1. National Service is going ahead, but I can’t sit around forever waiting for the money situation to get better, so, with Clive’s help, I’ve built a little cash machine to help things along. That’ll be with you shortly.
3. Blair’s coining it in while playing The Great Statesman, but he hasn’t killed anyone lately, so I’m happy to leave him to it. Even if he does manage to buy a burial plot with armed guards and electrified fences, I doubt even that will keep me from somehow pissing on his grave.
4. Bush is finished and has been since the 2006 mid-terms.
5. The year or so of bloggage about Iain Dale and Paul Staines (and their overlapping team of wannabe thugs) looked very closely at the techniques used in their ongoing efforts to enjoy power without accountability… and from here it looks as if we’ve finally reached the bottom of their bag of tricks.
[Psst! Iain and Paul: Don’t get your hopes up, you lovable miniature media barons. There are still some loose ends flapping and an almighty wrap-up to come, and I guarantee that you’re not going to like any of it.]
So the time has finally come for a new ongoing project at Bloggerheads.
I have two projects in mind:
UK Libel Law
UK libel laws as they stand make it very difficult for any British citizen or resident to host their website in this country without fear of being silenced with quasi-legal threats (yes, even from total tosspots who can’t afford real lawyers). Overseas hosts are also prone to intimidation, and they most likely won’t give a flying toss about who is and isn’t legally entitled to what, because you’ll just be an unwanted headache to most of them.
After the Alisher Usmanov affair, I did some poking around to see what kind of support bloggers and other web-publishers could expect from the UK hosting industry we would most likely have to abandon en masse if this kind of thing continues… and I didn’t get a nibble.
There were some fine print and television journalists batting for us here and there during the whole Usmanov thing, but challenging the status quo on something this big requires hefty editorial support. I don’t like our chances.
The short version is as follows: if bloggers want to change or challenge the UK libel laws, those of us that do choose to stand together against this kind of nonsense will on our own.
On the surface of things, it’s also a wee bit dry as a subject. But, then again, so was SOCPA to an extent. I’m sure that with some teamwork and creativity, we could paint some well-deserving individuals and organisations into some interesting corners (i.e. give those with the power to change it reason to do so… or at least something to think about).
I’d like to (finally) devote some serious time to this by creating a purpose-built multi-author weblog that documents the many ways that The Sun newspaper manipulates and betrays their readers and the public in general.
There are now some excellent writers in the blogosphere with sufficient background, experience and credibility to take this on. I’d be devoting a good portion of my time to it, and there are a few people I already have in mind that I’d like to invite to do the same.
Of course, we’d probably have to host it overseas (see above), but part of this would be the development of a working [outlet]-watch from scratch for instructional and inspirational purposes anyhow (“You can do this, too for the Murdoch outlet nearest you. And here’s how…”), so I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t start afresh at Blogger.com or the like, just to prove it can be done and done well.
[Psst! Just in case you’re not aware, a FOX News watchdog already exists.]
So, over to you lot…
One of the things that I care about most in politics is levelling the playing field; those who wish to engage honestly from any side should be able to do so without being silenced, shouted down, shoved aside or sabotaged.
Which project do you think is most likely to take us forward on that front? Or do you have some ideas of your own?
Now’s the time to speak up if you have something to say.
UPDATE – Please note that I’ll be out for most of Thursday April 17th, so if you’re relatively new here or it’s your first comment, your 2p worth probably won’t be cleared for publication until late afternoon. Cheers all.