Blog Archives

Media 74: MSM wades in – hours after Corbyn’s reception at NHS rally

nhs-demo

Saturday 4th March

The BBC reported that Jeremy Corbyn called for the government to provide more funding for the health service in next week’s Budget. Speaking to the protesters in Parliament Square, he said: “The NHS is in crisis because of the underfunding in social care and the people not getting the care and support they need. It is not the fault of the staff. It is the fault of a government who have made a political choice.”

The protest organisers say the government’s proposed Sustainability Transformation Plans (STPs) across the NHS in England are a “smokescreen for further cuts” and the “latest instruments of privatisation”. These proposals involve the complete closure of some hospitals and the centralising of some services such as A&E and stroke care on fewer sites.

Deputy chairman of the British Medical Association council Dr David Wrigley said the march was “a cry for help for anyone who uses the NHS” which was “in such a desperate situation. We need to highlight it. As a doctor I see day to day the serious pressures in the NHS due to the funding cuts from the government”.

Saturday 4th March: at 6pm

The Independent featured Ben Bradshaw (former minister) praising Blair and blaming Corbyn’s leadership – ‘the one issue on the doorstep’

Saturday 4th March 11pm (updated 4am on 5th)

Nine prominent Labour MPs are reported in the Daily Mail to have complained ‘that they are heading for oblivion’ ( a little earlier a tweet on OurNHS explained why):

nhs-jmd“Unlike other politicians who spend weekends with corporate lobbyists &wealthy donors, John McDonnell is out on the street 4 the #OurNHS demo”

Sunday 5th March 4am

The Sunday Express: Corbyn in crisis – and no doubt more will come

Saturday 4th March 11pm (updated 4am on 5th)

The Daily Mail usefully quotes Ken Loach explaining why these particular MPs are disgruntled: “It was their Labour Party, not Corbyn’s, that lost Scotland, lost two elections and has seen Labour’s vote shrink inexorably. Yet they retain a sense of entitlement to lead.”

Strangest of all, the Times and FT (online editions) decide not to mention the demonstration.

The Times online did not carry its usual daily onslaught on Corbyn and the Financial Times online which regularly publishes biassed articles about JC – often by Jim Pickard – has no reference, merely a bland, skimpy article by David Laws: “UK reaches socially acceptable limits of austerity . . . the NHS needs a settlement which allows for rising demand and an ageing population”.

Their carefully selected and daily shown photographs and cartoons of the Labour Party leader are not to be seen? What does this mean?

 

 

 

Senior British politicians: learn from India’s prime minister

corporate lobbyistsThe Delhi durbar – like Britain’s Westminster Court and the Congress in Washington – has long witnessed government ministers and bureaucrats feted by entrepreneurs, executives and well-paid lobbyists.

Both have been “lubricated by lavish parties hosted by loquacious power brokers” as the FT’s Amy Kazmin puts it – frequented by cabinet ministers and the city’s financial and commercial elite.

narendra modi (2)She reports, “Mr Modi has discouraged his cabinet ministers, and other influential BJP members, from excessive socialising in the capital, lest they be seen as too cosy with special interests”.

Ministers have been told they should receive entrepreneurs and corporate executives in their offices rather than the lobbies or dining rooms of five-star hotels.

Business people have received the message that they shouldn’t come to Delhi to petition personally or argue their cases with officials; they should merely email their problems – and that they can rest assured of a timely response.

cameron lobbying

Making government more responsive to all – rather than simply to those with the right connections – would mean a dramatic change in the working style of British and Indian politicians and civil service.

Ms Kazmin adds that ministers have carried out spot inspections at 9am to see whether staff – at all levels – are turning up on time, and there is talk of biometric scanners and disciplinary action for habitual latecomers.

Further lessons for the British government from the new man in Delhi are the expressions of a practical concern for poorer people – their food security, access to water and sanitation and also for the environment – a very cautious approach to those lobbying to increase the genetic engineering of crops.

Gaza 1: British media coverage low-key, state directed? 21 sites searched

One of the 15,000 who attended the London demo on Saturday wrote: “It was absolutely amazing. I had no idea there would be so many people there”.

demo london israel

21 British sites searched:

So many people, so little front page coverage in this country’s press and elsewhere, with honourable exceptions. The usually outspoken Huffington Post had published and then buried this article.

The Scotsman is an honourable exception, with its prominent report, opening: ”More than a thousand people across Scotland mounted protests against Israeli military action in Gaza today. The majority of those who turned out to protest gathered in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, while a similar protest also took place in Aberdeen. Around 1,500 people attended the rallies in Scotland. People marched in heavy rain holding placards calling for an end to bombing in Gaza. The march ended at BBC headquarters at Pacific Quay. Police said the rally had been peaceful”.

The London Evening Standard only covered events in Gaza, placing even that news well down the page.

The Independent covered the Gaza strikes at length, ending with just two paragraphs about the worldwide demonstrations.

dublin gaza demo

Only the Irish Times covered the issue handsomely – above, in Dublin.


Next: Gaza2: poor international coverage of worldwide demonstrations against Israel’s actions – 34 sites searched

i24 logoBut handsome coverage by Israel’s i24, banned in Israel. A find! i24News, based in Jaffa and broadcast worldwide in English, French, and Arabic, is not available in Israel by Hot’s cable network or by satellite broadcaster DBS Satellite Services (1998) Ltd. The protests were covered well, see more here. Despite its apparently objective stance, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has refused a request by owner Patrick Drahi – a ‘Franco-Israeli’ telecommunications tycoon – to allow i24 News to be broadcast in Israel.

And Switzerland takes constructive action.

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“Grand vanity projects” – HS2

State and local governments want showcase projects and councillors and ministers want “legacies” . . .

The message: the Coalition is delivering on infrastructure

The message: the Coalition is delivering on infrastructure

A reader on holiday in Devon took time off to draw our attention to an article by Liam Halligan, who has a remarkably wide wealth of business experience.

Last week, George Osborne, David Cameron and government ministers were photographed inspecting building projects across the country, wearing hard hats and high-visibility jackets. The message: the Coalition is delivering on infrastructure.

The Treasury published an updated list of over 200 major projects to be completed or started in 2014-15 – infrastructure spending will be £36bn this year, according to Downing Street, up from £15bn in 2013. But since 2010 the national debt has risen from £800bn to over £1,200bn. Government is still borrowing £100bn-plus annually, as it has for five successive years.

overcrowding on trains

Halligan’s view on the HS2 proposal: “What desperately needs addressing isn’t inter-city speed, but massive overcrowding on local commuter lines — not only into London, but Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester too, where passenger numbers have grown faster than those into and out of the capital.

He advocates placing a greater emphasis on cross-country train services. Instead of spending £80bn-plus on the London-Birmingham leg of HS2, there should be investment in the two lines that already run between the two cities. Rather than a marginally quicker service from London to Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – the cost of which will limit its use largely to business travellers –a world-class and more frequent inter-city links between the great northern cities is needed.

The last word from Halligan: “The UK’s public finances remain in a critical state. Now is the time for cost-effective solutions to genuine problems, not grand vanity projects”