UK end-of-year weather hasn’t displayed any freak symptoms just yet. However, this year round autumn weather has really taken me by surprise as dropping temperatures and diminished hours of sunlight have been seriously affecting my mood and energy levels. It’s not only that one winter at the African Med, which seems like a lifetime ago, can throw you off course, it’s weather in general being all over the place all year round due to la niña/ el niño, global warming or global terrorism that confuses one’s constitution. But life goes on. The chancellor might have been blaming the slowing economy on the weather, but in general the blame game gets you nowhere.
The Leveson enquiry into the ethics and practices of the UK press is revealing a more and more sinister side to UK journalism that goes far beyond the scandalous entertainment the NOWT hacking story was giving us over the summer to deflect our attention from dire economic circumstances and Arab revolutions. In the last few weeks celebrities and ordinary people alike have been giving evidence to the committee, lead by Lord Leveson, regarding their dealings and experiences with the press. The phone hacking scandal had already revealed that politician across the political spectrum felt hijacked by a large section of the press called News International consisting of the now-defunct News of the Word, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. The police made a catastrophic mistake by deciding not to further investigate phone hacking at the News the World beyond the one reporter who had been jailed for his phone-hacking actions. Former Sun and News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have admitted to having paid police for confidential information. The UK press has always been known for its ruthless methods compared to press practices in, for example, main land Europe. Police and politics have been infected and perhaps in this case we are all in it together. Broadsheets aiming to provide balanced stories and offering the general public a window to the injustices in the world are ailing commercial enterprises as we, the UK public, prefer to read and pay for celebrity b*llocks rather than a well-written story on the dealings in Westminster. We might be keen on consuming celebrity b*llocks, but would we really miss it and demand it if it wasn’t in our lives? Do we really want it that badly that we don’t care how the stories we consume are obtained?
Free press is a good thing, but what do we do if some of the press can’t handle that freedom. And is the press really free if the loss-making more ethical side of UK journalism has to be subsidised by the money-making part of the UK press, that part that seems to have very low moral standards? Or is freedom, like everything, just in the mind of the beholder?
Jill Scott entertained and inspired at the Brixton Academy last Wednesday. Truly fabulous woman
top image: bbc