Friday, August 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yes, Dave, Let's Blame The Parents

Recommended reading: an inspired blogpost by comedy writer Nathaniel Tapley ( ).

Dealing With The Distortion

Happy to persist with the risk that its inflammatory "coverage" will make its use of the term "Liverpool Riots" a self-fulfilling prophesy, Oldham Hall Street may well have serious questions to answer in the final reckoning.
A reckless disregard for responsible reporting I fully expect from the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo. Sadly, Seven Streets otherwise informative & vivid take on events also makes use of the inaccurate "Liverpool Riots" tag ( ).
It's at times like this that a voice offering perspective & proportion is required. Kevin Sampson provides it in a piece he's penned for the Guardian's Comment is Free website ( ). [Oh, yes, it should be noted, en passant, that the "Liverpool Riots" appellation is the work of a lazy sub editor rather than Sampson himself.]
Sampson opens his piece by reflecting on his memories of 1981 & concludes with salient points & telling anecdotes (which merit full quotation) from Monday night that Messrs Machray & Thomas would do well to digest:
"In spite of isolated incidents and the now symbolic sight of purple wheelie bins ablaze, there was nothing one could describe as insurrection. The police were visible when necessary, but seemingly content to work in tandem with the youth leaders, too. If it hadn't have been for the phalanx of reporters, no one would have known anything out of the ordinary had happened.
"Speaking to reporters, one of the Toxteth youth workers, Jimmy Jagney, said that while he and his colleagues had been able to quell and disperse kids they knew well from around and about Liverpool 8, they had also identified two large gangs of youths, none of whom they recognised. His assumption was the youths had assembled in the hope of opportunistic looting, and his team quickly advised them to take off, and take their ambitions for notoriety elsewhere. Just as myself and my mates did in 1981, they felt a bit foolish when confronted and slunk away home.
"We live in a time of instant news. Whether it is camera crews sitting in medieval European squares as they wait for football hooligans to get drunk and provide rowdy footage, or plucky frontline reporters with pinhole cameras in their lapel as they maraud with the youth, our media suppliers are fanning the flames. They're making a case, and making a story that doesn't -- or needn't -- exist. If our politicians really want to know what's going on, they should give Jimmy Jagney a call. In the meantime, nothing to see here -- move along."
On Sampson's final point, I suspect Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson won't make that call, preferring, instead, to feed Oldham Hall Street with asinine soundbites. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Oldham Hall Street Fans The Flames

Tensions remain high, the riot vans patrol Toxteth & Oldham Hall Street excels itself with the sort of inaccurate, irresponsible coverage which can only serve to encourage any imbeciles who wish to cause more trouble this evening. The Daily Ghost is running a live blog, at least that's what they call it ( ).
Neil MacDonald opens with the inflammatory & inaccurate words:
"Liverpool descended into anarchy last night as gangs of youths set cars on fire, looted shops and attacked Merseyside Police officers."
For your information, Neil, disturbances took place in one particular part of the city last night. The rest of the city wasn't affected; Liverpool DID NOT descend into anarchy.
Get your facts straight, cut the offensive hyperbole & issue an apology for the sort of "journalism" which could exacerbate the situation in Toxteth tonight. Your "coverage" is beneath contempt.

*I'm indebted to my friend Professor Chucklebutty for pointing this story out to me.

Dispatch From The Front Line

Recommended reading: Jake Mills gives an excellent first-hand account of last night's disturbances in Toxteth ( ).
Meanwhile, the signs, sadly, look ominous for this evening. Grosvenor-pool is closing early (though many wouldn't necessarily regard that as a cause for regret) & the Twittersphere is buzzing with claims that the mood around Upper Parliament Street is decidedly ugly.

Toxteth: Thirty Years Down The Line

Far more heat than light is still being generated by the events around Smithdown Road & Upper Parliament Street ( ) overnight ( ). The siren voices of the local lock 'em up brigade have wasted no time in phoning Radio Merseyside &/or leaving erudite comments online. 
In the midst of the mayhem that raged around the south end of the city, such as the scene on Smithdown Road ( ), Seven Streets at least maintained a responsible, yet suitably urgent, stance on events ( ).
To be sure, there was a large element of copycat criminal activity emanating from the city's feral "scallies", taking their cue from a burning London. That said, factors particular to the situation in Toxteth were also at play, & to downplay, dismiss or dispute that takes us no further in attempting to establish what set in motion the train of events. 

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tuning Into Cuts TV?

As the ConDem cuts proceed grimly & remorselessly across the land, it's heartening to see that the city's leadership is using new technology to rally opposition to the cuts & organise a fightback. Aren't they? Er, scrap that, it seems we were misinformed ( ).
David Bartlett's piece gives notice of a new TV channel starring Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson as he unveils the city's cuts (just as well it's not on cable, otherwise I'd demand a refund from Virgin Media). Bartlett relates:
" 'Dubbed Joe TV' , the webcast will feature Cllr Anderson giving a presentation to councillors on the city's finances.
"The meeting is on Tuesday [tomorrrow] and the webcast is likely to be made available the following day."
So this pathetic PR stunt, an insult to the people of the city he's supposed to represent, isn't even to be webcast live, but will be online after a 24-hour delay. Now that's what I call instant accountability in the internet age. Joe, alas, thinks it's the bee's knees:
"Cllr Anderson said: 'This is a major step for the council being more open and transparent.
" 'We are giving the people who pay for council services real insight into our budget discussions.' "
Joe, you are "giving the people who pay for council services" the insult of watching you & your Labour colleagues implement Tory cuts; far from bestowing "insight" into your deliberations, you are placing an opaque filter on the lens of local civic life.
In such a surreal stew of Pythonesque proportions, a reminder of what the city already faces, before the cuts really kick in, was admitted by the Oldham Echo the other day ( ).
Cllr Jane Corbett, Labour representative for Everton ward, is quoted:
" 'The income gap in this country unravelled under the government of Margaret Thatcher.
" 'The present government has shut their eyes to the problems they are creating through their cuts.' "
I'm all for highlighting Thatcher's baleful impact on Merseyside, but thirteen years of New Labour did nothing to change conditions in the Evertons of this world. Additionally, Cllrs Corbett, Anderson et al have elected to shut their eyes, too, rather than show some desperately-required gumption & start justifying their positions.      

Honey, Disconnect The Phone

Alastair Machray, editor of the Oldham Echo, isn't a very happy soul at the moment. Exasperated at the new round of job losses he's been instructed to make, there's another dark cloud on the horizon. And it's a bloody big one, too.
Whenever, Liverpool is graced by a visit from Sir Thumbs-Up, aka Macca (you know, the guy who played bass guitar in the Beatles), both the Echo & Daily Ghost treat it as a local version of the Second Coming. Pages are cleared for lavish, self-congratulatory missives about how four lads from our city made history, how wonderful it all was, etc., etc. The meat in Oldham Hall Street's sandwich at such heady moments is an "interview" with the man himself. It's fearless, investigative journalism at its best ("How do you feel being back home?" "Are you looking forward to the concert?", that sort of thing).
Alas, such treats may be a thing of the past, as Trinity Mirror comes under even greater scrutiny over its own involvement in phone-hacking. It seems that McCartney's voicemails were hacked by the Daily Mirror some years back ( ).
Given that the Mirror is clearly part of the same publishing stable, & given that McCartney's response has been suitably indignant, there is a deep concern on Oldham Hall Street that, rightly or wrongly, they'll no longer have "access", that risible term in journalism's lexicon, to the ex-Beatle; McCartney's people, always PR & media-savvy, may well view the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo as part of a hostile media conglomerate.
Filling those pages with Pete Best's reminiscences just wouldn't be the same, would it?