Blog Archives

Media 41: Peter Oborne on the failings of the press

peter obornePeter Oborne, the able and respected former chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph has resigned, calling for an independent review of the newspaper’s guidelines over its coverage of the HSBC tax scandal.

He claimed that prominence was not given to the HSBC story because of commercial interests.

In an Open Democracy article which gave his reasons for resigning, he wrote about the role of the press:

“A free press is essential to a healthy democracy.

“There is a purpose to journalism, and it is not just to entertain.

“It is not to pander to political power, big corporations and rich men.

“Newspapers have what amounts in the end to a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth.

“It is not only the Telegraph that is at fault here. The past few years have seen the rise of shadowy executives who determine what truths can and what truths can’t be conveyed across the mainstream media . . .”

Britain, a client state in composite ownership: economically, politically and militarily subordinate

KC sent a link to yesterday’s article by Allister Heath slating France for its ‘protectionist policies’.

takeover cartoonHeath cited a US approach a few years ago for Danone, a very successful French food company, which soon collapsed.

Several other takeovers were blocked by the French government which passed a law to protect companies in “strategic industries”, from takeover.

Heath states that the UK gains from its openness, examples being those of Tata, a major employer in the UK, Korea’s Samsung and now the Turkish Yildiz takeover.

He admonishes British workers but makes no reference to the actual and potential social, economic and security dangers of these takeovers

Heath: “British workers have got used to working for US, European or Japanese employers; they must now embrace full globalisation and be prepared to carve out careers for themselves within a new generation of emerging market corporate giants”.

Has the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) been closed before it could update its little publicised 2010 report?

This found that 40% of infrastructure assets in the energy, water, transport, and communication sectors were already owned by foreign investors.

The OFT was closed on 1st April 2014, with its responsibilities passing to a number of different organisations including the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Financial Conduct Authority.

takeover cartoon graphic

In Utility Week News at the time the report was published, barrister Roger Barnard, former head of regulatory law at EDF Energy, wondered whether any government is able to safeguard the nation’s energy security interests against the potential for political intervention under a commercial guise, whether by Gazprom, Opec, or a sovereign wealth fund, adding:

“Despite what the regulators say, ownership matters”: vulnerable Britain is now largely economically, politically and militarily subordinate.

The destruction of our towns and countryside – and cards stacked in favour of developers

cpre logo
The focus is on housing but could well include industrial development
Hinckley Point nuclear power station

Hinckley Point nuclear power station


Clive Aslet – a valuable writer – and a number of co-signatories, wrote to the Telegraph today in support of the English countryside which is being eroded every day as a result of poorly planned development: “There is a better way, which is why we are supporting the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s new charter to save our countryside”.


Proposed Gloucestershire incinerator

Proposed Gloucestershire incinerator

CPRE’s website announces that the new Save our Countryside Charter will be launched on Monday 15th July, asking the public and politicians to support the following three demands:
  • Don’t sacrifice our countryside. Our open spaces are being destroyed unnecessarily. Previously developed brownfield sites should be re-used first.
  • A fair say for communities. The cards are stacked in favour of developers. We want a democratic planning system that gives local people a stronger voice.
  • More housing – in the right places. The country needs affordable homes. They must be sensitively located, with excellent environmental standards and high quality design.


Developers offer ‘aspirational’ not ‘affordable’ housing

Developers offer ‘aspirational’ not ‘affordable’ housing

 A link to the pdf copy of the full Charter wording – and the CPRE petition – may be accessed here.

 HS2 notice countryside


And don’t forget the impact of HS2!