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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Labour reassert their authoritarian ways

Anybody who thought that Labour had moved on from its more authoritarian tendencies need only to look at this article in the Independent to find otherwise.

The paper reports that former Home Secretary, David Blunkett has said that satirical shows such as Have I Got News For You which mock politicians should be reclassified as “current affairs” and face tougher scrutiny from libel lawyers:

The former Home Secretary warned that the line between comedy and politically-motivated abuse was increasingly being crossed on programmes such as the BBC series Mock The Week, which may require tighter regulation as a consequence.

Mr Blunkett said: “The protection that broadcasters in particular have is ‘well, everybody knows this is comedy don’t they?’ So it’s not libellous, it’s not dangerous in the sense that it’s targeted and therefore vicious towards an individual. And I think we need to watch that.”

The Labour MP told the Radio 4 documentary, When Comedy and Politics Collide: “Sometimes actually it isn’t comedy, it’s comment and current affairs in the middle of what is supposed to be a comedy programme. There’s a bit more of that going on at the moment.”

Satirical programmes are subject to the libel laws in the same way as any other of course so I am not entirely clear what Blunkett means. Is he suggesting a different sort of libel law for satire?

Meanwhile, another Labour MP is complaining that Thomas the Tank Engine needs more female engines to encourage girls to become train drivers, ignoring the origins and cultural placing of this particular programme. The joke doing the rounds on Twitter is that UKIP are calling now for the Wombles to deport Uncle Bulgaria.
In re ‘the bit about train drivers’.

Trains are becoming increasingly 'driverless' so I'm not sure we should be encouraging boys or girls to become train drivers.

We are seeing this trend in other transport mechanisms.

It is a matter of public domain that planes are becoming autonomous as are sea going vessels.

We have autonomous drones that complete missions without input from 'ground pilots'.

And now we have R&D on turning large freight carrying ships into crew-free areas, though I think the engineering crew would still be required to fix mechanical problems as they arise. But ships can be fitted with dual systems much like aircraft are - and it wouldn't be that hard to design future ships with capacity to operate on one engine if the other fails. They are increasingly electric anyway, so the 'engine' is a mini power stations.

There may come a time too when the power source for driving ships will be in the form of fuel cells generating electricity to power electrically driven propulsion systems - with fewer mechanical components; also the weight saving brought about fewer, if any, crew quarters and kitchens, sanitation systems would be likely mean more freight can be carried compared to same size freighters plying today's world oceans. Cdw

Corrected for inadvertent typo “pubic” has been replaced with “public”; therefore “pubic domain” now reads: “public domain”. Opps...
I asked if Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party have any views on the matter and alI got was this...
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