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Month: January 2012

The Daily Mail and Stephen Lawrence. Why the newspaper still gets it so horribly wrong.

I have been on a bit of a bandwagon recently over what the role of the media is not only in this country but around the world. Is the media there to drive the news agenda or is it there to report the news? I know my thoughts but I am a lone voice in the wilderness with the wind howling back into my face so my voice is only heard by me.

So yesterday two men were convicted of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. They will be sentenced shortly and will be sentenced as juveniles as they were 16 and 17 when they carried out the murder. These men had escaped justice for the best part of 19 years. In 1997 the Daily Mail had a front page calling five suspects murderers and challenging them to sue them. We all have seen the front page but it is all over the Daily Mail website today. I still find this deplorable as I believe it is the job of the courts and members of a jury to decide who is guilty of what crime and not an editorial staff at a newspaper but that might be a bit old fashioned of me.

So we get to today. The Daily Mail are lauding the fact that two of the people they accused have been found guilty. Guilt was deemed through forensic evidence only which always make me a touch uneasy but guilt has been passed and that is that. My biggest issue is with the fact that the three other men they accused are being chased by the newspaper as they look to take down the other three men they accused for the killing in 1997. Hang on a minute surely that isn’t the job of the newspaper, that is the job of the police and CPS?

As it stands these three men have been found not guilty in a court of law of these crimes. Charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence so what do the Daily Mail have on these suspects that they have decided not to pass on to the police? Surely they have some hard evidence to accuse these people of such a crime or is it maybe the fact that the people of this country want justice and sometimes justice is best served through the media than in the courts?

This is just something I cannot stomach. The people behind the Daily Mail do not know these men committed said crime. They took a calculated risk that would boost their circulation and make them sound tough on a notorious crime. The five men were always unlikely to sue the newspaper despite the fact they would win because of the public perception against them for doing so. Two of these men have now 15 years later been found guilty in a Court of Law but all five were perceived guilty in the Court of Public Opinion thanks in no small part to the Daily Mail.

Should they herald this as a triumph? They got two of out five seemingly right. All five had faced these charges before but when the Double Jeopardy law was repealed then it opened up the possibility of another trial. The police have found enough forensic evidence to take down two but the odds of finding any against the other three or more at this point seems like an awful long shot. No witnesses at the time could identify any of the suspects. There was no CCTV of the incident so we are left with the scenario where there will be no primary evidence available at any potential trial of the three other men.

So why does the Daily Mail (and the BBC News last night) try to continue to harass these men who have faced these charges only to be found not guilty due to insufficient evidence in an attempt to goad them into a retaliation? They do it because they have decided that is what mob justice wants and if they can’t get justice in the courts then they will be the ones to hand out the justice. That isn’t right folks and we all know it.

Still that how it goes these days. A media outlet can drive a story and if it bays to the will of the mob then they will be able to get away with it. People want justice and these days many don’t see the Court of Law as the best place for justice to be dished out. This worries me deeply.

I know that all five men that the newspaper accused seem like extremely unpleasant people. They may well be guilty of the crime that the Daily Mail says they are. They might very well be. However for me I shall leave it up to the courts and the 12 good men and women on a jury to decide who is guilty and of what crime and not the media. The media will never have all the evidence and will always have an ulterior motive. The courts and the jury won’t and that is why they are the right people to dish out justice and not the media.

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The Rambles of the Neil Monnery hits the big 100,000…

100,000 Views
TRONM and 100,000 views

So yesterday The Rambles of Neil Monnery reached a little bit of a milestone. Since March 28th when I moved to my own self-hosted WordPress blog I have received 100,000 views. That is many more than I could ever have imagined. I can’t believe so many people read my inane witterings but it does make me feel as though it is all worthwhile. I know there is no real content structure and just what pops into my fron whenever I decide to write.

For the foreseeable future this will continue to be the case. However after announcing my intention to run for Southend Council in May then obviously there will be plenty of pieces on that matter between now and then. Don’t expect the usual mix of bad joke photos, sporting views, other politics discussion as well as my thoughts on news to go away though. That is part of this blog and will continue to be so.

There are many ways to keep up with the site if you don’t visit that often. You can like us on Facebook, you can sign up for e-mail notifications of new posts in the top right hand corner of the site and you can of course add our feed to any aggregator system you may use.

Thank you for all your feedback over the past nine months and I hope you continue to enjoy what I write. If you don’t then no doubt you’ll let me know. Here’s to an enjoyable 2012…

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.

‘Neil Monnery for Westborough Ward’ – It has a ring to it don’t you think? It’s official. I’m standing for election

Oh if either of my politics tutors could see me now. Ten years after taking my A-Levels and somehow getting a passing grade in my A-Level politics exams I have just got off the phone with Cllr Paul Collins having accepted his invitation to stand for election in the 2012 in Westborough. I had options both in the East and West of the town but this is how it is going to go down.

It hasn’t been an easy decision. In fact quite the opposite. It has been a decision that I have wrestled with for over a month now since the first time it got brought up. I was concerned about several things but in the end one thing stood head and shoulders above everything else – the belief that I could actually do some good in this world. Yes I do good in other ways (Hospital Radio, helping out my neighbours who always need computers fixing etc…) but I was presented with an opportunity to do even more and on a more widespread scale.

I think it is fair to say I’m not the prototypical candidate. Just look at this photo of me (and others) with Nick Clegg. I look a bit out of place and a bit scruffy but that is who I am. I’m not a clean-cut professional who has aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder. I just want to lead a decent life and do some good with my time on this Earth. I don’t think that is too ambitious and something that is eminently reachable.

My reasons for running are not personal gratification but because I do really think that being elected can help the people of Southend. As it stands the Conservatives have a majority of five on the council but 2012 may well be the year when this all changes. All it needs are for three seats to change hands and then instead of a ruling Tory council we may see a rainbow coalition of Lib Dems, Labour and the Independents all working towards a common goal – that of making Southend a better place.

Coming into this I have a few ideas and I’ll sit down with people in the ward to discuss what their key concerns are. I’m also planning on going to resident meetings to get a flavour of the trials and tribulations of the people of that ward. Hopefully they’ll be a nice mesh of my thoughts and residents thoughts that can be put to good use.

So there we have it I suppose. I’ll obviously write more in the coming weeks and months but that is where we stand. I’m running for council. I’m not sure who is more surprised, me or anyone who has known me for the past 28 odd years? I’m going to say me. Whatever happens it will be an experience and at least I can say I gave it a shot instead and wondering ‘what if?’ as I have thought on numerous occasions about many things in my past. Better to have tried and failed than to never try at all…

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The Daily Mail is bad but the people who comment on Daily Mail articles…

The people who read the Daily Mail are really quite awesome. You wonder if these people know anything about the world or whether their whole view of the world is formed thanks to what they read in said newspaper. I was pointed towards a piece entitled Is a super-volcano just 390 miles from London about to erupt? which is the ideal Daily Mail type story. The super-volcano bit interested me but the 390 miles from London bit seemed a bit desperate – but hey – you gotta do what you gotta do eh DM?

So anyway I read the piece which to be fair is pretty poorly researched. The evidence used is weak to the extreme and it is totally scaremongering. Usually I’d read and move on but a couple of comments caught me eye. Firstly this…

Yes seriously. The fact that there might be a super-volcano in Germany that is due to explode means that we need to pull out of the EU. If we pull out of the EU then any potential ash cloud will stop at our borders out of respect for our sovereignty. Being in the EU is endorsing our support of super-volcanoes. I despair I really do but the next one I despair for two reasons…

Firstly I despair that the commenter can’t spell the word ‘bankers’ which is quite a depressing scenario but I despair even more that 15 people (as of the time of taking the screenshot) gave it a thumbs up. Yes we should put the bankers in the super-volcano because they’ll save the day and stop the explosion and ash cloud reaching us and they’ll be heroes. Or is it just 15 people saying they want to kill bankers for no real reason?

The Daily Mail makes me sad but a significant percentage of those who comment make me weep for mankind.

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The Rambles of Neil Monnery Top Ten of 2011

Some of the cool cats over on the Lib Dem Blog aggregator are posting blogs looking back at their top ten most viewed blogs of the year. I seem to be following on from them like a sheep. Looking back though it is clear that more people visit my blog for non-political reasons than they do politics but as Kel would say ‘awww here goes’

The most popular blog of the year was Nick Halling leaves Sky Sports NFL coverage with over 23,000 views in 2011. Nick Halling had been on Sky Sports NFL coverage for an eon and his departure led to many people googling why. He is now on staff with Sky as part of their boxing coverage.

Next up we have Don’t be naughty in the University of St. Andrews toilets – you have been warned which saw over 21,000 views. This post went viral and was even cited in a Freedom of Information request. A university prank that translated into global news.

The curious case of Mark Bolton comes next with over 10,000 views as the departure of Mark Bolton from Sky’s La Liga coverage shocked everyone. When I wrote the blog entitled Channel 4 announce Athletics commentary and presenting team – I’m not impressed it started off with a few views. One of those views was from John Rawling who was hired to be the main commentator. When Ortis Deley really sucked though the piece saw several hundred views a day throughout the World Athletics Championships.

Next up we have the post that seemingly announced myself to the Lib Dem blogosphere and got me nominated for Lib Dem Blog Post of the Year. Ken Clarke – A trial by Social Media. A reaction to the uproar about Ken Clarke’s comments on rape on BBC Radio 5live. It might not be the best piece I’ve written this year but it is the one I’m most known for without a doubt.

When Channel Four did the only thing they could do and axed Ortis then I wrote Ortis Deley axed as Athletics front man at Channel 4 and that got enough traffic for #6 on my roster for 2011. A rare piece on the trials and tribulations on Portsmouth Football Club came seventh with a piece called Steve Cotterill set for Nottingham Forest job and Pompey fans don’t seem to care which is pretty accurate. His departure for Forest didn’t lead to the locals being too unhappy. The fact that Forest stink under Cotterill is also truly hilarious.

Politics returns at #8 with That Ed Miliband interview – video and comment after that interview where the Labour leader kept saying the same thing and the poor pool journalist was slowly losing his mind. This ‘Keep F1 on the BBC’ e-petition rubbish didn’t go down well as I was repeatedly told in the comments that I knew nothing and roundly off the top ten we see ‘Boycott all News International products. It’s the only way they’ll learn.’ – Nah I don’t think so….

A special mention for the piece entitled Lib Dem election candidate Holly-Ann Battye in sexy photo ‘storm’ which would have made the top ten but it was posted whilst I was moving the site from WordPress to my own server therefore a lot of it’s stats aren’t counted in my current stats counter. All in all the site saw just under 100,000 views since the Spring which isn’t bad going. 2012 will see more of the same mixture of politics and random stuff that enters my brain when I’m sitting in front of the PC or the laptop.

To keep up to date you can always Like The Rambles of Neil Monnery on Facebook. Doing this means whenever I update the site it will show up in your Facebook feed. You can always subscribe to e-mail notifications in the top right hand corner of the blog. Obviously you can also add the site to any feedburner that you may use. Thank you for all your support and comments in 2011. I know there are some that don’t agree with me a lot but I hope that what I write is at least interesting to them. Here’s for a good and interesting 2012 where I might have one or two surprises for all of you…

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