Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spin Over Substance

An associate once said to me, "PR is the art of making a turd look like a ruby."
I was reminded of those wise words when I saw a Guardian piece earlier about the rise of "churnalism" ( ).
Paul Lewis' article cites a website ( which highlights the burgeoning level of PR bullshit masquerading as news in the media. Those media outlets guilty of complicity in this squalid game of journalistic faute de mieux aren't always the usual suspects, as Lewis refreshingly admits:
"Interestingly, all media outlets appear particularly susceptible to PR material disseminated by supermarkets: the Mail appears to have a particular appetite for publicity from Asda and Tesco, while the Guardian appears to prefer Waitrose releases."
It's reassuring to know that the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo wouldn't stoop to such base levels, isn't it? Oh, hang on, what's this: .

Compare & Contrast

It would be remiss of me not to point out that while Joe "tea & sympathy" Anderson was shamelessly trying to justify his adherence to Tory cuts whilst berating those who have the temerity to organise opposition to them, the Liverpool branch of UK Uncut ( ) were showing, by way of a complete contrast, how effective their spontaneous & fluid campaign is.
The Vodafone store in Church Street remained closed for the day as protesters highlighted the tax-dodging antics of the company. Though relatively small in number, they made their point in eye-catching manner & showed that they have a level of spirit & ingenuity in their ranks which shames Anderson's defeatist rump of time-servers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Joe Anderson's Bluster & Bombast

The sadly small smattering of the committed, converted & the affected who turned out at the steps of St George's Hall today in protest against the city council's cuts were largely regaled with rhetoric that was cliched & pitiful in equal measure. However, proceedings reached their nadir in a shrill, defensive rant from Joe "tea & sympathy" Anderson. It's one thing to highlight the devastating effects of the ConDem cuts in the city. It's quite another to do so while implementing them, as Anderson well knows.
Anderson's address wasn't so much a speech as a puerile whine of self-exoneration. The cuts? Nothing to do with Joe, even though he's now Cameron's Cutter-in-Chief in the city. Instead, he lobbed a couple of barbs at Degsy & Co. Forget the rather inconvenient fact that Militant haven't been around as a significant political force for 20 years or so. Anderson also declared opposition to both the Tories & "the Loony Left". It's nice to see him use a phrase first coined by that well-known champion of Merseyside, the Sun, back in the 80s.
Those who should know better, such as Anderson, are disingenuous; you can't rally the troops while depriving them of their rations. It's no exaggeration to say that empty rhetoric was the most "constructive" element of his address. Talk of mobilising the Labour Party & TUC was laughable back in the 80s when Thatcher was in her pomp. To invoke both in 2011 when the cuts dwarf those of that decade could be interpreted as a sick joke.
Be in no doubt, the cuts will be savage. Indeed, the shape of things to come was outlined by a Guardian article last week ( ).
In such a context, it is even more risible for Joe "tea & sympathy" Anderson to laud the legacy of Robert Tressell, the centenary of whose death in Liverpool has just passed ( ):
"Robert Tressell's social commentary should not be underestimated and it's a shame that he only received recognition for his talents posthumously."
Robert Tressell, or Robert Noonan to give him his real name, would surely have seen the dark comedy in a supposed trade unionist implementing the millionaires' wishes whilst bewailing the consequences.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Anti-Vodafone Protest In Liverpool

Dismissed & disdained in equal measure by nearly all media outlets at first, the UK Uncut campaign is now beginning to be grudgingly acknowledged not just for its actions, but also for the clarity & veracity of its argument that multinationals are paying little or no tax on UK income. After Monday's feature on Newsnight ( ), during the course of which Paxo had his Naughtie moment, the campaign continues apace across the country this weekend, including Liverpool.
If you're in the city centre tomorrow & are disgusted by the way in which we most certainly aren't all in this together, you can show your support for the campaign as it marches on the Vodafone store in Grosvenorpool ( ) around lunchtime.
An extra reason for showing what you think of Vodafone was provided a few days ago when it pulled the plug on internet & mobile phone links in Egypt as the protests against Mubarak's regime gathered force ( ).

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Game Of Two Halves

Contrary to the perennial grumblings from many football supporters, there never was a halcyon age in which the game was run as some sort of workers' cooperative. The development & growing popularity of the professional game in the late 19th century went hand-in-hand with the most frenetic & burgeoning period of the Industrial Revolution.
However, the level of expenditure on transfer fees yesterday, as the deadline came to a close, has prompted at least some who normally shrug their shoulders & accept its free market nature to question its sense of priorities. Those Liverpool fans who bemoan Fernando Torres' departure make the right points about the malaise affecting the modern game, but they should also see the bigger picture. David Conn certainly does that in a piece for the Guardian's Comment is Free pages today ( ).
Drawing together the wanton excesses of the current professional game with the economic reality affecting those who watch it, Conn concludes:
"[Tory] Sports minister Hugh Robertson has described football as 'the worst governed sport in the country'. Its story is of an obsession with money, and great inequality between millionaire superstars paid by plutocrat owners and fans paying fortunes to watch -- while the masses who play the sport prepare for years of underinvestment by Robertson's 'austerity' government."

When A Spoonerism Becomes A Freudian Slip

Yes, of course it isn't a nice word to use & it remains, understandably, one of the few words in the Anglo-Saxon lexicon to remain taboo. That said, it was somehow apt that Jeremy Paxman's verbal faux-pas on Newsnight yesterday evening was committed in the context of a piece about the ConDem cuts & the tax-dodgers who donate to the Tory Party ( ).
What a load of, erm, cuts.