Bristling Brock speaks out...


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There is a current spate of very poor quality reporting - globally - that is creating news from a platform of often almost non-existent facts.   It's been going on for quite a time, but in this early start to the new decade there is a vacuum of substance in the news world arena that has led to serious faced 'journalists' appearing on tv, and in the written dimension through newsprint, telling us a story - be it Ukrainian airline disasters, Harry & Meghan, global disaster apocalypses, assassinations, terrorists, etc, etc, etc - that are based on mere extrapolations of the flimsiest fact and reality.  The big problem is that these sources, by repetitive telling, transfer speculation into fact in the minds of significant parts of any population.   By telling the same thing over and over, no matter how baseless the storyline might be, the fiction becomes the fact, the unusual becomes the norm and the gullible become influenced.

The question, therefore, might be, 'How important is that ?'  Do we accept, in the round, that the news we hear and read is gospel or do we adopt a cynicism that questions everything we glean from media outlets ?  Do we place the responsibility upon the channels that pump news and information at us 24 hours a day to be responsible, professional and impartial or do we select those channels of information in some sort of hierarchy of credibility that places, say, The Daily Telegraph in a higher and more believable position than a tabloid like The Daily Mail ?  Whichever position we adopt, we actually never really know whether we are hearing fact based truth or speculation and opinion.   Extend that gloomy thought further and look at literature, science. history and countless other respectable disciplines and you might reach the same conclusion - each is based upon some fact (or so we suppose) but much of what we read in these contexts is an interpretation of a small amount we do know into a wider portrait about which we all, individually, draw a conclusion.  Nobody has an identical 'interpretation process' that can consolidate an absolute picture.   Some geneticists have distinguished this phenomena as being unique to us as the Homo Sapien species, a species capable of thinking up fictions and scenarios that suit our individual chemistry, wiring, DNA, etc in a way that enables us to position ourselves in whatever circumstance we find - a sort of individual world that we encapsulate ourselves within to explain the complexities of life in general and, perhaps more importantly, help us create, innovate and evolve.  Deep and searching stuff, but it reminds BB, that the world we live in is increasingly commercialised and competitive and the media are just a fragment of that whole - but with profit always underpinning their output.

Now onto trains.  In particular, the beleagured operators who really give every impression of not really knowing what they are doing.   Here we have classic instances of profit driving the service rather than service driving profit.  The woeful competence of operators like Northern Rail and the Trans-Pennine Express with ever hiked fare prices, diminishing and unreliable service lead us inexorably to the conclusion that public services should not be in the hands of private enterprise that decide to buy rolling stock from Spanish companies that didn't understand the specifications, and left the poor old commuter for ever grinding his teeth at the absence of trains themselves, drivers and a coherent timetable.   BB shudders at the Corbynite notion of public ownership but surely there must be some dynamic to empower government to intercede and keep these poorly managed franchises on track...

The Labour Party are going to drag us through three months of leadership squabbling.   None of the current candidates is that inspiring - could you actually imagine any of them as Prime Minister ?  Hopefully you cannot.  But we are all going to be exposed to the wailing and teeth gnashing of hard left-wing exponents, of centre-left exponents and - just possibly - a centrist. The outcome will, I regret, not improve Labour's standing - not because BB has any empathy with that party but because the exercise of democracy through parliamentary governance needs an effective opposition.  Right now, a continuance of that absence seems likely. 

It's difficult to decide whether to congratulate Trumpy on some master-stroke foreign intervention that he knows something about that we don't (hard to imagine, I know) or to wonder whether bluster and sheer spontaneity rule his thinking about such adventures as killing off an Iranian terrorist in Iraq.  He continues to dumbfound.   His support in the US seems sound (BB always finds it extraordinary how many rednecks he can conjure up to listen to him), he looks likely to win the next presidential election (though perhaps that may be as much to do with a very poor Democrat opposition), and he holds such a high opinion of himself that, despite everything, is almost convincing !   What an enigma. 




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