Author: michaelgreenwell

Platitudes are not my business

The More Things Change…

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So it’s going to be all change. A period of major turmoil is about to begin.

The pound has fallen dramatically, oil prices have gone up and markets are falling.

If this happens the way Farage, Gove etc want, “taking back control” and the “seismic change” people are talking about is going to involve stripping human and workers’ rights and lowering wages.

One important thing has not changed however.

That is that inside the UK, Scotland voted for one thing, England voted for another, and Scotland will have to suffer the consequences of what England voted for.

That hasn’t changed.

Finally, I can’t agree with calling Scotland being pulled out of EU against its will after being told they had to stay in the UK to stay in Europe “ironic”. It is only “ironic” if you consider being lied to and then kicked in the balls to be “ironic”.

Eagerly Awaiting

I-Married-a-Communist.jpgImpartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.  It applies to all our output and services – television, radio, online, and in our international services and commercial magazines.  We must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected.

The above is from the BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality.

Try and keep that quote in mind as you listen to the BBC’s (most recent) hatchet job on Marxism. You can listen to it here.

I am not a Marxist but I did bristle a bit as with a combination of insinuation, overt statements and “Oh come now, it’s all just a bit silly and you’ll grow out of it”, the programme does its best to show that it’s all never worked before and couldn’t work ever, before bringing us on to the new Red Techno Menace.

I am eagerly awaiting the next documentary which will, in the interests of BBC impartiality of course, show why it is still relevant and why, just like capitalism, along with the horrors there have been a list of achievements by people following that ideology.

I suspect I may be eagerly awaiting for a long time, particularly given that the BBC, on the very same page about its guidelines, gives itself a get-out clause and an excuse for NOT having any kind of impartiality…

Due impartiality is often more than a simple matter of ‘balance’ between opposing viewpoints.  Equally, it does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles.


Some Situations, half-hypothetical or other

Most of the following things have happened. See if you can spot which one didn’t.

  1. A 17th century king takes offence at the words recounted to him by a diplomat. A country is invaded.
  2. A white supremacist bombs a government building. All white people are interned.
  3. A group of mostly Saudis attacks a trade building. Several predominantly muslim countries are bombed and invaded, even though the people in those countries had nothing to do with those attacks.
  4. One member of a tourist bus tour pisses in the street. All the tourists are deported.
  5. A resistance movement against the Nazis kills an officer of the SS. All the men, women and children in the village where the assassination took place are killed.

All of the above are examples of collective punishment.

Very few people would find the homicidal rationalisations that people give for such actions to be sane. In fact, they would generally be disgusted.

Or would they?

There are certain situations where some people actively support such actions.

I don’t mean they support the mass killing of anyone who happens to live near the person or people who have caused damage or offence, I mean that they suppport the principle of collective punishment.

And this is your example….

The level of violence at Euro 2016 has been alarming, but more alarming for me has been the willingness of both UEFA, the media and also individuals to support the idea of collective punishment.

Experts believe that there are around 150 Russian hooligans who are organised and have even trained for this. Bad people, no doubt. However, for me it does not follow that as a result of the behaviour of these people, 5000 Russian supporters should be deported and the Russian team should be expelled from the tournament. This has been threatened by UEFA and supported broadly across the media.

There have also been problems with England, Croatia and Poland.

Did the players do it? Did the majority of Russian/English/Croatian/Polish supporters do it? No. So why should the rest of them be subjected to collective punishment?

If you can’t justify it in the situations I gave above at the start of this article, then I don’t see how you can morally or logically justify it in the situation of this tournament, or, because it is widely done, in sporting situations in general.

A simple stark fact about a crime or an offence, whether it be real or only perceived, if you can’t find who did it, you cannot justifiably punish anyone. I know it is a difficult thing to accept in situations that are both volatile and emotional, when people are crying for someone’s head, but you can’t seriously make an appeal to justice and fairness by asking for revenge on a group of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the crime or crimes in question.

You find the people who actually did it, then you follow the law. Anything else is revenge, not justice.