environment & politics


Pilger on Radio 4 Today

When this was about to come on the radio this morning, I raised an eyebrow. Pilger is one of the great radical journalists, highly critical of governments. That he was on the BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today Program, talking about censorship and the corporatisation of journalism, was surprising to say the least.

Afterwards it was marvellous to see part of the establishment get wound up. Some media outlets, such as the Daily Mail, were in essence leaping to the defence of the State. The irony that many were attacking the ‘left-wing’ BBC (personally I find those left and right labels not very useful in 2014 anyway) for not censoring something that criticised the BBC and the British government, and selective censorship in media, was not wasted on me.

Anyway – Pilger’s always worth a listen. It’s a shame there are few journalists like him today.


Paxman vs Brand

This is worth watching all the way through. I like how Brand deals with Paxman here – a nice combination of humour to disable Paxman’s initial gravitas; and then the overwhelming sincerity that undermined any remaining seriousness Paxman hoped to lord over him. It’s also curious that Brand’s pretty typical radical ideals no longer seem as wild with a broad audience as they might have done a few years ago, though maybe that’s my imagination. I guess that’s the impact of things like the Occupy movement.


The World’s Tallest Slum

This concerns the Tower of David in Caracas, Venezuela. Squatters took over the 45-story skyscraper in the early 1990s, and have been there ever since. Fascinating, and deeply saddening at the same time.