Thursday, 17 April 2014

The return of Jack Bauer

24 returns to our screens in May and this time Jack Bauer is in London.

Kiefer Sutherland reprises the role of the tortured, and torturing, action hero who battles against those in power to save the US President, Americans, the World...

...Unmissable nonsense...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

W1A

Last week W1A came to an end. The comedy drama continues the story of nice but ineffectual Ian Fletcher who we last saw getting London ready for the Olympics. Fletcher, deftly played by Hugh Bonneville, has become the BBC's head of values. His mission is to 'embed values throughout the organisation'.

While the programme pokes fun at the BBC and its internal politics, the satire's real target is business jargon, management theory and the people who are given jobs but have nothing to do.

W1A shows brilliantly is how organisations cease to function as they become too big, no one has authority to do anything and everyone hides behind a language they don't understand to escape responsibility. These organisations survive because they produce something that people want. In other words, they survive despite themselves.

By the final episode, Fletcher works the system and is surprisingly effective. It was a nice touch although whether it would happen in real life is another matter.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Jeremy Brown's authentic liberalism

Jeremy Browne has reaffirmed his 'Orange Book' liberalism with 'Race Plan'. His new book argues for an authentic liberalism that reforms public services and champions free markets.

The book is in a classical liberal vein and for Liberal Vision and their supporters it will be welcomes. Even those who distrust the market, it makes for a stimulating read and will be food for thought as Stephen Tall points out on Lib Dem Voice.

As part of the book promotion, Browne was interviewed in the Times. He pointedly asked, if the Liberal Democrats didn't exist would anyone invent them? From his comments, it is clear he thinks they wouldn't but what someone would create is the sort of party that he wants to be a member of.

After the book's publication, the Conservative party members suggested he jump ship and embrace the Whig side of the Conservative party.

Browne, like Hayek before him, has made it clear he is not a conservative. But the problem for Browne and others who share his views, he isn't really a Lib Dem either.

The dilemma for classical liberals is whether they join the Conservatives, Lib Dems or no party at all.



Monday, 14 April 2014

Unintended blogging break

I have taken an unintended blogging break but am planning to resume posting with a slightly different focus. For the last few months I have been focusing on communications and I think it is time to return to political commentary. Of course, work and life might get in the way. If it does it might be best to shut the blog down but for now it continues...

Friday, 7 March 2014

FT makes money from its digital platforms

The FT's CEO tells the Media Briefing how the newspaper is doing with its digital switch.

Click here to find out.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

BBC 3, digital programming and the licence fee

The BBC has announced that its attempt at hip, populist programming aimed at young people is to be scrapped.

Or did they?

To borrow from the pre-Monty Python comedy that was a mix of Monty Python and the Goodies, "I'm sorry I'll read that again…"

The BBC has announced that the innovative and popular channel, BBC 3 is being transferred to BBC iPlayer. While it won't have a 'channel' on Freeview, cable or satellite it can still be watched on television if you can access iPlayer.

Seen by some as letting comedy down, the BBC is following the lead of Netflix and its bold original broadcasting of House of Cards.

As viewers switch into programmes on PCs, tablets and smartphones, the BBC's move might not be as disastrous as supporters of the BBC 3 think.

If BBC 3 lives to see another day, shifting content onto platforms that don't require the licence fee might turn out to be a bad move for the broadcasting corporation. With more programmes, more channels and more ways to watch the justification for the licence fee, in its present form, gets weaker by the day.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Who knew Ghostbusters was a hymn to the free market?

Well Marc Sidwell at City A.M. knew.

In a fascinating piece on Ghostbusters and the legacy of Harold Ramis, Sidwell argues that Ramis's ghostly frolic is in part a critique of government and regulation.

Having seen the film when it was first released, I have to admit that interpretation didn't occur to me. Another viewing is called for...