Some interesting stuff that has caught my eye recently:
Broadcasting guru Richard Rubin has a wise and thoughtful piece about dodgy BBC outsourcing, the Ross/Brand affair (expressing exactly my own thoughts about how this was just a particularly ghastly example of what has become a "nasty, cruel and very regrettable" aspect of British popular culture), and how TV stars can get radio wrong. Also fond memories of meeting Kenny Everett and Keith Skues.
In Ross's case, there can be little doubt that the negative coverage was partly prompted by his outrageous but seemingly sincere belief that his £6,000,000 a year contract with the Corporation was "worth a thousand journalists". It was that remark that prompted me to stop listening to him -- I rarely watched him, in any case -- because the BBC must have, as its irreducible core, robust, well funded and well staffed journalism, and the thought that, at a time when it was cutting journalist posts, such cuts were helping to pay this grossly overcompensated 'star' was offensive, to say the least.
It has become apparent that we simply cannot continue growth in the manner prescribed by the World Bank and the IMF. Unfettered capitalism is the road to vast riches for a very few people, a better standard of living for many, but not all, people, and massive damage to the ecosystems that sustain life on Earth.
The only solution is a completely different approach. We must focus not on material standards of living but on quality of life. (.....) Rising material standards of living have led, in the main, to a falling quality of life. We must focus not on goods, the manufacture of which is nearly always accompanied by damage to the environment, but on services, which can provide a livelihood to enormous numbers of people while improving the quality of life and protecting the environment. One service in desperate need is indeed the repair of damage we have already done to the environment .....
On transport, it is clear that Geoff Hoon has little truck with the environmental agenda. He is a definite supporter of the third runway at Heathrow, the touchstone issue in this debate. A host of younger Cabinet members, such as the Millibands, more tuned into the Green agenda, are ranged against him. Gordon Brown's instincts are to side with the arguments in favour of economic development and I suspect that means the third runway will get the go ahead in the New Year.
London TravelWatch believes that there are overwhelming advantages in terms of accessibility, manoeuvrability in limited roadspace, loading and dwell times at stops, and economies of operation to the use of articulated buses on routes with high volumes of passengers. In particular these are very suitable for use on routes which serve main line railway termini where large volumes of passengers often arrive at stops in very short spaces of time from arriving rail services.
Across the continent, there is a definite trend in which long-established parties of the centre left that bought in to globalisation and neoliberalism are seeing their electoral dominance challenged by unequivocally socialist parties which have not.