Articles of a political nature

The State of British Journalism


We live in a strange world. Twelve months ago I moved to the UK in the hope of learning from the most talented and experienced broadcasters and producers in one of the most celebrated media environments in the world, which is the BBC.

Over the course of the time spent being enlightened and taught by former BBC employees in a well structured and informative masters at the University of Sheffield, which included a brief stint at BBC Leeds I was shown the true might and broadcasting standards that made Britain a world media leader.

The Olympics shone more light on the ability of the UK to deliver top quality broadcast content to a global audience yet two scandals can never take away from the now tarnished image of British Journalism. Hackgate and the exposure of Jimmy Saville have set the reputation of British journalists and UK media, back decades.

I spoke briefly on the Rony Robinson show on BBC Sheffield a year ago about the challenges facing trainee and wanna be journalists in Britain as celebrated journalist Piers Morgan and media mogul Rupert Murdoch were connected to the Leveson inquiry. Little did I know how much damage the phone hacking scandal would cause, with Journalists seen as scum and lying deceitful members of society.

While at BBC Leeds I was exposed to the true might and skills of employees that upheld the title of one of the most extensive broadcasters in history, yet it is shocking to imagine that it was at the station’s former studios that Saville, a celebrated BBC and British media icon abused young children.

There is a saying in this world we live and work in, that there is no such thing as bad PR, well when it involves phone hacking journalists and broadcasting institutions that protect serial paedophiles, that is bad PR!

It is also down right disgraceful, the obsession with fame and celebrity that existed from beatlemania onwards in the western world has helped create the very people who become untouchable in media spheres. Those who abuse and take advantage of innocent civilians to shift copies of newspapers or protect iconic employees from being exposed for who they really are, is revolting.

British journalists and media in the UK has some of the most talented, producers, presenters and reporters to have ever graced our columns and channels but there are no excuses for Saville and Murdoch.

What has happened in the exposure of these power houses of British media was not only required but must now set a precedent moving forward. With the advances of social media and blogging has come a whole new strand to western journalism, with the naming and shaming of racists in sports journalism via the internet and the larger wealth of opinions and content allows for greater exposure of scenarios that must never be repeated.

Governments and the media should be kept separate as history has shown, however politicians and those in power must now answer the call of the people who have been fooled and lied to for too long.

The only way for journalists and media professionals in the UK is up and the only way to do that is to expose those who are unethical and abusive and help clean up the profession they and i earn our living in.

A Southern View


Here in Tennessee uncertainty and debate reign supreme as the state aims to break early voting records unsure of how much an impact it will have in playing a role in deciding the fate of the United States of America.

One thing can be sure, Romney is not truly in touch with the plight of regular Americans nor is he truly aware of foreign policy requirements. However what we are seeing are many Republican voters unable to connect with a man who is worth a quarter of a billion dollars while they struggle in middle income families but also find Obama having done very little for them or their college-loan struggling children.

It has become a case of the lesser of two evils, do you go with the man who made the money or do you carry on the way America is going with increasing debts.

Like many of us in the UK and Ireland, Americans have come to accept and embrace the here and now world we live in, a society of consumerism and expectation where actions deliver consequences and results, rapidly and effectively. Obama has failed to do that over his four year term, yet only three post war presidents have failed to get a second term in office and we are facing a bizarre scenario where Mitt Romney may win the popular vote and Obama the electoral vote.

It is hard to believe but out of uncertainty breeds rash decision making and this contest has shown that it’s breeding confusion, retraction or views, contradicting and bickering.

With time ticking for both candidates the future and fate of the most powerful country in the world and that of so many here in the valleys and plains of the Volunteer State remains uncertain.

Shake It Out

First the Queen visits the Republic of Ireland, speaks Irish and then she surprises us once again and goes a step farther by going to Northern Ireland and shaking hands with Martin McGuinness.

What more can the woman do to try and shake off the shackles of history. At 86 years of age she’s really going at it and one wonders what the next step will be for the royal who doesn’t believe in retirement.

She has visited more countries than any other monarch in history and has done more to raise the profile of the commonwealth, yet the significance behind the handshake marked another landmark in her glittering career.

When I put this question regarding the difference the handshake made to Irish and British citizens alike, I received a mixed response.

Welshman Andy feels relatively positive about the shake but thinks that Martin McGuinness is “still Republican for those who are worried he has gone soft by meeting the Queen but it’s got to be a good thing”. The general air of positivity surrounding the handshake is echoed by former Irish Times columnist Cillian Fahy who says “it’s a great move and marks the next step forward in the peace process”.

However Irish language speaker Micheal believes the Queen deserves respect for what she must have gone through in taking part in the proceedings “If anything, it’s a greater sacrifice for the Queen, given her cousin (Lord Mountbatten) was murdered by the IRA”.

Not all feel the handshake between the former prominent IRA commander and the British monarch was a good move, Irish bar manager Gareth thinks “Its the greatest propaganda since Aldolf Hitler, Sinn Fein want power north and south of the border” with indifference echoed by engineer, Colm “I don’t think we’ll gain much from the handshake but if he didn’t do it, the peace process in Northern Ireland would have gone back 20 years”.

One thing can be sure, the significance of the handshake has not moved the peace process backwards, scars still burn across Northern Ireland and bodies are still unaccounted for as one feels only time will heal the wounds that run deep on all sides.

Bernard Mboueyeu: An Asylum Seekers Interview

It is hard to imagine fleeing your home, your family and your loved ones to spare your own life.

We live in a western world that is becoming more and more open to communicating and expressing ourselves, we do this online when we can’t do it in person. However for vast parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle east the ability to express your views and opinions are thwarted and deemed anti-government and pro anarchy.

The right to speak your mind and voice your concerns does not exist, this is why Britain received 1000’s of asylum applications in the past decade and why people flee their homelands. When there is no way out, and you speak out, then often you must leave.


Asylum seeker left in the dark

After fleeing his homeland of Cameroon in 2007,  Bernard Mboueyeu made his way to the steel city of Sheffield. As a charity worker and volunteer he gave back to the community that took him in as an asylum seeker and now he may have to leave.

After taking pictures of protests and highlighting corrupt leadership in his homeland, Bernard was beaten and tortured and in a interview with him only a few days ago he told me of his fear of returning. His wife Sharon said he would rather commit suicide than return to the corruption and abuse that awaits him.

Since May 16th he has been detained and been briefed on a pending deportation and with his flight ready he was fortunately granted bail in the past 24 hours and will remain in the UK pending a Judicial review.

Shaffaq Mohammed of Sheffield City Council and the Liberal Democrats has been a strong campaigner of the injustice in letting Bernard be sent back to what could be a certain death.

He feels bureaucracy is to blame and sees no reason why Bernard should not be allowed to remain in the UK with his British wife and family.

It remains to be seen what will happen to Bernard and his case is just one of dozens that end up in front of home secretary Theresa May who decides the fates for so many searching and seeking asylum.

More at




Over our heads.

We are sliding away, apart and together at different moments. Our lives are being lived through websites and social networks and slowly we are running away from the realities of the world around us.

It is easier to create a life or persona you wish you had on facebook, twitter or tumblr. Around us the power and sheer force of the internet and media  is liberating nations and cultures but driving us in western society into a frenzy. Facebook’s shares continue to drop and world markets still resemble a storm in a tea cup surrounded by melting sugar lumps of utter confusion. Inside each of us is a desire for drama and entertainment which is being projected at us continually through reality television, western culture and our own political upheaval.

It is greatly forgotten by many who chose to forget easily that it was greed and disarray that has left the world in its current state, banking crisis in the US and property markets fluctuating, falling and failing triggered the situations we know face ourselves in.

It is ironic that it is trust in other nations markets and our own that binds us together, trust and lack of it, skeptical of each other and each others views and interests. There is no simple solution, if any, no fiscal treaty will sort the true problems of excessiveness,  greed and mistrust among a race that is unable to overcome these natural instincts and flaws.

We are who we are, and the only way from here has to be up. Winston Churchill said 58 years ago,

“I for one am an optimist , it does not seem much use to be anything else”

He might have a point there.

A Europe without Greece

The world is watching and waiting as Greece is yet to deliver a government.

If a coalition can not be formed then there may be a further election in June leaving more confusion, uncertainty and punishment.

Greek people on the streets  are unsure of what is going on with their country and have been lied to for decades by its two biggest parties and are left lacking faith and belief in their political system or any one in power.

The nation that gave us some of the worlds greatest thinkers, speakers and rulers could be on the verge of defaulting to the point of falling out of Europe in the coming months.

With more unrest and distrust coming in the light of the French elections and with tension building between France and Germany the out look does not look positive.

Spain’s third biggest bank, Bankia,  has just been bailed out and the country’s unemployment continues to sky rocket. If Greece cannot repay its loans it may have to leave the euro zone and start reprinting its own money. When you hit rock bottom the only way to go is up, just ask Iceland.

To lose Greece from the Euro-zone could make share prices and trust drop further in European markets and only time will tell where the fate of our currency, our continent and our European family lies.

Sheffield Students Speak Out on Education Cuts


Sheffield Socialists and Students Speak out

Sheffield Students from both Hallam and University joined together and spoke out against the cuts to higher education. The group totaled some thirty students mainly from the socialist parties of both colleges and included  megaphones and drums in what was a loud and passionate protest.

The group made their way down through the cities main streets and past the town hall just after midday escorted by mounted and walking police.

Today’s events across the UK are part of the “come clean” campaign which has followed on from previous student protests. This time  young people of Britain want answers as to why tuition fees were trebled to 9,000 pounds and also why the private sector have been given new degree awarding powers.

It is expected local MP Nick Clegg we be lobbied by both of the Universities unions as the push for change moves forward in 2012.

2011-MMXI: Bin Laden to Bieber

2011 A Year in Review

It’s hard to write about the past twelve months without emotions and nostalgia creeping in. It is hard to give all equal weight and coverage.

This year three men died who collectively are responsible for 1000’s of deaths, Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong il. To many this year may be seen as a year of liberation but for those on the ground it is seen as the beginning of instability and corruption.

The Arab Spring showed the world the strength of human will power and also the advances in media. From Tunisia to Saudia Arabia, ordinary people stood up for what they felt was just and right. The wave of camera fones, tweets, facebook and youtube clips showed a wider world audience the struggle and desires of oppressed masses who felt there was more to life than being held back.

The phone hacking scandal Britain sent shockwaves that have led further distrust and hatred for a Media that focused more on Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor than it did on the Brazilian mudslides, Mexican gun war, the nobel peace prize and the Chilean uprising combined.

Japan’s disaster and the Eurozone meltdown have deservedly shown those of us in the past twelve months the frailty of our existence and the dangers that exist from both ourselves and mother nature. The London riots, Wall Street protest and the Norwegian massacre showed  discontent in the western world as much as the Arab world and displays global discontent and upset at those in power and at social and economic restrictions.

Middleton, Leveson, Strauss-Kahn, Bauchmann and Bieber are all names that are now known to many while OMG, Sexting and Mankini joined the English Language.

The world’s population hit 7 billion while many wonderful and talented people passed away among them  Steve Jobs, Joe Frazier, Amy Winehouse, Dr Kervorkian, Liz Taylor, Christopher Hitchens, Clarence Clemons, Bubba Smith, Gary Speed, Peter Falk, Betty Ford, Vaclav Havel and Socrates.

This year like all was full of trials and tribulations, successes and disasters, births and deaths. When those who look back  at the annals of history and view 2011 they will see a year when so many of the world’s nations and it’s people said enough is enough and stood up for what they felt was just, right and equal. From Bin Laden to Bieber , MMXI is a year when a lot happened and a lot more is yet to come. Bring on 2012, End of the World or not life moves on and so must we.

Review of the year on Forge Radio with British Journalist Marcus Liddell and I.


Catholic Vs Protestant: European Debt Crisis?

EU Crisis

Is there a connection between religion and the current European Debt crisis?

With the majority of Europe’s financial powerhouse being Protestant based such as Germany, Sweden and Finland and those in debt commonly recognised as Catholic; Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy maybe a case might exist.

When one analyses the true state of Protestant ethos which in the past has led to moderation and thrift such as Calvinist and Lutheran principles of no gambling or a life with few excessiveness then a valid case may be presented. One also must consider that Protestants in the past focused on both genders learning the bible from an early age enabling literacy levels to rise and furthering chances of social, political and financial success.

“Thou shalt redeem the time because the days are evil” is often connected with the point that family and career should be prioritised accordingly yet we are looking at a situation where both family and career values are slipping across western Europe and a change needs to be taken with divorce rates rising and many western Europeans looking to social welfare or emigration as more serious options.

God helps those who help themselves” is an often quoted saying but if you look at the corruption that existed in the Italian and Irish governments over the last years this seems to imply that the politicians who helped themselves to large pensions will be aided by god not the common european citizen who is facing up to the fact that Brussels is having to make some serious decisions in order to stabilise our once powerful common currency.

Some critics say the Catholic attitude of “If we mess up, its ok, god will fix it” and “God Will Supply” is embedded in the societies of Europe’s weaker economic states due to centuries of religious impact while the nations with the work hard and make provision attitude such as Switzerland with Jean Calvin and Martin Luther in Germany are left to pick up the pieces. The richest areas in German are the Catholic regions such as Bavaria so is the argument valid at all?

Yet  in Turkey where the “Islamic Calvinist” is seen as a rich man and the astute business dealer. With Europe’s economy waning the point must be raised that one of the richest institutions in the world, The Catholic church is not playing a role in assisting the nations affected or interjecting visibly in European affairs.

With Croatia set to join the EU next July only time will tell where the future of the EU, Euro, and European community lies. Until then the connection between faith and debt crisis is of little significance as we all need a miracle.