Showing posts with label Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media. Show all posts

Monday, 1 April 2013


by Colin Bloom

Yesterday I wrote a fairly long piece for Conservative Home where I listed some of things that as Christians we might want to be pleased with the Government about. Titled  'Christian Conservatives can be proud of this Coalition's record but a lot more still needs to be done.' you can also read it on this blog here.

Within a few hours more than sixty people left comments, the vast majority of which were anti, some were rude, most dismissive  and many sarcastic.

Someone calling themselves Radsatser made some fairly limp comments about praying for politicians with the biblical verse, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

Another, PSMIDDX made some lazy quip about all Tories being rich etc and someone called Grumble000 wants to see God throw all politicians into a black hole. Numerous people left me tweets suggesting that it is impossible to be a Conservative and a Christian and that all Tories are evil.

What was true in almost every regard was that the people who left these messages all did so under the cowardly cloak of anonymity of a nom de guerre. Maybe these people are braver than I think, maybe they are the kind of people that really make things happen, the sort of people that during a war would have been the first to volunteer for the front line. These people are, I've been told, called trolls. They're kind of cute aren't they?

Trolls are pretty harmless, people can do whatever they like, even on my blog I am allowing anonymous or made-up-name commentators. I would point out though, that you will never really be taken seriously until you come out from behind the mask.

I've said this before, but as far as it depends upon me, I want to live at peace with all people, including Trolls. But let's face it, William Wilberforce, Lord Shaftsbury, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did not change the world from their bedsit using a false identity; and nor will you.

Sunday, 31 March 2013


by Colin Bloom

The polls are all suggesting that the Iain Duncan-Smith's welfare reforms are not only extremely popular with the British people, but that the British public would like the Coalition to go further in reducing the size of welfare spending.

These are popular measures with the vast majority of the public, but to the broadcast media you might be forgiven in thinking that everyone was against them.

This weekend neither Sky News, nor the BBC have given balanced coverage of this debate. They have given far too much airtime to people against the cuts and not enough to, if the polls are to be believed, the majority view which is these measures are sadly necessary.

Do the BBC and others have such low regard for Her Majesty's Opposition that they feel they have to do their job for them?

Earlier today the Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps upbraided a BBC reporter who kept using the term 'Bedroom Tax' for swallowing the language of the left and doing the Labour Party's job for them. I hope this more dynamic, robust approach continues when challenging journalists who are at best lazy or at worse politically biased.

The magic money tree doesn't exist, we need to reduce the size of Government spending and these are facts that the broadcast media have ignored this weekend.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Earlier this week I heard somebody describe the contrasting interviewing techniques of Radio 4's Eddie Mair and Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman. They described the softly spoken Mair as like a quiet assassin whose preferred method of dispatch was a stiletto knife, whereas Paxman was like a fox on a chicken.

The imagery of a stiletto knife is a good one. Discreet, slender, perhaps benign, it is not an energetic slashing hacking implement. The stiletto knife is designed to smoothly stab, to go in deep and to be extracted with as little friction as possible. Oh yes, that's Eddy Mair; he's a deadly smiling avuncular assassin.

Jeremy Paxman, BBC2 Newsnight's heavyweight has made his name by savaging his guest. Paxman's style of journalism is often like a pub fight, pint glasses and bar stools being smashed into the hapless victim, leaving the interviewee looking like a Friday night in Croydon.

Jeremy Paxman is still an incredible journalist and presenter, and I don't wish him an early retirement, we still need him and his kind propping up the fourth estate and news media.

With Mair, the victim leaves the interview looking the same as they did when they left make up; but somehow knowing something isn't quite right. Their discomfort horribly confirmed when  they look down to see the puncture wound leaving  a larger and larger crimson patch just between ribs four and five.

There is a sense that there is an important shift going on in British political journalism. The Paxman playbook is well rehearsed, the lines to take are practised and role played to the point that the snap, crackle and pop has mostly gone from Newsnight. The tipping point has passed, and their falling ratings [I'm told] back my argument up.

If I am right and this shift is taking place, I for one would welcome it. I certainly won't miss the vulpine savagery and nightly chicken shredding, it's not edifying or informative, it's just bloodsport. It's turned the important job of politics and good governance into entertainment. We still need journalists who can ask penetrating questions that will keep our politicians on the edge, but more stiletto knife and less fox on chicken.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Mr Khan - Community Leader (click for hilarious video)

One of the BBC's funniest programmes of the past few years has been Bellamy's People; where the spoof DJ turned documentary maker Gary Bellamy meets unusual but highly believable characters from the length and breadth of these diverse isles.

It's an excoriatingly brilliant fusion of Little Britain and Louis Theroux. One of the characters that comes back again and again is Adil Ray's superbly portrayed Mr. Khan the Community Leader. In the scene that sets up the back story to the character, Mr Khan is desperately trying to prove to Gary Bellamy that he is the popular local spokesman of what appears to be a predominately Muslim community even though it is embarrassingly obvious that he has no such mandate. 

Truly great satire is often the subtlest; after the Summer riots of 2011, the comic geniuses behind Mr. Khan have stumbled over an all too painful social phenomenon. The self appointed community leader.

Black, white, Asian, Christian, Hindu, straight, gay, old or young, it seems that in every community there are these self-important self-appointed self-promoting characters. They're on the rise, and mark my words, before long they will be coming to a pub and school gate near you.

When I fought the Labour stronghold of Erith & Thamesmead, these amazing characters would from time to time crawl out from under the barrel I was busy scraping the bottom of. I remember taking tea with a chap who was very keen for me to meet with him, his business card said he was a Professor, he told me about his impeccable links to 'his' community and that if I stuck with him I was assured of literally "thousands" of votes from 'his' people. This Mr. Khan was easily rumbled, as was Mr. Khan the local barman at the working men's club along with Mr. Khan the manager of the local mini-mart both of whom assured me that they spoke for 'their' people. What became apparent after the election was that most of them had made the same promises to the other candidates. They really were, as Boy George may have put it, Mr. Khan the chameleon.

During the summer looting and general mayhem of 2011 was I alone in being amazed at how many ghastly Mr. Khans were speaking for 'their' people every time a TV camera was stuck in their oh-so earnest boat races? I'm really not sure what I found more annoying, but it was a close run thing between the ugly unprincipled looters and the unctuous utterances of these unelected 'community leaders'. 

Today, British blood is being spilt to allow the citizens of other countries to have a democracy. Our brave military are creating or supporting democratic principles across the globe, whilst back home we are all to ready to abandon these principles with a lock-jawed pig ignorance that makes me wonder if any of it ultimately matters. Imperfect as our democracy is, it has taken nearly a thousand years of honing and polishing to get it to where we are today, and yet it seems it's the people without a popular mandate that are given the soapbox.

Personally I blame the media. Instead of seeking out and giving airtime to the local ward councillors or even the local Council Leaders, they rush to Mr. Khan or even worse some has-been D List celebrity that never was. At the next election that same media will no doubt be lamenting the lack of voter engagement, citing voter apathy as they sharpen their knives ready to cut the legs off democracy at the next possible opportunity. 

So my plea to the Mr. Khan's of this world, if you want to represent 'your' people, get elected. I don't mind for which party, that's the beauty of democracy it will be down to the people to decide. Until then, please just be quiet, you have even less of a mandate than the village idiot.

My plea to the media, if you need to fill your rolling news agenda, is it really beyond your wit to go online and find out who the locally elected people are? Until then, just speak to the village idiot, at least he will have been appointed to the role.

And for the rest of us, if we value our democracy, if we think it something worth fighting for, let's reach for the off button the next time Mr. khan is on the telly. Unless of course he's speaking to Gary Bellamy.