Why the BBC is bad for democracy and the weather is rarely horrible in London

5 PM Wednesday 25th April 2012 Nunhead Heights.

There is a saying that one “should never judge the day by the weather”. If you do you would be miserable a lot of the time in Nunhead. And you can find love or win the lottery or have a great show at the Source Below, tonight, on a rainy day.

“Miserable” in Nunhead is being rainy and dull. Actually, there are more rainy days per month, on average, in New York than in London. It rains twice as many inches in New York than in London, and Nunhead is in London for those who don’t know. And according to Wikipedia, London has 18 days of snow a year and New York averages just 11. Did you know all that?

Nunhead does have lots of clouds, or “cloud” as the British call clouds. They call math “maths” and sports “sport”. The Brits speak a weird dialect of American.

Nunhead is on the wrong side of the Atlantic so the prevailing winds and all that mash up the clouds into bits of cloud. Nunhead rarely has clear blue skies but it rarely has all cloudy skies. But it also rarely has atrocious winds, ice storms or temperature extremes.

Right now is raining proper New York rain. “Proper” meaning “real” – as in solid rain for an hour.

Rainwater is dripping into my flat and I’m not sure if the Council should fix it or I’ll need to. I am expecting my Somali neighbour from downstairs to come up and accuse me of flooding her place on purpose.

When I first moved in she believed the previous occupant was trying to drive the Somalis out by rattling the pipes. I am sure it was just the washing machine banging on the communal pipes. At the time I blamed it on cultural differences and found the interaction very scary.

Now I believe it something any woman could concoct. In a few more years I may ascribe it to something that all humans could get up to. If she shows up too often I may start rattling the pipes, myself.

The rain stopped. Oh, no it started again.

You know I am in a mood when I write about the weather.

Rupert Murdoch is being grilled at the Leveson Inquiry to find out what, actually, I am not sure what. The British love to have one judge decide these kinds of things. Not a committee, like the Warren Commission who looked into assassination of President Kennedy, but one dude. Maybe other judges are involved but if there are I haven’t heard them mentioned.

This system is very different from the USA. The British place their faith in the One Dude – maybe that is why they still have a Queen. She is One Dude. Then again, if the result of the inquiry isn’t to one’s liking they can say that the One Dude was wrong. I mean, what does he know?

I think it can be fairly said that Rupert Murdoch controlled British governments. We can all agree it wasn’t good thing. I know how he did it.

Britain is amazingly centralized and concentrated. Five supermarket chains have 75% of the grocery business. London’s residential property is worth the same as the next 40 biggest cities and towns in Britain combined. I read that in The Guardian 31st March 2012. It is as if New York were worth as much as LA, Boston, Indianapolis, Atlanta, San Fran, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Austin, Houston, Denver, and thirty other cities combined. Minneapolis. Chicago. Detroit. New Orleans, Memphis. You name it. Isn’t that incredible? Richmond. Philadelphia. Buffalo, Portland, San Diego.

The government-owned broadcaster in the UK controls more than 50% of the airwaves. They own two of the five big channels and have something to do with Channels Four and Five, too, and the biggest radio stations and local ones in every town. The BBC is impartial, unbiased, and not self-serving.

In order to control the government you only need to get maybe a third or half of the remaining 50% to get out your partial, biased and self-serving message out . That is maybe 25% of the media and you’re in a very powerful position. That is what Murdoch did by owning Sky, The Times, The News of the World, and the The Sun.

The BBC does a lot of good but that much neutral power is bad for democracy.

Tell me otherwise. It has stopped raining. No, its started again.

@lewisschaffer

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Source Below. Free admission. The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street at Brewer, Soho. W1F 9TY. Reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow

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Posted in Life in Britain
One comment on “Why the BBC is bad for democracy and the weather is rarely horrible in London
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