Skip to content

Month: July 2011

Rebekah Brooks resigns as Chief Exec of News International

So finally Rebekah Brooks has gone. Now that the Murdoch’s have been leveraged into going in front of the Select Committee on hacking there was little use for Brooks in the company. If she couldn’t protect the Murdoch’s then she had no use to them. She was meant to take all the flak but the story has just rumbled on and on and the public seemingly still want blood. Whether the public really want this or whether this is purely a media driven firestorm is a story for another day but it is a question that certainly needs asking and answering.

Whatever anyone says about Rebekah Brooks you have to – at some level – admire her for what she has done. She has dragged herself up from being a receptionist to being the editor of two national newspapers and chief executive of one of the most powerful media organisations the world has ever seen. Not too shabby is it?

Whilst people are rejoicing are saying it is about time (which it probably is) the resignation does nothing to repair the damage that she oversaw whilst in charge at the News of the World. The Murdoch’s will make sure she lives well for the rest of her life I’m sure and the important question is not about her career – which is over in the media industry – but the important question is about whether what she did or oversaw was illegal and whether she will face criminal charges.

Her resignation from News International impacts on this not one jot. Nothing has changed really with her leaving her post. So puts the bottles of bubbly on ice and watch this space to see what happens next. Rebekah Brooks leaving News International is not the be all and end all that some people seem to be thinking…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Long-term the Lib Dems (and Vince Cable) will come up smelling of roses on the phone-hacking saga.

I think everyone should read this excellent piece in The Guardian by Julian Astle entitled Phone-hacking scandal shows why Britain needs the Liberal Democrats.

The article doesn’t just show why the Lib Dems are a good force in this country but it also shows how the party might come out of this phone hacking situation smelling of roses. There is little doubt that as it stands Ed Miliband is looking the best out of the three leaders on this and the Labour Party seem to be leading the fight against the Murdoch’s but there are many twists and turns and one thing is generally expected throughout the political community – there is no mud to stick on the Lib Dems but Labour may end up covered in the brown stuff just like the Tories.

Lord Ashdown is widely respected and has long battled the Murdoch Empire. Nick Clegg is less respected at this current juncture but it is clear he was never a Murdoch fan and as for Vince Cable, his now infamous words about ‘declaring war on Murdoch will not come back to haunt him but will instead come back to restore him to prominence and restore the public’s faith in both him and the party he represents. It was embarrassing at the time without a doubt but now it shows that his true feelings and not only that – those true feelings were reflected by his party but are now also truly reflected by the electorate.

His unabashed opinion on Murdoch and his media organisation has now been fully vindicated and whilst this isn’t a partisan subject in the long run it will be. Every party will try and distance themselves from Murdoch but the Lib Dems already cover that ground and if they can show the electorate that they were always there and the Tories and most vocally Labour are only in that ground because that is where public opinion is then this could well be the fillip that the party needs at both local and national level. Tuition Fees is an issue but time and politics change and today the biggest and most important story is News International and Murdoch and on that issue it is the Lib Dems who will come up smelling of roses.

Remember folks that Ed Miliband would have sacked Vince Cable for speaking out against Murdoch and he is very much on record saying so. Six months is a long time and suddenly Vince Cable was right but Ed Miliband can’t bring himself to say so. If he did then suddenly the shining light would be very much on the MP for Twickenham. I wish we had heard more from Vince Cable right now but it seems as though the party are sitting back and waiting. Labour could sink themselves if more revelations come to light that they curried favour with Murdoch not only under the Blair and Brown governments but even in opposition. If it does then Labour’s credibility on this issue will be shot and the Lib Dems can ascend and take the moral high ground – something they do quite naturally it must be said.

So the phone hacking saga may be the best thing that happened to the party since they voted for – and were vocally against – the War in Iraq. However if it is to be that then it is going to be a long-term issue. The Lib Dems cannot be tainted by Rupert Murdoch and the longer and more deplorable the allegations against Murdoch and his company get then the better the party that wanted to take them on look.

Ed Miliband and Labour look great now but there isn’t an election tomorrow and there is plenty of muck left to air and none of it is going to be on the clothes of any Lib Dems. It cannot be safely stated that the same will be true for Ed Miliband or his party. As for the Tories…they are very much in crisis avoidance mode. It won’t get pretty for them and how they deal with this will say a lot both about their fortunes in 2015 and how David Cameron is perceived by history.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

‘Hello. I notice you are a woman in a well paid position. Here’s a £3k pay-cut that you must accept or be sacked. I notice that you are also a woman, you must have a £10k pay-cut or you too will be sacked’

Sometimes I think my headlines are too long. Sometimes I think they are just about right. This one is probably too long but let’s get on with the blog.

I’m sitting here in my PJ bottoms at what half one or so tap tapping away on my PC doing what I do (seriously working from home can be great when you lack the basic motivation to get dressed) and my phone dings, ‘So I’ll be losing at least £3k from my wages. I’m incredibly fucked off’ is what I stare at on the screen. I inquire as to why and I’m told to google ‘walsall council single status’ and I do. At first I thought that she was losing at least £3k in wages because she is single and I thought that was really rather harsh and not on. However the truth has nothing to do with my friend’s martial status.

In 1997 the Single Status Agreement was drawn up to equalise pay between the genders working in local government. Now whilst most women would win in this scenario and men lose out – it can work both ways. So to make things fair they are going to screw some people to reward others. Got to love a well-thought out idea that in practice is shit.

Last night Walsall Council approved the new pay plan that would see them fully adopt the Single Status Agreement and change everyone’s pay structure overnight. If people do not want to accept these new pay and conditions then they will be handed their p45 and be asked to leave the building. That is not exactly fair or right in anyone’s language.

Worse still when a text arrives a few minutes later that tells me her former line manager who is now working in another part of the Council as that department was shutdown is set to lose at least £10k a year in wages. Such a drop-off in income with result in her not being able to afford her mortgage. Is this what the Single Status Agreement was drawn up for? To help put hardworking people on the streets?

Now I’m not a public sector guy and I never have been but surely most people can see that this is all sorts of wrong. Just because ‘most people will benefit’ doesn’t make it a good thing and it certainly doesn’t make it a fair thing. Pay and conditions should not be shoe-horned into grades so that the males and females on staff have an average pay by grade that is equal. That sounds fair but in practice in total rubbish. It is even worse when these moves are sudden and not grandfathered in over time.

Walsall Council has overnight decided that certain staff members deserve dramatic and hard-hitting pay-cuts for no other reason than they want to have equal pay across all grades for both genders. Of course on the flip side of the coin we’ll see many get big pay-rises for no good reason other than to make things fair.

This stinks of political correctness not gone mad – but gone so loopy that it would need two straitjackets to keep it under control. I’m not surprised my friend is livid and I suspect the union’s are going to be very vocal about it. There is a difference between small long-term pension changes for economic reasons and some big changes in pay just so that they can say pay is on average equal across pay grades between men and women.

I know how I’d feel if I was suddenly told my salary would be reduced by between 15 and 20% just because I’m a man. I wouldn’t be very happy at all…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Hello. My name is Charles Sale and I hate Martin Brundle (and to a lesser degree David Coulthard)

Charles Sale is a funny man. His column in the Daily Mail is rarely worth readsing but every so often he delivers a gem that I’m pointed to on a forum somewhere. This happened this morning over on the F1 Thread at Digital Spy. Charles Sale is meant to be the man in the know about all things TV and sport related but half the times his ITK pieces turn out to be wider of the mark than David Beckham’s Euro 2004 Penalty miss v Portugal.

So what has old Charlie been saying this time…?

BRUNDLE AND JORDAN SQUABBLE OVER GRIDWALK

There are tensions in the BBC F1 team around the pre-race gridwalk which has been Martin Brundle’s domain and which he wants to continue, even it means a dash back to the TV booth at Silverstone to start his race commentary.

And the all-powerful Brundle has pulled rank at least once this season on his pundit colleague Eddie Jordan, who is keen to ask the questions on the grid himself.

Sensational news. Eddie Jordan wants to do more gridwalking because it is an important part of the coverage but Martin Brundle prefers to do it because you know – he’s been doing it for the best part of a decade and a half and he is critically acclaimed. Brundle is seriously fantastic on the gridwalk, asks the right questions and doesn’t waffle on. Without a doubt Brundle is the gridwalk king and as long as the commentary box box is near enough to the grid he should do it every single time.

End.

However the piece short sharp story might be even worse.

OPINION SPLIT OVER BBC COMMENTARY TEAM

The BBC say the response from F1 fans to the celebrity commentary partnership of Martin Brundle and David Coulthard this season has been hugely positive.

But former driver John Watson is among those who much prefer listening to the combination of David Croft and Anthony Davidson on 5 Live and Watson calls BBC ditching their former lead commentator Jonathan Legard as ‘frankly shameful’.

How. Just how does the story sync up with the title? Opinion is not split. One person says they don’t like it and that equals a split opinion? Also when are Martin Brundle and David Coulthard celebrities first and foremost? Both are former racing drivers and one has been in the commentary box for his 15th straight season. Was Murray Walker and Martin Brundle a ‘celebrity commentary partnership’? No they weren’t. Yet more bile from Sale who has long hated Brundle and blames him solely for the BBC dumping the much-maligned and not liked Jonathan Legard and tries to find every conceivable angle to lampoon Brundle from.

His full column can be read here but it’s mostly shite. If I ever became a national newspaper columnist (yeah like that is ever going to happen) I’d like to think that I wouldn’t let personal feelings and bias get in the way of facts. I know a man though who doesn’t conform to this ideal…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Lib Dems: What is the end goal over Rupert Murdoch?

I know that I am a bad Lib Dem. I have been told that on many an occasion. I am a Lib Dem who has Sky TV at home and that automatically means that I deserve a public execution or something to that effect. However whilst that might be being a bit facetious what seems to be the case is that Lib Dems up and down the country are waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care – I mean waving their hands in the air trying to get people to notice them and telling everyone that will listen they the party has never supported Rupert Murdoch.

In fact Vince Cable famously boasted about wanting to declare ‘war on Murdoch’ and at the time Ed Miliband called for him to be sacked as back then he was still pro-Murdoch before the public turned. Now Miliband is trying to round up support of the Lib Dems to defeat the government in a vote on whether Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB should go through seemlessly or whether he has to jump through some more hoops. However that is not the point of this blog (although any blog where you can show that Ed Miliband’s whims change more than a schoolgirls crushes is always fun).

So where do the Lib Dems want to go with this. Maybe not the parliamentary party but the grassroots seem to want more than just stopping old Rupert having a bigger share of the UK media. The grassroots as far as I can tell from reading blogs, twitter et al want blood. They want to see the breakup of Murdoch’s media empire. They want the removal of Murdoch having anything to do with the UK media. Get him out and the freedom of the press is assured. Not that another wealthy businessman or woman would step in and buy up a significant share of the market but maybe that is what the Lib Dems want to stop.

I was having a twitter conversation last week with a couple of fellows who wanted to make it that one person/company can only control one media outlet at a time. This would they believe ensure the freedom of the press. I sat on the other side of the ledger as I just don’t see how you can do that. Small newspapers do not make money and how are you going to stop someone from owning several in a media group? What is someone starts up a new newspapers and it does really well and they want to expand into local radio or into another local area, should these people be stopped? Is it right to put restrictions on what people can do with their business?

I believe not. I don’t think you can in a capitalist market stop people from buying businesses. It is not fair on the buyer or the seller. What you can do is put restrictions on the sale and in this case ensure editorial freedom for the staff. If Murdoch for example wanted to buy a newspaper for £500million and the next person could only offer £250million then why should the seller have to forgo £250million so that Murdoch could not buy the company?

In an ideal world then obviously Murdoch would not want to takeover BSkyB but this is not an ideal world – this is what I like to call the real world (gives a nod to Miranda Hart for that line). Now of course herein lies the problem. Murdoch already owns The Times (albeit that newspaper has editorial freedom) and The Sun. The Sun is a stooge of Murdoch and does what he tells them. The Times does not. Now of course the major problem people have with the BSkyB deal is the future of Sky News. Can it stay independent even if Murdoch controls 100% of the parent company?

If we go back 100 years we’ll see that Lord Northcliffe aka Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe owned the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Times, The Observer and The Sunday Times. That is quite a portfolio. Without him it could be argued that The Times, The Sunday Times and The Observer would not exist any more as all three were in a dire financial situation when they were rescued by Lord Northcliffe. So having a policy of one man not being abl to own a more than one media outlet would have probably caused one or more of the aforementioned titles to be dissolved and consigned to the history books.

I argue that even if Murdoch owned Sky News and it didn’t have editorial freedom (which is would as part of any deal) then there are still alternative sources for news. Murdoch does not have a monopoly on news in this country and nor does he even have a majority. More people read daily newspapers that aren’t owned by Murdoch than those that do. More people watch news programmes that aren’t made by Murdoch owned companies.

So what do we do? What do we want to do? Can someone please let me know what the end goal of all this is? I do not know if it is to get Murdoch out of the business altogether, if it is stunt his growth, to chop-off part of his organisation so he can only control a certain percentage of the media or whether it is to simply carry on with the very liberal – and sanctimonious – holier than thou – attitude that many Lib Dems reek of.

I need to know what the party really wants. Then I can form an opinion. All I know at the moment is that the party is against Murdoch and that no Lib Dem has ever watched a Sky TV programme or read an article in any Murdoch owned newspaper. The party are above Murdoch and any links to him and his organisation are a disgrace.

So can any Lib Dems tell me exactly what they want from all this? Murdoch out? Stronger regulation of the press and owners of the press? Restrictions on the media? Or to just be right and better than the rest of the population?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Labour, Ed Miliband, Murdoch and Bandwagons

Seemingly the most important thing in politics at the moment is to distance yourself from Rupert Murdoch and his News International empire. He is the most vile person on the planet swiftly followed by Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. James Murdoch is in the running too and behind them are everyone who has ever worked for a News International company and then anyone who has bought a News International product.

Well that is what the pitchfork and fire wielding holier than thou mob are screaming but to be fair the general public aren’t too far behind although they don’t want to round up and shoot everyone who has paid for Sky TV or ever bought The Sun or News of the World – unlike a lot of the holier than thou mob. From what I can gather anyone who has given a Murdoch company even a penny doesn’t deserve to live on the same astral plane as those who haven’t – and are therefore clearly better than everyone else.

So apart from these perfect people being better than everyone else what can we look for? Well if these people are right and that Murdoch is a big issue then let’s look at the blunt truth. The Labour Party have courted and long had support of the Murdoch empire. The Tories have the same issue. The other parties from the Lib Dems to the Green through to UKIP and even the BNP to not have those issues. Therefore is this a big strike against those parties or not?

I am sitting here with Ed Miliband on Sky News (oh no – I’m watching Sky News – string me up now!) and listening to him then I’m sure that he and his party have always hated Rupert Murdoch and his empire. He is being clear. However as we all know the truth is not the same as the facade that he is putting up. It is like Ed Miliband is jumping on a public bandwagon and seeing how far it can take him. ‘I won’t rest until this deal is delayed until after the criminal investigation’ says the Labour leader as he sounds strong in his hatred and distrust of the Murdoch empire. He also says that Labour (when he wasn’t in charge) was pretty crap on this issue but under him they are strong and are standing up against Murdoch.

It just doesn’t wash with me. It reeks of a bandwagon jump – and a dangerous one in all honesty but heck that is his style of opposition politics. Labour under Ed Miliband is not proactive but a reactive opposition and I wonder if that is good enough to give Labour a victory in 2015. Of course that General Election is a long way off but in the year or so since Ed Miliband took control of the party I have not heard any policies or ideas that aren’t reacting to public sentiments (Bankers, NHS, Murdoch) and it will be fasinating if he keeps this up for another four years and runs his whole 2015 General Election campaign on a strategy of ‘we’ll listen to the public and do what the most vocal group say’ and see just how that would play out with the electorate.

Labour and Ed Miliband are sounding great in all honesty but can people see through them? That is the question.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

James Murdoch Statement on News of the World in full

I have important things to say about the News of the World and the steps we are taking to address the very serious problems that have occurred. It is only right that you as colleagues at News International are first to hear what I have to say and that you hear it directly from me.

You do not need to be told that the News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain’s largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation.

When I tell people why I am proud to be part of News Corporation, I say that our commitment to journalism and a free press is one of the things that sets us apart. Your work is a credit to this. The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.

The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself. In 2006, the police focused their investigations on two men. Both went to jail. But the News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose. Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued. As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter.

We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences. This was not the only fault. The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong. The Company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret. Currently, there are two major and ongoing police investigations. We are cooperating fully and actively with both. You know that it was News International who voluntarily brought evidence that led to opening Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden. This full cooperation will continue until the Police’s work is done. We have also admitted liability in civil cases. Already, we have settled a number of prominent cases and set up a Compensation Scheme, with cases to be adjudicated by former High Court judge Sir Charles Gray.

Apologising and making amends is the right thing to do. Inside the Company, we set up a Management and Standards Committee that is working on these issues and that has hired Olswang to examine past failings and recommend systems and practices that over time should become standards for the industry. We have committed to publishing Olswang’s terms of reference and eventual recommendations in a way that is open and transparent.

We have welcomed broad public inquiries into press standards and police practices and will cooperate with them fully. So, just as I acknowledge we have made mistakes, I hope you and everyone inside and outside the Company will acknowledge that we are doing our utmost to fix them, atone for them, and make sure they never happen again. Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper.

This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World. Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper. In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes. While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity.

We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend. Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers. These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do. Many of you, if not the vast majority of you, are either new to the Company or have had no connection to the News of the World during the years when egregious behaviour occurred. I can understand how unfair these decisions may feel. Particularly, for colleagues who will leave the Company. Of course, we will communicate next steps in detail and begin appropriate consultations.

You may see these changes as a price loyal staff at the News of the World are paying for the transgressions of others. So please hear me when I say that your good work is a credit to journalism. I do not want the legitimacy of what you do to be compromised by acts of others. I want all journalism at News International to be beyond reproach. I insist that this organisation lives up to the standard of behaviour we expect of others. And, finally, I want you all to know that it is critical that the integrity of every journalist who has played fairly is restored. Thank you. James Murdoch Deputy Chief Operating Officer

Chairman and CEO, International, News Corporation

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

News of the World shutdown but how long until we see a The Sunday Sun?

James Murdoch has just released a statement stating that this Sunday’s edition of the News of the World will be it’s last and that all profits from this Sunday’s edition will be given to charity. This is obviously jaw-dropping stuff and is quite a radical decision by News International to get rid of the most popular newspaper in the country on a Sunday due to one investigation – but not really one investigation but one section of the affair. The tipping point was reached and the company knew that the waters would be rough and they clearly think the name is mud and it will be recover however News International aren’t stupid.

What are the odds of News International either starting up a new brand in the near future after a bit of a lull or The Sun starting up The Sunday Sun to pick up the slack. There is a huge market there and whatever anyone says people will buy that newspaper. The Sun at this point is not tainted with the issues of the News of the World and they could start up that newspaper with a relatively clean slate.

All I can say at this point is that these are very very interesting times in the media.

The future of Rebekah Brooks must now be in real question. If Murdoch is happy to shutdown a newspaper surely he’ll get rid of the former editor of the newspaper who oversaw the whole affair? Surely…?

I thought Brooks would survive. I really did but it looks as though her time is running out…

More on this no doubt in the next few days.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

The curious case of Mark Bolton

Up until a few weeks ago Mark Bolton had been the front man for Spanish Football on Sky Sports. He had been in the position for six years and he had something that wasn’t exactly the norm within the company – an opinion and a personality. That has seemingly ended his stint with Sky.

On twitter he posted on June 3 ‘After 6 years the season just past will be my final one presenting Spanish Football for Sky Sports. I will not be renewing my contract.’ and would go on to use twitlonger to further he message:

Mark Bolton will not be renewing his contract at Sky Sports.

After 6 successful and enjoyable years presenting Spanish football for Sky Sports, this past season will be my last.
My current Sky contract expires in August and I will not be renewing it.

Spanish football enjoys greater popularity now than ever and whilst sad to leave a product for which I have great affection, I am proud to have played a significant role in its development over the past few years. I am grateful to Sky Sports for their support in allowing me to do so.

Having expressed a long felt desire to take on new challenges, I have concluded these will be more successfully pursued outside of Sky Sports.

I wish the team every success.

Mark Bolton.

All seems fair until he posted this on June 22, ‘Sky Sports told me Im (sic) “Very talented & excellent on screen” but that Im (sic) “Anti-authoritarian” & that they’d decided to not renew my contract.’ So basically they didn’t like his attitude and wanted rid of a potential troublemaker within the company. Well that is their right of course but it seems clear enough that they would prefer a bland ident-i-kit presenter to someone with a bit of spark and that is a shame. As someone who has been labelled as similar in the past I can see his frustraition. Sometimes you can’t fight the regime even when you are right. People do not like to be told when they are wrong – certainly by people who they are paying – and the ability to know when to shut up is one I might not possess either.

There is a fine piece over at WSC entitled A rare good broadcaster leaves Sky Sports which is right on the money. Whilst I don’t put Mark Bolton up in James Richardson’s class – Bolton had something. Now we are left on Sky with Stelling (who is fine but not anywhere near as good when taken out of the Soccer Saturday studios), Jones (who is fine but nothing special) and Chamberlain (who seemingly in my eyes is the best of the three). I haven’t included Shepherd as he’s just not up to it, seemed a strange hire from the start and he just doesn’t fit.

So what will Sky do? They have yet to announce if they intend to hire from within in the football presenting team to replace Richard Keys full-time and now they have the Spanish football job available too. Will they continue with the status quo on EPL games with the current mis-mash of Jones/Chamberlain or will they give one of them the main EPL job and the other Spanish football? My fear is that Ed Chamberlain will be the new face of Spanish football on Sky with Dave Jones being the main EPL anchor with Ben Shepherd doing the odd game when needs be.

All in all the whole Sky Sports Football output has gone downhill in the past year. Losing Ian Darke to ESPN in the United States was the first blow then Keys and Gray whilst not being everyone’s cup of tea were well known and consistent. The parade of co-commentators since Gray has left has been bewildering and the yo-yo of Jones and Chamberlain as the face of the channel’s most important and iconic sport event has not sat well.

To be honest I’m disappointed in Sky with how they have dealt with the whole football department in the past six months or so. You have to hope Mark Bolton turns up somewhere soon and that Sky Sports can get their house in order sooner rather than later.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

‘Is calling someone a bitch sexist?’ – Discuss.

So last night I was watching The Apprentice as I usually do at around midnight. I’m out on Wednesday’s you see and watch Around the Horn and PTI at 11/11:30 before catching up with the Sky+ed episode of Lord Sir Alan’s latest offerings. I usually tweet throughout my own personal broadcast about how I’m feeling about the show. Last night I was just crushing Melody and Natasha endlessly because they were both horrible and down right awful. Natasha not even understanding the task was truly wretched but then when she won but blamed everything on Susan showed that without a doubt she had bitchy tendencies. However apparently me calling her out on this was both sexist and deeply misogynist. Please read the following (identity of tweeter who interacted with me has been protected)

The image that was here is broken and I can’t find the original – apologies

Now I’m not down on etiquette of what terminology you can use and what you can’t but I think calling her out for being a bitch is fair game. Webster’s defines bitchy as thus, ‘characterised by malicious, spiteful, or arrogant behaviour’ does that describe Melody and more importantly Natasha in last nights episode of The Apprentice? Yes I think it does. She was malicious, spiteful and arrogant towards Susan throughout the task and belittled her constantly because she thought she was better than her. The fact she sat on her arse all day and did nothing (according to both the editing and what people said in the boardroom) proves my point. If you could have any gripe with my tweet is that I called her evil which is probably not strictly accurate but still.

So anyway on to the tweet itself – is calling someone a bitch lazy? No. No it is not. It is a term used in every day conversation. I have read in many places across the interweb this morning that the term for a male acting in a familar manner is ‘asshole’ and if you are to call someone a bitch then you should be prepared to use the term asshole as well. I do. Brilliant. I shall do some more research. Look at me go – I can use the interweb. The Urban Dictionary has many descriptions for the term bitch but here are a few:

‘Word used to describe the act of whining excessively.’

‘Annoying and whining female’

‘A woman who would say things that if she were a man, she would be confronted or assaulted. (using her position as a woman as a shield)’

‘to complain’

‘a women with a bad attitude’

Do most if not all of these describe Natasha’s attitude during yesterday’s episode of the show? Personally I think so.

So on to whether the term is outdated. It is not because the term has actually moved on. The term bitch is now not associated (in my view anyway) with women solely but with an attitude. Men can act bitchy and be called a bitch. Some prefer the term asshole apparently but acting like an asshole and bitchy are seemingly similar to a lot of people. So I wouldn’t say the term is outdated but some people’s perceptions are stuck in the past. Bitch doesn’t just mean woman. It means a certain type of person with a certain type of attitude. That is how I see it anyways.

As for ‘deeply misogynist’ – well I have to be honest. I didn’t know that term but I had a stab in the dark at it before I googled it and was’t too far wrong. So calling someone a bitch means that you hate women. I don’t know where to start with this one. If there is a person over the age of say ten in the world who speaks fluent English hadn’t called someone a bitch in their lives then I would be genuinely flabberghasted. Therefore according to this tweet every single person (both male and female) in the English speaking world hates women. Bad times for the female of the species clearly.

I just think that is crazy talk but maybe it is just me.

As for my defence that it was nearly one in the morning and it is twitter I think is a fair one. I’m not going to be overly thoughtful as I lay in bed tweeting from my iPhone as I’m watching TV. I’m going to be concise and I think that I was. I thought the way Natasha (and to an only slightly lesser extent Melody) acted was bitchy to the extreme using the Webster’s definition that I gave earlier and therefore they could be justifyably described as a bitch.

However to follow through with my assertation that I would be more rounded with my terminology if I wrote a blog post…Natasha’s behaviour on the episode of The Apprentice last night reeked of someone woefully out of their depth. Her performance showed that first of all she didn’t have the brain to understand the basic premise of the task and that having stock left over wouldn’t be a problem as the stock would be added to their total and whatever price they paid for it. She was unwilling to listen to her teammates and was rigidly stuck on her path – which was the wrong one – but would not listen to reason from Susan (to whom she acted like Susan was a piece of shit on her shoe) nor Jim who kept banging on about the same thing – which he was right to do so. Natasha’s performance showed why she has as much chance of winning the show and the £250k investment from old Amstrad boy as I do of waking up with Sophie Ellis Bextor looking longingly into my eyes. Natasha both acted like a spoilt brat who wanted to do things her way – and her way only and like someone who didn’t have a clue how to manage either the task or the people she was in charge of during the task. All in all she showed that she is both a terrific candidate for the money and a less than spectacular human being on that showing.

There we go. However I still think when you have a 140 character limit calling her a ‘bitch’ is fine.

But heck my English skills are not the best and I have probably missed the point entirely. If you want to weigh in then send me a comment. I’d be happy to hear from you telling me that I’m right or that I’ve missed the point entirely.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.