Monthly Archives: January 2014

Threats of death and violence after Channel 4 programme Benefits Street

Channel Four have, once again, shown us how far they’ve travelled from their former position as an innovative broadcaster. These days the channel flits between posh people helping other posh people to buy homes to outright voyeuristic trash like “My Big Gypsy Wedding”. Last night C4 took a leaf from Channel 5’s book and screened “Benefits Street”. Programmes such as these are produced for one purpose only: to give certain sections of the public a chance to indulge in a weekly 60 minutes of hate. The distorted picture of benefit claimants as pathologically workshy, shiftless and criminally-inclined is one that this venal government has worked tirelessly to construct. However it’s odd that the real villains (those who cheat their tax, for example or those companies who are addicted to state handouts) are given a free pass. C4 should not only hang its head in shame but those responsible for producing programmes like “Benefits Street” should be prosecuted for inciting hatred.

Pride's Purge

(not satire!)

Channel 4 executives should be proud of themselves. 

Their attempt to stereotype and demonise all of Britain’s 2.49 million unemployed by focussing on just 6 carefully chosen people and showing them in the worst possible light in their programme Benefits Street last night was so successful that Twitter exploded with threats of violence and even death against the participants:

violence benefits street blanked

The producers of the programme meanwhile defended it is a ‘sympathetic, humane and objective portrayal’ of those struggling to cope with austerity.

Not much sympathy, humanity or objectivity on display on Twitter however.

Isn’t there a law against this kind of incitement to violence in the UK?

If so, if any police officer would like to take this further, I’ve kept the names and IDs of the people responsible for the above (and more below) threatening tweets and I would be more than happy to help you with your…

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Telegraph Comment of the Week (#21)

For the last couple of weeks I have been without the internet, hence the lack of blogs. Admittedly the last year has been a very busy time for me and I haven’t been able to update this blog as much as I’d have liked.

Anyway, this week’s comment was found on a Toby Young blog, in which he claims ‘free market capitalism beats socialism’. To support his assertion, Tobes flourishes a graph from the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute (there is considerable overlap between AEI and The Project for the New American Century). Essentially, Tobes’s blog is nothing less than bitchy ramble and his graph proves nothing.

So let’s hear it for the free enterprise system. Next time you hear John Pilger on the Today programme lambasting the evils of capitalism, remember the above chart. It is tough-minded entrepreneurs motivated by a desire for profit that have lifted the world out of poverty, not bleeding-heart liberals.

‘Free enterprise’? Is he for real? For all his ‘libertarian’ rhetoric, Hon Tobes doesn’t much care for opposing points of view. Here he claims that the profit motive has ‘lifted the world out of poverty’ but he offers no more than a dodgy chart to support his view. He’ll have to do much better, but I know he is neither capable nor willing to do so.

Now for this week’s comment. The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has claimed that anyone can teach; it’s a simple job that requires no professional training. This commenter seems to feel that supermarket chains are better than local authorities at running schools.

northumbrianmoron

This one repeats the stock line “leftist control of education”, which is much beloved of neo-cons and the self-styled ‘libertarians’ who fill  the Telegraph’s comments threads with inane drivel about markets and crypto-racist ejaculations. But how on earth could a supermarket chain like Tesco improve education standards? It can’t. Tesco is only interested in one thing: making profits. Education is not about making profit and even public schools are run as charities.  No matter how hard one tries to impose market ideas on education, they will always fail to provide, because the profit motive and pedagogy are in conflict with one another. As for a Tesco police force, I wonder if “northumbrianmariner” has ever seen Robocop? Probably not.

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Where Does The Price Come From?

Our leaders and economic gurus need to read this.

Whistling In The Wind

Even though prices are an essential part of the economy, surprisingly little effort goes into researching them or attempting to understand how they are set. The standard economics textbook gives only the briefest mention to the factors involved in their level. The standard summary is that prices are set in response to demand and supply. However, lately I’ve been thinking that this doesn’t quite make sense. The price of ice cream is the same in winter (a time of exceptionally low demand) as in summer (a time of exceptionally high demand). Pubs and restaurants usually charge the same prices during the day and mid-week (when they’re quiet) as during the night and on weekends (when they’re packed). In fact they seem to follow a policy of rationing space rather than allowing the price mechanism to adjust and convey information.

My epiphany came to me as I was wedged at the…

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