So the story continues. Another nasty, right-wing tubthumper has won an election. Doug Ford, the unpleasant Trump-soundalike ‘non-politician’ has won the provincial parliamentary election in Ontario, winning an overall majority. What’s going on? Populism certainly has a spring in its step, but it’s more than that. Although contexts differ, I believe there is a common thread – which is to say that a huge reaction is developing against a social democratic model which sought to dance with the devil neo-liberalism. The combination of laissez faire economics with a so-called ‘equality of opportunity’ layer on top seemed a marketable idea before the great recession of the noughties but its inner contradictions have now been exposed. Those contradictions were kept as much as possible out of sight when Labour was in power. When it was OK to talk about the filthy rich, it was not OK to talk about redistribution – like it was a dirty secret. So many of the good things Labour did were never acknowledged, and can thus be easily swept aside. The same is true of the EU. The same now seems to be true of the left-leaning Liberal former government of Ontario.
Skripal – what’s happened to the government’s case?
Things seem to have gone quiet on the Skripal front. The conclusive evidence that Russia carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury has not yet emerged. A quick survey of the web has thrown up more questions than answers, and some of the questions are pertinent, e.g. why would the Russians choose to attack Skripal so long after his arrival in the UK? It has been reported that when he originally came he continued to work with MI6 and foreign government agencies, advising on Russian military intelligence operations and techniques. Was he still at it 12 years later? If he was, and the government considered him to be a target (particularly after the Litvinenko affair) wasn’t it a little careless of them not to have provided protection, especially since the alleged murder weapon could have killed innocent civilians in Salisbury?
OFCOM – no need to reply?
I wrote to OFCOM’s chief executive on the 11th May, suggesting that their investigation into Russia Today’s (RT) broadcast license should take into account my right to hear different views and indeed biases, as well as the broadcasters’ freedom to express them. It’s now the 8th June and I still haven’t had a reply, nor even an acknowledgement. Perhaps such courtesies are outwith OFCOM’s statutory responsibilities. I have sent a reminder.