Archive for December, 2005

Move over, darling

Posted: December 6, 2005 in Uncategorized

Cherie Booth’s programme on the ‘goldfish bowl’ lives of prime minister’s wives illustrated an important truth: why it is still a blessing that we (just about) have more journalists than celebrities as TV interviewers.
Cherie chatted to Norma Major about the curtains at the Downing Street flat and about John’s breakfast time meetings without once discussing his affair with Edwina Currie.
Mrs Blair’s own mistakes and misjudgements were alluded to by some talking heads but never confronted directly in the main part of the programme itself.
And any conflict with her husband over ideals and policy was only mentioned in a press conference in India when she was asked if she disagreed with her husband’s decisions.
Cherie looked all coy and said something to the effect that all women disagreed with their husbands at some point – unless their husbands were saints.
There would seem to be more to disagree with in her husband’s actions than in many other’s though, wouldn’t there? He hasn’t spent savings on a season ticket or stayed in the pub a pint too long.
Personally, if I were married to a man, which I’m not (but bear with me), and he had played a role in events which had brought about the deaths of some 100,000 people, churned up chaos and misery and destabilised a region of the world, I might mention it.
I might even walk out, no matter good he was with the kids.


The Death of Christian Blewitt

Posted: December 4, 2005 in Uncategorized
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BBC Radio 4’s File On 4 programme is this week looking at the death of Christian Blewitt.
Three-year-old Christian died in December 2002. His foster parents, Ian and Angela Gay, were later jailed for five years after a jury found them guilty of manslaughter.
It was suspected they had killed him by force-feeding him salt.
I interviewed a member of the couple’s legal team in March for an article which was published much later in the Western Mail.
I attach that piece in the comments section, and the new story about the File On 4 programme.
File On 4: Sunday, 4 December 2005 at 5pm.

Wave if you support sea workers

Posted: December 3, 2005 in Uncategorized

Support for the workers of Irish Ferries, whose Welsh protest is now well into its second week, continues to grow.
This lunchtime, as a demonstration began at Pembroke Dock, the Wales TUC appealed for the company to bring the dispute to an end.
Ship crews at Holyhead and Pembroke Dock are protesting at plans to replace staff with cheaper workers from abroad, and to offer existing workers either voluntary redundancy or the option to take a pay cut.
But it is important to understand the anger should not be directed at the foreign workers, who are being brought in by Irish Ferries as a cost cutting measure.
The company, which is part of the Irish Continental Group (ICG), has been making profits before tax of between €24 million and €30 million in recent years.
This company insults its current staff while seeking to exploit those from abroad.
As the International Transport Workers Federation (ITWF) says this protest is “not about stopping” migrant workers coming to the UK or Ireland.
It is about helping them join the labour market on fair terms and conditions.
The dispute has so fair rumbled on fairly quietly, even though about 15 crew members have been barricaded onto both The Isle of Inishmore, moored in Pembroke Dock, and the Ulysses, docked in Holyhead, for nine days.
It is a matter which should attract huge public support because it is about companies sifting through standards until only the barest conditions of employment and the lowest levels of pay remain.
And we do not have to look as far as Dublin to find plenty of companies prepared to stretch workers’ rights as thinly as they will go.