A bold suggestion by former Tory Leader Sir John Major can either be a headache or an opportunity for Chancellor George Osborne. The challenge of popular policy thrown by former conservative Prime Minister to Chancellor Osborne could turn into his advantage by subtle pressure on energy companies which could increase David Cameron’s government popularity.
This an editorial I did for the Norwegian magazine Perspective last month. not sure if it is available in UK, but here is the editorial now the magazine is out
The House of Commons vote on Syria, 29 August, triggered a chain of events not only thwarting a war that seemed inevitable that day but also set higher ethical and democratic standards beyond Britain’s shores. Instead of focusing on getting public to back attack on Syria’s despotic regime, western leaders began working with the Russia and United Nations ( which finally got Security Council to agree on the strongest resolution available) to end a bloody civil war by a political settlement and to get an ambitious humanitarian aid programme into action.
Once again fellow hacks in various sections of British media were quick to report rumours and gossip on streets of cairo and Egyptian social media as factual news, namely a false claim that the Egyptian government banned or outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood. This led to Egyptian government quickly denying media nonsense. Below are the full details of the judicial review, its recommendation and the background to who asked for the review, which was a group of Egyptian MPs, activists, women groups and others who have nothing to do withe the government. Several court case to challenge the MB charitable status were filed some 14 months before June 30 movement that ousted them from power with help from the army and both Muslim Church ( Azhar) and Christian Church ( coptic) as well as all other political parties, trends, NGOs and trade unions ina national council meetings 1-3 July 2013 . Below are the details.
Whether it was a deliberate fabrication (given the guardian ideological stance) or laziness by the Guardian hackette, Lisa O’Carroll; the story on an Egyptian court ruling on some TV channels was factually inaccurate, contains errors and leaves out vital information which misleads readers and can cause violent reaction on the ground in Egypt.
Once Fleet Street greatest paper on accuracy and checking facts thoroughly, the Daily Telegraph, unfortunately following the Guardian and the BBC in overlooking facts reporting rumours or views based on second-guessing as factual news.
Take today’s telegraphs report from their Cairo stringer, free-lance hackette Lousia Loveluck. entitled “Egypt’s Islamist crackdown intensifies” . The report contains some factual errors which would fail A level media study students.
If we follow foolish European Union Foreign Policy (God knows why they should have a foreign policy department, commissioner and team financed by our taxes) over Egypt, we risk a great deal of our interests being badly damaged, not just in Egypt but among Egypt powerful, rich influential allies like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman as well as Jordan ( they are also essentially part of wider historic British interest in Middle East and the Gulf region).
Not only our news organisations, Broadcast and Fleet Street ( and the American ones across the pond) covering Egypt failed to do any research on Muslim Brotherhood history of and association with terrorism, they also omit, from their copy or videos, historic facts, personalities and information vital to the narrative thus misleading British listeners, viewers and readers.
By constructing false and untrue narrative of the Egyptian Crisis the BBC, followed by other liberal left media, then copied by nearly all, is harming long-term British interests in Egypt and the Middle East region, especially with our Foreign Secretary William Hague unwisely following a foolish European course threatening Egypt while Cairo influential and rich Gulf allies led by Saudi Arabia have already warned the European Union against such folly. It seems that BBC led other left-wing/liberal media in setting the agenda to convince the British chattering classes and the larger political establishment of a false narrative of the crisis in Egypt. A false narrative and analysis which is not only misleading and doesn’t reflect reality on the ground, but also causing anger and resentment among the vast majority of Egyptians and their interim government, which, alongside the military, enjoys huge public support. Even the perception of policy that Egyptians might interpret as racist, demeaning or hurts their pride, poses a danger to our long term interests in Egypt and in the Arab world, especially UK Britain economic interests in the important markets of the Gulf and security interest in the Middle East region that could be damaged beyond repair.
I try to monitor UK media reporting on Egypt ( since we have contacts and correspondents there and can check facts on the ground with near 100% accuracy) to see whether correspondents , analysts or columnists stick to the traditional fleet street criteria ( ie PPC Press Complaints Council Editors Code of Practice ) ; the Of-Com Broadcasting code ;& the BBC Editorial Guidelines ; the NUJ ( national Union of Journalists) Code of Conduct and last but not least the obvious commonsense practice of sticking to facts, sourcing information, abiding by laws, and making a clear distinction ( easily noticeable and understood by readers/viewers/listeners) between hard facts, and opinion, analysis or guess. In the light of such criterion I will try to highlight shortcomings or errors by British media. I hope fellow hacks and hackettes are not offended but try to see it as an extension or further explanation to what might have been overlooked in the rush to meet deadlines.
Cairo Today (Qahera el Youm) have just reported a shocking police intervention that goes to confirm something we already knew. A bus was stopped en route to Rabaa Adawiya as part of a routine check. In the bus were dozens of orphans, street children and children of poor families under the supervision of an MB cleric. They were scruffily dressed but were clutching bags containing smart new clothes. They told the police that the ‘sheikh’ had given them the clothes plus LE 20 and promised them good food. They said their didn’t know where they were going. In a few cases, their parents had been given substantial sums to release their kids in the temporary care of the cleric. The program showed photos and videos of those poor kids scheduled to be used as human shields and to boost the MB’s PR campaign. This really is too much. I had heard about it but now I’ve seen it with my own eyes.