Tonge Gone

3 03 2012

Category: Politics, Middle East

So, Jenny Tonge has been set adrift from the Liberal Democrats, as I predicted – see here for more on Jenny Tonge and the Liberal Democrats.

The story was carried on Radio 4 with an interview with Tonge and  little context or background – listen here to the honey-tongued hatemonger. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »





Facts That Matter

10 06 2011

Category; Media, Middle East

Facts are relative to context. No news report can be encyclopaedic enough to encompass every view and every nuance. Broadcast media especially are broad-brush and, at their best, leave an impression rather than swamping the audience with facts.

But news must be anchored in facts, and sometimes it seems the distance to that anchor is so great that the report becomes adrift.

Take the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on 10th June 2011. Read the rest of this entry »





Sir Sherard and the Throffer

10 02 2011

Category; Media, Middle East

Sir Sherard Louis Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO has been discussing Israel and the peace process on BBC Radio 4 (following comments by his former boss, Foreign Secretary WIlliam Hague).

Sir Sherard certainly has experience of the Middle East (click here); until recently the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan he formerly served, amongst other roles, in Cairo, Saudia Arabia, Kabul, and as UK Ambassador to Israel.

His comments on the Today programme –  click here (9/2/11 at c.8:50am) are revealing on the extent of the delegitimisation of Israel. There is a creeping acceptance that Israel does not have an automatic and accepted right to exist and in that sense differs from every other nation on earth. Read the rest of this entry »





Why the Middle East should remind us of the Falklands

28 01 2011

Category; Middle East, Politics

Almost 30 years ago an Argentinian military oligarchy went to war with Britain over the Falkland Islands to divert its people from domestic issues.

Those same pressures are at work in the Middle East today and we should be concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »





Rowan Laxton Speaks…

12 12 2010

Category; Rowan Laxton, Criminal Law, Anti-Semitism, Middle East

© Daily Telegraph

Professor Geoffrey Pullum has been speaking up for Rowan Laxton on his blog. It’s interesting to read the views on the subject of a distinguished American academic living in the UK especially as he’s had the benefit of a phone conversation with Laxton himself… Read the rest of this entry »