Category Archives: The Media

Rock Bottom

It was not a difficult prediction to make but the UK entry in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) did indeed end up in last place. And not getting any points from any of the 38 countries in either the jury vote or the public vote was harsh but hard to complain about. The UK entry was just not up to the task.

Man1902And as long as all the best UK singers and song writers have such little regard for the competition we will remain sub-standard performers. The BBC and its various helper organisations seem unable to do anything other than repeat the formula of spin-doctoring a low cost candidate as the next big thing with a fighting chance of stardom. Only for reality to strike when the young hopeful (or faded star) sees the other countries in rehearsals.

We really have reached the point where it is better not to enter rather than waste everyones time. The 8 hours of live TV can still grace the BBC schedules – but without the pretence that a UK entry will do well.

For the record these are the most recent UK Placings in the Eurovision Song Contest
2000 Nicki French 16th out of 24
2001 Lindsay Dracass 15th out of 23
2002 Jessica Garlick 3rd out of 24
2003 Jemini Last place
2004 James Fox 16th out of 24
2005 Javine 22nd out of 24
2006 Daz Sampson 19th out of 24
2007 Scooch 22nd out of 24
2008 Andy Abraham Last place
2009 Jade Ewen 5th out of 25
2010 Josh Dubovie Last place
2011 Blue 11th out of 25
2012 Engelbert Humperdinck Last place
2013 Bonnie Tyler 19th out of 26
2014 Molly 17th out of 26
2015 Electro Velvet 24th out of 27
2016 Joe and Jake 24th out of 26
2017 Lucie Jones 15th out of 26
2018 SuRie 24th out of 26
2019 Michael Rice Last place
2021 James Newman Last place

Just Like Old Times

In a sign that things are starting to return to their old ways this week sees contestants in Rotterdam busy rehearsing for the Eurovision Song Contest next week.

ESC2021As before the UK will get a free pass to the Saturday final – thanks to tax payers funding it with the biggest fees. The UK entry will be James Newman performing ‘Embers’ – a song where he is one of five co-writers. Let’s hope his efforts are not wasted.

And perhaps 2021 will be the year that the UK does well. But perhaps not. The latest betting puts France, Malta, Switzerland, Italy and Iceland as the most likely winners – with support for the UK down in 23rd place. However in recent years the UK betting support has been more bullish than the actual support amongst voting countries.

Anything better than a place in the bottom five will be an achievement. But there is a real chance that irrespective of the quality of the song the UK will end up in last place – given the attitude of our European friends. It has happened before …

But don’t despair just remember the motto of our returning compere Mr Norton OK… That’s three minutes we’ll never get back, but look at it this way: We’ll never have to hear that song again.

Tides’s In Time’s Out

Well our Westminster MPs have been packed off to their homes or constituencies without seeing anything resembling a trade deal with the European Union. Despite another fifteen days having passed little has changed in the mass media headlines and opinion pieces despite lots of talks and briefings.

Grandad3And the few changes that have happened don’t add up to much. At the bookies the sentiment has swung from deal to no deal and amongst EU politicians the stress levels have jumped with each day that passes.

Meanwhile out at sea the EU trawlers seem to have upped their policy of scooping up all marine life – whether saleable or not – to leave nothing in the waters that the UK gets back. A very short-sighted policy and one that confirms they expect to face UK controls shortly. Surprising the BBC seems to be trying to ignore what is happening – despite claiming a leading role in ecology issues. Yet Trawler-watch is one programme they have not scheduled.

So New Year 2021 is just two weeks away and the Brexit saga still drags on .. Will some last minute deal appear? Will MPs get recalled before year end? … Will we all wake up to find 2020 was a bad dream? .. Pass the port and mince pies I need to forget …

Mischief Night

In northern England it used to be the case that the night before Plot Night – Bonfire Night – was when children would play tricks on people or raid supplies for their bonfire from any near-by competitors. But like most folk traditions the practice is long gone – probably because bonfires do not go well with tarmac roads or burning rubbish in the street!

USPres2020-1In 2020 we have instead the political grandchild of Mischief Night – the counting and disputing of votes in the US presidential election.

With the only two realistic candidates having a combined age of over 150 years it seems that the US voting system is not producing the best choices. And this year the US voters only had the option of picking between two grandads – one who thinks he is on some reality TV show and the other who gets too easily confused to safely act as commander in chief of the US military. What a choice ..

But then who are we to complain. Britain – and indeed Europe – does have more than its fair share of political players who easily justify the title worse than useless

A Lifetime Ago

Seventy-five years ago today Japan’s years of aggression and brutality across Asia and the Pacific were brought to an abrupt end by their realisation that allied atomic bombs could destroy entire Japanese cities.

For my uncle the news signalled an end to his time in the British Army fighting in the jungles of Burma – and the prospect of getting back to his family in England unharmed.

Song_On_the_Road_to_MandTo mark the anniversary there are various events today; the main ones being covered by the BBC. And normally the BBC do make a good job of covering such state occasions. Sadly this year the BBC seems to have failed by excluding the iconic Army marching song On The Road To Mandalay – apparently because part of one line might be considered offensive (to person or persons unknown?).

But I’m pretty sure that none of the families of those that served in this forgotten army objected to the words. In fact their only objections seem certain to be over the exclusion of this traditional song … despite it featuring in previous anniversary broadcasts.

To make up for weakness of the BBC’s cancel culture woke squad here is the first verse of Rudyard Kipling’s poem –

By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!

Update 23-Aug-2020

Just to compound the BBC’s descent into absurdity comes the news that Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia are likely to be dropped from the Last Night of the Proms on the whim of Dalia Stasevska this year’s conductor. Not sure why a single Ukrainian born, Finnish national should take priority over a much-loved tradition at this once per year celebration of British heritage. But then the BBC seems determined to kill-off anything – and anyone – that stands in the way of its complete wokewash.

Update 28-Aug-2020
Ms Stasevska’s management company has now issued a statement insisting that she had no part in the BBC’s decision to cut the patriotic anthems. This seems to imply that the conductor was used as an unknowing decoy for the BBC management to hide their revisionist agenda behind. The wokewash continues …

Expert Opinion

Today the UK press have a series of quotes from Tom Jefferson, a professor at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. One was – In 1918 around 30 per cent of the population of Western Samoa died of Spanish Flu, and they hadn’t had any communication with the outside world. He added: The explanation for this could only be that these agents don’t come or go anywhere. They are always here and something ignites them, maybe human density or environmental conditions, and this is what we should be looking for.

Man1902His statements should have carried some weight considering his position and the specialisation in evidence-based research. However some very basic fact checking reveals the real source of the outbreak – On 7 November 1918, the New Zealand passenger and cargo ship Talune arrived at Apia from Auckland. On board were people suffering from pneumonic influenza, a highly infectious disease already responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. Although the Talune had been quarantined in Fiji, no such restrictions were imposed in Samoa. Sick passengers were allowed to disembark. The disease spread rapidly through the islands. [NZ Government]

Now the case of Western Samoa is not some minor incident hidden in the archives. It was the subject of a royal commission and a UN report. It impacted relations with New Zealand for decades. So either the professor is deliberately giving out false statements or is most unsuitable for his academic rank and position …

So much for this expert’s opinion. Now let’s all hope that those experts in the UK Government’s SAGE group live up to their grand title regarding the handling of Covid-19.

Logic Holiday

The years of political argument – first about Scotland leaving the UK and then about the UK leaving the EU – have left our politicians struggling to cope. The resulting breakdown of traditional positions has lead to party members being so confused as to be supporting opposing views – at the same time!

Take the SNP leadership’s current position that Brexit going ahead will boost their case for a second Scottish referendum. So do they support Brexit? No they are trying very hard to stop it – so weakening their own case for a re-run of the vote.

man19

Then we have Labour pledging to get a better deal from the EU – and then planning to campaign against the improved deal on a remain ticket. A crazy plan that has left the EU side questioning the sanity of the Labour top team. Their position is so wacky that the party will have to allow a free vote to get round the cock-up.

Not to be left out we have LibDem politicians demanding a second referendum for the people to be heard but then vowing to ignore the result if it was another win for Leave. Why bother?

Plus we have politicians from all parties who keep telling us – with a straight face – that they know no one wants to leave the EU without a deal. Totally ignoring the national ballot carried out earlier this year where the Brexit Party took the most MEP seats and formed the largest single party. They campaigned to leave – no matter what. And if the vote had been under Westminster general election rules they would have won hundreds more seats than LibDem, Labour and Conservative combined. Yet politicians know that the people don’t really want it.

Finally we have the Irish backstop farce where the key issue is maintaining free access between the ROI and the UK. The EU took the position that the UK had to provide a solution using the slogan – you created the problem you have to fix it. In response the UK has agreed to maintain the present open border. The most it can do without any powers to control the ROI side of the line. Irish politicians – you would hope – should be prepared to do the same. But it seems they cannot do that without the permission of the EU – having given away their sovereignty in exchange some nice shiny euros. So this farce is an EU creation that politicians are trying to make the UK solve – without any powers to achieve it. Difficult is do-able and impossible will take a bit longer.

Away from Westminster we have the BBC headlining every bit of news that favours remain or stokes up leaving fears. Hardly the best way to convince millions of pensioner customers that they should pay for even more years of being told that they don’t know how to vote. Logic has certainly taken a holiday ..

Feedback

Time’s Up – After much horse trading and secret deals the top eurocrats have agreed – probably – on who will become the next EU presidents. The changes are – at the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is to be replaced by Ursula von der Leyen; at the European Council Donald Tusk is to be replaced by Charles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel; at the European Parliament Antonio Tajani is now replaced by David Sassoli; at the Eurogroup Mario Centeno has been in post since 2018 and at the European Central Bank Mario Draghi is to be replaced by Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde.

Surely all those Grandads who believe in continued EU membership will know all about the excellent qualities of these fine presidents – but for the rest of us it’s more like … Who? or How did they get that job? Interestingly there was no news about the future role of Michel Barnier even though he was lined-up for a top job only a few weeks ago.

BBC Sinks Even Further – Despite clearly expecting plenty of negative feedback on the plan to means test TV licences the BBC has continued to fire more and more bullets at its own feet (snowflake warning; metaphorical language – no BBC staff or members of the public were physically or mentally harmed). The announcements of the salaries of both on-screen talent and senior BBC staff triggered plenty of reaction. And not much of it was in support.

Then the sheer pointless waste of sending the main evening news presenter to Lyon to interview the BBC sport presenter also in Lyon seemed to go over the heads of the executives responsible. Apart from the benefit of providing Clive Myrie with free tickets to the football match and a stay in Lyon on expenses the whole segment was just one more source of ammunition (another metaphorical). Given the situation the BBC might also have reconsidered the need to relocate morning weather forecasts to Wimbledon during the tennis – but it is likely that Carol is a tennis fan so would have resisted missing her days at courtside; with pay.

And as this posting was being prepared came the news that the BBC is facing a legal challenge over its impartiality and biased coverage. It’s hard to see how this can succeed – given the resources that the BBC can throw against it. But having threatened millions of pensioners with a loss of benefit every unjustified expense and biased report is going to be jumped on – by lots of critics.

BBC Sinks Even Further

This afternoon’s announcement that from 2020 UK residents over 75 will have to loose £154 from their pensions to pay for BBC excesses will not be greeted with much joy or support. Especially when the BBC clearly makes little attempt to produce quality content in the most cost-effective way.

Man1902

Even live sporting events have excessive numbers of pundits and reporters before, during and after every event. Some of these pundits taking away millions for just asking other pundits what they thought of the game. A game that the viewers had most likely just seen for themselves.

Meanwhile the BBC’s lead TV channel – BBC1 – is full of tired shows like Escape to the Country – which today has reached Season 17 Episode 37 for the second time – or daily quiz shows like Pointless; where today we have a repeat of Season 19 Episode 33!

To quote the BBC’s own blurb – The BBC is the world’s leading public service broadcaster. We’re impartial and independent, and every day we create distinctive, world-class programmes and content which inform, educate and entertain millions of people in the UK and around the world. And that means that UK tax payers – including pensioners – are funding television, radio and online on [in] more than 40 languages.

Coming so soon after that disastrous last place in the Eurovision Song Contest – where the BBC paid more that any other broadcaster to take part – the Beeb’s claim of world-class content has again been put into perspective. Australia’s public service broadcaster – SBS – has consistently produced better for less; much less. But then it does have to try harder – with no licence fee income to pay for programmes that are unappealing or expensive.

Now the BBC may not be any better if the channels presently paid for by the TV tax were switched to commercial funding. But the Corporation is, in effect, operating a business model that looses over £3,500 million per year – the amount it gets from taxation to make the books balance. Much of that loss is down to corporate obesity. Time for a corporate slimming plan …

Into The Sixties

Winter Dance Party - Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, Dion

It is sixty years ago tomorrow that a four-seater Beechcraft Bonanza crashed at around 1am in bad weather near Clear Lake, Iowa. All four on-board were killed. A tragedy but nevertheless an event where reports would normally be limited to just local news.

But this time the deaths of pilot Roger Peterson with singers  Ritchie Valens (17), Jiles Perry “Big Bopper” Richardson (28) and Buddy Holly (22) made news around the world. Not least in Australia and the UK where Holly’s popularity was high having toured both during the year before.

Even so at the time of his death Buddy Holly’s records had only appeared in the UK music charts for just over a year. With Peggy Sue, Listen To Me, Rave On, Early In The Morning and Heartbeat being the ones that charted before the crash. Despite this brief and restricted career his music and influences can still be heard today – some sixty years on.

For many 3-Feb-1959 was not The Day That Music Died but a tragic loss that shaped a new and highly successful era of popular music – Rave On!