Media Outrage is a Great Form Of Publicity

This week French footballer Nicolas Anelka of West Bromich Albion was handed a five-match ban by the FA for brandishing a ‘quenelle’ salute after scoring in a Premier League football match last December. According to The Bleacher Report, this whole episode has “rocked football”. This means Anelka’s actions have actually shuddered the whole footballing world to its very core. But what is a quenelle I hear your collective thoughts ask? Is it a new hairstyle? A euphemism for male genitalia or a radical form of ‘twerking’? Well I had no idea what a ‘quenelle’ was either until the sports media spotlighted it so publicly in the wake of Monsieur Anelka’s FA hearing.

For those who haven’t been informed via the recent media public service announcements on Sky Sports News, TalkSport radio and the BBC’s Match Of The Day and Football Focus programmes, a ‘quenelle’ is an inverted salute that is (to use disclaiming media parlance) ‘allegedly’ anti-Semitic.

Making insulting or indecent gestures during English Premier League (or perhaps I should use the more correct term – Barclay’s Premier League) football matches contravenes FA Rule E3(1). Worse still, as an FA spokesperson told CNN, what Anelka did was “… an aggravated breach, as defined in FA Rule E3(2), in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief” [allegedly].

How to do the quenelle - you put your right hand up, your left hand out, you do it after scoring and it gets about.

How to do the quenelle – you put your right hand up, your left hand out, the media is outraged and it gets about.

So now myself along with millions of other people know something that we didn’t know a week ago. We know that there is more than one salute that can be used to insult the Jewish community. The other offensive salute we all know is the Nazi salute, an established anti-Semitic gesture that was brutally hacked into history by the barbaric actions of a delusional and psychopathic dictator called Hitler, who along with his army and the backing of the ruling classes of an entire nation, murdered millions of Jews and almost took over Europe during the Second World War. The quenelle on the other hand is a little know (until now) gesture invented by a little known (until now) French comedian called Dieudonne M’Bala. However, thanks to the media it is now etched into the minds of antagonistic anti-Semites the world over for future reference.

Exclusive: Dieudonne Breaks Silence On Quenelle

Anelka denies the FA charge, claiming that he made the gesture in support of Dieudonne with whom he is friends. But for one writer reporting in ‘Japan Today’ (yes, it has spread that far) Anelka is guilty by association for having “atrocious” taste in friends. Well that isn’t a crime. If it was then entire Western governments would be rounded up and locked away for their politically congenial allegiances to dictators guilty of pillaging public funds, torture, mass murder and any number of crimes against humanity (more later). However, some people in the media are arguing that Anelka is guilty because he deliberately made the gesture during a game that he knew was being televised in France where the quenelle is well known, thus proving that he intended to cause racial insult.

Anelka has been a prodigious goal-scoring talent throughout his illustrious and lucrative career, but he has seen better days – notably at (no offence West Brom) much bigger clubs like Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Juventus. To suggest that he chose a specific game to make the gesture is also to suggest that he can score at will. This is pretty ridiculous when you consider that the quenelle salute came after he scored his first goal for West Brom since signing for the club last summer. However, the point here isn’t whether the gesture was intended to be deliberately insulting or inflammatory. Anelka – who is a practicing Muslim and a Black man – may very well have anti-Semitic sentiments. The point is, by highlighting his gesture so publicly, the sports and news media have quite literally given his [allegedly] racist insult a global platform and helped to promote his [allegedly] anti-Semitic message to a whole new audience. If his gesture was intended to insult and incite, he must be sat in his footballer’s mansion beaming with great satisfaction at the global spotlight the media have given to his [alleged] anti-Semitic cause.

I’m not supporting Anelka’s [alleged] racist agenda, nor would I support any racist propaganda. At the same time I’m not agreeing that Anelka had a racist agenda. He denies his gesture is racist but rather “anti establishment”, a claim that is supported by Dieudonne, the very man who invented the gesture. This contradiction in itself makes the whole story a little bemusing. The person who made the gesture says it wasn’t meant to be racist. The person who invented the gesture said it isn’t racist. That means that the media and the small group of people (a group that will undoubtedly be a lot larger since the media have promoted the issue) who have adopted the gesture as a symbolic racist epithet, are the people who have actually radicalised the gesture – this much is clear. So what did the press intend to achieve by giving this story so much publicity? Was it their obligation to ensure that the public’s right to know was satisfied?

Now I have isntructions I can be suitable outraged

Now I have instructions I can be suitably outraged.

First of all let’s get something clear – the media doesn’t really care about whether a footballer or any other sportsperson causes offence to any individual or group unless it impacts on their revenue. The media pays its salaries by the revenue it receives from advertising, so they only care about producing content that will draw attention to their newspapers, magazines, television programmes and websites. That much is a fact. Despite never being involved in any acts of violence or sex scandals in the past, Nicolas Anelka (dubbed by the media as ‘Le Sulk’) has often courted controversy throughout his career and people know who he is. Any story involving Anelka is going to draw attention, and make no mistake, that’s what the media outlets really care about. If their enthusiasm for this story was grounded in ethics then they would have thought about what was going to be achieved by bringing this hitherto unknown gesture to the forefront of the British public’s attention. They would have then come to the conclusion that it would be best to bury the story in the corner of the sports section somewhere and let the FA deal with Anelka quietly. However, the gesture would have no doubt caught the attention of someone somewhere via social media.

Despite what you may be led to believe about social media dictating what the media reports on, this is not true. The popular press and wider media control what the general public see, hear and to a large degree, think. They are more than capable of ‘burying’ a story if they believe it will harm them by offending their political allies or corporate paymasters. For example, prior to Ukraine and Poland hosting Euro 2012, there had been an outbreak of a “plague” in the Ukraine in 2009. I would have thought this detail was newsworthy, but the story got virtually no coverage by the popular Western media. Recently the scandal surrounding allegations that Franck Ribery – a married man and Muslim convert – had sex with an underage prostitute in 2009 only made a little ripple in the British press. Ribery was in the running for the Ballon d’Or and the trial was, somewhat conveniently, adjourned until 20th January 2014 – a week after the awards ceremony (Cristiano Ronaldo won by the way).

I’m a Manchester City fan, but I am under no illusions as to the motivation behind Sheik Mansour’s acquisition of my club. Why would Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi Nahyan Royal Family, want to spend billions on turning a mid-table Mancunian football club with a long history of calamitous failure but a huge fan base, into the biggest club in the world? I don’t think it’s because he loved Subbuteo as a kid. As David Conn of The Guardian points out, it is probably more to do with utilising the club to promote other UAE commercial interests when the oil cash cow of the Middle East finally runs dry, whilst at the same time deflecting from their countries poor human rights record.

Football is a global industry that inspires blind, irrational, passionate support from its supporters. Owners of successful football clubs have a global platform from which they can promote anything. Yet despite the FA’s commitment to ensuring club owners are “fit and proper”, the media has barely rippled the caftan of Sheik Mansour’s political affairs back home. Why would they? Well the Emirates Centre for Human Rights Trial Observation Report concluded that the 69 people convicted and detained without fair trial for petitioning for democratic reforms due to human rights abuses in the UAE ‘had been subjected to torture and denied basic safeguards of a fair trial’? And in the wake of the media support for Thomas Hitzlsperger when he revealed his homosexuality following his retirement from football, aren’t the media concerned that the owners of an English football club have laws in their own country that can lead to a sentence of death for homosexual activity?

The answer of course is, no. The scandal involving Ruport Murdoch’s News Of The World which resulted in The Levenson Enquiry clearly established that there is, and has been for some time, a mutually convenient relationship between press and parliament. Most of us acknowledge that parliament and corporate business also sleep in the same bed. So with the Mansour family plying billions into the British economy in the shape of large developments in Manchester and a £1.5 billion investment being plied into a deep water port development in London, despite David Cameron stating “On human rights, there are no no-go areas in this relationship” during his  delegation to the UAE to sell military hardware to Sheik Khalifa, it is no surprise that the British media aren’t really too keen to press the comparatively minor issue of human rights of people in another country.

When it comes to popular media, the public interest is only important in so much as how much of the public will be interested in the associated advertising. Issues that may impact on profit and the privileges afforded their organisations remain sacrosanct amongst the larger and more popular media outlets. Whilst some prickly issues will be reported on to maintain press credibility, how much they will be reported on will largely depend on how much the powers that be (corporate and political) actually want them to be reported. Therefore the press concentrates on palatable, relativey harmless and vacuously distracting celebrity news that the man in the street can digest without thinking too hard about it. If the readers think too hard about a story they fail to notice the message from the sponsors.

I think therefore I buy

I think therefore I buy

So Anelka and his [allegedly] racist quenelle gesture isn’t really the biggest story in sport and it certainly hasn’t “rocked football”. If anything has rocked football in recent weeks it is the rapid demise this season of the current Premier League Champions, the once mighty Manchester United. The only thing the media have achieved by blowing up the Anelka gesture story is to add something more to the vocabulary of racist offence. Essentially they have helped the very cause they purport to condemn. Now anti-Semites worldwide have another weapon of insult to hurl at people. Whilst Monsieur Anelka may have tossed a little racist dirt into the public arena (allegedly), thanks to the efforts of the media, his insult is now firmly cemented onto the global landscape. Meanwhile, Sheik Mansour and his family continue to preside over an Arab empire that denies many basic human rights. But hey, that doesn’t really matter because Manchester City are one of the biggest and most entertaining football teams in the world – and the media loves entertainment. Entertainment helps to sell advertising.

Further reading:

The Hidden Story of Sheik Mansour

*If you tire of the inane and politically biased ‘news’ you see in the usual newspapers and media channels such as Sky, Fox, CNN, BBC, ITV etc. There are several independent sources of news that regularly give a more balanced account of what is going on in your world, because it is your world. It doesn’t belong to a small group of wealthy men, despite what you are led to believe.
Try the links below for an alternative view on things:
and for a little bit of satirical light relief…

In Thine Own Image.

Research commissioned by Channel 4 and conducted by the Cumberbatch Research Group showed that during a sample of 368 hours of peak-time viewing in 2009, Ethnic Minority representation (those appearing on BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky One) accounted for just 10.2% of the overall output during this 368 hour period. This data also includes the possibility that some of the individuals counted as an ethnic minority were also counted on several occasions (Trevor McDonald on the news for example). Quite a sobering statistic until you consider that ethnic minority (dark skinned – this detail needs to be pointed out) groups only make up about 13% of the UK population – which may seem an unrealistic statistic if you live in the multicultural centres of one of the major cities in the UK – or Bradford. However, step outside of those areas and sightings of ethnic minorities are as rare as UFO’s. However, it’s the percentage of executives, producers, directors and the people who are at the creative and financial decision making level in the media that is most important. These figures would not even make a whole number.

At a seminar on the subject of increasing the number of ethnic minorities working in the media industry, a chief production executive at Red Productions (one of the UK’s most successful production companies in the 90’s) candidly explained that people instinctively “hire in their own image”. It might be a little unfair, but it made sense to me. However, it doesn’t matter what initiative is put in place to redress the disparity of ethnic minority representation in the arts and media, because what you look like has less to do with how you represent as what you think like. Racial representation is much more than colour, it’s about a shared experience by a minorities’ majority.

One thing statistics of Channel 4’s superficial type won’t reveal is that the few coloured faces representing within the media will not have been raised or educated in Hackney, Brixton, Moss Side, Toxteth or any lower class ethnic part of the country. They will have gone to the same schools, colleges and universities as their white middle class counterparts and identify more with them than they do with their wider ethnic groups. The UK isn’t as backward as the US on race. British society by and large accepts a little bit of colour. We fell in love with Trevor Mcdonald and Lenny Henry in the 80’s, embraced the superb collaboration of culture as reflected in music like ska, jungle, drum n bass and garage, and generally accepted that mixing is ok because it creates beautiful babies and stronger DNA. But that acceptance hasn’t quite permeated the corridors of power or the executive offices of the media where they still have a knee tremble at the idea of social and racial agitation. Now and historically Britain has always been much more apprehensive about cultural interference within its class system and that is where the real prejudice lies in British media.

Whilst the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s may have symbolically vilified ethnic minorities by colour representation, the culture of the lower classes has become more of a target in contemporary media since the 90’s. Fiction like Shameless and The Royle Family, and offensive reality TV like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Benefits Street that explore the lives of fringe sub-cultures, do not divide by racial lines, they divide by social class.

Representation is primarily about intention; what is the intention in the representation. That intention then depends on the viewpoint of the representative. QED – if the representatives have no empathy or legitimate understanding of the subject matter or audience they’re representing, then their message will reflect that. Politicians and their policies have proven that for eons. Objective reasoning is a rare quality, but when an appointed representative who is also intelligent and sufficiently clued up about the subject matter they’re representing has that quality, then irrespective of race, colour or creed, they can still do a good job. But objective reasoning is a rare quality in the arts and media where egos reign supreme.


White singers deserve the same scrutiny for sexism as Snoop Dogg

Jude and Sadie’s daughter in Ecstasy scare

The One Thing White Writers Get Away With, But Authors of Color Don’t

A Year in Review: The Top 10 Most Racist/Privileged Things White Feminists Did in 2013

And now, the news…

So there I was, sat in the kitchen at my mum’s house, just passing time. I’d come around to visit the old dear, but she was pottering around the garden talking at nobody in particular and ignoring me as retired mothers are prone to do. Although I know she still likes the company of her visiting brood, I sometimes get a little bored, so on this day I put the kettle on for both of us and as it boiled I decided to skim through the newspaper that was lay on the kitchen table.

The Daily Star is one of the most popular tabloid newspapers in the UK  with a circulation of over half a million, yet by the time the half-full kettle reached boiling point I’d pretty much read everything of interest that was written in there. Being a Man City fan I wasn’t interested in reading about the boring 0-0 draw between Chelsea and United the day before, so I ignored the sport section and skimmed through the whole paper again just in case I had missed something. I hadn’t – there was literally nothing of any real consequence contained within the 56 pages of that newspaper. So what filled those 56 pages and was I bored enough to find out?

With my holidays coming to an end along with the British Summer, my boredom got the better of me and I decided to work out what constituted news in The Daily Star on 27th August 2013. It wasn’t too difficult – simply measure the column centimetres of copy text for each real news item. There weren’t many.

Spread out flat the paper has an area of around 5.75m2 on which to write news. Add the newsworthy copy and you have a diagram that looks like this.

Serious Hard News

The little red bits represent the serious hard news. The kind of thing that people should know about – what our leaders are doing in the world of politics, serious global affairs and crime stories of national interest. According to The Daily Star everything is just peachy with the world around us – “Move on, there’s nothing to see here.”

Next up are those soft news stories, the noteworthy, the strange, the bizarre and the ‘human interest’ stories that you usually get at the “And finally…” section of News at Ten.

Soft News

Not a huge amount there either really. Stories include: a diamond estimated to sell for £12million at auction, Brazilian prostitutes learn English in preparation for next year’s World Cup, police caught ogling celebrities on Twitter, a man who claims to have photographed the Loch Ness monster, a Brazilian footballer called Elvis who was shot dead, a giant gooseberry, a botched wedding proposal, the Royal Mail have done what they have supposed to do and delivered mail on time, and of course, a story about a Panda that may be pregnant – awesome.

There’s half a page dedicated to Hollie, 23, from Eastbourne who has great tits.

Hollie's tits

There are four pages dedicated to what’s on TV.

What's on Telly

There are ten pages dedicated to all sport, apart from horse and dog racing.

The World of Sport

There are four pages dedicated to horse and dog racing times and results.

The Racing News

There are some regular features, including puzzles and games, the daily horoscope, letters to Jane the agony aunt, photo casebook and consumer advice.

The rest of the news

Still, with all those sections covered, there’s still a hell of lot of space left.

news in brief

Now bear in mind that apart from the hard and soft news copy, the vast majority of the content of the other pages highlighted are made up of headlines, advertisements (there are several ‘Daily Star reader’s offers’) and photographs.  So what makes up the rest of the space? Well, the rest of that space is made up of advertisements and photographs of celebrities with various bits of facile and inane celebrity related gossip. I could illustrate how much of The Daily Star’s pages are made up of advertisements and pictures, but life is too short so I’ll make a rough estimate. My rough estimate is that only about 5% of the remaining space contains words that aren’t headlines – and I’m being generous. Sure there are those broadsheets that have ‘proper’ news, but surely even a tabloid should offer something more informative and stimulating than semi-naked, celebrity titillation.

The Daily Star is a pretty poor example of a newspaper, but it is indicative of what you see online, in magazines, on the television and in every media outlet. Marketers and broadcasters will defend themselves by saying that they are supplying a demand – essentially, you get the media you deserve – and they wouldn’t be wrong. But the obsession with celebrity trivia seems to have become a social addiction. The side effect of this addiction is inertia and complacency and a section of society whose lives revolve around an illusion that is sustained purely by their attention. If they stop watching, it doesn’t exist.

Right now England, America and their allies are considering going to war with Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons. Detainees in Guantanamo Bay are still starving themselves for justice. The Great Barrier Reef is under threat from corporate industrialists. Honeybees are threatened with extinction. Women in India are fighting for humanity, justice and protection from getting raped, beaten and brutalised. There is a global recession that show’s little sign of abating. Bankers and corporate giants are still pocketing offensive amounts of money whilst people all over the world are facing unemployment, bankruptcy, homelessness, increasing food and oil prices. Crime is rising and so are suicide rates… etc, etc, etc. A little bit of light relief is all fine and well, but there’s a lot more important things worthy of a double page spread than what’s going on in the Celebrity Big Brother house and the “controversial” performance of a young Disney star who still looks like a child, sexually gyrating on stage in latex underwear with a bunch of teddy bears.

For most of us there isn’t a great deal that we can do to effect change in what is going on around us. For many of us, the simple pleasures of our day-to-day is the best we can look forward to without worrying about things that we have no control over. TV, movies, magazines, video games, drink, drugs – all these social sedatives make a life less ordinary – or at least palatable. However, when you look around at the media distractions, you can’t help but notice the sheer amount of trivial, celebrity, nonsense that’s staring right back at you.

The irony of this celebrity overkill is that it mainly serves to highlight the shortcomings in your own life. You look on and find yourself worshipping a lifestyle that is unattainable – Photoshop dreams and fake images of ‘bling’. This can either motivate your aspirations or make you feel miserable. Either way, every time you watch and buy into the celebrity bubble, it inflates. The celebrities bay for your attention, you feed their ego and the advertisers fill their bank accounts whilst you go back home to your dissatisfaction and debt and forget that all is not well with the world around you.

If they stop watching, it doesn’t exist.

Toward the end of the Zeitgeist documentary the narrator talks about the media being a deliberate distraction from the real issues that affect people’s lives. The Roman’s used gladiatorial battles to deflect their public away from the affairs of state. Today it’s gadgets, games, sport and popular ‘culture’. Every hour spent on some trivial nonsense is an hour not spent making yourself aware of what is happening around you. It’s an hour not spent educating and improving yourself. It’s an hour not spent supporting a cause. It’s an hour not spent lobbying your local MP for improvements in your local area. It’s an hour not spent soliciting your government to change its policy on something that is worthwhile; something that will improve your life, your children’s lives, your grandchildren’s lives, or just the life of someone less fortunate than you.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in a little escapism, but too much of anything tends to be bad. The serenity prayer tells us to have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference. There’s nothing in there about burying your head in the sand and pleading ignorance. Ignoring what is happening on your doorstep and in the world around you doesn’t make it go away, it just helps it continue to remain the same.

Freedom of Speech… As Long As You Agree With What We Say.

The Western World prides itself on its laws that protect freedom of speech. We have the right to say anything that we want… more or less. Provided it doesn’t incite riot or it isn’t defamatory, slanderous or libellous, citizens in the UK and America can say whatever they want – which is commendable. However, expressing your opinion is all fine and well, but if that opinion isn’t ‘acceptable’ or in line with popular opinion, then that opinion will quickly be rounded upon by a media militia mob who will drown it before it even gets air, or smother it in ridicule, or denounce all credible association with anybody associated with that opinion.

Every time someone makes fun of the idea of “conspiracy theories” they are exhibiting a conditioned response – like salivating when they hear a bell or believing a TV news program.

Craig McKee –

Unless you live in the state of Catatonia, or you have had a lobotomy, or you are just a complete and utter gullible fool, there must have been a time when you were listening to something on the news, or a debate on a TV show, or you’ve read some ‘factual’ news story – or you’ve just listened to the chattering classes chatting over lunch or dinner about some social or political issue and you’ve thought to yourself; “No; no, no, no, that… that’s not right. That can’t be right!” You’ve thought this and kept it to yourself because you don’t feel confident enough to express your own opinion. You may even feel intimidated by the fear of not fitting in with what everyone else thinks, so you keep your opinion to yourself. You may even know or believe something in absolute certainty, but you dare not step out of line of the ‘acceptable’ view. Do you feel free in that moment? Do you feel that you have freedom of speech – freedom of expression?

Anybody who works with battered wives or people who live in abusive homes will know about psychological abuse. Psychological abuse often takes the form of ridicule, making the recipient lose their sense of identity and feel uncertain about themselves. Abused people often find that psychological or emotional abuse is the most damaging form of abuse. Imagine the school bully and his or her cronies all surrounding you in the playground calling you names and poking fun at you. Well this is what the media does when it doesn’t want a certain opinion to gain any credibility.

There was a time before the internet, social media and corporate whistleblowers, that information was power and it could be controlled. The truth was easy to manipulate because only a few people had access to it. Now the truth is out there [excuse the X-Files reference] and everyone has access to it, so the only way to control public opinion is to deny, deny, deny – or simply discredit anyone who is saying what you don’t want them to say.

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”


One of the downsides of mass media is that it proliferates and dominates every waking day of our lives. The sheer volume of images and information surrounding us, shrouds us in subliminal messages. But whilst the teenage whizz kids hack the popular Zeitgeist and indiscriminately flood the world wide web with free software and information, the corporations still manage to control the public consumption of validated information. The whole Western World is intravenously fed digital trash that is filtered through the corporate media, and everyone who is anyone is on it. Images, film, music, news and celebrity views steer popular opinion and distract the intellect from the capacity to discern. This results in a society fed MTV bites of bubble-gum politics and social debate that act as a hypnotic stream of public consciousness and socially acceptable views. So whilst the truth really is out there, it doesn’t really count unless it is viewed through the prism of the relevant celebrity or media channel. This is the controlling tie that binds – if the information isn’t coming from the right source, then it isn’t the right information.

So we find ourselves in an anodyne time where societal passions are a mere husk of sincerity. A time where a man whose good at sport, or a woman with a great body, or a beautiful androgynous creature in a nice outfit singing catchy songs – people who’s abilities are but a veneer of character, reality and truth – dictate the ideas and beliefs of society. This is a polite society based on protocol and etiquette but without substance. A society where nobody wants to ask the dirty, uncomfortable, pointed questions because it upsets the show; a society where heroes sing, dance and prance around whilst the majority of the world starves and kills and silently bemoans the state of their rotten lives. And if someone says “Hey you, what have you really done with all that fame and influence, apart from suck up the adulation, exploit your market and make more money for yourself?” Security eject them from the premises, paparazzi shoot them in flagrante, news agencies present them negatively, presenters, reporters and celebrities mock and ridicule them mercilessly, and the media strips them of all credibility. Who’s going to dare ask that question again now?

Now it’s conspiracy – they’ve made that something that should not even be entertained for a minute, that powerful people might get together and have a plan. Doesn’t happen, you’re a kook, you’re a conspiracy buff!

George Carlin

Anybody who works in film, media or showbiz must have felt at some time that they are selling their soul for the privilege. Many if not most of those people you regale in their fame have licked the boots of degradation and humility to get there. Abusive, punishing, long hours; obsequious ego massaging; soul-destroying sacrifices – and for some, leg spreading humility on a casting couch. The price of fame. The price of brushing alongside celebrity. Do you think they are going to throw all that away to make a point? Do you think that kind of person is going to make an ethical or moral stand for anyone else when they won’t even do it for themselves? The recent Jimmy Savile scandal would indicate that people would even turn a blind eye to paedophilia to avoid a confrontation that could jeopardise their career in showbiz. Yet so many of us would take the word and opinions of these people, who have compromised so much of themselves to get where they are, as gospel.

There isn’t the space here to cover all the alternative perspectives on popular world issues, but just as an example, the news is full of the ‘banking crisis’ and the global economic collapse, but you don’t see much in the Western press about how Iceland dealt with their errant bankers – they jailed them and convicted their ex-Prime Minister for his criminally negligent implication. There is a slew of evidence supporting the existence of UFO’s, mountains of evidence to support conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks, yet none of these viewpoints receive any credible media coverage. The amount of evidence supporting corruption amongst politicians and corporations over the years beggars belief. In the UK we have the Leveson Inquiry investigating the exposed relationship between politics and media. In Italy they simply have Berlusconi, a shop window for the corrupt collusion between politics, business and the media. So we know that truth and opinion through the looking glass of the media is tainted, so why don’t we turn off, tune in and drop out?

Perhaps it’s the need to feel a sense of belonging that so many of us don’t have the courage to embrace and express our own intuitive self-beliefs. Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence, or maybe it’s just utter spineless, weak minded cowardice. Whatever it is, I really wish that when I was around people that they would show me who they really are. Whilst I wouldn’t condone discrimination against race, religion or creed, I would just as strongly condemn discrimination against expression of opinion. I want you to say your piece, justify it, explain it, and I’ll do the same in the hope that we can find common ground, better mutual understanding, or simply agree to disagree. And if yours isn’t the ‘popular opinion’, I don’t want you simply to be vilified to the point where you harbour secret, hidden thoughts and ideas but walk amongst us anyway. I want you to feel free enough to not like the way I look, or pray, or the way they’re gay, or the sport she plays or the things he says – but I want to know you feel that way. And as long as it doesn’t lead you to hate, we can debate. We don’t have to be friends, but at least in our understanding of our differences we will relate.