We want to preserve the BBC and its unique qualities but we need a hard pruning of dead wood and unproductive growth.  Preserving the roots and fundamental strength are the most important objectives.   Cutbacks in the right places will stimulate stronger new growth elsewhere.

I agree that Sky should contribute towards those commercial channels that it broadcasts free-to-air.  It ties viewers into its subscription packages because they are comprehensive.  This is gives it an unfair advantage throughout the market, as does its coverage and bandwidth.

Sky is a parasite on traditional TV companies.  Its unfair advantages have enabled it to develop the best user interface and experience in the market.  Even so, it is expensive and has a reputation for appalling customer service.  Its relationship with Newscorp means it is part of a monstrous media empire which requires much more regulation in the interests of consumers and the community at large.  It should be required to invest more in original programming and production.  If necessary, a new media tax should be introduced to enforce appropriate investment and safeguards.

The BBC’s biggest mistake is the level of executive pay.  There is no justification at all for anyone in the BBC to earn more than the Prime Minister.  It is public money.  Anyone unhappy with this should resign today.  No one is indispensable.  The BBC has always been the best in its business at bringing on new talent.

The Licence Fee should remain unchanged.   It is fantastic value for money and shows just how expensive Sky is.   The BBC Trust should be strengthened in its primary role as regulator and it should enforce cost savings, efficiencies and executive pay.  It should also ensure that the BBC becomes more responsive and closer to its audience.  Its complaints and feedback system is fundamental to this.  It needs to be brought back in house and given real priority.  See here.

Britain adores its BBC.  Let’s ensure we preserve it and allow it to flourish.

The Times. Will Charging For Online News Work?

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Unpleasant

I don’t know whether it will work or not but I think I have to support the effort, much as it sticks in my throat to do anything in support of  Rupert Murdoch or his unpleasant offspring and cronies.

As a writer, I have to believe in the idea that online content can be “monetised” or what is my own future?

In passing, can I at least blame that revolting new word on Murdoch?  It would be some small consolation for paying him £2.00 per week for my online access.

I think The Times is still the finest newspaper in the land and I cannot let its ownership stand in the way of my appreciation of its content.  Even though I am now a subscriber, I shall still buy the Saturday edition in print.  I have avoided The Sunday Times for years since it size began to offend me and its content became almost indistinguishable from the Daily Mail.

Still Thundering

There is one aspect of The Times though, that is gone for ever.  Even my paid subscription cannot bring it back.  I used regularly to link to The Times’ stories from this blog but now that is useless unless all my readers are subscribers too.  So my only solution is cut and paste.  In celebration of this heinous, copyright infringing intent, I reproduce below the  stand out article from this Saturday’s edition, an intelligent and incisive article about Israel and Palestine from Margaret Atwood.   Please enjoy it with the compliments of this subscriber.

In one respect though, I still stand absolute against the Murdoch empire.  Though Sky is undoubtedly the finest digital TV system available, particularly with its PVR and HD capabilities, I will not support its outrageous charges or dreadful customer service.   Freesat, Freeview and BitTorrent for the programmes I miss is a much happier solution.

******

From The Times, 14th August 2010 by Margaret Atwood

Seven futures are possible. Which will it be?

Wiped out by nuclear bombs? Constant war? But the crystal ball also shows the path to peace for Israel and Palestine

Picture a minor prophet. Perhaps he’d be working as an astrologer. He’s looking towards Israel and Palestine, consulting his charts and stars, getting a handle on the future. But the future is never single — there are too many variables — so what he sees is a number of futures.

In the first one, there’s no Israel: it’s been destroyed in war and all the Israelis have been killed. (Unlikely, but not impossible.) In the second, there’s no Palestine: it’s been merged with Israel, and the Palestinians either slaughtered or driven beyond its borders. Israel has become completely isolated; international opinion has been outraged, boycotts have been successful, financial aid from the US — both public and private — has evaporated, and the US Government has cooled towards Israel, and swung towards entente with the Muslim world. Israel has become like North Korea — an embattled military state — and civilian rights have suffered. Moderate Israelis have emigrated and live as exiles in a state of bitterness over wasted opportunities and blighted dreams.

In the third future there’s one state, but a civil war has resulted, since the enlarged population couldn’t agree on a common flag, common laws or a common set of commemoration days — “victory” for some being “catastrophe” for others.

In the fourth, the one-state solution has had better results: it’s a true one-person, one-vote democracy with equal rights for all. (Again, unlikely in the immediate future, but not impossible in the long run.) In the fifth future, neither Israel nor Palestine exists: nuclear bombs have cleared the land of human beings. In the sixth, climate change has turned the area into a waterless desert.

But there’s another future: the seventh future. In this there are two states, “Israel” and “Palestine”. Both are flourishing, and both are members of a regional council that deals with matters affecting the whole area. Trade flows harmoniously between the two, joint development enterprises have been established, know-how is shared, and, as in Northern Ireland, peace is paying dividends.

That, surely, is a desirable outcome, thinks the stargazer, but how was it achieved? Since he has the gift of virtual time-travel, he leaps into the seventh future and looks back at the steps taken to get there.

The impetus came from within Israel. Its leaders saw that the wind had shifted; it was now blowing against the policy of crushing force and the appropriation of occupied lands. What had caused this change? Was it the international reaction to the destructive Operation Cast Lead invasion of Gaza? The killing of flotilla activists? The gathering boycott activities in the US and Europe? The lobbying of organisations such as J Street? The 2010 World Zionist Congress vote to support a settlement freeze and endorse a two-state solution?

For whatever reasons, Israel had lost control of its own story. It was no longer Jack confronting a big bad giant; the narrative of the small country struggling bravely against overwhelming odds had moved to the Palestinians. The mantra “plant a tree in Israel” was no longer respectable because it evoked images of bulldozers knocking down Palestinian olive groves. Israel could not continue along its current path without altering its own self-image beyond recognition. The leadership decided to act before a peaceful resolution slipped forever beyond reach. Leaders are supposed to guide their people towards a better future, they thought, not over the edge of a cliff.

First, the Golan Heights was returned to Syria under a pact that created a demilitarised zone with international supervision. The few Israeli inhabitants were allowed to remain if they wished, though they then paid taxes to Syria.

Then, with the help of a now-friendly Syria, Hamas was invited to the peace negotiations. The enlightened leaders realised that they couldn’t set as a precondition something that remained to be negotiated, so they didn’t demand the pre-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Hamas, to the surprise of many, accepted the invitation, as it had nothing to lose by doing so. Peace was made between Fatah and Hamas, and the Palestinians were thus able to present a single negotiating team.

The negotiations were complex, but people worked hard not to lose their tempers. Remembering South Africa, they knew that yelling and denouncing would not accomplish anything. The agreement took less time than expected, as happens when people are serious. Then the occupation — disastrous for those in both countries, physically and morally — was over, and Palestinian independence was declared. A mutual defence pact was signed, along with a trade and development pact. As Israel had realised that it could not rest its foundation on international law while violating that law, the borders reverted to those of 1967, with a few land swaps along the edges. Jerusalem was declared an international city, with both an Israeli parliament building and a Palestinian one, and access to the various holy sites for believers.

Gaza was joined to the West Bank by corridors, as in the East/West Germany of old; ports were opened and fishing boats could sail once more. Development money poured in, creating full employment. Fair-access- to-water agreements were signed, pollution cleaned up, and more fresh water created through a new cheap solar-driven desalination process.

What about the difficult matter of the settlements? Settlers could stay in Palestine if they wished, under lease agreements. The leases and taxes paid by the settlers were a source of income to the Palestinian state, and as their products were no longer boycotted, the settlements did better. On the whole, peace reigned. There was even a shared Memorial Day, in which all those fallen in past wars were honoured.

The seventh future is within reach — the stars favour it — but the stargazer knows that many prefer the status quo; there can be advantage as well as profit in conflict. However, change often comes abruptly, as with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the storming of the Bastille, or the end of apartheid. The amount of blood shed in such transitions — from none to a great deal — depends on the wisdom of the leadership.

How to promote such wisdom? It’s a prophet’s traditional duty to lay out the alternatives: the good futures and also the bad ones. Prophets — unlike yes men — tell the powerful not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. “How can I put this?” thinks the stargazer. “Something beginning with the handwriting on the wall . . ?”

© O.W. Toad Ltd. 2010

Bring Cricket Back To The BBC

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It is a disgrace that we have not been able to watch the glorious Ashes victory on TV.  I blame Murdoch.  I blame the BBC.  I blame the government.

Even if I was prepared to pay to watch something that it is my right as a British citizen to see on free-to-air television, why would I want to be paying Sky for football?  I cannot buy just the cricket or the rugby.  I have to take the ignorant, overpaid ponces, Ruski-paid whores as well!  I don’t want one second more of this moronic game for badly behaved children on my TV than I already have.

If this apology for a government that has heaped so much disgrace and ignominy on our country wanted to do one decent thing in its death throes then legislate to bring test match cricket back to the people.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Is “Unacceptable” Acceptable From Cabinet Ministers?

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I could almost feel sorry for Gordon on this one because as much as he wriggles, he isn’t going to get away.  He has said that Hazel Blears’ conduct in flipping her second home to save £13,000 CGT was unacceptable.  She has to go.

She Has To Go

She Has To Go

Talking about the “rules” isn’t good enough when they are clearly inadequate.  The guidelines say that expenses may only be charged when incurred “wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the course of parliamentary duties”.   That standard should now be applied as the rule.  So, Gordon, your Sky subscription including sports channels, fails that test.  A reasonable claim would be for half of the cost.

In your own interests, as well as that of Parliament and the country, there are cabinet ministers and senior Labour MPs who have to go.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Walking The Dog 3

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Walking The Dog 3

 

The fields have been ploughed and scattered this week.   My memory tells me that the ploughing should take place in the depths of winter so that the frosts can break up the great clumps of soil but that’s not the way it’s done in Emsworth.

 

Instead the local farmer brings in contractors who arrive in huge leviathan beasts, each worth a brace of Aston Martins, that devour the stubble fields and transform them into finely graded seedbed.

 

Think of the effort of lifting one spade of compacted soil.  The plough carves down three spades deep and four spades wide with each of six blades.  The earth surrenders to its mighty force and is exposed rich red and raw.  Then a massive grader, its huge weight hauled at speed across the fields smashes the soil into powder.  Only then does the farmer drive out his John Deere, looking puny by comparison and sets it to seeding and raking.  In the space of three or four days the work is completed.

 

The new scenery brings out a burst of fresh exuberance from Capone.  He gallops across the fields, his energy enough to lift any mood.  His sheer joy at being perfectly expresses the purpose of a dog.  He and the intimate experience of a walk with my best friend is the most powerful of therapies requiring no theory or structure, just the doing of it.  Perhaps more like a meditation or prayer.

 

With age the individual senses diminish in power but I find that there is a greater discernment between them.  I hear birdsong now like I never used to.  The pleasure of the birds, the sea, the sky, the light and the breeze is all so much more intense and the unreserved, joyous companionship of my dog makes it all the more so.

 

The most extraordinary things happen every day to those of us that indulge in this most universal hobby of walking the dog.  Last week, and I kid you not, from behind an isolated cottage, flew a second world war US fighter plane at no more than 200 feet.   Breaking every civil aviation rule in the book, it sent Capone and me diving for the nearest slit trench convinced that we were its target.

 

Regularly the Chinooks fly over Chichester harbour, their massive thumping beat pulverising the air.  If you happen to be wading through a large area of eight foot tall bullrushes it is so easy to imagine the rattle of M16s and the threat of napalm descending from above.

 

 

 

 

But the real dangers that lurk here are of a more rural nature.  The most marmalade orange, malevolent cat saunters along the church wall, a half dead rat clamped in its teeth.  The nasty fat corgi, its belly dragging on the ground and while Capone ambles by it leaps up and bites him on the back of the neck!

 

Spring is accelerating towards summer now.  The grasses and nettles in the hedgerows are lush.  The trees are turning a deeper green and filling out their magnificent silhouettes but the earliest crop in Emsworth is the forest of masts that’s sprouting everywhere you look.

 

 

Peter Reynolds 14-05-08

Walking The Dog 2

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In memory of a fallen comrade

Walking The Dog 2

Apart from herons and wealthy, attractive, single women (which seem to be virtually extinct), the main focus of our daily rambles is sticks.

Of course, sticks come in all shapes and sizes but Capone prefers something, shall we say, robust. I suppose the ideal is about four feet long and perhaps three inches thick but the crucial factor in stick style is the way it is carried. It must be held at one end, not in the middle. I think Capone believes this is more flamboyant in the same way the way that a quiff or fringe sweeps back or a fighter pilot’s scarf flies to one side. Of course, even the most perfectly fashioned stick is merely debris on the ground until I have thrown it. Then it becomes the most exciting, the most important thing in life and if it is thrown into the sea he would swim until he sank before giving up the chase.

At the weekend we tackled Thorney Island, all the way around – an eight mile walk in a force eight gale. Out along a one mile dyke, straight as an arrow, then pass through the MOD security gate keeping to the public footpath beyond. The oystercatchers are still here on Thorney although in much smaller numbers but another mile or so on and we put up a roe deer. In the open, not as you usually see them in woods. It ran and Capone ran too but made my heart burst with pride when he responded immediately to the signal, dropped and looked back at me. We watched it run two, three hundred yards inland and continued on our way.

As you approach the most southerly point on Thorney you see to your right the end of Hayling Island and to your left, East Head at the tip of West Wittering. Between is open ocean and a direct line to the Falklands. A couple of months ago when we first made this journey, I spotted an Army Land Rover ahead and we found two men laying the foundations for a bench in memory of a “fallen comrade”. Now, the bench is there. It’s not the usual railway sleeper design. It’s much more elegant and the inscription reads “In memory of Steve Jones, 264 (SAS) Signals Squadron & the crew of ‘Hilton 22’”.

These were our boys, shot down just north of Baghdad three years ago. If I had a son who died a hero in the service of his country, I could think of no more poignant and intense place to remember him amidst the wind, the sea, the sky and the solitude.

Capone and I duly honoured their memory and sat for a cigarette, he accorded the privilege of sitting beside me on the bench for such a special occasion. We remembered them, lachrymose old Welshman that I am.

Thorney turns much warmer and gentler as you move to the east side away from the wind. Nearly seventy years ago, other young heroes took off from here during the Battle of Britain. Now the RAF sailing club provides the local excitement and past Thornham marina and Emsworth harbour back to the mainland.

A pint of beer never tastes better than when you deserve it. So with aching legs and an exhausted dog we made a brief stop at the Bluebell Inn before home for sustenance and sleep.

In the back garden lies a pile of sticks, proudly retrieved, collected and preserved. Out there in the wind and the rain a pile of sticks fashioned into a bench remembers much more than another walk with the dog.

Peter Reynolds 02-04-08