Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Murdoch accused of interfering

Well, there's a suprise:
Four months after buying the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch has been accused by a special independent committee of breaking "the letter and the spirit" of an agreement to protect editorial integrity.

Barclays and Mugabe

The Telegraph reports that:

The Liberal Democrats said yesterday that the alleged support was against the spirit of European Union sanctions, which specifically target prominent members of the Zimbabwe government.

The controversy has echoes of the 1980s when Barclays was boycotted by anti-apartheid activists and students for its links with South Africa.

I remember it well. It's probably hard being in banking and having to work out what is or isn't ethical in the pursuit of profit.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A non defection

Meanwhile Labour MP Kate Hoey has rubbished Boris Johnson's claims that she is to defect and/or join his team if he become London Mayor.

I'm not sure Hoey joining the Tories would count as a defection. Toeing the Labour party line might.

Comment is free... sometimes

On Comment is Free this afternoon, Jackie Ashley argues that we shouldn't expect commentators to be anyone's mouthpiece:
We're commentators - not MPs, not spin-doctors, not players - and there's a basic duty to tell it as we see it.
If only...

Meanwhile, Lisa Appignanesi, deputy president of English PEN, has a go at Tesco for trying to stifle criticism in Thailand.

Tesco the tyrant

The Times reports that various authors have condemned Tesco for prosecuting its critics in Thailand.
The British authors said that the supermarket’s action “sends a deeply chilling message to others who seek, quite legitimately, to discuss Tesco’s impact on their local economy”.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC, a human rights expert, said that he was outraged by Tesco’s actions. “It is deplorable for Tesco to raise the sword of Thai libel law to suppress honest criticism of their policies and practices in Thailand, especially since they would be unable to succeed in similar proceedings in this country,” he said.
Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN, said that Tesco’s actions had more in common with a tyrant than a supermarket.
It doesn't look like Tesco will be suing any of these people so what they have said must be fair comment.

Monday, 28 April 2008

A further drop of sense

Meanwhile, Tim Hames in the Times asks if things are really so bad for Labour:
The opinion polls that are noticed are from YouGov, which put the Conservatives 14 or 16 or 18 points in front; while the less fantastic figures from all the other pollsters are considered inconsequential. MPs who once loathed Lord Levy will treat him as an oracle on the subject of the Prime Minister after his revelations at the weekend.
It's going to be very interesting if/when YouGov's national and London Mayor polls turn out to have greatly exaggerated the Tory lead.

Pots, kettles, etc

It's not clear why Patrick Wintour in the Guardian has reheated yesterday's story about Tony Blair saying bad things to Lord Levy about Gordon Brown. Perhaps it's so he can promote Blairite favourite David Miliband to the front of the story.

It has to be said that Tony Blair calling anyone a liar takes some nerve...

In typical BBC style, the state broadcasting service presents the story from the government's point of view:
The prime minister has dismissed suggestions by Labour's former chief fundraiser, Lord Levy, that Tony Blair believes he cannot beat David Cameron.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Hutton on the Button

Not Lord Hutton of course, nor the Business Secretary. But Will Hutton, writing in the Observer, challenges some of the received wisdom. The "why aren't the Tories doing better?" question is a bit tricky these days, but Hutton points out that Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is failing to make the most of a "heaven-sent opportunity for effective opposition" in the form of the credit crunch:
Osborne goes through the motions, but what stymies him is that he is a believer in the very policies and attitudes that have delivered the crisis. It seems a matter of personal incredulity that free markets, in which he has invested so much political capital, deliver irrational credit booms and busts. In his mind, regulation is always the problem not the solution. Public intervention and ownership are always wrong. Thus he consistently opposed the only viable future for Northern Rock (temporary public ownership), and now helps make the mortgage crisis worse by insisting that Britain's fifth largest lender should pull out of the market because it is publicly owned. Mad.
Hutton concludes that people still believe in the values that Labour - and Gordon Brown - represent:
These are Labour, not Tory, times. The next election remains his to lose.

Friday, 25 April 2008


The Guardian's story that:

Minister warns of pump shortages as refinery strike looms

shows just how easily the press can turn anything into a panic. Energy minister Malcolm Wicks basically said that if people in Scotland panic-buy, some petrol stations, which keep very low stocks, might temporarily run out but would very soon get another delivery.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Deeply dodgy

I've also got a breaking story on the New Statesman website about the Iraq dossier. The government has resorted to claiming that it has no record of who wrote it.

Was it by any chance the spin doctors?

I should, for the sake of pedantry, point out that the dossier usually known as the "dodgy dossier" was the February 2003 one that was partially copied off the internet, not the September 2002 one that this story relates too.

Shifting the blame

I've a piece in the New Statesman today, arguing that the government's strategy for dealing with "persistent rough sleeping" is not as liberal as it sounds.
... it is classic new Labour spin: an attempt to redefine an intractable structural problem in personal terms.

Ken's not so secret weapons

For some reason, Tessa Jowell has chosen to tell the Guardian, that Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell have been quietly helping Ken Livingstone's re-election campaign.

It brings to mind Blair's campaign for the Labour Leadership in 1994 when he could not let it be known that Peter Mandelson was on board. It's probably a truism that letting it be known that you're getting help from arch spinners like Blair and Campbell, described by Jowell as "the best in the business", doesn't help your credibility.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Vultures may have to wait

Steve Bell's cartoon in today's Guardian has a vulture in the background that is perhaps supposed to be Tony Blair. It might be Cameron but the way Blairites have been behaving lately...

Anyway, it looks like the vulture will have to wait. The row over the 10p tax band looks to be sorted this afternoon, albeit with a climbdown.

So What?

Michael White used to be the Guardian's political editor. Now he works on a more ad hoc basis, including posts for the Guardian website's political blogs and Comment is Free. Today he's done a piece headed (not necessarily by him):

Another maverick defects. So what?

It looks like Michael has seen it all before and nothing surprises him. A lot of his pieces these days are along these lines. Maybe it's time to put down the laptop?

Off message

Sir Ken Macdonald, the director of public prosecutions has again questioned the need for the period for which suspected terrorists can be held without charge to 42 days. According to the Guardian, he said:
that it was "a question for parliament whether this is directed against a real problem or not".
Or maybe a political stunt?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Tough on Tesco

Tesco's attempts to silence critics in Thailand and the UK appear to have backfired.

The Guardian's David Leigh reports that:
One of the three writers from Thailand whom the giant retailer Tesco is trying to suppress with serial libel writs arrived in London yesterday at the invitation of the free speech body Index on Censorship.
Leigh mentions the various groups here who are not overly impressed with Tesco, from Tescopoly to Article 19
"We condemn Tesco's tactic of issuing defamation writs against those who dare to criticise its aggressive expansion plans in Thailand."
to the National Union of Journalists
"Tesco's bid to silence its critics should be vigorously opposed by all those who believe in freedom of expression. The chilling effect of such actions would be to deny the public the right to know about the practices of major corporations."
and the International Federation of Journalists:

"Tesco is displaying an extraordinary amount of intolerance over what is legitimate journalistic scrutiny. It is very high-handed of them to take this approach."

Leigh's piece includes the Tesco viewpoint too but they have corporate PRs to get their message across.

A hornet's nest

I've got a piece on Comment is Free this morning about the idea that immigrants are jumping the queue for council and housing association homes.

Most of the posters are quite critical, which is interesting for a liberal paper like the Guardian. I've not been helped by a standfirst that initially substituted the actress Patricia Hodge for the politician Margaret.

Privately religious

Apparently Eamonn Butler is the author of some book about how to love the free market, which is about to be published. You might think it would be a problem for him that the privately owned banks have made such a hash of things that they have to be bailed out by the state. Well it is, but he turns it into an opportunity by arguing in the Times that it's all the fault of governments.

As an exercise in blind faith, it's quite impressive. It follows the usual theological path of making up more and more preposterous arguments to explain why the world is after all flat, why the sun goes round the earth etc. Apparently, it is too much regulation that has caused the banks to devise increasingly dodgy financial products that are now considered toxic. Please...

Monday, 21 April 2008

Fair enough

As usual Peter Wilby has a thoughtful column in Media Guardian. He says that Andrew Gilligan's reports about Ken Livingstone "show meticulous investigative journalism of the sort that is all too rare nowadays" and criticises Livingstone's blustering response to them.

But Wilby says that he will be unhappy if the Evening Standard's campaign against Livingstone hands victory in the London Mayor election to Boris Johnson.

Good question

The Zimbabwe Guardian asks:
CAN the BBC tell the truth about Zimbabwe when its senior managers are appointed by the United Kingdom government and will they be fired if they step out of line...
I think the politics of this site are a bit dubious, but it's a good question, particularly as Greg Dyed was sacked Director General because the BBC governors felt that the government didn't like him.

Telegraphing your plans

The Telegraph has a report of an interview with David Cameron, who is said to have praised several Blarites in an attempt to get them to defect. Andrew Grice blogging in the Independent thinks it's a bad strategy because they are less likely to jump. I think it can only strengthen Gordon Brown to have Blairites portrayed as spiritual Tories.

Further down the Telegraph piece, we are told that:
Throughout a visit to Hastings and Maidstone last week [Cameron] was approached by people complaining about the abolition of the 10p tax band, the influx of foreign workers and the Prime Minister's apparent lack of empathy for the concerns of the ordinary Briton.
I'm sorry, but is the journalist (Robert Winnett) reporting what he saw or naively conveying Cameron's account? It looks very much like the latter. And very good spin it is too.

Propaganda Puppets

The Independent says that:
The Pentagon and the US media have been exposed for using pre-programmed “military analysts” to win hearts and minds of Americans over the war in Iraq, torture and detentions in Guantanamo Bay.
It credits the New York Times with the story. Both use a great quote:
“It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,’ ” Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Confused? You will be

The Telegraph has a very confused story, whose premise is that:
Families are having to cut back on groceries, eating out and holidays as the credit crisis starts to have a profound effect on household spending.
Except that it isn't anything to do with the credit crunch:
With the cost of living going up by £1,800 a year for the average home, the first evidence has emerged of how families are changing their spending habits to cope with the economic squeeze.
Disposable income has been affected by a range of increased costs. Gas, electricity, water, food and drink bills, council taxes and mortgage payments have all increased by more than the rate of inflation.
In fact, the best evidence the story can offer of "austerity" is that:
Aldi, the budget supermarket, has reported a 25 per cent increase in sales, with rising numbers of middle-class customers.
although shoppers were buying flat-screen televisions, laptops and fridges in money-off promotions, they were shunning full-priced products.

Friday, 18 April 2008

A minor splash

On Comment is Free, John Gittings asks:
Are we so used to dodgy dossiers that the new evidence about the Iranian capture last year of British sailors and marines doesn't really matter?
He's referring to yesterday's Times story, that the captured sailors were not in Iraqi waters, as the government swore at the time, but disputed international waters.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Banning the BNP

Index on Censorship reports that:
London local paper the Hackney Gazette has decided not to allow the British National Party to advertise in its pages.
The refusal follows the decision of the Hampstead and Highgate Express to carry a BNP add, which I mentioned here.

Democracy and freedom in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, according to the Independent:
Afghanistan's Supreme Court has confirmed more than 100 death sentences, raising fears over the fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the student journalist on death row.
So that's what British forces are doing in Afghanistan - fighting for the right of the Afghan government to execute people.

Tesco the bully

The Guardian reports that:
Tesco in Thailand is suing a second columnist from a Bangkok business newspaper for £1.6m in libel damages.
The offending article in Nongnart Harnvilai's tongue-in-cheek "Buzz" column was part of a collection of short stories on page 28 of the paper, and ran to just a few sentences.
So Tesco is a bully abroad as well as a bully in the UK. They can sue me for saying that if they want but I think it's fair comment.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Appearances can be deceptive

I'm unconvinced by the Standard's claim that Lord Desai called Gordon Brown weak, even though it's being picked up elsewhere.

It looks to me as if Desai was talking about the impression people have of Brown, rather than offering his own opinion, although his comment that
"Gordon Brown was put on earth to remind people how good Tony Blair was"
isn't particularly helpful.

Locking up the truth

Meanwhile the Evening Standard reports that a report into Metropolitan Police's handling of the aftermath of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is being held back until after the London Mayoral election.

In the same paper Andrew Gilligan says that Met officers at local level are stopping people reporting crime, in order to keep numbers down.

Ken shows me up

I think I made a mistake last week when I suggested that Ken Livingstone was entitled to his privacy, no matter how many children he has fathered, and that we don’t need to know about public figures’ private lives. My mistake was saying it about Ken, who today dragged some of his children into a dispute about his late appearance on a radio debate. His excuse, like the right to privacy, cuts both ways.

According to the BBC, Ken’s aides had originally attributed his late (30 minutes) arrival for the Asian Network debate to “hold ups on the tube”. But when mayoral rival Boris Johnson pointed out that there was a good service on Ken’s line, he admitted that he had left the house late:

"Yeah I left the house late. The kids were just... they don't understand why daddy spendsmore time with Boris than with them."

Very clever, very funny. It might even be true. It’s probably better than blaming the London Underground, for which you are responsible. But once you start citing minor family issues for your failure to do what people expect of you, don’t you step over the same line that adulterous ministers cross when they drag their wives (invariably) and children out for photocalls?

More deep shallowness

Celia Walden of the Telegraph has demonstrated in spite of herself that being obsessed with appearance and intelligence do not often go together:

And here in Britain, well, we have Hapless Harriet, Jacqui "Too Much Home Front" Smith, and Tessa the Trainspotter. Isn't it time that our women politicians got a grip and made for the makeover?

"But they're not there to look good," whine the PC brigade. "They are there to do their job." And in Britain, unlike the rest of Europe, the two are mutually exclusive.

Quoting the fictional "PC brigade" plumbs the depths of journalism. Walden has plumbed the depths of shallowness.

Say no more

The New Statesman's media columnist Brian Cathcart is rightly outraged about the treatment by the tabloid press of Karen Matthews, whose daughter was allegedly kidnapped:
many of the gravest of the allegations against Matthews appeared in print after she had been charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice. Isn't there supposed to be a law against that?
Millions of people have read those allegations and it is a racing certainty that among them are several members of the jury that will try Matthews.
Cathcart says that it is unlikely that the government is unlikely to take action even though there is indeed a law against it - the (1981) Contempt of Court Act. He attributed this to:
a reluctance to take on the mass-circulation press - the same reluctance we saw a fortnight ago when the government abandoned plans to introduce meaningful penalties for stealing confidential data.

Foot in bag

The Telegraph reports that Sainsbury's is complaining about the government's plans to stop retailers giving customers free plastic bags. Chief Excutive Justin King offers a real foot-in-mouth quote:
"Since last April we believe we've given away more free Bags for Life than any other retailer. We now need to help customers remember to re-use them."

Oops - we lied

Some proper investigative journalism from the Times has revealed that the British navy personnel captured by Iran last year were in disputed international waters, not Iraqi waters, as Britain repeatedly claimed.

Document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that:
— The arrests took place in waters that are not internationally agreed as Iraqi;

— The coalition unilaterally designated a dividing line between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Gulf without telling Iran where it was;

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Don't mention the election

Gordon Brown, in the US, has said (about Zimbabwe):
"A stolen election would not be a democratic election at all,"
Let's hope George Bush, who came to power following a blatantly stolen election in 2000, wasn't listening.

Targeting civilians - and the press

Israel has retaliated following the death of three of its soldiers in an apparent Hamas ambush, killing a number of Hamas fighters, civilians and a journalist. According to the BBC:
Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana, 23, was killed along with two bystanders after he got out of a vehicle marked "TV" and "Press" in central Gaza, the agency reports.

Stirring resentment

Meanwhile, the Mail has a rather sad story that:
The mother of crippled paratrooper Ben Parkinson hit out after an Iraqi teenager was paid £2million for being left paralysed by a stray British bullet.
It's a classic contrived tabloid story. Obviously the Mail asked who it could find to be resentful of a large compensation payment to a foreigner. But in the circumstances, Diane Dernie wasn't particularly resentful:
"It's not that we don't think that anyone deserves compensation if they are shot, but it's hard to see why the Ministry of Defence can give all this money to nonmilitary personnel yet doesn't see fit to look after its own.

"As time goes on, we at the sharp end can see how little the £285,000 will stretch."

Myths and the Mail

The Guardian's report that
A wide-ranging police study has concluded that the surge in immigrants from eastern Europe to Britain has not fuelled a rise in crime
Has been picked up by the BBC and the Telegraph (with attribution) but strangely appears to have gone unnoticed by the Daily Mail.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Ministry of Truth

I've got a piece on Comment is Free this afternoon, the gist of which is:
Today's Ministry of Defence is an Orwellian institution, whose duties at home consist mainly of putting the case for war.

It doesn't add up

If you believe all the press and t.v. reports over the last few weeks, prices have gone through the roof. But the annual rate of inflation remains at 2.5% - pretty low by historic standards.

Meanwhile, the Guardian says that:
Downing Street today promised further action to help borrowers as new figures showed that house prices are falling at their fastest rate since records began 30 years ago.
In fact, as the BBC says:

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (Rics) said that 78.5% more surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices in March.

This was the gloomiest reading since Rics began the survey in 1978.
Which is not the same thing. It's tempting to say that journalists twist statistics but I think the truth is that most don't understand them.

Under wraps

How marvellous it is that the alleged victim of the royal blackmail plot will not have to appear in court, as the Telegraph reports.
The defence team believes the CPS has scored an own goal by refusing to allow him to give evidence. One source said: "It is almost unheard of for the victim of the alleged blackmail not to be in court."
Or is that just spin?

Meanwhile, people in Britain will not know which royal is alleged to have taken cocaine and "engaging in a homosexual sex act", unless they read this.

The wages of spin

The Telegraph reports that:
Gordon Brown is spending as much on personal advisers as Tony Blair did despite his pledge to end the culture of spin at No 10.
Can we have our money back please?

Who's a conspiracy crank?

David Aaronovitch in the Times shows us what a neo-con he is and how desperate neo-cons are to attack anyone who criticises Israel. He has a go at Professor Richard Falk, who will work for the UN as a human rights adviser/investigator and who has previously compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

Aaronovitch calls Falk a conspiracy crank and alleges that he won't achieve anything because he has upset Israel.
The implication of this logic is simple. The UN Human Rights Council doesn't give a toss about the human rights of the Palestinians in the sense of wanting them upheld. Its majority is far more interested in using Israel as a stick to beat the US with, or - in the case of Islamic states - as a bogeyman to dampen down domestic discontent.
Interesting conspiracy theory, David. And you don't even know you're doing it.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Still a mystery?

Tribune says that:
THE mystery of why the New Statesman still hasn’t got a new editor several weeks after John Kampfner agreed to depart is not so mysterious after all. Its owner, Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, has been too busy negotiating a deal to let 50 per cent of the magazine go to fellow millionaire, businessman Mike Danson, for an undisclosed sum.
But that was two weeks ago, at which point the magazine was reported to be interviewing hopefuls.

Some devils are better than others

Peter Wilby has an interesting blog piece on the Index on Censorship site exploring the ethics of newspapers and magazines accepting adverts from dodgy sources. Arms companies, tobacco manufacturers, but what about the BNP, as one local newpaper recently did?

Sour Grapes?

According to Press Gazette,
PR Week has hit back at accusations that it is being “used” by Downing Street communications staff to leak stories about a power struggle within Number 10.
The accusations have come from the Times and the Guardian. Are they upset that Number 10 isn't using them, as usual?

Splitting Straws

The Guardian story that the Cabinet is "split" over the proposal for 42 days detention without charge appears to be based on attempts by Jack Straw to distance himself from the move.

Straw had his chance to oppose the Iraq war but went along with it. He has since hinted that he was against. But his sole purpose in being in the government seems to be to stay in the government.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The national security card is a joker

The government's attempts to play the national security card are now so blatant that surely no-one takes them seriously any more. Struggling to get a majority for her (Brown's) pointless and entirely political plans to extend detention without trial to 42 days, Home Secretry Jacqui Smith has claimed that the threat from terrorism is "growing".

Meanwhile, former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has criticised the judges who overturned the government's decision to stop the BAE/Saudi corruption inquiry. Strange really as the decision was supposedly taken by the head of the Serious Fraud Office. Anyway, Goldsmith has accused the judges of "not living in the real world". Or are the government's claims that the UK would have lost out on vital Saudi intelligence just a fantasy, as Robert Baer suggests in today's Independent on Sunday.

Please go away

The Independent's John Rentoul is so predictable, you wonder why he bothers. The unreconstructed Blairite is touting David Miliband to challenge Gordon Brown. I watched Miliband in the Iraq debate a couple of weeks ago. Admittedly Miliband was defending an entirely indefensible position but he looked hopeless, quite out of his depth.

The Father Ted defence

The Independent reports forthcoming "humiliation" for Britain, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development about to reprimand Britain over the BAE/Saudi corruption case. Meanwhile former CIA officer Robert Baer writes in the Indy that the Saudi's have never given anyone any useful intelligence, in spite of Tony Blair's claim that this would be put at risk. It's worth remembering that MI6 chief John Scarlett refused to sign up to this at the time.

I hadn't realised before, but Saudi Prince Bandar has deployed the Father Ted defence, that the money was just resting in this account:
Bandar claims that the BAE payments weren't a bribe. The money only passed through his accounts and went to various government projects.

Hit 'em hard

The Observer also reports that:
A British expatriate who was named as a formal suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is launching one of the largest libel claims in the history of the British media.
It won't go down well with the papers involved, but I hope Robert Murat cleans them out. When Colin Stagg, once wrongly accused of the murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common - had a a fitted-up prosecution thrown out, one of the tabloids had the headline: "Now I'll make a killing". The suggestion was that someone who was guilty would make a lot of money from the failure to prove it. We now know that Stagg was entirely innocent.

A lot at stake

Another poll - in the Observer - suggesting the race for London's mayor is very close could see problems for polling organisation YouGov, which has repeatedly given Boris Johnson huge leads. YouGov, which carries out internet polling, has a national poll for the Sunday Times with the Tories 16% ahead. If YouGov is wrong, it will be finished.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

I diagnose a twisted arm

Yesterday, Kylie disclosed that her breast cancer had initially been missed,, which could have had pretty serious implications. She said:
"Because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments doesn't necessarily mean they're right."
But it looks as if someone has been twisting her arm. Today she supposedly said:
"I have a great respect for the medical profession."

Need to know a secret?

I've got a new piece on Comment is Free about the difference between secret and private and between what we want to know and need to know.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Thanks very much

As the Guardian reports that the US is planning to stay in Iraq indefinitely (no surprise there), the Telegraph carries the same story, without any attribution:
A secret draft agreement is being drawn up to allow United States forces to remain in Iraq indefinitely, it has been reported.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Say no more

In the Media Guardian today, Peter Wilby asks
How can journalism truly reflect society when entry to the profession relies on wealth, geography, and parents prepared to pay the wages that employers will not?
I think the answer is, it can't and it doesn't.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Brown, orange and green

The Sunday Times has another sniping little story about Gordon Brown, supposedly having a blob of orange make-up on his face yesterday, although the online version doesn't have a picture of this so-called visual gaffe.
ON the day Gordon Brown turned orange it emerged that he has hired a former BBC producer to put an end to the visual gaffes that have dogged his time as prime minister.
Perhaps Rupert Murdoch's once-Blairite cheerleaders are suffering a bit of PM envy.

Private is best

As problems persist at Terminal 5, Brian Cathcart in the New Statesman does a round up of the media's telling of the story as "National Metaphor". Although T5 is quite obviously a private sector cock-up but a privatised monopoly airport owner and a privatised airline, some in the right wing press just can't see it. According to Cathcart:
Most bracing of all, though, were the conclusions of the true conservatives of our time. Peter Hitchens wrote in the Mail on Sunday that the fiasco was the inevitable consequence of the introduction of comprehensive education in around 1968, while Simon Heffer in the Telegraph put it all down to a British workforce which is "poorly educated, poorly managed, is almost impossible to sack when it fouls up, has its failures rewarded and has a lavish welfare state to fall back on".