New(ish) open thread.
If you were wondering, the painting is by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) and is called Still Life with Four Vessels. Its relevance to this blog's main subject hardly needs spelling out.
Think immigration’s a recent thing? Think again. Because, you see, you’ve got the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo Saxons and the Vikings, the Normans, the Flemish, the Irish, black Britons and Jewish people. Yup, we were multicultural long before curry and carnival. It’s in our DNA. There’s no such thing as a pure Brit, despite what some flag wavers would have you believe. The average one is just 36 per cent Anglo Saxon. Migration did step up after the Second World War, when people arrived from all over the colonies. Places like India, the Caribbean, Pakistan, Uganda and Kenya. Then we joined the EU, which meant we could easily move to Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, and that people there could come here. Some people come fleeing war or poverty. Others, because we have a better music scene. But it’s only the past 20 years that have seen more people come and go. Even so, you can’t open a paper without some people giving it large about immigration.Does the BBC really think that this video demonstrates its impartiality?
Media Guido: The probability of six guests selected at random all being remain supporters is 0.03125 - amazingly Peston has managed it.Trap door opens. Stephen Colvin rises, delivers heckle and descends again.
Rob Burley: It’s not June 2016. Ex- Remainers are members of a Brexit delivering government and a Brexit supporting Labour Party. This measure is silly.
Media Guido: Brexit is still the main subject of discussion in politics, this is a political discussion show with six guests, none of whom campaigned for Brexit. You think drawing attention to that is silly. No further questions m'lud.
Rob Burley: I think the measure is wilfully designed to distort. Parking a specific programme I have no involvement with, I suggest we stop measuring as if it’s June 23rd 2016. It’s just not.
Stephen Colvin: (to Rob Burley) You are an embarrassment. The discussion is very much alive and it is up to so called impartial broadcasters to demonstrate it.Trap door closes. Exit Media Guido. Enter BBC Waste, stage right.
BBC Waste: Brexit still prism through which everything seen & decisions taken (govt policy shaped by opinions of those for or against within cabinet). Naive to think those who publicly back don't privately what to demur or seek to modify. Silly of BBC to ignore. Measure entirely appropriate.Exit BBC Waste, stage right pursued by a 'Like' from Rob Burley. Enter Andy #FBPE, stage left.
Rob Burley: Disagree. Nuances of these issues reflected in the coverage but to base balance on position of guests pre-referendum is neither desirable or practical.
BBC Waste: Further difficulty with this position is this is the position BBC (rightly) adopts for aportioning airtime to political parties. But now not referendum views?
Rob Burley: We did in, yes, the referendum.
BBC Waste: Do love a robust courteous debate. Yes. Those attacking the BBC should also acknowledge the impossible task they have to balance. Good for Peston/ITV and others to be mindful of optics though. Looks bad. And very easy to criticise.
Andy #FBPE: Therein lies the problem with the BBC...they think it was all over in 2016 and choose to ignore both reality and the ongoing debate.Exeunt omnes. Enter Tim Montgomerie. Turns to face audience.
Rob Burley: That’s precisely the opposite of the point.
Tim Montgomerie: It’s not silly. BBC way of measuring balance classifies likes of Amber Rudd, Damian Green and Keir Starmer as pro-Brexit and that’s well short of giving the 52% the representation they deserve.Curtain falls.
New World Order on player. We talk about The Labour Party and The Royal Wedding. Had a lot of complaints about not showing sufficient respect to our natural leaders, but the Royalists have been fine.
There were, of course, various jokes in this weeks’s New World Order monologue about the situation in Gaza, and about Israel being an Apartheid state. Edited out for reasons nobody has yet explained to me, despite assurances to the contrary.
Perceptions of what happened are split and fiercely held, as reflected by weighted terms such as massacre, invasion, riot and murder. The role of BBC News is to explain to audiences with sensitivity and impartiality what is happening in this complex conflict and why, whilst hearing from a range of different voices. We are committed to continuing to report and analyse the ongoing events in an accurate, fair and balanced way.
Anthony Sumner #FBPE: Theresa May stuffing the Lords with Brexiteers gets no mention on the BBC front page this morning. Nothing. Parliamentary system: subverted. The BBC: Silent. Very Concerning: Understatement.Baz Smith #FBPE: This is not acceptable - BBC failing the people.Terry McKeown: BBC news arm now a disgrace.
They say bad luck comes in threes. Well, the Government will be hoping this is the last time it has to step in on the London to Glasgow line. Just three years after its latest privatisation, the East Coast rail line is heading back to state control.
“Will the Israeli government be held accountable for their crimes against Palestine?”
“What we saw this week was a massacre!”
“The border is illegal, first of all” began an assertive lady, “and, um, um, nobody is saying Hamas have the right to kill people. Secondly, the Palestinian people have their...
“…their poultry, their olive trees, their cattle, their children - there are fourteen-year-old boys that wet themselves at night time, in nappies because they’re frightened that the IDF are going to come in and take them in the middle of the night”.
People say that Israel has a right to defend itself it does but the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves, right? And you talk about selling arms. […] Stop the arms sales to Israel, make sure the aid is going to the children that are being shot and I’m not being funny, there are people being kicked out of their houses, they got no bread and water!! They have to defend themselves, they need bread and water and they keep saying it’s Hamas, it’s this and that. It’s all Israel, and the first thing Netanyahu tweeted as soon as Trump was in charge - ‘that is it. No two state solution’ - Israel never wanted a two-state solution they want an actual greater Israel project and they want nothing to do with Palestinians they want to clear them all and it’s people like you, that’s a disgrace to the two-state solution.
Jeremy Bowen: Politicians and diplomats abroad call for peace but real peace talks ended - failed - a long time ago.
Jonathan Conricus, IDF: We are not here looking to create casualties of Palestinians, that is not our aim. We are simply here to defend what is ours. We are defending our sovereignty, our civilians that live in close proximity, against an onslaught, led by a terrorist organisation that is using civilians in order to penetrate into Israel.
Dr Ayman Sahbani, Director of Emergency Services, al-Shifa Hospital: As a human being, I speak, it is horrible to think about. If you saw it yesterday, that situation, it is horrible. Crying, bloody, pain, painful... What's happening?
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN: I ask my colleagues here on the Security Council, who among us would accept this kind of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.
Karen Pierce, UK ambassador to the UN: We see negotiations towards the two state solution is the best way to end the occupation and to meet the national aspirations of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.
PM Netanyahu: President Trump, by recognising history, you have made history.
Mustafa Barghouti: Nothing will break us. Not Netanyahu, not Israel, not the United States.
Ivanka Trump: We welcome you officially, and for the first time, to the embassy of the United States, here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.
President Trump: Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet for many years we have failed to acknowledge the obvious, the plain reality that Israel's capital is Jerusalem.
PM Netanyahu: What a glorious day! Remember this moment! This is history. President Trump, by recognising history, you have made history.
Mustafa Barghouti: We're marching in the best traditions of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, peacefully, nonviolently, insisting on our right for Jerusalem as our capital and for our right of return. Nothing will break us, not Netanyahu, not Israel, not the United States.
Daniel Luria (Jewish settlement activist): Nobody is saying that Arabs can't live here, of course they can live here, but sovereignty is a different story...)Jeremy Bowen (to Mr Luria, interrupting): You can't say...You find it hard to say the word 'Palestinians', don't you?Daniel Luria: There are Arabs living in this area...Jeremy Bowen (to Mr Luria, interrupting): Why don't you call them 'Palestinians'?Daniel Luria: There's no reason to.Jeremy Bowen: Why?Daniel Luria: Because there is no such thing as 'the Palestinian people'. There never has been.
According to Broadbent, the UK hasn’t seen such a slump since the late Victorian era. In the 1880s, economic historians have noted that there was what is termed a “climacteric” effect when “productivity growth suddenly slowed pretty much to a halt”.
It was similarly severe to the sluggish improvements seen in the last decade, Broadbent believes.
This term, used by economic historians, is borrowed from biology, he says. It essentially means “menopausal, but can apply to both genders”. Put simply, “you’ve passed your productive peak”.
An in-depth explanation of the term had the central bank’s policymakers squirming, Broadbent says.
“I once got an economist into the MPC to explain the origins of the word ‘climacteric’. As soon as he started talking to all these middle aged men – about [how] it means you’re past your peak and you’re no longer so potent – they all said: ‘We understand’.”
Insane that this confected “row” is BBC’s second headline, with KamalAhmed editorialising that there are now “questions” about Ben Broadbent being bank governor. Makes me despair for this country.
Here are some stories that could instead have graced slot 2 in the headlines:
1. North Korea says it won’t denuclearise and Kim might not attend Trump meeting2. Italy seemingly on cusp of forming revolutionary new government3. Trump threatens EU w tariffs4. Turkey struggling to stabilise its currency5. May cladding pledge
Mark Watson: It was a really stupid thing to say IMO, raises questions about his rationality and judgement. There are much better phrases that he could have used. Just my opinion of course!Juliet Samuel: Everyone ought to read the interview. He didn’t say it was menopausal. He said it was “climacteric”, realised that was jargon and then said, effectively, “climacteric means menopause but for both sexes”. I just can’t understand how that’s offensive or inappropriate in any way.Kamal Ahmed: Bank and Ben Broadbent don't appear to agree with you. Say language was "poor" and caused offence. I did say on #WATO is was important to keep it in perspective, but clear communication is an important part of the job. Even more important if you ever want to be Governor.Juliet Samuel: Did you read original interview & context? How can it possibly be top news that he tried to explain jargon “climacteric”? Yes Bank apologised to neutralise it precisely because of coverage like this, which legitimises online mobs who would tear Broadbent’s head off for no reason.
Two thoughts on this (1) there’s now an epidemic of BBC journalists giving their opinions rather than simply reporting and (2) Juliet’s thread of alternative news headlines suggests she gets what public service broadcasting could and should still be.
The World at One even had Jane Garvey, one of the BBC’s own journalists, as a pundit to judge the “menopausal” row.
You've got to modernise how you talk about things and using 'menopausal' in a pejorative sense like this - i.e. not a very good thing - something that half the population go through perfectly naturally - shows that the Bank has a bigger issue here....
"I’m writing because I am one of the few who was there – in uniform, in the reserves, but I was there. Yes, right there on the fence where the demonstrations are happening. It was last Friday – but I saw it with my own eyes; I was on our side but I could see and hear and understand everything. I want to testify from my firsthand knowledge, not a theoretical point of view. Because I was there.
I want to testify that what I saw and heard was a tremendous, supreme effort from our side, to prevent in every possible way Palestinian deaths and injuries.
Of course, the primary mission was to prevent hundreds of thousands of Gazans from infiltrating into our territory. That kind of invasion would be perilous, mortally dangerous to the nearby communities, would permit terrorists disguised as civilians to enter our kibbutzim and moshavim, and would leave us with no choice but to target every single infiltrator.
That’s why our soldiers were directed to prevent infiltration – in a variety of ways, only using live ammunition as a last resort. The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence.
In addition, over the last few weeks there have been serious efforts to save the lives of children and civilians who have been pushed to the front lines by the Hamas – who are trying to hide behind them in order to infiltrate and attack Israel.
When there is no alternative and live ammunition must be used to stop those who storm the fence – the soldiers make heroic and sometimes dangerous efforts not to kill and only to injure those on the other side.
The IDF is stationing senior commanders at every confrontation point to ensure that every shot is approved and backed up by a responsible figure with proper authority. Every staging area has an especially large number of troops in order to make sure that soldiers are not put into life-threatening situations where they will have no choice but to fire indiscriminately.
A situation where thousands of people rush you is frightening, even terrifying. It is extremely difficult to show restraint, and it requires calm, mature professionalism.
55 dead is an enormous number. But I can testify from my first-hand experience, that every bullet and every hit is carefully reported, documented and investigated, in Excel spreadsheets. Literally. I was there and I saw it with my own eyes.
This isn’t the time or place to discuss the situation in general and the desperate plight of the residents of Gaza. I’m not interested in starting a political discussion here, although I do have a clear position.
What I’m trying to do is present, for everyone who really wants to listen, the extent of the IDF’s enormous effort to protect Israel’s borders while minimizing injuries and loss of life on the other side.
And despite all this – the situation on the border with Gaza is deteriorating. I hope that we won’t be called up again soon for reserve duty to protect our country. But if we are, we will go with the knowledge that we are serving a just and morally correct cause. We do not rejoice when we must go to war, but we also don’t go like sheep to the slaughter. Not anymore.So there you are. Why do it? you ask. Now you know at least part of the answer.
Salah al-Bardawil, one of the Islamist group’s leaders, told Palestinian Radio on Wednesday: “In the last round of confrontations 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas.”
In a further statement, the Islamic Jihad terror group said three of its members were also killed in the protests.