View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Press

The News of the World newspaper will be closed down after Sunday, 168 years after its first publication. Its 200 staff are to be laid off, although they will have the opportunity to apply for jobs elsewhere in the parent company. The newspaper will be shut down on account of serious misconduct by previous management, under the aegis of the same parent company.

That company, News Corp or News International, is interested only in making money, which in itself is not a bad thing. The methods they deploy through their various pieces of toiletpaper, otherwise known as tabloid newspapers, are. Who the h*** do they think they are to announce that they will support this or that political party, thereby determining the outcome of a general election? But then, it was a piece of television journalism that led to today's subtractive coalition government in London, by placing the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, on the same platform as Labour and Conservative Party leaders Brown and Cameron.

In principle, I have nothing against journalists as a group. I have a lot of respect for newspaper, television and radio journalists who, through uncomfortable questioning, elicit responses from (e.g.) politicians and others to eke out their true intentions and opinions. But to use illegal methods, such as phone tapping, is not acceptable. It does not matter whether we're talking about people in the limelight, or about victims of crime or war. The law is the law, and those that sanction such methods should face the consequences. And that goes as high as the Murdochs, whose empire I am ranting against.

It's not the News of the World that should be shut down. It's the Murdoch empire that ought to be ditched.

Thursday 7 July

Today is 6 years ago that four suicide bombers detonated their devices on board three London Underground trains and a number 30 bus at Tavistock Square in London. Fifty-two people were killed and hundreds injured. This atrocity was to be followed two weeks later by a similar series of attacks which, with good fortune, were all abortive. Today, my thoughts are with the families of the deceased, and with those who were injured or otherwise affected by what has become known as "7/7".

Wednesday 6 July

Quite a dreich day, with overcast skies and occasional drizzle. The news was full of allegations about journalists hacking into people's mobile phones, including victims of crime, terrorism and war. The political twist is never far away, particularly as one editor is a good friend of the Prime Minister. I have never held British journalism in high regard, as they just don't know when to stop. The word "Morals" seems to be erased from their dictionary, with sales figures being more important than actually doing your job right. They claim to supply what the readers want; I think that should be changed into "what they think the readers want". Eugh.

Locally, the closure of Sandwick Road, the main road heading east out of Stornoway, is over, and the diversion past my position lifted. But there is a suggestion, to be investigated by Scottish Water, that a drain has collapsed under the weight of all those lorries whizzing round the corner here. There is now a distinct smell, and not a terribly pleasant one, in this area. Lorries come past here at any rate, as the marshalling yard is just up the road. The HGV's do have an alternative route: down Sandwick Road. Let's see what transpires.