Disaster and the State

13 05 2013

Category; LawMediaPolitics

© Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty

A terrible industrial disaster in Bangladesh, a building full of workshops collapses leaving more than a thousand dead (click here), and our first reaction in developed economies is to question our responsibilities as consumers and whether we should boycott the western companies who have clothing made there (click here).

It’s an example of the fact we seem to have forgotten what the state is for.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t Blame Starbucks

20 10 2012

Category; Finance, Law, Media, Politics

Schiuma

It’s easy to get worked into a schiuma by the revelation that Starbucks hasn’t managed to pay any corporation tax in the UK since 2009 – click here for report. Big turnover is, apparently, eaten away by expensive licensing royalties to an overseas subsidiary (Holland) of the Starbucks parent company, expensive beans bought from another overseas subsidiary (Switzerland) and then roasted by yet another overseas subsidiary (Holland).

Politicians and journalists are gleefully calling for a boycott of the company that doesn’t ‘pay it’s share’see here and here. But it’s very simple. Read the rest of this entry »





Deconstructing Harry

25 08 2012

Category: Law, Media, Privacy

Same guy, different set of photos

In allowing himself to be photographed, naked, or as they’d say in Nevada, butt naked, in the high-roller suite of a Las Vegas casino, with an equally naked young woman, or as they’d say in Nevada, a hottie, whose acquaintance could be measured more in minutes than hours, Prince Harry, or as they’d say in Windsor, His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, has proven himself the heir to his great great great grandfather Edward VII (click here), and a bit of an idiot.

But should the newspapers be publishing those photos? The short answer is;  yeah, why not?

Of course, that’s not to say they needed to be published, it’s just seriously; why not? Read the rest of this entry »





Many Enemies

12 01 2012

Category; Middle East, Media

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

There has been fevered discussion about who was responsible for the killing of an Iranian nuclear engineer this week; click here for a news report, or click here, or click here or here.

I say discussion, but actually everything I have read has assumed that Israel was involved; the only point of discussion is whether America was involved too. That’s lazy journalism; I cannot work out why no-one has mentioned another player in the region – Saudi Arabia.

There are at least three reasons why they should have joined Israel and America in the list of possibles: Read the rest of this entry »





Myths, Mummies and Nonsense

9 08 2011

Category; Literature, Middle East, Politics

Professor Roger Luckhurst

For academics to lure media interest their theories need to be catchy and controversial. Radio 3 had a discussion recently on the dangers that arise when academics appear on the media.

Roger Luckhurst is a good example of what can happen to scholarship when the media calls. He’s Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London. See here for biography. The media calls him, a lot, and he has a theory that’s leakier than a wedding marquee on an August Bank Holiday. Read the rest of this entry »





Why Not?

14 07 2011

Category; Politics, Media

“Why Not?”

That was the question asked by the charity fundraiser (or chugger) for Save the Children as I walked past today, with a shake of the head and a weak smile.

Why not? Well, four reasons: 

First; do no evil

The man from Save the Children had the bad luck to collar me just as I’m reading a shocking analysis of the work of international aid agencies.

Linda Polman’s book ‘War Games’ (click here for details) catalogues how international aid agencies actually do much harm. How the work to save and improve lives actually, in many situations, does exactly the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »





Oh George…

22 06 2011

Category; Media, Middle East, Politics

George Galloway gave a straight answer to a straight question yesterday.

OK, he didn’t give the straight answer straight away; he blustered, he railed, he orated. Then he gave a straight answer.

Problem is, the answer he gave, the definitive and certain answer; it wasn’t true. And demonstrably wasn’t true.  Read the rest of this entry »