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Murdoch In Terror

The infantile demand by Rupert Murdoch that the internet play by his rules, and every site charge to read stories of drunken celebrities, is the last gasp in his futile attempt to sabotage the BBC. He realises that sooner or later, the penny will drop among the dimwits at broadcasting house, and they will start charging their overseas audience, just as they charge their British one. When they do that, and make some serious progresses in making their vault of superior content available online, the emperor's clothes of the Sky empire will be obvious.
Murdoch knows that his content is inferior, and that he does not produce any content, unlike the BBC. And that he no longer knows how to make money from newspaper or internet advertising, so mass-subscription is the only model he can think of. He imagines that people will pay to maintain MySpace accounts when there are a dozen other platforms which can do the job as well. He imagines that people will actually pay to read the Sun online... Anyone as deluded as that is clearly agitated about something, and what Murdoch has to be agitated about is the prospect of the BBC beating him at his own game. Namely, by charging a tiny global fee for downloads of all the content it controls. British licence payers would naturally be exempt from this charge, and the revenue would be used to offset and defend the licence fee - which is the cultural bastion Murdoch hates most. It stands between him and total domination by guaranteeing the unprofitable.
Unfortunately, his paranoia is based on a belief that the BBC understands its own power. Sadly, this is still not true. The BBC is still a cowering, weak-kneed cringeing animal, desperate not to offend the Daily Mail, or seem to be treading on the profiteers' toes.


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Christianity on Trial

In a few minutes, Kenny McAskill, the justice secretary for Scotland. will be bullied into backtracking on the act of forthright Christianity he took in releasing the dying Lockerbie bomber, Al Megrahi.
The advice of all true Christians would be to not give an inch. The Old Testament vengeance demanded by the mass media and the incoherent Mrs Clinton is not appropriate or productive in dealing with crime or terrorism in the C21st century.
As the BBC Scotland poll revealed today, ordinary people are nicer than their leaders. And in spite of its antiquated nationalism, the Scottish justice system has almost conformed to stereotype in its blunt application of christian principles to politics. The fact that the USA and the gutter media demand gratification for un-Christian appetites is their problem, not Scotland's.
The irony of this affair is that it outrages those who should be most welcoming of it, namely, the most vocal Christians. It reveals how little Christianity has actually penetrated in 2,000 years, as most of those who call themselves Christians, and demand its inviolable status as the national British religion, are still behaving according to Leviticus not the Sermon on the Mount.
Al McGrachie is about to suffer a painful death, much to the gratification of some, it seems. It would have been even more amusing to them to think of him in pain and in prison, and being denied that pleasure is painful to them, but that just reveals their depraved lack of Christian charity, I would have thought - speaking as someone who doesn't have an imaginary friend at all, let alone one shared with millions of others.
This is another example of PR Politics Gone Mad. Brown, loathe him or hate him, is being judged on how long it takes to give an opinion which, politically, isn't his to give.
And the line that McAskill's decision outraged some 'silent majority' isn't born out by the response of Scots on BBC Radio Scotland.

"Caller after caller supported MacAskill and were scathing of both the American intervention and the behaviour of the likes of Iain Gray and Jack McConnell."
Which makes this 'scandal' another shameful fabrication built on the commercial need to generate hate over compassion, and nothing to do with offering any kind of support to those who suffered as a result of the Lockerbie bombing. In fact, it is a cynical exploitation of their pain. In spite of this, the Lockerbie families are still able to display a level of humanity beyond the understanding of most polticians and commentators:

But, in fact, many Lockerbie families believe that Megrahi was wrongly convicted. Martin Cadman, who lost a son in the disaster, said the trial was “a farce” and that the release of Megrahi was “just righting a wrong.” Jim Swire, who lost a daughter, said, “As time goes by it will become clear that he had nothing to do with it.”
This hysteria is another triumph for PR politics, hand in hand with the commercial need to generate hate before compassion.
The point of compassion is that you don't demand anything in return, and that if you only extend it to the Mother Teresa of this world, it isn't compassion at all but tax-deductable guilt-relief. So the world of those who cannot understand this New Testament decision is one in which compassion always has a price-tag. One in which the sucker is never given an even break. The kind of world which has created an intractible war in which innocent travellers are blown from the sky, and peasant families disintegrated from 10,000 feet by laser guided bombs powerful enough to have destroyed Jericho in one hit.

* The Scotsman