Archive for January 11th, 2009

BBC journalists have been hyperventilating and spinning like dervishes since the early hours of this morning following the *story* broken by that most revered of British institutions … “The News of The Screws* : Harry uses inappropriate language about brother officer and makes spoof phonecall to H M  The Queen, his grandmother.

I’m not in the Household Cavalry… but Harry, three years ago in a short video,  described a fellow officer and friend as a ‘Paki’ and another as a ‘raghead’. Army people tend to have nicknames, some quite crude, for each other.  It is, of course, unacceptable to make derogatory remarks about anyone, but it did seem to me, when I viewed the film, that he referred to his fellow officer in a friendly way and the remark seemed entirely devoid of malice.  A number of people were pulled out of their beds to tell us that it was completely unacceptable for a member of the Royal family or, indeed, anyone to call another person a ‘Paki’… and so it would be in most contexts.  But was Harry being racist?   Was Harry intending to humiliate or degrade his friend/acquaintance? (They were at Sandhurst together)  I don’t think so.   It seemed to me, and to an entirely sensible asian female filmed by the BBC, that his remark was without malice.   This did not stop retired dancer Arlene Phillips, fresh from being bitchy and self important on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’,  telling us this morning on the Andrew Marr show that we live in a very politically correct world.

I was losing the will to live listening to this story when I realised, quite apart from the fact that a Royal Marine was killed in Afghanistan, people are being killed on both sides in Gaza and the world is on the edge of reason, financial and political,  that I was watching the Andrew Marr show – a supposedly heavy weight political programme.  What the fuck is the BBC doing getting a 64 year old dancer and Strictly Come Dancing judge (good though she may be at dancing) to be a pundit and commentator on a politics show?  I then watched Marr interview David Cameron (who mentioned the government wasting £12.5 Billion in the VAT cut no less than five times), decided that Andrew Marr would be better presenting Strictly Come Dancing, and threw myself (metaphorically) off the top floor of the apartment building I am currently staying at.


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Today I am talking to Peter Black, a lecturer  in law at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia and  author of the Freedom to Differ blog which is in the running for an award as best law blog in the annual weblog awards.

Peter is an enthusiastic blogger and Twitterer and earlier this year, hosting Blawg Review, tweeted the entire review over Twitter in segments of 140 characters at a time .

I talk to Peter about several things, including blogging and Twitter, but first I  find out why Australia wants to restrict access to the net and join China in erecting a firewall to filter and censor internet content.

Listen to Podcast 86: Peter Black on Australian plans to censor the net

The podcast was done Skype to Skype – so some sound interference beyond our control


We talked about cricket. Here is a link to the Ashley’s Ashes story I wrote up about the Ashes series we won a few years ago.

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