Archive for October, 2012

In Defence of the BBC

It may not be the best time ever for a blog about children to defend the BBC but that’s exactly why it needs doing and doing now. In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal it seems the world is in a huge rush to condemn an institution I have grown up with for, basically, doing as little as the rest of the world.  Broadsheets are claiming the BBC should show more accountability and less swagger while the tabloids are having a field day attacking both celebrities and the BBC and the revelations about Jimmy Savile continue unabated. And yet just what, exactly, did the mainstream press do when he was alive?

My wife grew up in the area close to Stoke Mandeville and it was scuttlebutt among girls then that you didn’t go near Jimmy Savile. Children in Need’s former chairman has been quoted as saying that Savile’s creepy behaviour had him banned from working with the charity. Then there was the spoof Have I Got News For You outtake where “Paul Merton lays in to” Savile for being “feared in every girls school in the land”. In casual chats with friends my age NO-ONE thought Savile was anything close to normal. And yet what did the Telegraph do with the potentially shocking story of a knighted celebrity peadophile? Er, not much. Probably not their demographic to be fair. But celebrity sex cases are the whole raison d’etre of the Sun and it’s now thankfully deceased sister the News Of The World. And did they break any Jimmy Savile sex stories? Did they investigate him? No. They were too busy hacking the voicemail of a murdered child and defaming footballers. There can only be two reasons for this. The first is that there was not enough evidence to run a story and the second is that Savile was untouchable. In either case this would apply as much to the BBC as it would to the papers.

Yes the BBC needs to look at it’s past procedures (I imagine having private quarters at the Beeb in which to seduce minors is as much a no-no these days as smoking at your desk). Yes they certainly need a full investigation as to why the Newsnight programme was stopped, although the editor in charge at the time, Peter Rippon, has resigned. It is not acceptable for any institution – publicly owned or not – to allow child abuse by it’s employees on it’s premises but then it’s not acceptable for an institution to allow illegal phone hacking or expenses claims either. Bad things happened in the past and I expect bad things continue to happen now. When they’re found out the individuals responsible need to be punished and their organizations need to learn lessons and fast.

But it’s time to stop whipping the BBC. Why? Because they are truly independent and the more I see of the election coverage in the States the more defensive I become of them. So you have to pay a licence fee? Your first licence fee will cost you £24 a month over 6 months but after that it’s £12 a month. Compare that to a Sky Entertainment subscription that starts at £21.50 a month. For that you get – yes – all the free to air channels anyway plus some stuff that will eventually be repeated on Channel 4 and 5. Want the sport? That will cost you an extra £21 a month.

Should the BBC modernize? It has. It’s online content is first class because it is truly independent. No one will tweet you links of the latest Jan Moir hate bilge or Samantha Brick FeMail troll that end in the BBC. No one will tweet the lefty rantings of Monboit and Toynbee from there either. With the BBC you get the facts and nothing but the facts. They piss off Alistair Campbell and they piss off right wing free marketers. Their journalists may occasionally nail their colours to a wall elsewhere (John Simpson wrote for The Spectator, Paul Lewis’ twitter account is a stream of human rights pleadings) but when they write for the BBC you know they are being impartial. In fact I have never found either to be anything less and they remain two of my favourite journalists to this day.

I have travelled for work and I have lived abroad. When I wanted impartial news about where I was staying or what was occurring back home I went straight to the BBC. I read their website. I watched their foreign news. I listened to the World Service. It never let me down. On the odd times I turned over to CNN I got Larry King being far too nice to people who didn’t deserve it followed by a stream of multinationals trying to sell me their services. The recent presidential debates in the US have to have how they played out on Fox and MSNBC treated differently because one is so obviously Republican and the other so obviously Democrat. If you want to know how a debate has played out here go directly to the BBC and do not pass go. Or watch any adverts.

I grew up with the Beeb. It’s given me iconic moments from Fawlty Towers to Brian Hanrahan counting them out and back in again, to the aforementioned Simpson “taking Kabul”. I have, however, never had cause to doubt it’s integrity and independence. I hope my children grow up to see the same. I think £12 a month is an absolute bargain to ensure this. The alternative is a media controlled by people who equally didn’t see the Savile scandal, though perhaps because they were too busy using any means possible to try and find a bigger scandal, when all the time one that was actually affecting children was right under their noses.


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Dear Patrons of Certain Local Swimming Lessons

OK this is my second apology in a week which is ironic as the first was an apology for not maintaining this blog. But I am sorry.

Yes that smell in the changing rooms was my daughter and my wholly inadequate efforts to clean after her. She had, not to put too fine a point on it, taken a shit in her swim nappy which luckily kept it all in till after she’d swam. Yes, I am aware that some of you heard her before the lesson saying to me ‘I duned a poo Daddy’. What you have to understand is that in this respect she is the boy who cried wolf. Or rather girl who cries poo. It is her standard attention seeking phrase. When she wakes up in the morning she says ‘Daddy I duned a poo’. When she wants food she doesn’t always say ‘I’m hungry Daddy’. Sometimes she does but sometimes she says ‘I duned a poo’ and it will always turn out that she hasn’t. When I bath her and I’m about to take off her nappy she says ‘I duned a poo’ Here I have a follow up question, ‘poo or no poo’ which is delivered in a stern Noel Edmounds voice. This is where I find out the truth, which is almost always that her nappy is clean.

So when she says it I tend not to believe her, Also the extra ‘d’ on the end of ‘done’ grates on my need for grammatical correctness. Obviously I will have to revise this following this afternoon where she had clearly curled out a vince minutes before swimming.

I would also like to apologise for the wholly inadequate manner in which I cleaned it up. I’m a bloke. I’m good at cooking steak. I’m good at drinking beer and watching football. Talking nonsense about badgers. Wearing trainers. Catching wet shit? Not so good. I’m actually quite impressed that I got any of it in to the nappy sack at all and that I noticed the little bits that had stuck to the walls and cleaned them, and that I got one of the attendants to bring anti-bacterial cleaning bits to stop any germs spreading. That’s the sort of thing I used to get a gold star for at home. I guess that after 5 and a half years of non-stop dealing with bodily emissions I have finally graduated poo cleaning 101. Yay me. If my wet shit catching skillz improve I could actually try for poo college. Get an EBacc in EColi. Do an actual shit degree instead of a metaphorical one. Woohoo.

The smell? Yes sorry about that too. We only feed her on Brussels Sprouts soaked in Scotch, All Bran and grapes. I hope none of you noticed me collecting little bits in the vial either. The “Lab Money” comes in handy ok? How do you think we keep her in Vertbaudet leggings (shit coloured ones, obviously)?

Still at least I didn’t do anything REALLY STUPID like getting it on her costume and then, not only NOT putting it in a nappy bag but actually not remembering to take it with me either. I’m guessing all of you have been taking subtle whiffs of the sprout. All Bran and grape diet since mid-afternoon. Have haz mat been out yet?

In short sorry my shit is shit when it comes to shit.

(Yes, I’m aware that writing a post that says I won’t be writing any posts for a while then writing another post a few days later makes me look a bit, well, dumb, but trust me if you’d had the afternoon I just had you’d be blogging too.)

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My blog – a short apology

When I started writing this here blog I just wanted to write. Obviously I wanted a few people to read it so I slowly joined the blogging community, finding fellow bloggers via the likes of Twitter and Love All Blogs. It became addictive and I slowly began to understand that blogging was as much about community as it was writing. I took part in blog hops, read other people’s stuff and entered show cases. I checked my stats and, yes, I cared about them.

This is not something I’ve been able to do recently. Weekends are totally full of family stuff and my job has been INSANE. I haven’t logged in to the blog let alone looked at my stats, I appear to have a pending unapproved comment and I’ve barely been on twitter.

I don’t think anyone’s noticed much but I feel guilty. I’m not stopping, flouncing or giving up. I will be updating this blog a lot less than I have been in the past though. Without going too much in to it the project I’m involved in has a must hit, legislation driven deadline and everything else is going to have to take a back seat if I’m going to give both it and the kids the attention they need.

When I do write another proper post it’ll be when I can rejoin the community again, reply to comments properly and start interacting and showcasing.

Cheers for reading.