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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:34 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.
This is my last Media Brief till the New Year - have a great Christmas!

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c2abe526-0e04-11e0-86e9-00144feabdc0.html">Financial Times says [registration required] six people are on the shortlist to be the next chairman of the BBC Trust, according to two insiders who have seen the document. Ben Fenton writes: "Lord Patten, former Conservative party chairman and governor of Hong Kong, is clear favourite. But Sir Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics, might be preferred if the BBC were to be subject to more stringent reforms, the pair said."
It says the other names are Richard Lambert, form¬er Financial Times editor, now director-general of the CBI; Dame Patricia Hodgson, former BBC policy director, now principal of Newnham College, Cambridge; Anthony Fry, an investment banker; and Richard Hooper, former deputy chairman of Ofcom. Interviews will take place on 28 and 31 January.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2010/12/24/fears-of-tory-take-over-at-the-bbc-as-former-party-chairman-lord-patten-is-lined-up-for-top-job-115875-22804042/">Mirror says "Fears are growing of a Tory takeover at the BBC after party grandee Chris Patten was lined up for the Corporation's top job. The Conservative peer... is favourite among the six contenders to be chairman of the BBC Trust."

%3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9316000/9316977.stm">The Pope has addressed the people of the UK on Radio 4's Thought for the Day, the first time the pontiff has broadcast to the people of one country. In his Christmas message, he says God is faithful to his promises but often surprises us by how he fulfils them.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/23/bbc-nativity-drama-anti-jewish">Guardian says the BBC has rejected accusations that its BBC1 drama The Nativity contained an "anti-Jewish" libel, after a leading rabbi complained about the portrayal of one its characters. The paper says the drama won praise from the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, who said while there was "some clear dramatic licence" there remained "an overall fidelity, not only to the Gospel accounts but also to traditional imagery". The Evangelical Alliance called it an "utterly moving piece of television".

The Queen has made sport the central focus of her Christmas broadcast this year, Buckingham Palace has revealed. She emphasises how it can be used to build communities and create harmony, and highlights the important role that volunteers play %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12071953">reports the BBC.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2010/12/24/frankie-boyle-racism-storm-c4-in-crisis-as-major-backers-pull-adverts-115875-22804036/">Mirror says "the Frankie Boyle racism storm plunged Channel 4 into crisis last night after major backers began pulling their adverts". L'Oreal said: "This is not language we condone and we are pulling the online advert." Nestle, which advertises its Nespresso coffee machine online, said it would not renew its contract with Channel 4. Fosters, which sponsors all comedy on the channel, refused to say whether it would renew the deal.

The BBC iPlayer is celebrating its third birthday with a record number of requests - 141 million during November and 1.3 billion across the year. %3Ca%20href="https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2010/12/23/bbc-iplayer-completes-record-year/">Broadband TV News reports Doctor Who was the most watched single programme with 2.2 million requests for The Eleventh Hour.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12072868">BBC's Newspaper review says the newspaper headlines on Christmas Eve make depressing reading for rail travellers. "Festive getaway derailed by lack of trains," according to the Daily Telegraph. The Daily Mail says: "Return ticket to chaos" because passengers returning to London on Boxing Day will be hit by strikes on the Underground.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c2abe526-0e04-11e0-86e9-00144feabdc0.html">Financial Times | Patten tops list to chair BBC Trust
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2010/12/24/fears-of-tory-take-over-at-the-bbc-as-former-party-chairman-lord-patten-is-lined-up-for-top-job-115875-22804042/">Mirror | Fears of Tory take-over at the BBC as former party chairman Lord Patten is lined up for top job
• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9316000/9316977.stm">BBC | The Pope's Thought For The Day
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12072115">BBC | God often surprises us, says Pope in BBC broadcast
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/23/bbc-nativity-drama-anti-jewish">Guardian | BBC nativity drama was not 'anti-Jewish'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12071953">BBC | Queen focuses on sport in speech
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2010/12/24/frankie-boyle-racism-storm-c4-in-crisis-as-major-backers-pull-adverts-115875-22804036/">Mirror | Frankie Boyle racism storm: C4 in crisis as major backers pull adverts
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2010/12/23/bbc-iplayer-completes-record-year/">Julian Clover | Broadband TV News | BBC iPlayer completes record year
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12072868">BBC | Newspaper review


• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/media_brief_133.html">Thursday's Media Brief

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_what_next_for_the_c.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: What next for the coalition?

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 10:10 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010

Nick Clegg David Cameron

 

After a week in which Lib Dem ministers' private thoughts were made public, commentators assess where the coalition government goes next.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/philipcollins/article2853952.ece">Philip Collins argues in the Times [subscription required] that the coalition will survive into the new year:

"Until he [Vince Cable] is reshuffled, he will be like one of the old Soviet leaders, dead long ago but propped up and wheeled out in public to show he's still there. Meanwhile, the coalition is still there...
 
"We haven't learnt much this week that we didn't already know. And, though this is a big moment for Dr Cable, it's not that big a deal for the coalition.
 
"The only thing getting buried this week is the distinction between the public and the private. Private talk is one thing and public deeds are another."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/23/cable-cameron-murdoch-bskyb-takeover">Martin Kettle suggests in the Guardian that this week's events may help the Liberal Democrats:

"Over time, this week may actually help to bolster the Lib Dem case that they are securing progressive dividends from an inescapably difficult coalition. It is also a reminder to sensible Tories that there are limits beyond which the Lib Dems cannot be pushed without threatening the government. The Telegraph may want this to happen. Others, right and left, most certainly do not.
 
"These are useful opportunities for the beleaguered Clegg. But they are even more useful for Cameron and Osborne, as well as to the voters. Maybe the Telegraph erred not only by using unacceptable and unprofessional deception. It may also have blundered by assuming that these reminders of the party's distinctive identity would inevitably damage the Lib Dems. They may have the reverse effect."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/12/24/will-cable-put-his-foot-in-it-again-or-can-the-strictly-showman-stay-in-step-91466-27879626/">The Western Mail's political correspondent Tomos Livingstone disagrees, saying the Lib Dems' weaknesses have been highlighted:

"What the treatment of Mr Cable does expose is how little room for manoeuvre the Lib Dems have. One consideration in keeping him in position was surely the lack of credible candidates to replace him.
 
"Take away Mr Cable (even, arguably, if he is replaced with Mr Laws) and the coalition really is the Dave and Nick show - not a very palatable option for the wider Liberal Democrat party. The coalition isn't about to collapse, but the wire-tap affair has underlined what most already knew - surviving until 2015 is going to be difficult, particularly if there are more Lib Dem gaffes between now and then."

%3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100069590/david-cameron%E2%80%99s-masterly-inaction-is-putting-us-back-on-course/">Peter Oborne says in the Telegraph that he is impressed with David Cameron's inaction:

"Just imagine what would have happened had the Cable affair broken during the Blair years. There would have been all the shouting and panic which Alastair Campbell's diaries describe so graphically. But last week, David Cameron did not even break sweat. He refused to be intimidated by looming news deadlines. He made a calm decision, and stuck to it. The 19th-century journalist Walter Bagehot wrote that it was essential that a prime minister should not get too concerned with day-to-day affairs because he needed what Bagehot termed 'mind in reserve' for a real crisis. Cameron appears to understand this profoundly."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeffrandall/8223095/Many-black-swans-but-Vince-Cable-is-the-turkey.html">In the Telegraph Jeff Randall has a tongue in cheek suggestion for the coalition:

"In a season of goodwill, perhaps we British, instead of sending our Irish neighbours emergency loans, should offer the services of Cable. With his capacity for double-dealing, upsetting colleagues and brazen blarney, he'd fit in well among the less scrupulous Dail elements. And he is, after all, a business expert, isn't he?"

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/philipcollins/article2853952.ece">Philip Collins | Times | Vince's private words are not his public deeds
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/23/cable-cameron-murdoch-bskyb-takeover">Martin Kettle | Guardian | Vince Cable's debacle is a clause IV opportunity for David Cameron
• %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100069590/david-cameron%E2%80%99s-masterly-inaction-is-putting-us-back-on-course/">Peter Oborne | Telegraph | Cameron's masterly inaction is putting us back on course
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeffrandall/8223095/Many-black-swans-but-Vince-Cable-is-the-turkey.html">Jeff Randall | Telegraph | Many black swans, but Vince Cable is the turkey
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/12/24/will-cable-put-his-foot-in-it-again-or-can-the-strictly-showman-stay-in-step-91466-27879626/">Tomos Livingstone | Western Mail | Will Cable put his foot in it again or can the Strictly showman stay in step?

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 12:57 UK time, Thursday, 23 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Top of the Daily Mail's most read list is news of %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340586/Boyfriend-missing-architect-Jo-Yeates-sobs-I-want-Christmas.html">missing architect Jo Yeates. The article says her boyfriend Greg Reardon fought back tears yesterday as he said: "I desperately want her back - I thought we would be together for ever".

Proving popular on the Guardian website is an article claiming the CIA taskforce to assess the impact of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables has been given a naughty name. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/22/cia-wikileaks-taskforce-wtf">WikiLeaks Task Force is WTF for short.

Telegraph readers like the digest of %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/ufo/8218621/Alien-with-size-440-shoe-among-New-Zealand-UFO-sightings.html">New Zealand's alien sightings. The New Zealand Defence Force has made public previously secret files documenting extraterrestrial sightings over the last 60 years. Among these is a giant alien with size 440 shoes.

Sun readers prefer to catch up on Happy Mondays star %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3315446/Bez-in-bare-knuckle-brawl.html">Bez's bare-knuckle brawl. The Paper reports that the dancer - real name Mark Berry - took part in the organised bout with his love rival, Space Monkeys bassist Dom Morrison and the fight was only stopped when a paid referee stepped in after 15 minutes.

At the top of Forbes magazine's most popular list is their ranking of the %3Ca%20href="https://www.forbes.com/2010/12/20/highest-grossing-actors-2010-business-entertainment.html?boxes=Homepagemostpopular">Hollywood actors whose films made the most money in 2010. Leonardo DiCaprio comes out on top with his films Shutter Island and Inception making $1.1 billion at the global box office.

Vanity Fair readers find out about %3Ca%20href="https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/10/sean-parker-201010">Facebook's co-founder Sean Parker. The profile shows how his journey to billionaire all started with a visit from FBI agents toting papers and a desktop computer out of Sean's room in his teenage hacker days.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/media_brief_133.html" rel="bookmark">Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:33 UK time, Thursday, 23 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/22/gus-o-donnell-bskyb">Guardian reports Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, said Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was able to rule fairly on News Corporation's proposed takeover of BSkyB, following a complaint made by the Labour party. Britain's most senior civil servant said he had taken "advice from lawyers" over Mr Hunt's suitability - and had gone through the minister's previous remarks about the News Corp bid.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340994/Culture-Secretary-Jeremy-Hunt-allowed-rule-Murdochs-Sky-bid-despite-claims-bias-Labour.html">Daily Mail says that while in opposition Mr Hunt has made a series of BSkyB friendly statements and has also had meetings with senior executives from the media giant.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12062176">In my analysis of the media ownership row I point out that once again the future of a Murdoch takeover is in the hands of a Government minister.

It's nearly thirty years since Rupert Murdoch bought The Times. Through freedom of information requests, the BBC has gained an insight into how the deal was done. %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00wsqxt/The_Media_Show_22_12_2010/">On Radio 4's The Media Show, Graham Stewart, author of a history of The Times, and Ben Fenton, Media Correspondent for the Financial Times, discuss the deal and the parallels with Murdoch's current bid for BSkyB.

The Pope is to deliver Radio 4's Thought for the Day message during the Today programme on Christmas Eve. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8204428/Pope-to-deliver-Thought-for-the-Day-on-Christmas-Eve.html">Telegraph says it will be the first time that Pope Benedict XVI has presented material specifically written for a radio or TV audience, and that a serving Pontiff has delivered Thought for the Day.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.brandrepublic.com/news/1047534/the-sun-publish-first-christmas-day-edition-41-years/">Brand Republic reports that the Sun is set to publish a Christmas Day edition this year for the first time in its 41-year history. The exclusive iPad edition will cover news, sport and entertainment, and carry a message from John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

On its front page, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/tv/2010/12/23/channel-4-urged-to-sack-comedian-frankie-boyle-in-race-jibe-row-115875-22801728/">Mirror says TV chiefs have been urged to axe comedian Frankie Boyle for using racist language on his Channel 4 show. The channel's head of comedy refuted any suggestion they were condoning racist language: "This cutting edge comedy is clearly intended to ridicule and satirise the use of these words - Frankie Boyle was not endorsing them."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12066005">BBC's newspaper review says the fall-out from Vince Cable's comments to undercover reporters that he had declared war on Rupert Murdoch continues to interest the papers.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/22/gus-o-donnell-bskyb">Guardian | Sir Gus O'Donnell insists Jeremy Hunt is fit to decide on BSkyB takeover
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340994/Culture-Secretary-Jeremy-Hunt-allowed-rule-Murdochs-Sky-bid-despite-claims-bias-Labour.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail | Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt allowed to rule on Murdoch's Sky bid despite claims of bias by Labour
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12062176">BBC | Murdoch and media ownership in UK
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00wsqxt/The_Media_Show_22_12_2010/">BBC | Media Show
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8204428/Pope-to-deliver-Thought-for-the-Day-on-Christmas-Eve.html">Telegraph | Pope to deliver Thought for the Day on Christmas Eve
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.brandrepublic.com/news/1047534/the-sun-publish-first-christmas-day-edition-41-years">Brand Republic | Sun to publish first Christmas Day edition in 41 years
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/tv/2010/12/23/channel-4-urged-to-sack-comedian-frankie-boyle-in-race-jibe-row-115875-22801728/">Mirror | Channel 4 urged to sack comedian Frankie Boyle in race jibe row
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12066005">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/media_brief_132.html">Wednesday's Media Brief

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_what_next_for_the_l.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: What next for the Lib Dems?

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:47 UK time, Thursday, 23 December 2010

Vince Cable

 

Commentators predict and suggest what should be next for the Liberal Democrats.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/22/vince-cable-must-fight-or-quit">John Kampfner argues in the Guardian that the Lib Dems should fight their corner - or walk away:

"Vince Cable was crass and indiscreet. He is now a diminished figure. Yet he runs a government department which, even without competition policy, will determine crucial areas, not least the government's approach to the City and corporate governance. He must fight his corner or quit. If Lib Dem ministers are forced to suppress their very real differences with the Conservatives just to hang on in there, they, their party and the causes they espouse will all be doomed."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/danielfinkelstein/article2852062.ece">Daniel Finkelstein suggests in the Times [subscription required] that the only future for the Lib Dems is as part of government:

"So the Lib Dems will not be able to run at the next election as the holier-than-thou party any more than they can run as an alternative to Labour on the Left. Which leaves them only one option. They must run as a party of government. They must take advantage of the fact that voting Lib Dem is no longer a wasted vote.
 
"Running as a party of government means that Lib Dems have to make the coalition a success. Whether the Government implements a given proportion of the pledges outlined in the last Lib Dem manifesto is of secondary importance. That is what Nick Clegg sees very clearly and what Vince Cable sees one minute (over tuition fees) and cannot see the next (as his taped remarks demonstrate)."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-a-lesson-in-the-realities-of-coalition-politics-2167307.html">Independent's editorial says the Lib Dem complaints aren't a big deal:

"The doubts and fears of some Liberal Democrat ministers are out in the open now, and what is most remarkable is how unremarkable they are. The Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, says the Chancellor's decision to eradicate child benefit 'came out of nowhere'. That is simply stating the reality. The Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, claims that he wrote privately to the Chancellor to complain about the same policy because 'the details aren't right'. Indeed they are not, as was widely accepted when they were announced. Ed Davey, the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, is concerned about the impact of housing benefit cuts, as well he might be. So are some Tory MPs.
 
"The fact that these comments have been made public is embarrassing. But they are relatively small disagreements of the sort to be expected in a Coalition."

Similarly and %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-cables-rise-was-exaggerated-so-too-has-been-his-demise-2167313.html">also in the Independent, Steve Richards argues Vince Cable's political demise has been exaggerated and in practical terms recent events won't make that much of a difference:

"Cable is still in the Cabinet. The Conservative wing would have made sure Murdoch got what he wanted one way or another, even if the events of the past few days had not taken place. The weird sense of excitement around the unassuming personality of a not especially agile politician continues.
 
"Cable's next appearance as Business Secretary will generate much breathless excitement in advance. And yet Cable is not as epic as he seems. Or rather we choose to see in him more than is really there. His next public appearance will be on Strictly Come Dancing on Christmas Day. That at least is not an illusion. He can dance."

%3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100069425/david-cameron-didn%E2%80%99t-want-an-easy-life-%E2%80%93-and-he%E2%80%99s-not-getting-one/">Benedict Brogan predicts in the Telegraph that the year ahead promises to be far more difficult for the coalition than the events of this week:

"In the months ahead, however, it is the consequences of his [David Cameron's] and his Government's actions that will test him, starting with the first week of January, when VAT goes up with no certainty that the economy can withstand the shock. Then, in close succession, come reforming bankers' bonuses, tricky votes on welfare reform measures that will give Labour a field day, the need to make a decision on control orders, Mr Osborne's 'growth and enterprise' Budget on March 23, the next round of tax rises that follow scarcely a fortnight later, the review of parliamentary expenses, the impact of spending cuts accelerating through the public sector, further clashes with the education establishment, and the May referendum on the new voting system."

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/22/vince-cable-must-fight-or-quit">John Kampfner | Guardian | Vince Cable and co have to fight their corner - or walk away
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/danielfinkelstein/article2852062.ece">Daniel Finkelstein | Times | Tarnished by real politics, Saint Vince is over
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-a-lesson-in-the-realities-of-coalition-politics-2167307.html">Independent | A lesson in the realities of coalition politics
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-cables-rise-was-exaggerated-so-too-has-been-his-demise-2167313.html">Steve Richards | Independent | Cable's rise was exaggerated. So too has been his demise
• %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100069425/david-cameron-didn%E2%80%99t-want-an-easy-life-%E2%80%93-and-he%E2%80%99s-not-getting-one/">Benedict Brogan | Telegraph | David Cameron didn't want an easy life - and he's not getting one

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:00 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Business Secretary Vince Cable will stay in cabinet despite "declaring war" on Rupert Murdoch, says Downing Street. But he will be stripped of his powers to rule on Mr Murdoch's bid to take control of BSkyB, which will be handed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12053656">In my analysis on the BBC News website, I suggest his remarks shed new light on the media and political campaign to block the takeover.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/21/the-daily-telegraph-scoop-whistleblower?INTCMP=SRCH">Dan Sabbagh in the Guardian describes how the BBC broke the story after the Daily Telegraph didn't print the revelations yesterday. "So incensed was a whistleblower at the Telegraph, that he or she contacted Robert Peston, business editor for BBC News. It was Peston - a former business editor at the Sunday Telegraph - who broke the story."

Has the Daily Telegraph acted ethically in its use of undercover reporters to expose the private views of Vince Cable and other Liberal Democrat ministers? On %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9311000/9311538.stm">Radio 4's Today, newspaper columnists Peter Preston and Stephen Glover discuss journalistic morality:

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3313535/Vince-Cables-Strictly-Come-Duncing.html">The Sun says Vince Cable's "wild remarks" about Rupert Murdoch were made "in a sad bid to impress two young women" and prints pictures of the two women reporters. It says 70 civil servants at the Department for Business will move to the Department of Culture Media & Sport.

Earlier, the European Commission cleared the News Corporation takeover of BSkyB on competition grounds, %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/21/news-corp-bskyb-ec">reports the Guardian.

What are the views of the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Rupert Murdoch? %3Ca%20href="https://www.jeremyhunt.org/newsshow.aspx?ref=452">On his website, he reproduces an interview with Broadcast magazine, in which he says "What we should recognise is that he has probably done more to create variety and choice in British TV than any other single person because of his huge investment in setting up Sky TV."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12056932">The BBC newspaper review says Vince Cable's controversial remarks about Rupert Murdoch and the subsequent loss of some of his powers feature on most newspaper front pages. The Independent headline reads: "The man who declared war on Murdoch, and lost".

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12053656"> BBC | Vince Cable to stay on as Business Secretary
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/21/the-daily-telegraph-scoop-whistleblower?INTCMP=SRCH">Dan Sabbagh | The Guardian | The Daily Telegraph: the scoop, a whistleblower, and the denials
• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9311000/9311538.stm">Peter Preston and Stephen Glover | BBC Today | Telegraph scoop 'borderline' journalism
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3313535/Vince-Cables-Strictly-Come-Duncing.html">Tom Newton Dunn | The Sun | Cable: Strictly Come Duncing
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/21/news-corp-bskyb-ec">James Robinson | The Guardian | EC clears News Corp's BSkyB takeover
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.jeremyhunt.org/newsshow.aspx?ref=452"> Jeremy Hunt | Broadcast magazine interview with Jeremy Hunt
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12056932"> BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/media_brief_131.html">Tuesday's Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 16:26 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Guardian readers are warned that US and European cities may not be coming out of the recession any time soon. Meredith Whitney says that more than 100 %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/20/debt-crisis-threatens-us-cities">American cities could go bust next year as the debt crisis that has taken down banks and countries threatens next to spark a municipal meltdown.

Telegraph readers are finding out about the %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8215684/Harry-Potter-star-beaten-after-meeting-non-Muslim-man.html">Harry Potter actress who was beaten after dating a non-Muslim. The paper reports Afshan Azad's brother and father were both charged with making threats to kill.

Al Jazeera readers are looking at the %3Ca%20href="https://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2010/12/2010122182546344551.html">extent of rape within the ranks of the US military. The news service says the number of reports of sexual assault and harassment in military academies has risen 64% since last year.

Sun readers prefer to catch up on the %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3311084/Matt-Cardle-snogs-pop-babe.html">love life of X Factor Winner Matt Cardle. According to the paper he had been celebrating the number one position of his single seen with ex S-Club 7 Junior member Stacey McClean.

Proving popular with New Scientist readers is news of a new %3Ca%20href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827915.000-is-night-falling-on-classic-solar-panels.html">solar panel that will work at night. The new devices will harvest infrared energy which is re-emitted by the Earth's surface after the sun has gone down.

The Independent readers are reliving this morning's %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/lunar-eclipse-delight-for-sky-watchers-around-the-world-2165198.html">lunar eclipse. The photographs show the Moon turning flame red, as it enters the dark inner part of the Earth's shadow, before becoming totally cast in darkness by it.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_trade_unions_and_th.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: Trade unions and the government

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 10:45 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Leo McCluskey

 

Commentators review David Cameron's meeting with trade union leaders yesterday.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1340385/Time-reckless-join-real-world.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail editorial argues that Len McCluskey's demand for widespread strikes shows that the union movement is in denial:

"Predictably, his demand for widespread strikes is born out of the union movement being in a state of wilful denial about the need to shrink the public sector, so the nation can balance the books.
 
"Indeed Mr McCluskey, quite ludicrously, says there is 'no case for cuts at all' - despite Britain being £1trillion in debt, and facing huge interest payments."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8215200/Strike-back-at-the-unions.html">Telegraph editorial suggests that Unite general secretary Len McCluskey's call to "prepare for battle" could be followed up:

"The outburst had nothing to do with the interests of his membership; it was a purely political attempt to whip up a wave of industrial action to undermine an elected government. If Mr McCluskey confined himself to lurid rhetoric, there would not be much to worry about. But he doesn't. He was the driving force behind the BA cabin crew strikes that caused such disruption to travellers this year."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/218540/-A-time-for-co-operation-">Express editorial urges co-operation:

"The meeting between David Cameron and trade union chiefs at Downing street yesterday was historic and immensely important - there has been no such meeting involving a Conservative prime minister for more than quarter of a century and the country's way forward through the hard times depends on sensible co-operation."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/thunderer/article2850881.ece">Paul Richards says in the Times [subscription required] that Len McCluskey could ruin Labour's chance in the next election:

"It is right for trade unionists to demonstrate against government cuts. I'll be on the TUC demonstration next March. But talk of a first general strike in Britain since 1926 or incitement to break the law is dangerous and wrong. No wonder Ed Miliband was so swift to condemn Mr McCluskey's call to arms. The new Labour leader wants a fair fight at the next general election, not a foregone conclusion."

%3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100069035/ed-miliband-cant-disown-the-unions-he-relies-on-them/">Benedict Brogan says in the Telegraph that Ed Miliband can't disown the unions because he relies on them:

"He cannot credibly say that he is not implicated in the campaign of national unrest being driven by the unions, students and others who want to challenge Coalition policies with direct action. Mr Miliband looks and sounds naive, but he learned plenty in his long years with Gordon Brown about how politics works. These exchanges between him and the unions are largely choreographed. He is trying to ride the tiger. Tricky."

Ahead of the meeting the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/20/trade-unions-leading-nowhere">Guardian editorial accused Len McCluskey of having "stopped thinking in 1979" after %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/19/unions-students-strike-fight-cuts">he wrote a piece in the Guardian calling for a battle against cuts.

%3Ca%20href="https://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/12/20/does-julian-glover-at-the-guardian-not-read-his-own-paper/">Sunny Hundal in the blog Liberal Conspiracy says that this Len McCluskey's message has been misinterpreted:

"Len McCluskey's point is that unions need to find a way to plug themselves into new movements, including the students. These also include UKuncut, as Brendan Barber has said. They recognise that action against this government will take different forms and they want to help and get involved in their own ways. That doesn't mean national strikes tomorrow, but perhaps support in different, strategic ways."

Trade unionist %3Ca%20href="https://momentsofc.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/ed-miliband-not-len-mccluskey-is-wrong-and-unhelpful/">Darrell Goodliffe argues in his blog Moments of Clarity that Ed Miliband's critisism of Len McCluskey as ‘wrong and unhelpful’ could be turned back on him:

"Ed Miliband’s Labour is part of the ideological agenda it is attacking. It has brought the ‘debt crisis’ moral panic; hook, line and sinker. I welcome McCluskey’s insistence that he will not tolerate Labour councils that embark on union-bashing under the cover of a fig-leaf ‘responsibility’. Such councils are derelict and failing in their democratic duties to the people they represent. Part of the programme McCluskey is calling for has to be a social budget for Labour councils."

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8215200/Strike-back-at-the-unions.html">Telegraph | Strike back at the unions
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/218540/-A-time-for-co-operation-">Express | A time for co-operation
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1340385/Time-reckless-join-real-world.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail | Time for the reckless to join the real world
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/thunderer/article2850881.ece">Paul Richards | Times | Students need an alliance with parents, not the unions
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/20/trade-unions-leading-nowhere">Guardian | Trade unions: Leading nowhere
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/19/unions-students-strike-fight-cuts">Len McCluskey | Guardian | Unions, get set for battle
• %3Ca%20href="https://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/12/20/does-julian-glover-at-the-guardian-not-read-his-own-paper/">Sunny Hundal | Liberal Conspiracy | Guardian today misrepresents unions and the fight against cuts
• %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100069035/ed-miliband-cant-disown-the-unions-he-relies-on-them/">Benedict Brogan | Telegraph | Ed Miliband can't disown the unions - he relies on them

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:30 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Product placement will be allowed in the UK for the first time at the end of February, Ofcom confirmed yesterday. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/broadcasters-lick-lips-as-product-placement-lands-2165656.html">Independent reports that in sharp contrast to the US, there will be heavy restrictions on what can be shown, including a ban on fast food.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/20/ofcom-product-placement-uk-tv">Guardian explains broadcasters will have to alert viewers when programmes containing product placement are aired by using an on-screen logo, to be unveiled by Ofcom in the new year.

The Lord Chief Justice has given the public the right to report from inside courtrooms using Twitter, texts and email. However, he also warned that there were dangers in allowing those in court to issue live reports, including the possibility of witnesses in criminal cases being influenced outside court. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/landmark-ruling-allows-tweeting-from-court-ndash-for-now-2165494.html">Independent reports that the new guidance is only temporary and will be reviewed.

Government plans to block pornography "at source" are unlikely to prove effective, say ISPs. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12041063">BBC reports the proposal to cut off access to pornographic material was floated by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey in an interview with the Sunday Times.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12047545">BBC's newspaper review says the misery caused by the winter weather continues to dominate the papers. The Independent's Simon Calder is unimpressed.
"National embarrassment deepened to abject humiliation" for the UK, he writes, while places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi - which would like to take over as global travel hubs - are delighted.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/broadcasters-lick-lips-as-product-placement-lands-2165656.html">Independent | Broadcasters lick lips as product placement lands
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/20/ofcom-product-placement-uk-tv">Guardian | Ofcom confirms product placement on UK TV
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/landmark-ruling-allows-tweeting-from-court-ndash-for-now-2165494.html">Independent | Landmark ruling allows tweeting from court - for now
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12041063">BBC | Internet porn block 'not possible' say ISPs
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12047545">BBC | Newspaper Review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_130.html">Monday's Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 14:59 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.
Snow chaos dominates news sites' most read lists. The Times concentrates on %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/weather/article2849898.ece">stranded travellers and the Telegraph looks at %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/8213613/UK-snow-chaos-hundreds-more-flights-cancelled-as-BAA-criticism-intensifies.html">criticism of BAA's preparation.

Readers of the Independent are looking back at an article from March 2000 which %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html">wrongly predicts the end British snow. The article quotes Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia, as saying that within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

Proving popular with Guardian readers are %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/20/charlie-brooker-how-cut-tuition-fees">Charlie Brooker's ideas on how to cut tuition fees. Among his suggestions include giving young people the skills he says society will be crying out for in the years to come such as water-cannon operator, wasteland scavenger, penguin coffin logger, Thunderdome umpire, dissident strangler, henchperson and pie ingredient.

Daily Mail readers are catching up with news that %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340117/Police-arrest-12-people-plotting-terror-attack.html">12 men were arrested early this morning in what police are calling a major national counter-terrorism operation.
The men - five from Cardiff, four from Stoke-on-Trent and three from London - were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK.

Sun readers prefer to read about %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3308862/Liz-Hurley-begs-her-hubby-to-take-her-back.html">Liz Hurley reportedly "begging" her husband Arun Nayer to take her back after her "disastrous" fling with cricketer Shane Warne. The paper says she dumped the "loverat" after finding he had sent a woman more than 100 flirty texts at the same time he was romancing her.

Los Angeles Times readers are finding out that %3Ca%20href="https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-yearend-sharkey-essay-20101219,0,4197887.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29">for actors 2010 has been the year of suffering for your art. Natalie Portman spent a year studying ballet before her role in Black Swan and Mark Walberg built a boxing ring in his home four years before his role The Fighter.

Wall Street Journal readers are warned that their investigation shows %3Ca%20href="https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576020083703574602.html?mod=WSJ_hp_us_mostpop_read">iPhone and Android phone apps are passing on information without users' consent. In some cases this goes as far as revealing to advertising companies the phone user's location as well as age and gender.

Top of Time magazine's most read list is %3Ca%20href="https://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2035586,00.html">China's rise to the top of the international education league tables. The Programme for International Student Assessment found that paying teachers well is a more effective tool for improving school performance than small class sizes.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 11:05 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Sir David Attenborough and Mark Thompson have both said that the strict rules over the impartiality of TV news could be relaxed now there are so many channels. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8212616/Television-news-should-no-longer-be-impartial-Sir-David-Attenborough-says.html">Telegraph reports that on the Andrew Marr Show, Sir David said "I think that the multiplicity of channels makes a quite totally fundamental difference to the sort of television I went into, which was a monopoly".

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/17/mark-thompson-bbc-fox-news">Guardian reports Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, told a Whitehall seminar that UK broadcasters should be free to launch an equivalent to Fox News, provided the BBC and other major news broadcasters maintained their impartiality. He said existing rules to guarantee impartiality in television were becoming outdated in the era of the internet.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/strictly-come-dancing/8212653/Knighthoods-Will-Simon-Cowell-triumph-where-Bruce-Forsyth-fails.html">Daily Telegraph says speculation is mounting that the coalition is set to give a knighthood to Simon Cowell, the pop impresario behind the X-Factor, beating Bruce Forsyth, the veteran Strictly host, to the prize.

The political journalist and commentator Anthony Howard has died %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12035026">reports the BBC.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12037973">BBC also reports that BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan has died at the age of 61 after a short battle with cancer.

Grand National winner Tony McCoy has become the first jockey to be voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/dec/19/tony-mccoy-bbc-sports-personality-award">Guardian says he has been the champion jump jockey 15 times and won in a landslide, polling 41% of the votes from 293,152 telephone calls.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/the-apprentice/8213075/The-Apprentice-2010-Final-BBC-One-review.html">Daily Telegraph TV critic Michael Hogan says "the best women won" on The Apprentice and Strictly Come Dancing. Stella English and Kara Tointon are both East End girls.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/dec/19/the-apprentice-strictly-come-dancing">Observer says BBC1 was on course for one of the biggest viewing weekends for 20 years as snowbound families gathered for the finals of Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice. It says academics are developing more sophisticated theories about the choices viewers make and they are as important to how people feel about themselves as their clothes or music.

X Factor winner Matt Cardle has scored this year's Christmas number one with his debut single, When We Collide. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12021170">BBC reports Mr Cardle sold 439,000 copies to see off competition from a number of Facebook-led campaigns.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12036303">BBC's newspaper review says the continuing fallout from the snow fills the front pages yet again. "Grounded" is the headline on the front of the Independent next to a picture of a barely-visible British Airways plane stuck at a wintry Heathrow airport. The Berlin correspondent of the Times accuses the airport's managers of "bringing Britain into disrepute".

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8212616/Television-news-should-no-longer-be-impartial-Sir-David-Attenborough-says.html">Telegraph | Television news should no longer be impartial, Sir David Attenborough says
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/17/mark-thompson-bbc-fox-news">Guardian | Britain needs a channel like Fox News
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/strictly-come-dancing/8212653/Knighthoods-Will-Simon-Cowell-triumph-where-Bruce-Forsyth-fails.html">Telegraph | Knighthoods: Will Simon Cowell triumph where Bruce Forsyth fails?
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12035026">BBC | Political commentator Anthony Howard dies
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12037973">BBC | BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan dies at 61
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/dec/19/tony-mccoy-bbc-sports-personality-award">Guardian | Tony McCoy wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/the-apprentice/8213075/The-Apprentice-2010-Final-BBC-One-review.html">Michael Hogan | Telegraph | The Apprentice 2010 Final, BBC One: review
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/dec/19/the-apprentice-strictly-come-dancing">Observer | The Apprentice and Strictly Come Dancing finals to deliver record BBC1 audiences
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12021170">BBC | X Factor's Matt Cardle grabs UK Christmas number one
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12036303">BBC | Newspaper review

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:56 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

George Osborne, Vince Cable

 

The Chancellor George Osborne and the Business Secretary Vince Cable will meet the bosses of Britain's biggest banks today to urge them against paying out large bonuses. Commentators look at the ongoing row.

The Cass Business School's %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9303000/9303960.stm">Peter Hahn explains on the Today Programme that the regulation, including Financial Services Authority's new rules on bankers' pay aim to change banking culture:

"The whole goal of this round of regulation focusing on remuneration was to get banks to focus primarily on their capital ratios and their reserves for bad times before they paid out bonuses. There was a generally accepted view that banks paid out their bonuses before they thought of financial safety. Will it succeed? I don't know if anyone can tell you that right now."

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/">BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/margareta-pagano-the-inconvenient-truth-about-bankers-2164287.html">In the Independent Margareta Pagano agrees that workers are put first in banks:

"Most bankers would love to pay their staff less, but they are petrified that if they don't pay the market rate, their best traders and bankers - assets with feet - will be poached by rivals overseas who'll pay more.
 
"No one dares be the first mover. But the much bigger, still puzzling question is why bankers are paid so much in the first place. It's an inconvenient truth but those in the City, like Wall Street, really are the last outposts of Marxist control: the banks are one of the few businesses still run like partnerships or co-operatives where the workers come first, and shareholders last. Unlike other companies, banks have allowed the earnings of their top workers to be paid in bonuses often greater than the returns paid to shareholders."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/19/coalition-big-banks-umployment-tuition-fees">Will Hutton says in the Guardian that the bonus culture is the first battle that has to be fought against "Big Finance" in the UK for the sake of the rest of the economy:

"The first rule of finance is that big banks work with big business and small banks look after small business. Britain has big banks which are geared up to provide loans to big companies and, for that matter, big hedge funds. Of course, creating small and medium-size banks is not the sole means to revive Britain's second-tier economy and wean it off its dependence on the public sector. But without them we cannot even make a start. That means taking on Big Finance, its values and bonuses."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1340104/MAIL-COMMENT-Mega-bonuses-insult-taxpayer.html?ITO=1490">Daily Mail's editorial suggests an international solution to get debts called in:

"The financial sector will play an important part in Britain's recovery, and therefore must not be taxed and regulated to death. Chancellor George Osborne is already committed to a 'balance sheet tax' on the banks, which will yield £2.5billion a year by 2012, so further levies need to be carefully thought through.
 
"The Government should seek an international solution with other G20 countries and the International Monetary Fund to rein in excess, and also bring on board large shareholder groups - who are being deprived of billions in dividends by the rampant bonus culture."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8213328/The-aim-is-to-back-our-banks-not-bash-them.html">Telegraph's editorial argues that the City is vital to the long-term success of the UK economy:

"The political rationale for this anti-bank hostility is, it seems, that it allows the Lib-Dem element in the Coalition to burnish their 'radical' credentials after the pasting they took for abandoning the pre-election pledge on university tuition fees. If true, this is both immature and counterproductive. Confidence is everything in financial services, and the aggressive tone adopted by Mr Cable and other senior Liberal Democrats threatens to undermine it. Banks will simply base their operations elsewhere."

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9303000/9303960.stm">Peter Hahn | BBC Today | New bank bonus rules 'a big change'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/margareta-pagano-the-inconvenient-truth-about-bankers-2164287.html">Margareta Pagano | Independent | The inconvenient truth about bankers
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/19/coalition-big-banks-umployment-tuition-fees">Will Hutton | Guardian | If we don't rein in Big Finance, the economy will never recover
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1340104/MAIL-COMMENT-Mega-bonuses-insult-taxpayer.html?ITO=1490">Daily Mail | Mega-bonuses are an insult to the taxpayer
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8213328/The-aim-is-to-back-our-banks-not-bash-them.html">Telegraph | The aim is to back our banks, not bash them

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:30 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Cricket dominates a lot of most-read lists including the %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/theashes/theashesnews/8157272/The-Ashes-live-Australia-v-England-third-Test.html">Telegraph live text and the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/dec/16/ashes-england-cricket-team">Guardian's live text of day two of the third test. There is more cricket and less talk than normal, as Andy Bull says "Well at last. It's been a long time coming, but we've finally got some cricket to write about."

Top of the Daily Mail's most-read list is news that %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339315/President-Obama-snubbed-sources-reveal-invited-Prince-Williams-wedding.html">President Obama will not be invited to Prince William and Kate's wedding. As William is neither the sovereign nor the heir to the throne, it is not counted as a state event and therefore the couple are not obliged to invite heads of state. Instead workers from the prince's 21 charities are expected to be invited.

Proving popular with the Independent readers is a look at the %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/the-top-20-tv-programmes-for-the-festive-season-2162252.html">demise of the big Christmas TV event. Christmas day TV ratings have been falling since 1986 with greater choice, pirated films and computer games seen as responsible.

Readers of USA Today are clicking on the review of Google's latest browser experiment - %3Ca%20href="https://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2010/12/google-explores-the-human-body-with-html5/1?csp=hf">Body Browser. The site describes the three-dimensional layered model of the human anatomy as "Google Maps for the body".

Sun readers prefer to click on a story headlined %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3279619/GaGa-no-bra.html">Gaga No Bra reviewing Lady Gaga's performance at the O2 arena on Thursday. As well as said outfit with no bra, highlights included Lady Gaga failing in her attempt to bite off a doll's head.

Top of Newsweek's most-read list is a collection of studies showing that %3Ca%20href="https://www.newsweek.com/2010/12/16/the-kids-can-t-help-it.html">characteristics we develop in adolescence may be not fads but lasting personality traits. The studies also suggest that brains don't fully develop until the early twenties, explaining why teenagers are so quick to fire off a stinging remark. The impulse to hurl an insult is there but the brain regions that an adult might rely on to stop himself from saying something cruel haven't caught up.

Slate readers are finding out about the %3Ca%20href="https://www.slate.com/id/2277921/">tricks used to appease angry customers. Among the tips given to shop staff include waiting until the customer has finished their rant before apologising.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:19 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Coronation Street is to move from its central Manchester studios and join the BBC at the new MediaCityUK development in Salford. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/16/coronation-street-mediacity-salford">Guardian reports that ITV will build a production centre on a 7.7 acre site at Trafford Wharf, next to the Imperial War Museum North, joined by a bridge to the main complex. ITV will also have a site within the main MediaCityUK operation, housing production and management teams, regional news and support staff.

The new controller of BBC Three is to be Zai Bennett, the director of ITV's digital channels and acquisitions the %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12009574">BBC reports.

The BBC has said it would be willing to hold talks with other arts bodies about the funding of some of the UK's best known orchestras as they face up to government-imposed spending cuts. The corporation funds five orchestras and the BBC Singers. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/16/bbc-public-funding-orchestras">Guardian reports that Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, told MPs it could discuss closer co-operation between its orchestras and those funded by the Arts Council in order to "get more effective use of public money".

Julian Assange vowed last night to continue publishing highly sensitive US diplomatic cables after he was freed from prison by a judge. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/in-the-media-glare-assange-vows-to-fight-smears-2162640.html">Independent reports that the Wikileaks founder thanked his legal team, the media and "the British justice system itself, where, if justice is not always an outcome, at least it is not dead yet".

The BPI, which represents the record industry, says the Government is not moving fast enough to implement the Digital Economy Act, after more than one billion tracks were downloaded illegally in the UK during 2010. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8206523/More-than-a-billion-songs-downloaded-illegally-in-2010-record-industry-claim.html">Telegraph reports that the rate of illegal downloading is growing, with more than seven and a half million UK internet users facing no punitive action.

BBC Technology correspondent R%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/12/zuckerberg_-_back_from_the_fut.html">ory Cellan Jones was visiting the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto when its founder Mark Zuckerberg was named as Time magazine's Man of the Year.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12015330">BBC's newspaper review says the release on bail of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange features prominently in many of the papers.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/16/coronation-street-mediacity-salford">Guardian | Coronation Street to move to Salford's MediaCityUK
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12009574">BBC | Zai Bennett announced as new BBC Three controller
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/16/bbc-public-funding-orchestras">Guardian | BBC willing to discuss public funding of main UK orchestras
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/in-the-media-glare-assange-vows-to-fight-smears-2162640.html">Independent | In the media glare, Assange vows to fight 'smears'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8206523/More-than-a-billion-songs-downloaded-illegally-in-2010-record-industry-claim.html">Telegraph | More than a billion songs downloaded illegally in 2010 record industry claim
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/12/zuckerberg_-_back_from_the_fut.html">Rory Cellan Jones | BBC | Zuckerberg: Back from the future
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12015330">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_128.html">Thursday's Media Brief


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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:40 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

Heroin and syringe

 

Commentators deliberate over former minister Bob Ainsworth's call to decriminalise all drugs.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6549078/ainsworth-has-a-point.thtml">In the Spectator Peter Hoskin questions the "war on drugs":

"The entire purpose of prohibition is to prohibit - but evidence suggests that drug prices have been falling for some time, a symptom of both market demand and looser supply... The price of cocaine has almost halved over the past decade. And heroin is cheaper by about a third. If that's what a war on drugs achieves, then perhaps - as Ainsworth suggests - it is time for a ceasefire."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8207584/Politicians-should-say-what-they-really-think-about-drugs.html">In the Telegraph Andrew Brown tries to learn from the last time drugs were legally available in the UK:

"So what would actually happen if the prohibition on the sale of drugs were lifted?
 
"That's the trouble: no one knows. The last time all drugs were legally available was the mid-19th century, and that was a more ordered era: then, you could buy laudanum - an alcoholic tincture of opium - for medicinal purposes, in your local corner shop. Some ordinary folk gulped it daily, a bit like Valium 100 years later. In East Anglia, they grew opium poppies in the fields, and used them to fortify the beer. Even fractious babies were dosed with the stuff, which caused some unfortunate accidents. Cocaine, meanwhile, was a key ingredient in a variety of invigorating tonics.
 
"Despite such widespread availability of narcotics, society didn't fall apart - but then, the Victorians had social pressures which acted as restraints on behaviour. These days, more people than ever before seem to struggle with their appetites, whether for food, sex, booze or drugs. It's possible that liberalising the law would lead to a catastrophic increase in the number of addicts."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-mr-ainsworth-is-right-the-war-has-failed-2162491.html">Independent's editorial says it is disappointed with how stale and weary responses to the idea have been:

"Mr Ainsworth is not some naive backbencher. He was the Home Office minister for drugs policy under Tony Blair, and his time in the job, he now says after due reflection, suggests that the old, prohibitive approach cannot succeed. He was immediately backed yesterday by the former chief constable of Cambridgeshire, Tom Lloyd. It tells us something about the nature of the public debate about recreational drugs that men of this level of experience can only say what they really think after they have left office - or before they gain it: David Cameron took part in a thoughtful review of drugs policy in opposition. But such is the hysteria about drugs in Britain that there is no political space for a reasoned debate by those in authority."

%3Ca%20href="https://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2010/12/16/why-are-all-parties-scared-of-the-ainsworth-plan/">Mike Smithson at the blog Political Betting is cynical as to why Bob Ainsworth's suggestion has been deemed irresponsible:

"The reason this is all deemed to be politically unacceptable is that they fear Daily Mail headlines and no party wants to be seen as being soft on drugs. So we can't have a grown-up debate."

Former Labour party employee %3Ca%20href="https://hopisen.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/good-for-bob/">Hopi Sen thinks Labour was right not to back Bob Ainsworth:

"First, what Bob has said is not, and will not be, the policy of the Labour party.
 
Second, the public massively disagree with Bob Ainsworth on this. Political parties have to take account of what the public thinks.
 
"(These are both the reasons why Bob was right not to speak out when in office. As a minister, you ask questions and debate internally, then accept the verdict of your colleagues or resign. You don't get to have both power and freedom of speech, sadly)."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/justice-and-civil-liberties/a-missed-opportunity/">Sam Bowman argues on the Adam Smith Institute blog that drugs should be cheaper:

"Counterintuitively, the worst thing about the War on Drugs is how much it drives up the cost of drugs. Many addicts live in poverty and commit crimes to pay for the expensive drugs they crave, but that expense is a direct consequence of the government's prohibition laws. Fears that drug legalization would lead to people becoming addicted and be driven to crime to pay for their addictions ignore this.
 
"Some might not like the thought of cheaper drugs, but if it means less crime then it's not really anybody else's business. And nearly everybody who has looked at this issue from a 'harm reduction' standpoint agrees that the prohibition laws are the worst possible option for drug users and society."

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6549078/ainsworth-has-a-point.thtml">Peter Hoskin | Spectator | Ainsworth has a point
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8207584/Politicians-should-say-what-they-really-think-about-drugs.html">Andrew Brown | Telegraph | Politicians should say what they really think about drugs
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-mr-ainsworth-is-right-the-war-has-failed-2162491.html">Independent | Mr Ainsworth is right: the war has failed
• %3Ca%20href="https://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2010/12/16/why-are-all-parties-scared-of-the-ainsworth-plan/">Mike Smithson | Political Betting | Is decriminalisation of drugs really irresponsible?
• %3Ca%20href="https://hopisen.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/good-for-bob/">Hopi Sen | Good for Bob
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/justice-and-civil-liberties/a-missed-opportunity/">Sam Bowman | Adam Smith institute blog | A missed opportunity

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:15 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010

England's James Anderson celebrates after claiming the wicket of Ricky Ponting for 12 runs

England's James Anderson celebrates after claiming the wicket of Ricky Ponting for 12 runs

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Guardian readers are reliving the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/dec/16/ashes-australia-england-live-third-test">first day of the third Test of the Ashes as-it-happened on their live text page. Following the tradition of cricket commentary not always being about the cricket, nuggets include unconfirmed rumours that the front page of tomorrow's Guardian will consist of an advert for The Times.

Telegraph readers devour a %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/theashes/theashesnews/8157272/The-Ashes-live-Australia-v-England-third-Test.html">cricket live text page which sticks to the cricket, where Alan Tyers shows text isn't as live as audio:

"I was just about to type the words 'Bring on Swann' when Andrew Strauss brought on Swann. Spooky. Strauss, buy me a house! Huh, that rhymes."

The Sun's most popular story warns of the %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3278719/Blizzards-will-bury-UK-in-12in-snow.html">worst blizzards in a century across the UK. There are prospects of 12 inches of snow today and 60mph winds whipping up massive six-foot drifts.

Readers of Canada's Globe and Mail find out about the %3Ca%20href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/sarah-hampson/retail-princess-alannah-weston-a-maverick-impresario/article1839621/">brains behind Oxford Street's Selfridges store. Part of the Weston family empire, the second richest family in Canada, Alannah Weston's father is worth an estimated $7.4bn.

Readers of the Moscow Times catch up with the news that %3Ca%20href="https://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/fearing-clashes-police-detain-scores/426752.html">riot police detained at least 800 people in Moscow. It was an effort to prevent violence after an online call for a violent rally over the killing of an ethnic Russian in a brawl with Caucasus natives.

Time magazine readers are finding out that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's arrest on suspected rape in Sweden could uncover the country's sex crime problem. %3Ca%20href="https://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2037078,00.html">Sweden has by far the highest incidence of reported rapes in Europe, and one of the lowest conviction rates in the developed world. The magazine judges that it's much more likely that political pressure has landed Mr Assange under police watch.

Proving popular in the New York Times is a recent study which suggests that %3Ca%20href="https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/15/phys-ed-the-benefits-of-exercising-before-breakfast/?src=me&ref=homepage">exercising before eating in the morning can lessen the ill effects of holiday binges. One explanation offered is that exercising in a fasted state coaxes the body to burn a greater percentage of fat instead of carbohydrates.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 11:16 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/15/phone-hacking-sienna-miller-evidence">Guardian says lawyers for the actress Sienna Miller "have secured explosive new evidence" linking one of the News of the World's most senior editorial executives to the hacking of voicemail messages. It claims the evidence contradicts the account of the paper and its former editor Andy Coulson, media adviser to the Prime Minister, that only one "rogue reporter" was involved in phone-hacking.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ad0b5f58-0850-11e0-8527-00144feabdc0.html">Financial Times says [registration required] top BBC officials have denied to MPs that there were "whoops of joy" when the corporation secured a deal with the government for a six-year freeze of its £3.5bn licence fee funding. A Conservative member of the Commons culture, media and sport committee suggested to Mark Thompson, the director-general, and Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust that the deal was not that tough, representing a 16% cut in spending over six years.

After six years of building work, Broadcasting House in central London has been officially handed over to the BBC. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/15/news-bbc-new-building">Guardian says executives hope the £1bn enterprise will be a symbol of the corporation's openness and accountability. The state-of-the-art newsroom will be visible from the street and through a glass window in a BBC Media Cafe open to the public. To avoid a security breach, "the room has toughened glass which can be darkened to frustrate telephoto lenses".

Sir David Attenborough, who's made a 3D documentary about dinosaurs for Sky, says the new format will never be widely used on TV, %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8204774/Sir-David-Attenborough-why-3D-TV-wont-quite-take-off.html">reports the Telegraph. He says the 3D glasses make viewing anti-social and it will only be used for 'event television'.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12006079">BBC's newspaper review says there are dramatic photographs on the front pages of the crowded refugee boat that was driven onto rocks off Australia's Christmas Island. At least 27 people drowned but the authorities have warned that more bodies are likely to be found.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/15/phone-hacking-sienna-miller-evidence">Guardian | Phone hacking approved by top News of the World executive - new files
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ad0b5f58-0850-11e0-8527-00144feabdc0.html">Financial Times | BBC officials tell of relief over funding deal
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/15/news-bbc-new-building">Guardian | And here is today's news ... BBC's state-of-the-art building
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8204774/Sir-David-Attenborough-why-3D-TV-wont-quite-take-off.html">Telegraph | Sir David Attenborough: why 3D TV won't quite take off
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12006079">BBC | Newspaper review

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 10:45 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010

UK Uncut anti-tax avoidance protesters outside a Vodafone store in Birmingham on 4th December 2010

 

Commentators discuss the merits of the UK Uncut protests against companies avoiding paying tax.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2844597.ece">David Wighton says in the Times [subscription required] that in terms of firms' vulnerability, picketing branches is not the biggest worry:

"This Saturday's protest may lose Sir Philip some sales. But it is unlikely that campaigners will be able to rally enough protesters to brave the cold on future occasions to cause a lasting problem.
 
"A bigger concern is that the campaign could attract the attention of the sort of hacktivists that have disrupted the websites of MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon. Cyber security experts report a surge in calls from companies worried about their defences against such attacks. The greatest threat would be if campaigners on this or other issues could persuade large numbers of people to take their business away from the targeted companies."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339026/Britains-biggest-firms-moving-offshore-denying-UK-exchequer-100s-millions.html">Daily Mail calls it the Great Tax Heist, adding Boots, Brit Insurance and Cadbury to Vodafone and Topshop as brands avoiding UK tax:

"While the Coalition Government is forced to slash spending on public services - not to mention raise the ceiling on student tuition fees - private companies contrive to cut the tax they hand to the Exchequer.
 
"The strategies companies use to avoid tax are no doubt quite legal. But there is a widespread feeling that while most hard-working taxpayers have a considerable portion of their income removed by PAYE, there is something immoral about businesses that can employ expensive accountants to find increasingly complicated ways of paying less tax...
 
"So the shameless strategy of tax avoidance continues in the world of big business, and the losers are the millions of hard-pressed taxpayers who are left to take up the slack."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/tracycorrigan/8203024/Tax-protests-Nice-companies-or-job-creators.html">In the Telegraph Tracy Corrigan defends business:

"[W]hatever our personal feelings about sneaky accountants and overpaid executives, it's worth remembering that we do actually want to have as many big businesses in this country as possible. They employ many of us, usually on favourable terms and conditions. Even if they try to pay as little corporation tax as possible, they produce a lot of other revenues, such as National Insurance and VAT. They buy products from British suppliers and employ local contractors. Small businesses may be the engine for economic growth, but they often rely on big businesses to keep them running."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/13/uk-uncut-tax-justice">Guardian editorial says the protests pose a direct challenge to the coalition:

"George Osborne has long calculated that the public would prefer eye-watering spending cuts over big rises in tax; which is why, in the coming fiscal consolidation, public spending will be reduced by £4 for every £1 put on tax. That political calculation may have appeared convincing six months ago; it looks less so now. Last week the government was jolted into bringing forward its plans for a general anti-avoidance principle, which could mean companies running their tax avoidance plans by HMRC before charging ahead."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/217665Why-lower-taxes-are-the-answer-to-Britain-s-problem">Leo McKinstry argues in the Express that the answer to tax avoidance is to lower taxes:

"The lesson from history is that everyone in work gains when taxes are lowered. In fact, even government revenues can increase because the wealthy no longer move overseas or resort to clever accountancy stratagems to avoid paying punitive bills. This relationship between bigger government revenues and falling tax rates is known as 'the Laffer Curve', named after the brilliant US economist Arthur Laffer who was an adviser to President Reagan in the Eighties, when America boomed thanks partly to an aggressive policy of tax cuts."

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2844597.ece">David Wighton | Times | Better watch out. Activists are coming to town
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339026/Britains-biggest-firms-moving-offshore-denying-UK-exchequer-100s-millions.html">Daily Mail | The great tax heist
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/tracycorrigan/8203024/Tax-protests-Nice-companies-or-job-creators.html">Tracy Corrigan | Telegraph | Tax protests: Nice companies or job creators?
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/13/uk-uncut-tax-justice">Guardian | Tax justice: Back on the agenda
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/217665Why-lower-taxes-are-the-answer-to-Britain-s-problem">Leo McKinstry | Express | Why lower taxes are the answer to Britain's problems

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 13:23 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Telegraph readers are interested in Russian Vogue's latest cover model. Alina Kabayeva is a former Olympic gymnast and MP for the ruling United Russia party . But the report says these are not what is making her famous in Russia. Instead %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8202295/Vladimir-Putins-mistress-on-cover-of-Russian-Vogue.html">rumours that President Putin has left his wife and had a love child with Ms Kabayeva are what make her a controversial figure.

Times readers are catching up on the news of %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article2843975.ece">riots in Italy [subscription required]. The tension arose after Silvio Berlesconi narrowly defeated a no confidence motion due to sex scandals. The Times reports thousands of demonstrators fought riot police along the Corso, the main street through the Italian capital, in front of tourists.

On the Huffington Post the most read story is that HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure. Timothy Ray Brown's doctors published a report saying that his recovery strongly suggests that a %3Ca%20href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/14/hiv-cure-berlin-patient_n_796521.html">cure for HIV has been found.

CNN readers are watching film of a %3Ca%20href="https://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/14/florida.meeting.shooting/index.html?hpt=P1">gunman who entered a Florida school board meeting and opened fire before killing himself. Clay Duke sat quietly through most of the meeting before walking to the front with a small-caliber handgun, spraying a red V on the wall and ordering everyone, apart from six men, to leave the room.

Proving popular with Sun readers is the %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3277194/Shrien-Dewani-cops-quiz-rent-boy-on-claims.html">allegation from a rent boy that Shrien Dewani paid him for sex. Mr Dewani is suspected of for conspiring to kill his new bride.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:36 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/bbc-sir-michael-lyons">Guardian reports that the BBC has admitted that TV, radio and online services could be at risk as the corporation seeks cost savings in the face of October's licence fee settlement. Sir Michael Lyons, the outgoing BBC Trust chairman, said he "could not rule out" the closure of certain services given the tough licence fee settlement, as he today unveiled the conclusions of the corporation's strategy review.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e0932472-07d4-11e0-8138-00144feabdc0.html">Financial Times reports [subscription required] Ministers' plans for a network of local television companies can be achieved, but a subsidy will be required if inevitable teething problems are to be overcome, a %3Ca%20href="https://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/7655.aspx">report commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, has concluded.

The row over the X Factor final escalated last night as the Equalities Minister warned that the raunchy performances should never have been shown to children. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338714/X-Factor-raunch-Minister-Lynne-Featherstone-goes-attack.html">Daily Mail reports Lynne Featherstone said that the sexualised routines, which have now sparked 3,000 complaints to Ofcom and ITV, were unsuitable for the show's legions of young fans.

The King's Speech leads the nominations for next year's Golden Globe Awards, with seven nods in key categories, including best film drama. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11991998">BBC reports Colin Firth, who plays King George VI, is up for best actor and Helena Bonham Carter has been nominated for best supporting actress. Voted for by Hollywood's foreign press, the Globes were once a solid indicator for Oscar success, but in the last six years, the only winner of a Globe for best drama which went on to win an Oscar was 2008's Slumdog Millionaire.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11997246">BBC's newspaper review says several newspapers lead with the latest court appearance of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Guardian describes the decision to grant him bail as a small but significant victory for the Australian. The Independent carries an interview with the man who will put up Mr Assange if he is released from prison after an appeal.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/bbc-sir-michael-lyons">Guardian | BBC 'can't rule out' closing services, says trust chairman
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e0932472-07d4-11e0-8138-00144feabdc0.html">Financial Times | Local TV will need subsidy, report finds
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/7655.aspx">Department of Culture, Media and Sport | Commercially Viable Local Television in the UK
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338714/X-Factor-raunch-Minister-Lynne-Featherstone-goes-attack.html">Daily Mail | Minister goes on the attack over X Factor raunch
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11991998">BBC | The King's Speech leads Golden Globe nominations
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11997246">BBC | Newspapers review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_126.html">Tuesday's Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:59 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

NHS ward

 

Commentators discuss Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's plansto abolish primary care trusts in England and hand budgets to GPs.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-andrew-lansley-should-listen-to-those-sounding-the-alarm-2160448.html">Independent's editorial says it's unrealistic to put through reforms in a time of cuts:

"The Health Secretary has attempted to turn this objection on its head by saying that reform is necessary to deliver efficiencies. It is a heroic, but ultimately unconvincing argument. It is impossible to see new GPs' consortia delivering vast savings at the same time as they are hiring staff and getting to grips with their new responsibilities. Structural reforms always end up exceeding cost estimates, at least in the short term."

%3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9288000/9288694.stm">Sir Gerry Robinson says on the Today Programme that such a big change wouldn't work:

"I'm totally in favour of making savings in the NHS and there are enormous savings to be made. I'm totally against another 'throw everything up in the air', reorganise it in an entirely different way, leave people feeling that they don't know where they are, have nothing to measure against because the whole system will have changed.
 
"Good change is evolutionary. You work with what's there and you change it bit by bit.
 
"This another of those political things where it's all very exciting, we're going to give the money to GPs, it will be a shambles for four or five years and by the time it's starting to work someone else comes along and wants to change it again."

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/">BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/jeremy-laurance-a-highrisk-strategy-but-lansley-is-in-a-hurry-2160622.html">In the Independent Jeremy Laurance suggests a political reason for speedy reforms:

"As the Health Select Committee pointed out yesterday, securing efficiency gains of the kind required - 4 per cent a year over the next four years - has never been achieved by any health service anywhere in the world. Yet Mr Lansley expects the NHS to pull off this miracle while simultaneously achieving another - switching control of the bulk of the NHS budget from managers to GPs...
 
"So why is Mr Lansley committed to the path of maximum disruption? Because he is determined not to repeat the 1997 Blair government's mistake by delaying reform and then finding there is too little time to implement unpopular changes before the next election."

The chief executive of the NHS Confederation%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2010/dec/15/nhs-ready-profound-reform-undefined">Nigel Edwards says in the Guardian's Joe Public blog that decentralisation could be worth the risks involved in change:

"There is no doubt that reforms on this scale, at this time, are hugely risky. NHS leaders around the country suggest a high level of anxiety about the implementation programme in particular, not least because of the tight NHS budget. Having said that, there is good evidence to suggest health systems work better where budgets and spending power are as close to patients as possible."

Conservative MP and former NHS doctor %3Ca%20href="https://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2010/12/dr-rachel-joyce-andrew-lansleys-nhs-reforms-should-give-even-more-power-to-patients.html">Rachel Joyce welcomes reform on Conservative Home as long as choice is given to patients:

"The current proposals seem to be heading in the direction of large GP consortia, based on geographical area. This means that although a patient will technically have a choice of GP - and therefore their consortia - in reality all the practices in their area will part of the same consortium, so offering no real choice for patients. As the consortia are planned to be large, the link with patients will be more distant than in fund-holding times."

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-andrew-lansley-should-listen-to-those-sounding-the-alarm-2160448.html">Independent | Andrew Lansley should listen to those sounding the alarm
• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9288000/9288694.stm">Gerry Robinson | BBC Today | Are NHS reforms really necessary?
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/jeremy-laurance-a-highrisk-strategy-but-lansley-is-in-a-hurry-2160622.html">Jeremy Laurance | Independent | A high-risk strategy, but Lansley is in a hurry
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2010/dec/15/nhs-ready-profound-reform-undefined">Nigel Edwards | Guardian | Is Whitehall ready to let go of the NHS?
• %3Ca%20href="https://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2010/12/dr-rachel-joyce-andrew-lansleys-nhs-reforms-should-give-even-more-power-to-patients.html">Rachel Joyce | Conservative Home | Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms should give even more power to patients

 

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 14:38 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

At the top of the Guardian's most read list is the latest of the US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. The paper reports %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/13/wikileaks-madeleine-mccann-british-police">British police helped to "develop evidence" against Madeleine McCann's parents as they were investigated by Portuguese police as formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter. The US ambassador to Portugal was told by his British counterpart in September 2007.

Telegraph readers learn about a %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/8197617/German-man-castrates-teenage-daughters-57-year-old-boyfriend.html">man who castrated his 17-year-old daughter's 57-year-old boyfriend with a bread knife. Helmut Seifert told German police he saw it as his duty as a father.

Daily Mail readers prefer to look at TV presenter %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1338411/Strictly-Come-Dancing-Fern-Britton-reveals-slimmer-figure-Christmas-special.html">Fern Britton's "even slimmer figure" revealed in her costume for Strictly Come Dancing. The paper points out that her head was once digitally imposed onto a thinner woman's body for a Ryvita advert but now that wouldn't be necessary.

Proving popular on the Sun's website is news that %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3273391/Elin-Nordegren-close-to-fellow-student-in-Florida.html">Tiger Wood's ex-wife is dating a South African student. It reports Elin Nordegren met the 35-year-old while studying at a college in Florida.

The readers of the Australian are catching up on %3Ca%20href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/oprahs-australian-giveaway-begins/story-e6frg996-1225970812813">Oprah Winfrey's trip to Australia to film her last chat show. The paper labels the show as a great giveaway, starting off with a gift of a South Sea pearl for each of her 6,000 audience members.

The Washington Post's readers are interested in a tale of what happens when a %3Ca%20href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/metro/facebook-story-mothers-joy-familys-sorrow.html">traumatic experience unravels on Facebook. The paper follows Shana Swers's journey to work out medical complications after she gave birth using her regular Facebook status updates.

The New Yorker profiles Shigeru Miyamoto, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/20/101220fa_fact_paumgarten">inventor of computer game character, Mario. Praising him as the brains behind Nintendo, the article finds an irony in the fact that the man who has perhaps done more than any other person to entice generations of children to spend their playtime indoors, in front of a video screen, developed his talent while playing outdoors.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/mark_kinver/">Mark Kinver | 14:04 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

This edition of Green Room takes a look at post-summit reflections on the UN climate talks as the dust settles on the annual gathering, and offers you a seasonal suggestion that will warm more than just your heart.

Cancun concludes

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

After Cancun, are things looking up for the UN climate process?

So this year's climate summit in Mexico has concluded with a modest deal that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said has "%3Ca%20href="https://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sgsm13312.doc.htm">set the world on the path to a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world for all".

However, after two weeks of negotiations, it was only the late intervention of the hosts that prevented the annual global gathering becoming, %3Ca%20href="https://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/091210_huhnesp/091210_huhnesp.aspx">in the words of the UK Climate Secretary Chris Huhne, a "car crash" conference.

Not everyone had a rose-tinted outlook on what was achieved. The UK's Guardian carried a %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/12/cancun-agreement-rescues-un-credibility">story that suggested that the deal rescued the UN process's credibility after last year's failings in Copenhagen, but fell short on delivering meaningful measures.

An editorial by the New Zealand Herald was much more scathing, saying that %3Ca%20href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10694111">the aftermath of these annual events were becoming "depressingly familiar".

Much is being made of the small steps agreed upon after two weeks of tortuous negotiations and how these can be built upon at the next meeting a year hence.

Little is said of yet another failure to arrive at a legally binding pact that obliges the world's major emitters to meet serious greenhouse gas targets. Nor is it mentioned that the obstacles to such an agreement remain firmly in place.

The blog 350 or Bust, which wants atmospheric carbon dioxide limited to 350 parts per million (%3Ca%20href="https://co2now.org/">it is currently above 350 ppm), said that p%3Ca%20href="https://350orbust.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/cancun-climate-conference-ends-falls-short-of-science-based-targets/">oliticians at the Mexican coastal resort had fallen well short of what the science showed was needed to curb climate change.

But it did acknowledge that the idea of the meeting delivering legally binding emission targets was never on the agenda. Instead, the main focus was on the need to pick up the pieces from last year's Copenhagen conference (%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/07/un_climate_talks_mire.html">as BBC environment correspondent Richard Black pointed out back in July).

All in all, it was a business-like summit that was of little interest to mainstream broadcasters. But there was one story that did capture editors' attention back in the UK - whether or not Mr Huhne would have to leave the talks to attend a key vote in the House of Commons.

After a few hours of confusion and usual political mudslinging, %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11950882">it was announced that Mr Huhne would remain in Mexico. So was it an outbreak of common sense? Was it the result of the political parties sitting down and behaving like mature, responsible human beings?

Well, according to the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), it was the result of a "twitter-storm", as thousands of people used the social network software to ask Mr Huhne to stay put.

And who was responsible for unleashing the technological tempest? %3Ca%20href="https://ukycc.org/2010/12/twitter-storm-keeps-huhne-in-cancun/">A press release by the UKYCCC provides an answer:

"The twitter-storm was initiated by the UK Youth Climate Coalition, and subsequently Nick Clegg made a decision to let the energy minister stay."

So not all of the youth of Britain were venting their anger in central London or %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11978954">reportedly poking royals with a big stick last Thursday, some were too busy tweeting Mr Huhne.

A winter warmer

And finally, as the season of goodwill is upon us, spare a thought for our featherless friends that have worked so tirelessly to bring us our daily egg.

%3Ca%20href="https://littlehenrescue.co.uk/homeaspecialhen.aspx">Charity Little Hen Rescue is looking for people to either adopt or foster ex-battery hens. However, if you are somewhat of a traditionalist and prefer to have a bird in the oven rather than one scratching up your garden, they are also %3Ca%20href="https://littlehenrescue.co.uk/jumpers.aspx">looking for volunteers to knit woolly jumpers for the girls.

In case you are interested, all you need to bring a little warmth into a life of a recently retired hen (they do not qualify for the winter heating allowance) is a ball of double knitting yarn, a couple of buttons, a pair of number eight knitting needles and a 4mm crochet hook.

Go on, it may be the first thing you have knitted that will be worn longer than %3Ca%20href="https://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1311&_nkw=knitted+christmas+jumper&_sacat=See-All-Categories">just a few hours on Christmas Day.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:15 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/sky-itv-comment-on-bbc">Guardian says Sir Michael Lyons, the outgoing chairman of the BBC Trust, will today tell the BBC's competitors they will have the right to comment on how well they believe the public broadcaster is meeting its target of producing "high quality, distinctive" content. %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/14/bbc-strategy-separate-reality-myth">Writing on the Guardian website, he says priorities and budgets for BBC radio and television should be published a year in advance to give commercial broadcasters the chance to plan their own on-air schedules and spending.

BBC Radio 3 today becomes the first in the UK to broadcast full time in so-called "high definition sound". The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8200090/Radio-3-begins-HD-broadcasts.html">Telegraph says listeners will need a computer and speakers better than those that come with most laptops or standard PCs.

The Commons culture, media and sport select committee has criticised Channel 4 for the "unacceptably high" salary it paid to its former chief executive Andy Duncan. The MPs say it was "wrong" to pay Duncan a loyalty bonus of more than £220,000 for agreeing to stay with the company for two years, %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/mps-andy-duncan-salary">reports the Guardian.

American-style local TV news for towns and cities - as opposed to the broader regional news bulletins currently provided by the BBC and ITV - will be a reality by the summer of 2012, according to Government plans. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8199777/Local-TV-news-Press-the-yellow-button.html">Telegraph says the yellow button on the TV remote control could be used to link straight to local news.

A satirical sketch which parodies the student gap year has been named as one of YouTube's biggest hits of 2010. 'Gap Yah', created by theatre group The Unexpected Items, was named best homegrown comedy, %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1338188/Gap-Yah-comedy-sketch-wins-YouTube-online-prize.html">reports the Daily Mail.

Episodes of The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing helped attract the biggest Sunday night audience for nearly 20 years. An average total of 28 million people switched on their TV between 1800 and 2230 - the biggest on a Sunday since 1992, when current research methods began, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11981196">BBC reports.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11988512">BBC's newspaper review says the Daily Express takes one look at the suicide bombing in Sweden and concludes that "once again, all Islamist roads lead back to Britain". And not just Britain, as the Daily Telegraph points out, but Luton.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/sky-itv-comment-on-bbc">Guardian | Sky and ITV to have a say on BBC's shows
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/14/bbc-strategy-separate-reality-myth">Guardian | Silencing the 'white noise' around the BBC
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8200090/Radio-3-begins-HD-broadcasts.html">Telegraph |Radio 3 begins 'HD' broadcasts
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/14/mps-andy-duncan-salary">Guardian | MPs say Andy Duncan's salary was 'unacceptably high'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8199777/Local-TV-news-Press-the-yellow-button.html">Telegraph | Local TV news? Press the yellow button
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1338188/Gap-Yah-comedy-sketch-wins-YouTube-online-prize.html">Daily Mail | 'I'm on my gap yah'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11981196">BBC | Sunday night TV ratings highest on record
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11988512">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_125.html">Monday's Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:09 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Eric Pickles

 

Commentators get their heads around the localism bill which aims to devolve power to local councils.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/13/councils-localism-bill-eric-pickles">Michael White argues in the Guardian that what Eric Pickles is really devolving is voters' anger when services get cut:

"It's a case of 'handing down the axe', as one thinktank put it. But all parties now preach 'people power' and Eric Pickles is offering a tempting mix: referendums on higher council tax or directly elected mayors; the right of communities to acquire treasured local assets at risk (the pub or post office?), at least in theory; the ability of councillors to decide how to spend their budgets untrammelled by Whitehall diktat and to keep more of what their entrepreneurial flair helps generate locally.
 
"Fine, say critics and creativity is likely to flower in different ways in different areas, leading to cheaper, better services. But the formula is bound to favour well-heeled areas over deprived ones. That is what decades of central government interference is basically about - attempts to redistribute cash from rich to poor as well as curb town hall folly."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6541153/eric-pickles-kickstarts-the-local-blame-game.thtml">Peter Hoskin says in the Spectator that greater responsibility being given at a time of budget restraint may not be welcomed by all councils:

"The upshot may well be a nationwide blame game: are bad services due to the cuts imposed from on high, or the actions of individual councils? Yet the government must be confident that it can win out in the end. All they really need, after all, is the example of one or two successful local authorities to embarrass the others into line."

In support of the bill, Conservative MEP %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100068074/two-cheers-for-the-localism-bill/">Daniel Hannan says in the Telegraph that it's been a long time coming:

"A proper link between taxation, representation and expenditure at local level is not an optional extra: it is the foundation of meaningful localism. Grant it, and much follows; deny it, and little changes."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-cuts-are-being-devolved-not-power-2159626.html">Independent's editorial argues that there are inconsistencies in the plan:

"Government wants power devolved and yet it wants planning, education or even chief executives shared between local authorities. Even if that does not create super-councils, as critics fear, it certainly takes decisions further from, rather than closer to, the ordinary citizen."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8199772/A-first-step-in-handing-power-back-to-the-people.html">Telegraph's editorial defends the plans against criticism:

"The proposals are, inevitably, being depicted as little more than a mask for local authority spending reductions, also announced yesterday. Those cutbacks do not actually warrant some of the apocalyptic language with which they have been greeted. They will be painful - spending cuts always are. But they will take expenditure levels back only to where they were on the eve of the crash. This is less about amounts of money, more about a spending culture built on the expectation of annual budgetary increases, regardless of what is needed."

Chair of the Community Cohesion Institute %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2010/12/14/coalition-s-localism-bill-raises-pitfalls-of-diy-government-115875-22782395/">Ted Canter says in the Mirror that asking people to run their own libraries and other local services could have its pitfalls:

"A bigger problem is it is generally only affluent areas that can keep community organisations going, in poorer areas people struggle to run their own lives together, let alone local services.
 
"This could mean the gap between rich and poor areas grows."

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/13/councils-localism-bill-eric-pickles">Michael White | Guardian | Councils do need more freedom, but I doubt the localism bill will provide it
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6541153/eric-pickles-kickstarts-the-local-blame-game.thtml">Peter Hoskin | Spectator | Eric Pickles kickstarts the local blame game
• %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100068074/two-cheers-for-the-localism-bill/">Daniel Hannan | Telegraph | Two cheers for the Localism Bill
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-cuts-are-being-devolved-not-power-2159626.html">Independent | Cuts are being devolved, not power
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8199772/A-first-step-in-handing-power-back-to-the-people.html">Telegraph | A first step in handing power back to the people
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2010/12/14/coalition-s-localism-bill-raises-pitfalls-of-diy-government-115875-22782395/">Ted Cantle | Mirror | Coalition's Localism Bill raises pitfalls of DIY Government

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:10 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The Sun analyses the %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3273049/X-Factor-final-Matt-Cardle-beats-Rebecca-Ferguson.html">X Factor final, which saw 27-year-old painter Matt Cardle win. The run of results over the course of the series showed that Matt won 11 out of the 12 public votes.

Mark Lawson says in the Guardian that the audience remained defiant against the Simon Cowell's hints to vote for boy band One Direction to win. He also predicts that this years' will be the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/dec/13/x-factor-verdict-simon-cowell">
last X Factor in Britain after Simon Cowell toasted the public "for all their years of supporting the show" during the final on Sunday.

The Daily Mail says art detectives may have found the %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1337976/Real-life-Da-Vinci-Code-Tiny-numbers-letters-discovered-Mona-Lisa.html">real-life Da Vinci code. Thanks to high-magnification techniques, hidden in the dark paint of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa's pupils are tiny letters and numbers have been revealed.

CNN reports that the %3Ca%20href="https://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/12/13/france.school/index.html?iref=NS1">children taken hostage by a man wielding two swords have been set free. The 20 French children walked out of school unharmed and the perpetrator was arrested.

The New York Times reports on a in %3Ca%20href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/business/12advantage.html?src=me&ref=general">group of bankers who meet up every third Wednesday of the month to oversee trading in derivatives. The paper says the details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential but they are powerful, attempting to keep other banks out of their group.

In Slate Paige Ferrari describes her journey of becoming a waitress in %3Ca%20href="https://www.slate.com/id/2276982/">Japan's first branch of Hooters. She says the American chain restaurant's model of "burgers, beer, and boobs" doesn't appear to translate to the land of covered shoulders and small portions. But a close equivalent already exists in Tokyo's comic district where young women stand on the street dressed as French maids, entreating customers into cafes.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:29 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/11/jeremy-hunt-bbc-political-bias">Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in an interview with the Observer that it was clear to most people that more BBC employees would vote Labour or Lib Dem than Conservative. He also said the BBC had been out of touch with public opinion in the recent past and shown leftwing bias on Europe, immigration and Northern Ireland. The paper says he praised much that the BBC does, and said its journalists put their commitment to fair-minded reporting above "political affiliations".

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8197590/Royal-wedding-Huw-Edwards-to-lead-BBCs-coverage.html">Telegraph says the BBC has chosen Huw Edwards to lead its coverage of the Royal wedding. According to "BBC sources", the newsreader was favoured over David Dimbleby, the voice of State occasions for several decades, ending a long family tradition. The late Richard Dimbleby commentated on the coronation in 1953 and the funeral of George VI.

The blonde Russian accused of being a spy also worked for the BBC, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338099/Russian-spy-Katia-Zatuliveter-worked-BBC-got-job-MP.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail reports. Katia Zatuliveter was employed as a researcher on a major documentary in Moscow four months before she was arrested on suspicion of espionage.

ITV and Channel 4 shows such as Coronation Street and The Inbetweeners will soon be available to watch via Sony's PlayStation 3 games consoles for the first time %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/itv-channel-4-sony-playstation">reports the Guardian. The broadcasters are following in the footsteps of the BBC's iPlayer.

Fans of the Archers will be shocked by the 60th anniversary episode, according to its editor Vanessa Whitburn. %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/vanessa-whitburn-the-archers-interview">She tells the Guardian a special 30-minute anniversary episode will be broadcast on 2 January and it will "shake Ambridge to the core".

Jeremy Vine is to step down as presenter of Panorama at the end of the year, after four years %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/jeremy-vine-panorama-presenter-bbc">reports the Guardian. The programme is to go without a regular presenter.

Former painter and decorator Matt Cardle was crowned winner of The X Factor last night. Figures out today are expected to show it reached a record audience %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11979306">reports the BBC.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11980449">BBC's newspaper review says many of the papers lead with the news that the man suspected of a suicide bombing in Sweden on Saturday had links to the UK.

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/11/jeremy-hunt-bbc-political-bias">Guardian | Jeremy Hunt accuses BBC staff of leftwing bias
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8197590/Royal-wedding-Huw-Edwards-to-lead-BBCs-coverage.html">Telegraph | Royal wedding: Huw Edwards to lead BBC's coverage
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338099/Russian-spy-Katia-Zatuliveter-worked-BBC-got-job-MP.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail | 'Russian spy' Katia Zatuliveter worked for the BBC before she got job with MP
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/itv-channel-4-sony-playstation">Guardian | PlayStation 3 adds ITV and Channel 4 shows to on-demand lineup
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/vanessa-whitburn-the-archers-interview">Guardian | Fans of The Archers should prepare for a shock
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/13/jeremy-vine-panorama-presenter-bbc">Guardian | Jeremy Vine to step down as Panorama presenter
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11979306">BBC | Matt Cardle crowned X Factor winner
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11980449">BBC | Newspapers review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_124.html">Thursday's Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:54 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010

British riot police come under attack from flares as they clash with protestors during student demonstrations in Parliament Square, in London, on December 9, 2010

 

Commentators discuss how to police protests. The Home Secretary Theresa May will make a statement today on the policing of the tuition fees protests and she isn't ruling out the use of water cannons.

University of Cambridge history professor %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/simon-szreter-this-is-a-show-of-disrespect-for-the-people-in-defence-of-a-duplicitous-government-2158672.html">Simon Szreter argues in the Independent that the police method of controlling crowds should be illegal:

"Kettling is illegal elsewhere and it certainly should be here. I speak as someone who was kettled in Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge last Thursday, one of several thousand people held for nine hours at zero degrees without food, water, heat, toilets.
 
"The widely reproduced photograph of a youth urinating against the plinth of Winston Churchill's statue during the protest over tuition fees provides a disrespectful image, but kettling represents disrespect on a premeditated, industrial scale: degrading conditions of confinement enforcing the shame of performing one's natural functions in public. Put in the same position, where exactly would the Chief Constable have urinated?"

President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9280000/9280810.stm">Sir Hugh Orde says on the Today programme that the use of water cannons would not be proportionate to the violence at recent protests:

"The tactics used over the last week have been that small groups of very violent people have embedded themselves in large groups of very peaceful people. To try and use water cannon in that situation would be very difficult and would upset a lot of people."

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University of East Anglia law lecturer %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/dec/10/water-cannon-tear-gas-violent-disorder">David Mead explains in the Guardian the dilemma police are faced with:

"The problem the police face is this: against whom and when do they act? Under the Human Rights Act, they are under a duty to facilitate peaceful protest. If they act too soon or in too widespread a manner, they face charges of indiscriminate brutality at worst and at best wholesale erosion of innocent protesters' rights. If they delay or stand by reticently, they are castigated for giving succour to vandals and violence."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8196701/Tuition-fee-riots-We-must-take-steps-to-prevent-such-violence-again.html">Telegraph editorial predicts that police are going to face criticism whether they use water cannons or not but urges they prevent violence such as Thursday's again:

"In order to restrain the violent minority, what officers need above all is more support from the Government. Ministers must have the courage to stand up for the police, rather than remaining mute in an effort to deflect responsibility and blame. As the cuts intensify, there will certainly be many more protests like last Thursday's. We expect the authorities to make the strongest efforts to stop legitimate protests degenerating again into destructive violence."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1338002/Tuition-fees-protest-When-WILL-police-learn-tackle-anarchy-UK.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Janet Street Porter says in the Daily Mail the key to policing protests would be to identify the trouble makers early on, something she is surprised didn't happen on Thursday:

"Surely they could've worked out who was worth removing? The police tactic of kettling - pushing demonstrators into a confined space - has been shown to be unproductive. It enrages people and doesn't stop acts of vandalism.
 
"Unfortunately, the current string of tactical failures by police may produce a result even Tony Blair failed to achieve - turn our students into radical activists."

Former commissioner of the Metropolitan police %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/13/police-policy-confusion-protesters">Sir Ian Blair says in the Guardian that debate over policing protests shows a "remarkable lack of strategic thinking":

"The approach to policing public disorder in the UK, where police are in close physical contact with demonstrators (elsewhere water cannon and CS gas keep the demonstrators at a distance) causes difficulties, but is not explored. The police desperately need a locus for public discussion: to explain longer periods of pre-charge detention, to consider responses to suicide bombers, to debate stop and search powers and a myriad other points of public concern. I see no sign of such a development under this government, which is intent on the abolition of the limited home for police doctrinal discussion, the National Police Improvement Agency."

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/simon-szreter-this-is-a-show-of-disrespect-for-the-people-in-defence-of-a-duplicitous-government-2158672.html">Simon Szreter | Independent | This is a show of disrespect for the people in defence of a duplicitous government
• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9280000/9280810.stm">BBC Today | Student demo policing 'proportionate'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/dec/10/water-cannon-tear-gas-violent-disorder">David Mead | Guardian | Time to reconsider policing by consent?
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8196701/Tuition-fee-riots-We-must-take-steps-to-prevent-such-violence-again.html">Telegraph | We must take steps to prevent such violence again
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1338002/Tuition-fees-protest-When-WILL-police-learn-tackle-anarchy-UK.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Janet Street Porter | Daily Mail | When WILL police learn to tackle anarchy in the UK?
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/13/police-policy-confusion-protesters">Ian Blair | Guardian | How to think about the police

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 14:25 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The Guardian's latest revelation coming from Wikileaks implicates the world largest pharmaceutical company. According to a leaked US embassy cable, %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/09/wikileaks-cables-pfizer-nigeria">Pfizer hired investigators to find evidence of corruption on Nigerian attorney general to persuade him to drop legal action. Nine children died after a meningitis drug trial, but it was claimed Pfinzer hadn't obtained proper consent from their parents.

The Independent reports that a %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/brain-op-for-student-hit-by-truncheon-2156207.html">protester from Thursday's anti-university fees demonstrations is in hospital after a police officer hit him with a truncheon. The paper says as they tried to leave the area where protesters were being held in a police "kettling" operation, the second-year undergraduate suffered a blow to the head which left him unconscious with bleeding on the brain.

The Times relives %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article2838572.ece">Thursday's student protests as-it-happened in their live text page. The reporter signs off before the news of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall's car being attacked, but predicts, "The police are sending in reinforcements to clean up the demo outside Parliament. That will not be easy: the young protesters really have the bit between their teeth."

The Sun says %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3268159/Charles-Camillas-car-is-attacked-in-London-as-students-protest.html">Prince Charles also predicted problems getting through the protest. While hosting a tea party earlier in the day the paper says he jokes: "Hopefully we'll be able to brave our way through".

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is among 16 %3Ca%20href="https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703493504576007982500939482.html?mod=WSJ_hp_us_mostpop_read">billionaires who promise to give away the majority of their wealth. It's part of "the Giving Pledge" organised by software mogul Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to persuade the world's rich to boost their giving.

Slate asks %3Ca%20href="https://www.slate.com/id/2277301/">why no-one has heard of world champion surfer Kelly Slater. The 38 year old won his 10th world surfing championships this week. Despite that, he's unheard of - something the magazine puts down to surfing not working as a spectator sport, not least because of all the waiting around involved.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_the_coalition_after.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: The coalition after tuition fees vote

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:27 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010

Student protestors gather for a march on Parliament before the vote on Thursday

 

Commentators predict what the future will hold for the coalition after a parliamentary vote supported a rise in tuition fees.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/09/tuition-fees-vote-end-of-coalition">Martin Kettle predicts in the Guardian that the tuition fees vote marks the end of the beginning for the coalition:

"More than half of the Lib Dem backbenchers voted against the government. They were part of the largest revolt in the party's history. Collective governmental self-interest ensured that enough Tories went through the lobbies to win the vote. But the Lib Dems have exposed their divisions and wounds in the most public way. Things can never be quite the same."

Tory blogger %3Ca%20href="https://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2010/12/79-of-tory-members-do-not-want-coalition-to-continue-beyond-the-next-election.html">Tim Montgomerie argues in Conservative Home that Nick Clegg has lost his credibility but this isn't the only loss:

"The biggest loser is public faith in politics. The man who wooed the nation in that first election debate, promising to change politics, has made such a dramatic u-turn that he has brought politics into renewed contempt."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/216599/Patrick-O-Flynn">Patrick O'Flynn argues the in the Express that Liberal Democrat voters aren't the only ones turned off:

"It has deeply angered many people who are conservative by nature and never expected to find themselves in sympathy with demonstrators bringing central London to a halt. This story has a long way left to run."

%3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100067671/what-david-cameron-can-learn-from-nick-clegg-about-leadership/">Benedict Brogan says in the Telegraph that in future David Cameron should learn from Nick Clegg's leadership and have a higher profile:

"One of the outcome of this episode, I reckon, should be a review of the Coalition's strategy for handling these kind of awkward policy choices. Yes, Mr Clegg and his party are the ones who had to account for their change of view, but Mr Cameron can't rely on him to absorb all the blows. He'll need to spend more time with his own head above the parapet in the months to come."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1337331/Little-honour-ignoble-compromise.html">Daily Mail editorial gives advice on what policies the coalition should focus on now:

"At the end of the day, however, the hardest thing to accept is that we should be so ferociously taxed - and expected to pay such onerous student fees. The real challenge for ministers now is to turn their minds away from yesterday's ignoble compromise, and towards the tax cuts that would help Middle Britain to help itself."

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/09/tuition-fees-vote-end-of-coalition">Martin Kettle | Guardian | For the coalition, this is the end of the beginning
• %3Ca%20href="https://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2010/12/79-of-tory-members-do-not-want-coalition-to-continue-beyond-the-next-election.html">Tim Montgomerie | Conservative Home | 79% of Tory members don't want Coalition to continue beyond the next election
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/216599/Patrick-O-Flynn">Patrick O' Flynn | Express | These three never had to worry about debt or tuition fees
• %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100067671/what-david-cameron-can-learn-from-nick-clegg-about-leadership/">Benedict Brogan | Telegraph | What David Cameron can learn from Nick Clegg about leadership
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1337331/Little-honour-ignoble-compromise.html">Daily Mail | Little honour in this ignoble compromise

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:16 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The Telegraph reports %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8190285/Prince-William-makes-record-17bn-foreign-currency-trade.html">Prince William made the biggest voice-brokered foreign currency trade on Wednesday. The £14.2bn trade was part of a celebrity-filled fancy dress day on Icap's trading floor which raised over £11m for charity.

The Daily Mail reports the latest Wikileaks story. It says computer %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336806/WikiLeaks-hackers-Operation-Payback-cyber-war-targets-Swedish-Government.html">hackers have sent two of the world's biggest credit card companies into meltdown in revenge for cutting off payments to the WikiLeaks website.

The Sun says %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3267358/X-Factor-Christina-Aguilera-XXX-pix-emerge.html">naked photos of singer Christina Aguilera have emerged. The article says the pictures were clearly intended to be private.

The Mirror describes Simon Cowell's open letter concerning the %3Ca%20href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2010/12/08/simon-cowell-has-written-an-open-letter-to-stop-the-x-factor-hitting-a-crisis-over-the-semi-final-controversy-115875-22768823/">X Factor voting controversy. The letter asked fans to keep faith after thousands asked for a refund when, unexpectedly judges, instead of instead of phone votes, determined who would enter the semi-final.

The New Scientist gives details of %3Ca%20href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19825-new-gadget-promises-3d-without-the-headaches.html">new 3D glasses that work on 2D screens. The glasses fool the brain into perceiving depth using a trick of the called synoptic vision.

Newsweek asks if we are %3Ca%20href="https://www.newsweek.com/2010/12/07/are-we-running-out-of-antibiotics.html">running out of antibiotics. As more bacteria become resistant to the most powerful drugs in our arsenal, it argues for a need to change the way we think about treating infection.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:07 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Hackers have attacked the websites of credit card giants Mastercard and Visa, after the companies stopped processing payments to the whistle-blowing site Wikileaks, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11935539">BBC reports.

As Coronation Street celebrates its 50th anniversary with an hour-long live episode tonight, William Roache, who appeared as Ken Barlow in the first episode, says the term "soap" diminishes the series. %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8189426/William-Roache-When-Coronation-Street-started-we-were-a-cutting-edge-drama-serial.html">He tells the Daily Telegraph that when it started it was "cutting-edge, kitchen-sink" drama.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11935400">I explain in my analysis of Coronation Street's its impact on ITV and its viewers.
Without the financial security of Corrie, it is unlikely that Granada could have afforded its award-winning dramas such as Brideshead Revisited and Jewel in the Crown.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=46410&c=1">Press Gazette reports that the Sunday Times will become the latest - and biggest - newspaper to launch an iPhone app this weekend. It will offer access to all 12 sections plus a new interactive TV guide. It will be available for £1.79 a week.

The foreign correspondent is an endangered species, %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/08/long-live-the-foreign-correspondent">writes Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian. He says only a few news organisations such as the BBC and New York Times have worldwide networks of correspondents.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11955744">BBC's newspaper review says several papers lead on the computer hackers' attack on Mastercard, in revenge for cutting off payments to Wikileaks. They say the attack highlights the vulnerability of the world's computer systems.

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11935539">BBC | Anonymous hacktivists say Wikileaks war to continue
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8189426/William-Roache-When-Coronation-Street-started-we-were-a-cutting-edge-drama-serial.html">Telegraph | 'When Coronation Street started we were a cutting-edge drama serial'
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11935400">BBC | Why Coronation Street is an enduring TV hit
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=46410&c=1">Press Gazette | Sunday Times iPad app to launch on Friday
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/08/long-live-the-foreign-correspondent">Timothy Garton Ash | Guardian | The foreign correspondent is dead.
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11955744">BBC | Newspaper review.

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_123.html">Wednesday's Media Brief

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_the_nobel_prize_for.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: The Nobel prize for Chinese dissident

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:30 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

Liu Xiaobo

 

Commentators discuss the implications of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo despite fierce opposition from the Chinese government.

In the global edition of Chinese government press agency's site Xinhua %3Ca%20href="https://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-12/08/c_13640981.htm">Ji Shiping argues that by giving a convict the prize, the Committee "pulled the old trick" of trying to impose Western values on the rest of the world:

"Liu has done everything he could to subvert the Chinese government, and that suits the strategy of some organizations and people in the West toward China. That's why some people in the West immediately embraced the Nobel Committee's decision, launching a new round of China-bashing."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8189833/Liu-Xiaobo-wins-Nobel-China-loses-face-with-boycott-of-peace-prize.html">Peter Foster says in the Telegraph that China's reaction to the criticism is like that of an adolescent:

"If China sees itself as a future superpower that will one day rival America for global pre-eminence, it had better get used to putting up with the kind of criticism that comes with being the big kid on the block. From invading Iraq to the setting up of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, America has taken decisions that have drawn the world's opprobrium, even hatred, in recent years. However it hasn't hesitated to justify or, if necessary, modify actions many have felt unconscionable.
 
"It is a measure of China's worrying brittleness that it could not take the Nobel Committee's decision on the chin and argue the case for its authoritarian system of government and the political stability it brings to a country barely three decades out of dictatorship."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/camillacavendish/article2838119.ece">Camilla Cavendish says in the Times [subscription required] that the list of countries boycotting the prize giving at the request of China illustrates that the West has lost its monopoly on economic and political power:

"The absence of Saudi Arabia, Russia and China tomorrow underlines a shift in the global balance of power from liberal democracies to resource-rich dictatorships. It was once axiomatic that economic growth would eventually create a middle class that would successfully demand democracy. No longer. Zhang Zuhua, Dr Liu's co-author of Charter 08, a manifesto for human rights, said last week that the Communist Party risks triggering a revolution if it fails to reform. But that doesn't look like happening any time soon."

While the %3Ca%20href="https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/No-bowing-to-Chinese-demand/articleshow/7067266.cms">Times of India's editorial supports India's move to ignore China's request not to attend, in the same paper %3Ca%20href="https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Not-worth-a-quarrel-with-China/articleshow/7067255.cms">Anil Thakkar argues the Nobel prize is not worth a quarrel:

"Chinese attempts to block an Asian Development Bank loan to India, tension over the status of Arunachal Pradesh, its backing for Pakistani attempts to keep Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed on the UN terror list - these are the substantive issues New Delhi should be focussing on. And to engage Beijing on these, it must face up to the reality that it's in a geopolitically weaker position than its northern neighbour at the moment and work towards creating a conducive atmosphere for dialogue."

International director of the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders %3Ca%20href="https://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-xia-nobelist-20101209,0,469228.story">Renee Xia says in the Los Angeles Times President Obama, last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, has a special responsibility to advocate for the freedom of fellow laureate Liu:

"Obama should attend the Nobel ceremony and take the opportunity to speak publicly about China's worsening human rights conditions. He should ask Chinese President Hu Jintao to free Liu, release his wife from house arrest and allow them to travel to Oslo. Indeed, Obama has a solemn responsibility to speak for the Chinese citizens who cannot, to give substance to the words in his acceptance speech in Oslo a year ago: 'Peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please, choose their own leaders or assemble without fear.'"

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-12/08/c_13640981.htm">Ji Shiping | Xinhua | Not worth a quarrel with China
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8189833/Liu-Xiaobo-wins-Nobel-China-loses-face-with-boycott-of-peace-prize.html">Peter Foster | Telegraph | China loses face with boycott of peace prize
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/camillacavendish/article2838119.ece">Camilla Cavendish | Times | China wins a skirmish, but may lose the war
• %3Ca%20href="https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/No-bowing-to-Chinese-demand/articleshow/7067266.cms">Times of India | No bowing to Chinese demand
• %3Ca%20href="https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Not-worth-a-quarrel-with-China/articleshow/7067255.cms">Anil Thakkar | Times of India | Not worth a quarrel with China
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-xia-nobelist-20101209,0,469228.story">Renee Xia | Los Angeles Times | The missing Nobel laureate

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 13:53 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

On its live text page the Guardian relives the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2010/dec/07/wikileaks-us-embassy-cables-live-updates">arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape. Of Mr Assange's lawyer, the article says "We are hanging on every word of Mark Stephens at the moment".

The Australian carries a comment piece from Mr Assange, written before his arrest. In the article %3Ca%20href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/dont-shoot-messenger-for-revealing-uncomfortable-truths/story-fn775xjq-1225967241332">Mr Assange says the US is trying to have it both ways by claiming that the contents of cables are not significant and that the release will endanger lives.

The Telegraph reports the %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8187947/Honeymoon-husband-Dewani-arrested-over-wifes-murder.html">husband of a woman murdered on her honeymoon in South Africa has been arrested in the UK. Shrien Dewani is suspected of offering a taxi driver £1,400 to arrange for his new wife to be shot dead in a staged carjacking.

The Daily Mail says %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336565/Tesco-row-Clubcard-double-points-promotion-causes-chaos.html">Tesco supermarkets are being "swamped" with complaints. It follows a deal which offered to double the value of points and vouchers held on the Clubcards. On the day of the deadline of the offer, the Tesco website crashed and stores saw long queues.

The Sun publishes the claim by ex-Baywatch star and Playboy model Donna D'Errico that airport security staff %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/3265505/Baywatch-babe-in-naked-scan-fury.html">selected her for a full body scan because she was sexy. Controversy surrounded the introduction of the scans in the US but the Sun reports security officials deny any wrongdoing.

Slate issues a %3Ca%20href="https://www.slate.com/id/2276919/">scathing review of last week's alien life form find. The Nasa sponsored research found life that lives off arsenic instead of phosphorous, like every other living organism. Now Slate has lined up a collection of critics who are arguing the paper was so flawed it shouldn't have been published.

Forbes magazine says that for the third time in three years, the world has a new richest man. Coming up at the %3Ca%20href="https://www.forbes.com/2010/03/10/worlds-richest-people-slim-gates-buffett-billionaires-2010_land.html?boxes=Homepagemostpopular">top of Forbe's list of the world's billionaires is Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu. The Telecoms tycoon has beaten Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to the top of the list.

Boston Globe tells of the settlement made by Carl Shapiro to %3Ca%20href="https://www.boston.com/business/articles/2010/12/08/madoff_client_settles_with_us_for_625m/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed1">return $625m Bernie Madoff stole from other people and paid to him over four decades. The Globe says 97 year-old Mr Shapiro is one of Boston's most generous philanthropists and also one of Madoff's most enduring clients and friend.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:07 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/07/lord-patten-bbc-trust-chairman">Guardian reports that Lord Patten of Barnes, the former Conservative cabinet minister and Governor of Hong Kong, has applied to be the next chairman of the BBC Trust. Interviews for Sir Michael Lyons' successor are due to take place next month.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1336663/X-Factor-2010-Final-rake-record-25-million-night.html">Daily Mail says this weekend's X Factor final will be the most lucrative British TV show of all time, with ITV expecting to rake in £25m in advertising revenue. The show could earn an astonishing £10,000 per second as 30-second commercial break slots sell for as much as £300,000.

The NUJ has voted to accept the BBC's pensions offer agreed at Acas, but said it would review its position when the actual scale of the pensions deficit is revealed in spring next year, %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/07/bbc-pensions-dispute-ends">reports the Guardian.

Coronation Street's dramatic tram crash was watched by an average 13 million viewers on Monday night, with a peak audience of 14.6 million %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11935407">reports the BBC.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11945329">BBC's newspaper review says the arrest of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is the lead for several newspapers. The Independent says informal discussions have already been held between American and Swedish officials about the possibility of Mr Assange being delivered into US custody.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/07/lord-patten-bbc-trust-chairman">Guardian | Lord Patten applies for BBC Trust chairmanship
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1336663/X-Factor-2010-Final-rake-record-25-million-night.html">Daily Mail | The most lucrative TV show of all time
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/07/bbc-pensions-dispute-ends">Guardian | BBC pensions dispute settled
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11935407">BBC | Coronation Street tram crash pulls in 13m viewers
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11945329">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_122.html">Tuesday's Media Brief


%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_prison_reform_1.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: Prison reform

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:43 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Prison

 

Commentators discuss Justice Secretary Ken Clarke's plans to reduce prison numbers.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/maryriddell/8185049/Clarkes-justice-revolution-might-not-succeed-but-its-worth-a-go.html">Mary Riddell says in the Telegraph that Ken Clarke's justice revolution might not succeed but it's worth a go:

"The only certainty is that the lock-'em-up evangelism of recent decades gave rise to a fearful and more brutalised society. Our prison system is a national scandal. Too often a petri dish for career criminals, it is, at its most squalid and destructive, an affront to civilization. It is a tribute to Ken Clarke that he, through pragmatism rather than ideology, should act to end that blight, and a measure of Mr Cameron's liberalism that, with some provisos, he should let him. If the Justice Secretary succeeds - and it is a big if - then ours will be a saner and a safer country."

The mental health charity Rethink's %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/07/ken-clarke-credit-mental-health-prisons">Mark Davies suggests in the Guardian Ken Clarke's focus on mental health is strategic:

"Clarke's big mistake was to make reducing prison numbers a policy objective; the better approach is to deal with offenders in the most effective way on behalf of wider society, and that often means a non-custodial option. But having set out his plan, Clarke is in a dilemma. Most of the obvious ways of reducing the use of prison are politically unpalatable and, while Clarke's historic status as a bogeyman of the Tory right is preserved with his green paper, it's clear the process has involved 'detailed discussions' with No 10, which have led to some of the perceived softer elements being dropped along with some of the tough stuff. So, the focus on mental health means this is seen as a key way of reducing prison numbers as well as dealing more effectively with people with mental illness in the justice system."

Ex-offender and former Conservative MP %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2835071.ece">Jonathan Aitken highlights in the Times [subscription required] a potential problem for the pay-by-results plans but overall supports the plans:

"Stricter rehabilitation will be successful only when it reduces the rate of reoffending. So the Government is introducing six payment-by-result schemes. Operators will get paid after they have reduced the rate of reoffending by released prisoners by at least 7.5 per centage points from the present average level of 61 per cent...
 
"Yet there is a worry that payment by results could merely mean big contracts for big companies. Everyone at the coalface of offender rehabilitation knows that the best results are often achieved by small platoons from the voluntary sector. Local charities, such as Surrey Jobmatch, which finds 60 jobs a year for men and women coming out of jail with employers around Dorking, should be encouraged."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-a-courageous-challenge-to-the-conventional-wisdom-2153869.html">Independent's editorial also points out a problem with concentrating on rehabilitation:

"If there are reservations about Mr Clarke's proposals, it is that the prison budget is facing such severe cuts that rehabilitation programmes risk being under-funded. Yet sending fewer offenders to prison ought to create a virtuous circle: less overcrowded prisons will mean that the ratio of staff to offenders will be lower. A smaller population should enable more of the prison's budget to be spent on tackling drug and alcohol abuse and on other rehabilitation schemes. This is one area of public spending where it is possible to envisage more being done for less."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1336657/Kenneth-Clarkes-crime-gamble.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail's editorial supports the emphasis on rehabilitation but is not as keen on the aim to reduce the prison population:

"Yes, Mr Clarke is right to say our prisons are scandalously ineffective at preventing reoffending. But is that any surprise, when he himself admits they're mere warehouses, without discipline and rife with drugs, where no serious attempts at rehabilitation are made?
 
"Shouldn't he change that, instead of exposing the public to danger by leaving more criminals - including knife-carrying thugs - at large?"

While most commentators may have their qualms about specific parts of the plan, overall they support it. The same can not be said for %3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/rodliddle/6522458/lock-him-up.thtml">Rod Liddle in the Spectator who argues the idea prison doesn't work is flawed:

"It's one thing to argue that we haven't got enough money to lock people up - although the corollary might be that we haven't got enough money NOT to lock people up, given the social and economic cost - but another entirely to claim, conveniently, that we shouldn't lock them up even if we had the money to do so"

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-a-courageous-challenge-to-the-conventional-wisdom-2153869.html">Independent | A courageous challenge to the conventional wisdom
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/07/ken-clarke-credit-mental-health-prisons">Mark Davies | Guardian | Ken Clarke's focus on mental health is bold and progressive
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2835071.ece">Jonathan Aitkin | Times | The Tories are tiptoeing to a prison revolution
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/maryriddell/8185049/Clarkes-justice-revolution-might-not-succeed-but-its-worth-a-go.html">Mary Riddell | Telegraph | Ken Clarke's justice revolution might not succeed - but it's worth a go
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1336657/Kenneth-Clarkes-crime-gamble.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail | Kenneth Clarke's crime gamble
%3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/rodliddle/6522458/lock-him-up.thtml">Rod Liddle | Spectator | Lock him up

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:18 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The Times mulls over Radio 4 presenter %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article2834153.ece">James Naughtie’s on air slip on air. He mixed up the first letter of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s surname with the first letter of his job title. The Times reports Mr Naughtie just wants to forget his claims.

The Daily Mail says that the %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336325/Euro-risk-collapse-say-Treasury-">euro is at risk of collapse. The news comes from Britain’s independent Treasury watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility which announced that the consensus is that the single currency will eventually fail.

CNN reports the latest in the %3Ca%20href="https://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/12/07/california.proposition.8.case/index.html?hpt=P1">legal battle over same-sex marriage which is being considered by a panel of California federal appeals court judges. Proposal 8 which says marriage is a union between a man and a woman was passed by Californian voters and is now being appealed as against the equal protection clause of the US constitution.

The Economist %3Ca%20href="https://www.economist.com/node/17629709">questions whether America and China are condemned to be rivals. It says that unlike previous threats to America China doesn’t want to export its ideology or amass new colonies. On top of that, both China and the US want to export, so want a stable world.

In the New Statesman Mehdi Hasan says he’s fed up with the %3Ca%20href="https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/12/world-cup-2022-qatar-gay-gulf">negative reaction to Fifa's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. He asks people to calm down about the location being too hot and lacking a football legacy as the same was true in the US.

The San Fransico Chronicle reports on a joke gone wrong. John Toomey, known for 20 years as the Santa in department store Macy's has been %3Ca%20href="https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/07/MNC91GML7O.DTL">fired for saying a naughty joke.

Mr Toomey explained his repertoire to the paper: "When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they've been good and they say, 'Yes,' I say, 'Gee, that's too bad,' " Toomey said.
"Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it's because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live."

The Irish Independent’s most read story is about a Japanese discount store which has %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/world-news/japanese-hitler-outfit-dropped-2451091.html">pulled its Hitler costumes from the shelves. Aico, the Japanese costume makers, has been making the items for seven years but the store Don Quijote has now withdrawn the item after complaints from a Jewish rights organisation.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/us_tax_cut_debate_liberal_ire.html" rel="bookmark">US media on tax cuts: Liberal ire at Republican 'win'

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/host/">Host | 14:24 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

President Barack Obama and the Republicans have %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11933043">struck a deal that would extend tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 by President George W Bush while extending public benefits for the unemployed, if approved by Congress.

Furious liberals say Mr Obama caved into Republican demands for lower tax rates for wealthy Americans at a time of soaring budget deficts, while US media outlets are calling it a victory for the Republicans, who for the moment control neither the House nor the Senate.

The editorial board of the %3Ca%20href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/opinion/07tue1.html?ref=opinion">New York Times described the deal as "a win for the Republicans and their strategy of obstructionism and a disappointing retreat by the White House":

We suppose it could have been worse. The deal could help to stimulate the weak economy. And if the Republicans had blocked an extension of unemployment benefits, as they were threatening to, millions of Americans would have suffered greatly.

But the country can't afford to continue tax cuts for the rich indefinitely. And by kicking the issue down the road to 2012 - a presidential election year - it all but guarantees more craven politicking then.

In terms of the deal's effect on the economy, %3Ca%20href="https://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/12/an_imperfect_but_not-that-bad.html?hpid=topnews">the Washington Post's Ezra Klein is underwhelmed. He says the deal is "anti-contractionary rather than stimulative" because it prevents government programmes from expiring rather than pumping much needed new money into the economy:

What you can say about this policy is that, for the moment, it doesn't make things much worse, and it probably makes them a bit better. This is not the government making a major new commitment to the recovery. It's the government not getting in the way, and maybe doing a bit to help, the horribly slow recovery that's happening anyway.

ABC News's man at the White House, Jake Tapper, %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/12/senior-white-house-official-we-wanted-a-fight-too-congressional-dems-wouldnt-throw-a-punch.html">writes the White House will have two arguments in its bid to sell the deal to the Congressional Democrats who will have to ratify it in a vote:

1) We wanted a fight on these tax cuts, and Congressional Democrats never took up the charge and held a vote;

2) This is a good deal - and we weren't willing to let taxes go up on middle class Americans, or to deprive the unemployed of insurance benefits, just to prove a political point.

Veteran liberal commentator %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/dec/07/obama-administration-republicans-the-tax-deal">Michael Tomasky, the Guardian's American editor-at-large, writes the White House should not walk away from this thinking it got a good deal, but the fact a compromise happened at all is progress of a sort:

It didn't have to come to this, and these last couple of weeks have been a real political nadir for Democrats. Obama still failed here to keep a central campaign promise that was important to liberals - that tax rates go back to 39% on the top 2% of earners. He and all the Democrats need to learn here that they have to fight harder and earlier and with more unity (yeah, right!) in the future, or they're just going to keep ceding ground.

At the blog of conservative journal the National Review, John Pitney, a professor of American politics, %3Ca%20href="https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/254658/checking-president-obama-john-j-pitney-jr">writes that what liberals decry as Republican intrasigence on the tax issue is a sign the democracy is functioning as its founders intended:

The president compromised on taxes because he didn't want to have a big, ugly across-the-board tax hike next year. The House Democrats didn't pass a tax hike for the rich because they knew it would die in the Senate, leaving them with a risky vote on their record and nothing to show for it... In other words, the separation of powers, bicamerialism, and federalism are all kicking in to check the Obama administration. The system is working in comformance to the owner's manual, otherwise known as %3Ca%20href="https://thomas.loc.gov/home/histdox/fedpapers.html">The Federalist Papers.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:28 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie has apologised for causing offence live on air by mispronouncing Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's surname. Later Andrew Marr repeated the four-letter expletive on Radio 4's Start the Week programme. "We're not going to repeat it in quite the terms it happened," he told listeners, before doing precisely that, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11925556">BBC reports.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/06/radio-4-james-naughtie-jeremy-hunt?intcmp=239">Guardian says the BBC suffered another embarrassment after a man interviewed on Radio 4's World at One, who claimed to be a Liberal Democrat MP, was revealed to be an imposter.

Simon Cowell hit back at claims Sunday's X Factor result was a fix, dismissing fans' fears of a conspiracy as "nonsense". The %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3263617/Simon-Cowell-rubbishes-X-Factor-fix-claims.html">Sun says angry fans suspected that a 'sing-off' was brought in at the last minute "to ensure headline-grabbing Cher Lloyd, 17, got into the final rather than mumsy Mary Byrne, 51". Cowell tells the paper: "There has always been a sing-off when there are five people left in the competition." Ofcom has had 200 complaints.

A sound artist has won the Turner Prize for the first time, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11928557">BBC reports. Susan Philipsz's sound installation features her singing three versions of a Scottish lament. The Glasgow-born artist, 45, was presented with the £25,000 prize last night at a ceremony at Tate Britain.

Nine days after the Wikileaks website began releasing secret US diplomatic cables, the %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11933848">BBC's newspaper review shows papers say the pressure on its founder Julian Assange is intensifying. The Guardian expects Mr Assange to appear in court in Britain on Tuesday. BBC papers review.

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11925556">BBC | Today presenter James Naughtie slips up on air
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/06/radio-4-james-naughtie-jeremy-hunt?intcmp=239">Guardian | Radio 4 follows Jeremy Hunt gaffe by interviewing fake MP
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3263617/Simon-Cowell-rubbishes-X-Factor-fix-claims.html">Sun | Cowell: We have done nothing wrong
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11928557">BBC | Turner Prize: Susan Philipsz wins with Lowlands Away
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11933848">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_121.html">Friday's Media Brief

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_suspected_russian_s.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: Alleged Russian spy

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:37 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Commentators consider the implications of the arrest of MP Mike Hancock's aide over suspicions she has been spying for Russia.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/benmacintyre/article2835055.ece">Ben Macintyre says in the Times [subscription required] that the British media has been distracted by the myth of the honey trap created by an attractive spy but that in reality Russia is serious about spying and the UK needs to get over the idea ofwomen being spies:

“Russia’s spymasters have never been in any doubt that women make excellent spies, and the deepest of sleepers. The Kremlin has also, I suspect, worked out that if a female agent is exposed, the West’s prurient chauvinism will ensure that she is seen as a sex object more than a threat.
 
“Russia is currently orchestrating an intelligence campaign that is energetic, well funded, exceedingly dangerous and oddly undisguised - part of a global muscle-flexing display that ranges from the World Cup bid to the corridors of Westminster.”

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/06/mike-hancock-case-spying">Guardian’s security editor Richard Norton-Taylor queries the logic of a spy planting Parliamentary questions:

“Incriminating evidence, we are told, is that Hancock has tabled questions to ministers about the Trident missile system. Well, so have many other MPs, including members of the opposition front bench and rightwing Tory backbenchers. Some journalists, including this writer, also want to know rather more about the cost and timescale of the government's plans for replacing Trident.
 
“To suggest that an MP will get secret information hidden from the rest of us simply because he is a member of the Commons defence committee is naive. And in the case of the parliamentary questions, there is no attempt at subterfuge. Serious spying, as MI5 knows, is done silently, or as silently as possible. Planting parliamentary questions is akin to shouting from the rooftops.”

Ex-KGB colonel and MI6 double agent %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/8185810/Russian-spies-they-cant-take-their-eyes-off-us.html">Oleg Gordievsky disagrees in the Telegraph saying Katia Zatuliveter would have been worth more than all other London recruits together:

“Zatuliveter was in a position where she had access to strategic, political and military secrets; where she was able to ask official questions of the British government, while working for a Member of Parliament; and all the time was meeting a string of influential and interesting people. No normal officer would be able to obtain such information, to go to the House of Commons or the European Parliament, or to meet such important contacts. She would have been a treasure for the London station.”

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/06/mi5-russian-aide-row-advantage-moscow">Harry Ferguson worries in the Guardian that expelling one minor suspected agent could prove to be very costly for Britain:

“[T]his case also represents a serious failure for the British intelligence services. They would have wanted to keep this expulsion very low key for fear of provoking retaliation by the Russian government. Both MI5 and SIS have extensive news management departments for this very purpose. However, this case is now front-page news, and there is a grave danger that the Russians might see the entire incident as an attack on their national honour.”

Conservative %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/8185810/Russian-spies-they-cant-take-their-eyes-off-us.html">Lord Tebbit says in the Telegraph that the fact Ms Zatuliveter was working for Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock adds to the Lib Dems’ image as amateurs:

“The trouble is that, funny as it all is, it adds to the picture of a Government which all too often goes about its business in a singularly unstructured, slap-happy, ill-disciplined way…
 
“Contrast that with the way Thatcher’s Conservatives conducted themselves in 1984, when with one Member of Parliament and four other representatives murdered, two Cabinet Ministers and dozens of other people wounded, some close to death, the Conference continued next day on schedule. The difference is the difference between jelly and steel, or purpose and muddle.”

Links in full


• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/06/mi5-russian-aide-row-advantage-moscow">Harry Ferguson | Guardian | Russian aide row: advantage Moscow
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/06/mike-hancock-case-spying">Richard Norton-Taylor | Guardian | I spy a lot of innuendo in the Mike Hancock case
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/benmacintyre/article2835055.ece">Ben Macintyre | Times | Russian spying isn’t dead. It’s merely sleeping
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/8185810/Russian-spies-they-cant-take-their-eyes-off-us.html">Oleg Gordievsky | Telegraph | Russian spies: they can’t take their eyes off us
• %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/normantebbit/100066919/the-antics-of-the-lib-dems-are-funny-but-they-create-the-impression-of-a-chaotic-coalition/">Norman Tebbit | Telegraph | The antics of the Lib Dems create the impression of a chaotic Coalition

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 14:18 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The Guardian reports that the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord">US spied to gather dirt on nations opposed to its climate policy in order to get leverage in negotiations. The allegations come from the secret US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.

The Telegraph reports Radio 4 presenter %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8183456/James-Naughtie-veteran-Radio-4-Today-presenter-in-Jeremy-Hunt-on-air-gaffe.html">James Naughtie’s on-air gaffe. On the Today programme Mr Naughtie mixed up the first letter of the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s title with the first letter of his surname. The Independent adds that within hours %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/bbc-presenters-apologise-over-hunt-name-slipup-2152527.html">Andrew Marr made the same mistake when talking about Freudian slips on Radio 4’s Start the Week.

The Sun complains of a %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3261129/Mary-Byrne-axed-after-change-to-X-Factor-vote-rule.html">voting scandal on the X Factor. After viewers had been promised that their votes alone would determine who would end up in the semi-final, the judges chose out of the final two, saving “brat” Cher Lloyd. The Mirror wearily asks “%3Ca%20href="https://3am.co.uk/x-factor-viewers-complain-about-judges-selecting-finalists/25244/">do we really have the energy for another X Factor voting scandal?”

After servers and domain name providers booted out Wikileaks, Kevin Poulsen in Wired %3Ca%20href="https://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/wikileaks-domain/">what made Wikileaks vulnerable. Among them, Mr Poulsen says, is the avoidable threat from using a free domain name supplier rather than a secure paid-for service.

The Wall Street Journal charts the %3Ca%20href="https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704679204575646472655698844.html?mod=WSJ_hp_us_mostpop_read">rise of China as an arms dealer. Having been the main buyer of Russian arms after its economy collapsed, China has now managed to clone their fighter jets and are undercutting Russia in the developing world.

Time Magazine reports that %3Ca%20href="https://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2030897,00.html">dogs are helping ex-soldiers not just with physical disabilities but now with post-traumatic stress disorder. Dogs are trained to lick their owner to wake them up when they are having a nightmare, look around the corner to see there’s nothing in the next shopping aisle and to reassure their owners that their blind spots are covered by watching their back.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:55 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

Every community in the UK will gain access to superfast broadband by 2015 under a new scheme announced by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The private sector is to tackle two thirds of the UK. Other, mainly rural, areas will receive public funds to build a "digital hub" with a fibre optic internet connection. The government has earmarked £830m for the scheme, using money from the BBC via the TV licence fee.

%3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9259000/9259428.stm">Jeremy Hunt said on Radio 4's Today Programme that broadband access could create up to 600,000 jobs.

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The BBC Director-General %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/05/bbc-mark-thompson-half-billion-cuts">Mark Thompson has told Media Guardian that he aims to make annual savings of £500m following the recent licence fee settlement. He said the BBC would have to operate on a smaller staff than its current 23,000 but promised that no TV channels or radio stations would come off air because of lack of resources.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11921496">Mr Thompson also said on the Andrew Marr Show that the freezing of the licence fee for the next six years would result in the BBC making fewer hours of programmes "but to higher quality". He said the deal, announced in October, had been "a tough settlement but a good settlement".

%3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/opinion/stephen-glover/stephen-glover-what-desmond-wants-desmond-usually-gets-2152211.html">Stephen Glover says in the Independent that people shouldn't laugh at Richard Desmond's boast - in an interview with Management Today - that he offered Rupert Murdoch £1bn for his four UK newspapers. He says Mr Desmond usually gets what he wants.

Ann Widdecombe, self-proclaimed 'dancing elephant', was finally voted off Strictly Come Dancing. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1335892/Strictly-Come-Dancing-2010-Ann-Widdecombe-inspires-60s-dance.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail says she remained defiant, insisting she had entertained viewers and inspired a generation of older women to try dancing - even if they worried they would not be any good.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/06/coronation-street-50th-birthday-itv">Guardian reports that Coronation Street will celebrate its 50th anniversary this week with a dramatic storyline featuring a devastating tram crash.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/happy-birthday-chuck-fifty-years-of-a-northern-tv-legend-2151490.html">In the Independent on Sunday Tony Livesey salutes Coronation Street as a northern phenomenon.

The story of the Russian-born parliamentary aide facing deportation from the UK accused of spying is carried by many of Monday's papers. Russian media reports consider her treatment "revenge" over the 2018 World Cup vote, reports the Daily Telegraph. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11923889">BBC newspaper review rounds-up how the story is covered.

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11922424">BBC | Government reveals super-fast broadband plans
• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9259000/9259428.stm">Jeremy Hunt | BBC | Today Government 'raises the game' on broadband
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/05/bbc-mark-thompson-half-billion-cuts">Guardian | Thompson aiming to make cuts of half a billion pounds
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11921496">BBC | Mark Thompson pledges 'higher quality' BBC
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/opinion/stephen-glover/stephen-glover-what-desmond-wants-desmond-usually-gets-2152211.html">Stephen Glover | Independent | What Desmond wants, Desmond usually gets
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1335892/Strictly-Come-Dancing-2010-Ann-Widdecombe-inspires-60s-dance.html?ito=feeds-newsxml">Daily Mail | Public finally tire of Ann Widdecombe
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/06/coronation-street-50th-birthday-itv">Guardian | Coronation Street blasts into the future on its 50th birthday
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/happy-birthday-chuck-fifty-years-of-a-northern-tv-legend-2151490.html">Tony Livesey | Independent | Happy birthday, chuck! Fifty years of a Northern TV legend
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11923889">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_120.html">Friday's Media Brief

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:36 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

A group of students stage a protest at the London constituency office of Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat party.

 

Ahead of Thursday's vote on top-up fees commentators analyse the split within the Lib Dems and the effectiveness of student protests.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2833602.ece">Steve Smith supports the rise in tuition fees in the Times [subscription required], arguing that otherwise student numbers will be slashed:

"With no apparent Plan B on offer, Universities UK has been looking at how the Government might respond. Put simply, the only possibilities involve either cutting what is left of the teaching budget or huge cuts in student numbers. We can see no alternative, given that cuts have already been allocated to the budget. Opponents of the fee increase believe they are being socially progressive, but the outcome would be exactly the opposite. The opportunity for a generation to progress via a university education would be slashed."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/05/lib-dem-tuition-fees-cost-dearly">In the Guardian Jackie Ashley is torn between laughing at the predicament the Lib Dems are in and fearing for future university students:

"The students are right to protest. A few are going about it stupidly, not realising that for every vandalised police van or smashed window, tens of thousands of lower-income taxpayers think - well, to hell with them. But this very public back-tracking on a key election pledge is a disaster for the Lib Dems. It is also a terrible time for higher education. And no, despite the risible side of the party's plight, very few of us feel like laughing."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/matthewd_ancona/8181482/Nick-Clegg-should-forget-his-wobble-and-whip-his-party-into-line.html">Matthew d'Ancona says in the Telegraph that the tension in the Lib Dems is a natural part of their transition from a protest movement with a Parliamentary wing to part of the government:

"If I were Clegg, I would blow my nose, put 'wobble-gate' firmly behind me, and announce a three-line whip at Tuesday's meeting of his parliamentary party, telling this spoilt gang that they are no longer in the freshers' fair of meaningless pledges, but a party of government. The ditching of this pledge is indeed an almighty U-turn - leaving an ugly 'skidmark' on the tarmac, as Cable put it - and one for which the Lib Dems have already paid a heavy price in popularity. But that's government for you. Which would they prefer? The purity of impotence or the mess and opprobrium of power?"

%3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1336027/Clegg-wobbling-like-jelly-Cable-flipping-like-pinball-machine-If-great-Coalition-dream-Lord-help-us.html?ITO=1490">In the Daily Mail Melanie Phillips urges Nick Clegg to get his party in line:

"This is the politics of infantilism. But instead of telling his party to grow up, Mr Clegg is apparently consulting his rank-and-file - before deciding whether or not to vote for a policy put together by one of his party's own ministers. Barmy or what?
 
"The really perplexing thing is that - unlike his party members who are famously away with the fairies - Mr Clegg is supposed to be the realist who understands that political power necessarily entails hard choices. The source of the problem would seem to be that Mr Clegg has experienced a political panic attack."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/05/students-provide-spark-flames-all-us">Gary Younge predicts in the Guardian that while students' power is limited their anger and revolt can prove contagious, just as the student Franklin McCain did when he entered a whites-only counter at Woolworths in 1960:

"[W]hile students can be the spark for the broader struggles ahead, history tells us that they are unlikely to be the flame itself. Students and the young might be the most likely to protest, but they are among the least likely to vote - if indeed they are even eligible to vote - and cannot withdraw their labour to any devastating effect. McCain's stand gave courage to the sharecroppers and domestic workers; the French students in 1968 bolstered the confidence of factory workers. The threat British students pose - much like the financial crisis bringing them on to the streets - is of contagion. That their energy, enthusiasm, militancy, rage and raucousness might burn in us all."

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/matthewd_ancona/8181482/Nick-Clegg-should-forget-his-wobble-and-whip-his-party-into-line.html">Matthew d'Ancona | Telegraph | Clegg should whip his party into line
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/05/students-provide-spark-flames-all-us">Gary Younge | Guardian | Students' revolt can prove contagious
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2833602.ece">Steve Smith | Times | Raise tuition fees or cheat a whole generation
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1336027/Clegg-wobbling-like-jelly-Cable-flipping-like-pinball-machine-If-great-Coalition-dream-Lord-help-us.html?ITO=1490">Melanie Phillips | Daily Mail | If this is the great Coalition dream, Lord help us
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/05/lib-dem-tuition-fees-cost-dearly">Jackie Ashley | Guardian | This Lib Dem hokey cokey on fees will cost dearly

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:22 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Times readers are reliving the events of Thursday's %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/football/international/article2828454.ece">announcement of the World Cup hosts on a live text page. The team signed off promising to be "[d]rowning our sorrows, you might say, after what's been a typical day of English football: pessimism, slowly giving way to a glimmer of optimism, then to outright enthusiasm, followed by self-congratulatory, narcissistic, premature celebration. Followed by crushing anticlimax." The Sun reports that %3Ca%20href="<a href=">the Russian team knew it had won the bid a day before the announcement.

Time magazine says that %3Ca%20href="https://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2034759,00.html">England has an "overblown sense of ownership" of football but that the recession favoured emerging economies. The Independent is more positive, focusing on %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/qatars-incredible-stadium-plans-for-2022-world-cup-2149447.html">artists' impressions of the "incredible stadiums" planned in Qatar when World Cup is hosted there in 2022.

The Channel 4 News website puts out an appeal for people to identify %3Ca%20href="https://www.channel4.com/news/sri-lanka-war-crimes-video-who-are-these-men">men on camera apparently taking part in an execution. The video appears to show government troops executing civilians in the last few weeks of the 26-year Sri Lanka war.

People are visiting the Huffington Post's site to read about %3Ca%20href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/nasa-new-life-arsenic-bacteria_n_791094.html">a life form "alien to what we know". The story explains that research funded by Nasa has found a microbe that lives on arsenic. While its not extra terrestrial, it is unlike any other life form.

Mirror readers are more interested in %3Ca%20href="https://www.3am.co.uk/x-factors-cher-lloyd-might-want-to-stop-talking/25227/">X Factor contestant Cher who the paper describes as ungrateful in a scathing review of her behaviour, including an attack on the way she moves her eyebrows.

%3Ca%20href="https://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/rizkhan/2010/11/201011111191189923.html">Are we living in the end times? is a question proving popular on the Al Jazeera website. It's being asked by philosopher Slavoj Zizek who argues the capitalist system is pushing us all towards an apocalyptic doomsday. Al Jazeera bills him as the most dangerous philosopher in the West.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:53 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/02/trinity-mirror-daily-mail-merger-plan">Guardian says the owners of the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail discussed merging their regional newspaper groups this summer. The regional papers would have been controlled by Trinity Mirror. In return, it would have offered cash and some of its shares to Daily Mail and General Trust. Negotiations came to a halt but one source says the "door is still open".

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3258223/Rio-Ferdinands-fury-at-the-BBCs-own-goal-over-World-Cup-bid.html">Sun reports that footballer Rio Ferdinand has blamed the BBC's "Fifa bribes" Panorama programme for helping scupper England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The Sun says he made the comment on Twitter.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/02/world-cup-british-journalism-wikileaks">In the Guardian Simon Jenkins defends the "reptiles of British journalism" over the failure of England's World Cup bid. "Even a cursory glance at the allegations from the Sunday Times and the BBC's Panorama would have warned Downing Street and the Palace that these were not fit people for Britain's leaders to be seen glad-handing".

BBC Radio 3 is to throw its entire schedule over to the works of Mozart, playing every work he wrote - and nothing else. The 12-day marathon follows the success of its six days of Beethoven and ten days devoted to Bach %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/8177294/Forget-the-12-days-of-Christmas-and-enjoy-the-12-days-of-Mozart.html">reports the Telegraph.

One million books will be given away free in the UK and Ireland next year for the inaugural World Book Night, %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11897425">reports the BBC. Volunteers will hand out 48 copies each of their favourite book from a 25-strong list. A further 40,000 will be distributed by organisers.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/02/jana-bennett-bbc-worldwide">Guardian reports that the BBC has confirmed that Jana Bennett is leaving her job as director of BBC Vision to join BBC Worldwide. She's to become its president, worldwide networks and global iPlayer.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11907500">BBC's newspaper review says the loss of England's World Cup 2018 bid goes down very badly with many papers, with a lot of attention focused on the somewhat contrasting reasons for Russia being in the news.

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/02/trinity-mirror-daily-mail-merger-plan">Guardian | Mirror and Mail owners pondered merger deal
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3258223/Rio-Ferdinands-fury-at-the-BBCs-own-goal-over-World-Cup-bid.html">Sun | Fifa: Media killed England World Cup bid
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/02/world-cup-british-journalism-wikileaks">Guardian | In this World Cup sewer, we reptiles of British journalism hold our heads high
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/8177294/Forget-the-12-days-of-Christmas-and-enjoy-the-12-days-of-Mozart.html">Telegraph | Forget the 12 days of Christmas and enjoy the 12 days of Mozart
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11897425">BBC | One million books to be given away
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/02/jana-bennett-bbc-worldwide">Guardian | Jana Bennett's move to BBC Worldwide confirmed
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11907500">BBC | Newspaper review

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_119.html">Thursday's Media Brief

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_us_criticism_of_bri.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: US criticism of British forces

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 10:15 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

British troops preparing for operation

 

Commentators discuss the latest Wikileaks revelations of US diplomatic cables describing Afghan and US criticism of UK soldiers' failure to impose security and engage with Afghans.

Britain's former special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/02/afghans-wikileaks-political-strategy-bloodshed">Sherard Cowper-Coles says in the Guardian that he was aware of these criticisms at the time but, he says, that they need to be seen in context:

"The real tragedy about these telegrams is that they miss the point: that the entire western military effort in Afghanistan will in the end be for nothing unless it is part of a wider political strategy. Such a strategy should bring together all the internal parties - not just the Taliban - to a decades-old conflict, and systematically engage Afghanistan's neighbours in gradually stabilising the country, from which the whole of south-west Asia would benefit.
 
"In that broader strategic perspective, debating troop levels in Helmand is a bit like arguing over how much aspirin to give a cancer patient. Garrisoning the town of Sangin more efficiently may produce more relief from pain (or violence). But without action to treat the underlying disease (which is political, not military), such relief can be only local, and temporary."

The commander of the first battle group sent into Sangin %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9253000/9253601.stm">Colonel Stuart Tootal argues on the Today programme that the comments are out-of-date:

"They reflect the situation before the middle of last year when resources got to the right level so there were frustrations and there were challenges.
 
"Some of the individual criticisms are clearly wrong. This idea that the British forces weren't ready to go and connect with the people - this is why very nearly 350 British soldiers have been killed because they are going out on patrol and face IEDs absolutely to protect and connect with the people."

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/">BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Labour MP %3Ca%20href="https://paulflynnmp.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/12/too-close-to-call-cameron.html">Paul Flynn suggests in his blog that the Americans are in no place to criticise British forces' performance:

"Today's Wikileaks on Afghanistan will dishearten and anger the relatives of those British soldiers who fell in Helmand.
 
"The biting criticism of British soldiers from Karzai and the Americans will deepen their grief. Of course it's unfair and untrue. The Americans who undermined the work of our brave soldiers are now performing poorly in Sangin. We lost 99 soldiers there. The Americans are doomed to repeat the futile waste."

Other commentators look at how they think it has changed the world.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/jerome-taylor-even-without-its-founder-wikileaks-will-go-on-2149806.html">Jerome Taylor predicts in the Independent that Wikileaks will be virtually impossible to destroy:

"Even if America or Sweden eventually succeeds in arresting, charging and imprisoning Julian Assange, there is little his enemies can do to halt the brave new world of online whistle-blowing that he has created.
 
"Like Al Qa'ida - an organisation that the more acerbic US critics have compared Wikileaks to - Assange has spawned an idea, one which will now be copied, developed and franchised by volunteers all over the world. Even if the founding father is silenced, there is no putting the lid back on the Pandora's Box he has opened."

Professor of Journalism at the City University of New York %3Ca%20href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/opinion/03iht-edalterman.html?ref=global">Eric Alterman explains in the New York Times that the scale of the leaks, and the motive of the leaker sets this apart from leaks to the press in the past:

"[I]n the case of the WikiLeaks material, the trove of information is so enormous and contains so many stories of real import and/or prurient interest that there is no single narrative to control - nor any means to do so. The target is not any U.S. policy or even the U.S. government. It is secrecy itself.
 
"In this respect, the mainstream media institutions are actually playing a far more useful role than they have in many past cases - including, in particular, the run-up to the war in Iraq. The sheer size of the data drop, coupled with the lack of deadline pressure, allowed editors to present what would have been an unmanageable mountain of material in a careful, considered and (partially) contextualized manner."

Links in full

• %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/02/afghans-wikileaks-political-strategy-bloodshed">Sherard Cowper-Coles | Guardian | The Afghans simply want to know who will be in charge
• %3Ca%20href="https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9253000/9253601.stm">BBC Today | Wikileaks: US criticised UK troops in Helmand
• %3Ca%20href="https://paulflynnmp.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/12/too-close-to-call-cameron.html">Paul Flynn | Gratitude
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/jerome-taylor-even-without-its-founder-wikileaks-will-go-on-2149806.html">Jerome Taylor | Independent | Even without its founder, WikiLeaks will go on
• %3Ca%20href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/opinion/03iht-edalterman.html?ref=global">Eric Alterman | New York Times | Do You Want to Know a (Top) Secret?


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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 15:44 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Snow dominates a few most read lists. Times readers are finding out about %3Ca%20href="https://www.timesplus.co.uk/tto/news/?login=false&url=https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/weather/article2829916.ece">"travel chaos" [subscription reqd]; the Daily Mail reports that %3Ca%20href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1334890/UK-snow-40-workers-day-countrys-transport-paralysed.html">40% of workers are staying at home.

While six of the ten most popular stories on the BBC News site relate to the snow hitting the UK, Guardian readers are looking at %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-russia-mafia-kleptocracy">Wednesday's revelations from Wikileaks. Luke Harding writes that American diplomats' cables expose their opinions that the Russian government works with senior mafia bosses.

The Spectator has %3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6508503/leaked-embassy-cable-what-the-americans-thought-of-thatcher.thtml">a historical comparison: US cables from 1975 about Margaret Thatcher. Of Britain's "newest political star" the cable says that if she is ever to become Britain's first woman prime minister, she must use that time to humanise her public image, adding "the odds are against her".

Proving popular at the Independent is %3Ca%20href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6508503/leaked-embassy-cable-what-the-americans-thought-of-thatcher.thtml">a story about the Swedish Queen's father's Nazi past. The piece says that Sweden is rocked by the previously-hidden fact that he was a Nazi party member who grew rich during World War 2 running an armaments factory that had been stolen from its Jewish owners.

Telegraph readers are interested in %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/8168578/The-five-most-valuable-and-least-valuable-mobile-phones.html">whether they can cash in their phones. According to the paper, Britons are thought to be sitting on millions of mobile phones that could be sold for cash. It lists the most and least valuable recycled mobiles ranging from the Apple iPhone 4 at £390 to the Sony Ericsson Z300: average price just £1.

The Sun's readers prefer to look at %3Ca%20href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3255310/Danielle-Bux-has-two-treats-for-Gary-Linekers-50th-birthday.html">the outfit worn by Gary Lineker's wife, lingerie model Danielle Bux, for his 50th birthday party.

The New Statesman's most read story is %3Ca%20href="https://www.newstatesman.com/2010/12/labour-lib-andrew-coalition">David Laws' theory as to why the Lib Dems rejected Labour. The Lib Dem MP for Yeovil contests the accusation that his party was never serious about a coalition with Labour. Mr Laws says "we would have been stark staring mad" to accept a coalition with no majority in the Commons, no clear policy platform and no guarantee of a referendum on voting reform.

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/mark_kinver/">Mark Kinver | 15:34 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Cancun climate meeting has started amid low expectations

The Cancun climate meeting has started amid low expectations

Some readers may have been wondering what has happened to our regular Green Room strand. Here it is in its new guise.

The Green Room has taken upon itself a new and slightly different mission. Rather than commissioning comment and opinion articles on environment-related issues, we will scour the web with the aim of bringing you the most interesting and thought-provoking environment stories, comment and analysis we can find on other sites.

We’ll continue to report on our Science/Environment pages about the issues and stories of the day of course, and we hope that this new Green Room format will allow us to do that while also broadening the range of subjects and viewpoints we can bring to your attention. You can read the next Green Room entry in a fortnight.

Concerned about the way it is reported in the media, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has added a new section to its website - Myth Busters.

In the regularly updated section, the department looks to correct what it sees as inaccurate coverage.

%3Ca%20href="https://ww2.defra.gov.uk/news/category/news/myths/">In one of the latest offerings, the department highlights a “myth” on a topic that is set to be one of the main environment and rural affairs stories in the UK next year - bovine TB and badger culling.

The Myth - Badgers will be culled to control bovine TB when vaccination could do just as good a job.

The Truth - More than 25,000 cattle were slaughtered last year because of bovine TB.

 The department’s myth busters write:

“As our research published this week shows, while vaccination will not be as effective as culling in quickly lowering the TB infection in the badger population, vaccination does have a part to play and our consultation covers how the two might be used together.”

 

Environmentalist Mark Lynas found himself %3Ca%20href="https://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/684707/mark_lynas_im_not_the_pariah_of_the_green_movement.html">using an interview with the Ecologist magazine to explain why he was not the “pariah of the green movement”.

After winning plaudits from the green-minded for authoring books, such as Six Degrees and High Tide, he found himself somewhat alienated following the broadcast of the %3Ca%20href="https://www.channel4.com/programmes/what-the-green-movement-got-wrong/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1">What the Green Movement Got Wrong documentary, in which he was featured being critical of the way current environmental campaigns are being conducted.

In a %3Ca%20href="https://www.channel4.com/programmes/what-the-green-movement-got-wrong/articles/mark-lynas-feature">feature on the Channel 4 website, Mr Lynas is quoted as saying:

“Does the environmental movement still speak for the environment? Or are the greens in danger of being left behind, trapped in their own ideological fortress, as the world outside changes rapidly?”

He goes on to question the green movement’s stance on issues such as nuclear power and GM food. The reason for Mr Lynas’s epiphany? He explains that the time had run out, and called for urgent decisions to be informed by “sound science, and not by outdated prejudice”.

It is fast approaching that time of year %3Ca%20href="https://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_16/items/5571.php">UN climate summit when ministers from all corners of the globe gather under one roof to agree that urgent action is needed to curb climate change, only to disagree on what needs to be done.

Judith Curry - professor and chairwoman of the School of Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, US - raised a few eyebrows among her fellow climate scientists earlier this year when she entered the lions’ den and %3Ca%20href="https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/27/an-open-letter-from-dr-judith-curry-on-climate-science/">posted a blog on Watts Up With That, one of the leading sites which voices the concerns of climate sceptics.

Active in the blogosphere since 2006, she recently decided to raise her head above the parapet permamently. She has set up her own blog, %3Ca%20href="https://judithcurry.com/2010/11/24/engaging-the-public-on-the-climate-change-issue/">Climate Etc, in response to her growing concerns over the apparent “tribal nature” of parts of the debate, brought to the boil this year in the media melting pot, following the rows over “ClimateGate” and mistakes in the IPCC’s most recent climate assessment.

In a recent posting, she set out the reasons why she was looking to engage with sceptics. Some of the 500+ responses make interesting reading.

%3Ca%20href="https://staging-www.nature.com/news/2010/101115/full/468362a.html">In an interview with the journal Nature, Phil Jones - one of the scientists at the centre of the ClimateGate saga - reflects on the past year that saw his world turn upside down.

The row erupted in November 2009 when more than 1,000 e-mails, most of which were “personal correspondence”, and documents were illegally taken from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (Cru) and released into the public domain.

Critics said the data showed that the scientists were trying to manipulate their findings to support the idea that human activity was warming the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate.

Such was the fallout, that numerous inquiries were established. All of which cleared the scientists of wrongdoing, but the reviews did call for more openness.

In the interview, Professor Jones said he liked to think the worst was now over but still recalls the level of personal abuse he received, some of which threatened his safety and that of his family.

“Someone, somewhere, will hunt you down,” read one, Nature reports. “You are now blacklisted,” read another. “Expect us at your door to say hello.”

Now back at the helm of Cru, what lessons have the past year taught Professor Jones?

“I’m a little more guarded about what I say in e-mails now.”

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:36 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/01/jana-bennett-quits-job-bbc">Guardian says Jana Bennett's eight-year reign as head of the BBC's television division, BBC Vision, is expected to come to a close this month with a move to a new role at the commercial arm BBC Worldwide. It says this would trigger a wide-ranging search for a replacement, with the Corporation looking outside its ranks in both the UK and abroad. The BBC and BBC Worldwide declined to comment.

Ofcom has revealed that only a tiny percentage of UK homes have super-fast broadband. In its annual International Communications Market report, it says mobile speeds are slow compared to other nations, %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11895553">according to BBC News.

But the %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/02/britons-ahead-new-technology-ofcom">Guardian says the Ofcom report shows that Britons are early technology adopters who have embraced smart phones more rapidly than other nations and spend more online than any other European country.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8174328/Virgin-Medias-TiVo-aims-to-bring-content-discovery-to-TV.html">Telegraph reports Virgin Media has unveiled its next generation set-top box, powered by TiVo, which it claims will lead to a revolution in British broadcasting. It aims to put apps, catch-up services and media streaming in one place: on the TV screen.

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11895553">BBC's newspaper review says the weather dominates the newspaper front pages. "Why can't we cope better?" asks the Sun, while the Daily Telegraph wonders: "Why did we slide into chaos?"


%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_fair_pay_review.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: Fair pay review

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:36 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

Will Hutton

 

Commentators discuss the Hutton Fair Pay Review which recommends that no public-sector executive should earn more than 20 times the salary of the lowest-paid employee.

%3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/01/hutton-fair-pay-review-ceo">Zoe Williams argues in the Guardian that the real pay inequalities are in the private sector so the rule would have little effect:

"In short, why bother? Yes, yes, it's a time of austerity. People facing real hardship at the bottom are much more likely to trash Nick Clegg's windows if they don't believe that people at the top have suffered any ill-effects. And yet... capping a pay ratio at twice what it typically is at the moment doesn't feel like a very satisfying solution, does it? I can't hear anybody's pips squeaking."

The Institute for Public Policy Research's %3Ca%20href="https://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2010/12/hutton-on-fapay-everybodys-problem-by-tess-lanning/">Tess Lanning says in Public Finance that tackling private-sector pay inequalities will be tricky:

"Public support has waned for a solution based on the tax-benefit system, and even policymakers on the Left believe they may have reached the limits of redistribution by stealth. Luckily the final report - due to be published next March - promises recommendations that are will be applicable in the private sector as well as the public. In the meantime, the interim report has made it difficult for the government to rally against high executive pay in the public sector without acknowledging the problem in the private sector. Let's hope the public can expect some policy meat to address their concerns."

%3Ca%20href="https://thebureauinvestigates.com/2010/12/01/latest-hutton-report-fails-to-address-most-pressing-issue-on-public-sector-pay/">At the Bureau of Investigative Journalism it is argued that a pay ratio is inherently flawed:

"The implementation of an arbitrary ratio could lead to an increase in outsourcing of the lowest paid jobs to increase the bottom wage used to define the ratio, it could lead to wage inflation- pushing up top wages in companies where the current ratio is lower (it is typical for top public sector managers to earn around 10 to12 times those of their lowest paid staff) and it could also lead to an increase in payments by stealth, i.e. increase in intangible benefits but still paid for by the taxpayer."

Author of Pay Check: Are Top Earners Really Worth It? %3Ca%20href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/thunderer/article2829302.ece">David Bolchover says in the Times [subscription required] that the focus should be on tackling "irrational" pay:

"This year the chief executives of FTSE 100 companies earned 88 times the average pay of full-time workers, almost double the differential (47 times) only a decade ago. This pay inflation has been justified on the basis that the recipients possess, like Rooney, a supremely rare talent. And high-flyers in the public sector warn that, unless they receive at least a decent proportion of what their counterparts earn in the corporate world, they will up sticks and join them, leaving us all utterly bereft.
 
"It is this self-serving talent argument, not the nebulous idea of 'unfairness', that must be rebutted if we are to reduce the amount that we pay through our taxes to public sector executives, and out of our pensions and other investments to plc bosses."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-genuine-fairness-means-reform-from-top-to-bottom-2148587.html">Independent's editorial suggests cowardice behind the recommendation:

"Its bottom line is that, as a rule, the best-paid individuals in the public sector should normally receive no more than 20 times more than the lowest paid employees. Anything more than that, and the organisation should have to justify its decision. Coincidence or not, the multiple of 20 is what David Cameron broached at the outset. So it is not unreasonable to ask whether a review was needed at all. Might a simple political decision have sufficed?"

%3Ca%20href="https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidhughes/100066200/why-did-the-coalition-commission-this-turkey-from-will-hutton/">In the Telegraph David Hughes gives a critical review of the proposal, complete with a theory as to why Will Hutton produced a "turkey":

"Possibly Hutton was distracted in his task by the insolvency of the Work Foundation, which he ran for the best part of a decade. It went belly-up because of enormous unfunded pension liabilities. At least his work there gave Hutton some insight into high salaries - he was reportedly picking up a salary of £180,000 a year from this charitable foundation. Perhaps it should have been called the Nice Work If You Can Get It Foundation."

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/"> Torin Douglas%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/torin_douglas/">Torin Douglas | 10:15 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm the BBC's media correspondent and this is my brief selection of what's going on.

The Telegraph Media Group is considering charging for some of its online content, but won't erect a full pay wall like The Times. The news was %3Ca%20href="https://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c1b70b9e-fc8b-11df-a9c5-00144feab49a.html">broken by FT.com, which itself charges for its content, limiting readership of the original story. The %3Ca%20href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/online/telegraph-will-charge-readers-for-its-website-2148020.html">Independent reports a spokesperson as saying "Absolutely no decisions have been made on the introduction of a paid-content model."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/01/ukrd-dab-digital-radio">Guardian reports that a commercial radio group is planning a challenge to the industry's campaign promoting DAB sets as Christmas presents. It says the UKRD-led campaign would "highlight an embarrassing split over the DAB platform." UKRD is preparing its own ads saying: "A DAB radio may be for Christmas but might not be for life".

The BBC and the journalists' union have reached an agreement in principle to resolve a dispute over staff pensions, %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11878745">reports the BBC. The two sides met at conciliation service Acas. In an internal e-mail, the BBC's Director, Business Operations, Lucy Adams said a conclusion had been reached on one outstanding issue. The NUJ said the agreement would be considered by staff representatives on Friday.

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Google after other search engines complained that the firm had abused its dominant position, %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11876443">reports the BBC. The EC will examine whether the world's largest search engine penalised competing services in its results. Google denies the allegations but said it would work with the Commission to "address any concerns".

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11884442">BBC newspaper review shows there are more Wikileaks revelations about US diplomatic cables in the newspapers. The Times says the website details how the UK government promised to "limit the scope of the Iraq war inquiry" to protect American interests. The Guardian says it suggests the governor of the Bank of England expressed doubts about David Cameron and George Osborne before the election.

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://twitter.com/BBCTorinD">my updates on Twitter

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://delicious.com/bbctorindouglas">my archive of media stories on Delicious

• Read %3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/11/media_brief_117.html">Tuesday's Media Brief

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/12/daily_view_tuition_fees_protes.html" rel="bookmark">Daily View: Tuition fees, protests and the Lib Dems

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%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/clare_spencer/">Clare Spencer | 09:48 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Protesters against tuition fee changes in Edinburgh

 

Commentators discuss tuition fees after another round of student protests and talk of Liberal Democrat MPs abstaining from a vote on changes.

Having reported on student protests around the world, the writer of the %3Ca%20href="https://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2010/11/student_protests_britain">Economist's Bagehot's notebook predicts these protests are not a British revolution in the making:

"At the risk of being proved horribly wrong by some stunning act of civil unrest on a campus, I think the current band of student demonstrators are too incoherent, too diverse and - in many cases - simply too polite and sensible to constitute any threat to the Government. This is not going to be a sneering blog posting, though on today's showing, British students are a lot more muddled when it comes to political ideology than their peers in other countries where I have reported. On the contrary, though I disagreed with almost every student I talked to in Trafalgar Square and later at UCL in Bloomsbury (now in its seventh day of a sit-in), I found myself oddly relieved.
 
"The contrast was striking with student demonstrations I have reported on elsewhere, over the years. In France and China, for example, students are fantastically articulate, but in a slightly creepy, parrot-like fashion."

%3Ca%20href="https://www6.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2010/11/30/andy-cooke-asks-what-are-the-nus-demanding/">In the blog Political Betting Andy Cooke echoes Bagehot's notebook, saying the message is not clear:

"All that the NUS are marching for is to insist that all graduates pay the same fees, regardless of where they studied, what they studied and for how long they studied. So why is it that they don't make this explicit? Why did I have to go an look? Why isn't it being shouted from the rooftops (of Millbank Towers)?"

Former Conservative candidate %3Ca%20href="https://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-point-of-rampaging-through-london.html">Iain Dale blogs that he isn't impressed with the methods of the student fees protesters:

"Call me old fashioned, but I always thought the idea behind protesting about something was to garner support for your cause. Silly me. Because the way that students are rampaging around London today is achieving the very opposite... Most MPs haven't had a single student lobby them in Parliament during the course of any of the protests.
 
"What a bizarre way to lobby. They may be very good at getting on the TV or radio, but I don't know of any MPs who have been persuaded by the manner in which they have conducted their protests."

The %3Ca%20href="https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/01/student-finance-mischief-labour-libdems">Guardian editorial defends the student protests:

"[G]raduates are less vulnerable than the frail and the impoverished who are suffering from other cuts. These are all truths that ought not to be buried, and yet the indignation of the students who took to the streets yesterday was nonetheless justified - and not just because the coming fees hike is both big and ugly..."

It goes on to also defend Vince Cable's possible abstention from a tuition fees vote:

"The strategy might, however, provide the party with a way of muddling through, since it is consistent with the coalition agreement that members overwhelmingly endorsed. The difficulty is that Liberal Democrats have not been hearing a sufficiently distinctive message from their wing of the coalition, making such totems of identity as fees more important than ever. The leadership badly needs to learn how to sing in harmony, as opposed to in unison, within the coalition choir. Until it does, it will struggle to escape the student debt trap."

In the %3Ca%20href="https://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/11/will-clegg-bravely-sit-on-fence-over-tuition-fees/">Financial Times' Westminster blog Alex Barker argues that abstention is understandable:

"To be fair, there are no good options. They will be punished for breaking their pledge to vote against a rise. But it seems that after countless hours of excruciating debate, they've decided the best way to minimise the pain is to not vote at all." "Why? Clegg and Simon Hughes are placing a premium on unity. They fear the party will look shambolic by splitting three ways -- with some ministers voting for, some ministers and MPs abstaining and the die-hards voting against. Abstention is the best compromise to build a common defence."

%3Ca%20href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/markdarcy/2010/11/lib_dems_feel_the_heat.html">BBC Westminster blogger Mark D'arcy explains why students may not appreciate the abstentions:

"I wonder if angry student voters will be impressed by abstentions, or even outright votes against, by individual MPs. The coalition's majority will only be threatened if a large number of Lib Dem MPs vote against, rather than abstain... and if the senior Lib Dem coalitionists vote for, that would be enough to ensure the measure goes through."
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