The Snow In The Summer or So-So

The Snow In The Summer or So-So

Sun 12 Mar 2006

Resistance is flowing

A couple of follow-ups from the de Menezes documentary earlier in the week. Canadian media commentator Antonia Zerbas reports that ITN's reporters are under criminal investigation about the leak of the report. Meanwhile, ITN head honcho Deborah Turness speaks about British media censorship, and reveals how the UK government handles things these days. The D-notice - under which the UK government officially asked the media not to report something - has become history, replaced by unofficial words in ears.

It's not all bad news from Zerbas-blog: the odious Turn it in software has been turned off in Nova Scotia. "If we can't spot plagarism ourselves, that's our problem," is the thesis. And Mark Steyn is now unemployed. Neither the Telegraph's new owners, nor the Spectator's new editor, have no space for his dribblings.

Mr Steyn was one of the last remnants of the Americano-centric editorial policy run by disgraced former owner Conrad Black of Cross-shareholder. Now, the Torygraph has a policy that might be described as insularly English. The paper has been criticising the UK government over the bungled sell-off of Quinetiq, and has been criticising the unequal extradition treaty with the colonials.

They're also criticising the lack of an English parliament, pointing out the current answer to the West Lothian Question (Scottish and Welsh votes count for more than English.) And they're asking where is the money from the Phoenix Four and other tricky questions about the collapse of Rover...

Last week's report from the National Audit Office makes it clear that "a senior official" at the DTI told Rover that a government loan would be "a non-starter" if there was any doubt that the Chinese deal would come through. Not only was there doubt, Rothschild, SAIC's financial advisers, had informed the DTI that the Chinese were pulling out on April 5, five days before the loan was agreed. Furthermore, says the report, officials told ministers that they should tell the Opposition about the loan. But, we are led to believe, Patricia Hewitt was the only person in Britain who could not find Tory leader Michael Howard during the election campaign and she "tried unsuccessfully to contact HM Opposition".

Behind the scenes, Sarah Sands has been relieved of her command at the helm of the Sunday Torygraph. Her nine-month reign saw a depressingly rubbish relaunch under the odd thoughtline, "like an iPod - full of your favourite things." It felt like the paper was guided by a focus group of one person, Mrs Sands - this is perhaps why the publication feels a bit like Stuart Murphy's play-channel, BBC-3.

Mrs Sands will be replaced by Patience Wheatcroft, the city editor of the Universal Daily Registertab for the last nine years. She's adopted a preference for free-market solutions, so will fit in well with the paper's owners, the Barclay brothers. I'm not yet convinced that she's got the experience to handle the more arts-based Sundays. Still, very good luck to her.

posted 12 Mar 2006, 13.38 +0000

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