16 July 2016

How The #BBC's Obsession With Balance Took Labour Off Air Ahead Of #Brexit

Not enough air time given to concerns of Labour voters. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
By Angela Phillips, Goldsmiths, University of London

As Britain reflects on the fallout from the EU Referendum, analysis from Loughborough University demonstrates that the BBC, in common with all other media, ignored concerns of Labour voters in favour of an entirely artificial notion of “balance” that was pitched as a ball-by-ball commentary of a Conservative power struggle.

Labour members canvassing in the streets and housing estates, waited in vain for the BBC – the country’s most trusted news source – to provide any serious analysis that could back up the Labour message on the doorstep. They had been expecting the BBC to deliver, as promised, “impartial and independent reporting of the campaign, providing them with fair coverage and rigorous scrutiny of the policies and campaigns of all relevant parties and campaign groups”.

Television is bound by rules of impartiality and the BBC is committed to ensuring that “a range of views is appropriately reflected” in its coverage. In spite of this, David Deacon, professor of communication and media analysis at Loughborough, found that all television channels covered the campaign in very much the same way as each other – and the press.

In the first month, up to June 8, the Labour Party had attracted a mere 6% of the campaign coverage on TV (less even than the 9% in the press). The Conservatives, meanwhile, grabbed 32% of the coverage.

14 July 2016

One Nation PM: Theresa May Enters Downing Street Promising Unity

A new chapter begins at 10 Downing Street. PA/Stefan Rousseau
By Ben Williams, University of Salford

Having now started work as Britain’s second woman prime minister, Theresa May has the chance to carve out her own distinct variant of Conservatism. And outside the famous front door of 10 Downing Street, she confirmed that her top priority will be building a “one nation” government, pitched firmly in the “centre ground” of British politics.

Reminding the country that her party’s full title is the “Conservative and Unionist Party”, May spoke almost exclusively of unity before entering her new home. This was unity for the nations of the UK, in geographic terms, but also unity “between all of our citizens – every one of us – whoever we are and wherever we’re from”.

13 July 2016

Theresa May Has Clout To Last As PM – If She Can Contain #Brexit Economic Fallout

Theresa May. Dominic Lipinski
By Matthew Francis, University of Birmingham

It has become popular to assume that Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister, has survived the wreckage of Brexit by virtue of not being a shambles. The thinking seems to be that May sat back while her rivals for the Conservative Party leadership eliminated themselves one-by-one.

George Osborne was too closely associated with losing the Remain campaign to take the job, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove destroyed each other with political treachery, and Andrea Leadsom ended her chances through pure self-immolation. It’s a persuasive argument, but it is far from the full picture.

9 July 2016

"Trump in Space" Event a Rousing Success From Liftoff to Touchdown

This is shortly after launch, above Suwanee, Georgia. (PRNewsFoto/Bobbleheads.com)
This really was a space odyssey for one presidential candidate bobblehead. 
A bobblehead of Donald Trump, standing on a podium flanked by American flags, was attached to a high altitude weather balloon. The bobblehead was trimmed for weight and carried three GPS trackers and a camera to record the momentous event.  

5 July 2016

#Brexit: Heal Not Hate

Image via Avaaz.org
Britain’s far-right extremists and the media that echoes their hate are using the Brexit vote as proof that half the country agrees with their racism -- and it’s causing a terrifying rise in harassment across the country. 

>> Join the call to show them that the United Kingdom still values love over hate << 
Great news! Over 93,000 of us have joined, sign and share now -- let’s get to 100,000 and demand editors that fan hate are removed.

29 June 2016

#Brexit: Why UK Could Be Doomed To Years Without Proper Access To World Trade

Uh-oh. Phoenixman
By Kristen Hopewell, University of Edinburgh and Matias E. Margulis, University of Stirling

While most discussion since the Brexit vote has focused on how the UK will negotiate the terms of its new trading relationship with the EU, much less has been said about the rest of the world.

Brexiters have tended to believe that the UK could continue to enjoy the access to foreign markets that it currently receives through the EU’s trade agreements with over 50 countries; and that for other markets it would simply resume independent membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the body through which 162 states set the rules for world trade.
In fact, this is highly uncertain. It will require a long and complex process of negotiation, for which the UK is under-prepared and has little leverage.

25 June 2016

By Riding The Tiger Of Populism, The Conservatives May Have Destroyed The UK

Go back inside and think about what you’ve done. Matt Dunham/PA
By Charles Lees, University of Bath

It’s a familiar cliché that the Conservative Party is the most successful political party in the democratic world. Once called the natural party of government, it has been in power for most of the last 150 years and, for good or ill, has shaped modern Britain. The UK is a conservative country in all senses of the word.

But the past four decades have demonstrated that the modern Conservative Party can no longer be trusted in its role as the guardian of British institutions.

The revolutionary free-market zealotry of the Thatcherites and their successors not only put the social fabric of Britain under severe strain, but also undermined the credibility of the UK’s constitutional arrangements. Of the three pillars of High Toryism; church, state and monarchy, Britons only seem to still like the latter.

The decline in Tory respect for British institutions has also been on full display, not least in David Cameron’s willingness to risk the union’s survival twice – first in the Scottish Independence referendum, and then, probably fatally, in the EU membership referendum.

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