Monday, 8 April 2013

Newell News- round Up Week 2

Week 2 of the Newell News-round Up begun with April Fools' day and with it came a series of ridiculous stories that most of us wished were jokes.

Welfare state

Poet T.S. Eliot said in The Waste Land that 'April was the cruelest month' and he was not far wrong.
First up we have the bedroom tax which came into effect, or as the Tories want the BBC and other mainstream puppets to call it, removal of spare room subsidies, as Iain Duncan Smith launched a scathing attack on the BBC the week prior for "adopting the language of Labour and causing panic." He then went on to say he could live on £57 a week (his current annual wage is £134,565) and subsequently had a breakfast that cost £39, which would only leave him £18 for the rest of his week.

We also had a woman feature on ITV's This Morning, who had recently lost a child due to a brain tumour, where it seemed as though they were shamelessly exploiting her grief in the name of fair and balanced debate with some grotesque, overweight man debating the bedroom tax issue. The woman, who was still visibly grieving the death of her child, now faces paying for the room she wishes to keep as it is for the time being, or vacate the premises to somewhere smaller. Anyone who has lost a loved one will know the delicacy of the grieving process and that it has no time bar on it. Quite how or why Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby allowed the interview to continue is beyond me and is another example of how these governments go about their business with no thought about the wider implications their actions have.

The iconic class structure image
The media's attention focused next on the great class debate. The classic depiction of working, middle and upper class, has given way to the new and revamped seven class system. There is a test for you to take and everything. This particular news item has been an almost daily feature with people climbing on the bandwagon to explain the way society has changed and how many more of us than ever have climbed out of the working class struggle. This is a great con because the definitions raised for the differing classes do not truly reflect the majority of the people's true position; that of the working class. Still the media and the politicians make it sound like it is something to be ashamed of and have pushed quite hard this message that we now have different levels within the class system. I believe if you cannot go without one or two pay cheques then you are not middle class. The latest great class debate just seems like it is another ruse.

Lastly on the welfare issue we have had the trial of Mick Philpott, who was found guilty for the deaths of his children, following a house fire started deliberately in an attempt to portray the hero by swooping in to rescue them. In true foot in mouth fashion the government then waded in with their oaf like feet and questioned whether the welfare state subsidised lifestyles like Philpott's. There was no mention of the celebrity he craved, the attention he seemed to desire and the role that media plays in this by Osborne or Cameron, just a tenuous link back to the welfare system.

The Economy

BBC Radio 4 had a lovely piece on the economy (covered back in January 2013 on BBC News) harping back to Alan Greenspan's famous statement that the sales of men's underpants reflected the health of the economy. This was previously covered back in 2009 by The Daily Mail. Interestingly the company the radio were talking to said they had previously experienced a drop in sales, in line with the economic recession since 2008 and were looking at another drop this quarter. Triple dip recession or a depression?


Motorola first market phone
The mobile phone was 40 years old this week and we have come along way from the early market mobile phones to the multi-function devices we have at our finger tips today, which goes to show that mans reach far exceeds his grasp.

Samsung new Galaxy S4

Tweeters will be glad to know that their tweets will be recorded by the British Library, along with their
Facebook status updates, which will make for some fascinating history lessons many years from now I am sure. One thing to wonder is whether the digital revolution will make history more accountable or will it continue to be his-tory? Alternatively there will be those of us who will be squirming at the idea of some of our previous posts being kept for eternity as the new Youth Police Crime Commissioner found out  this week. Previous Tweets have included gems such as: "Everyone on Made in Chelsea looks like a fag." But she of course denies being racist, homophobic or anything else for that matter, just guilty of being young and brash growing up in the social media age.


North and South Korea and the U.S. have been playing war games in the east. Every man and his dog has been pumping up their chests in grand displays of masculinity that have left some people worrying that the world is on the brink of war. Of course the British lap dogs have been sounding their ten pence worth with William Hague calling for calm after the UK Embassy staff were told to leave but have decided to stay. Perhaps they fancy being the unwitting stars of another movie like Argo.

The battle for Africa continues with the U.S. now offering $5m for the capture of 2012's most wanted man, Joseph Kony. Tony Blair and George W. Bush should be wanted for the deaths of thousands but one group decided to focus on Kony. You may remember the viral campaign video that was launched on March 5th 2012 where you were called to 'stop at nothing' to bring Kony to justice for his atrocities with the LRA, or you may not. Either way the U.S. have their boots on the desert and are now rolling out Defence Secretary John Kerry to call for his capture.


Where are all the bees? The politicians have finally caught wind of the dangers we face with the declining bee population. Bees pollinate plants free of charge, and the way we repay them? By poisoning them with pesticides. The cost currently is being counted in monetary terms (in the millions) but the real cost is in our very own health, well being and existence.

And lastly but not least the UK is to become a net importer of wheat for the first time in over a decade as poor weather has resulted in poor crop harvests. I wrote about this topic a few weeks ago in the context of the issue of global food shortages with some interesting statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, National Union of Farmers and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. The extreme rain followed by the harsh winter has lead to farmers effectively having to focus on preparing for next years crops and forget 2013.

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