A chunk of red meat for the most rabid wing of Boris Johnson’s Tory party. That could be the end of Channel 4’s life as a successful public service broadcaster. For that can be the only reason why culture minister Nadine Dorries has put it up for sale.
Commentators—including several notable Tories—have lined up to pour scorn on the decision. They cite the channel’s 40 years of public service at no cost to the taxpayer. They praise its creation of what has become the country’s network of independent production companies, many of them outside of London. They laud the channel’s innovations in digital technology.
Critically they question just how much the government is likely to raise from the sale. It would be dependent on the conditions it places on a buyer to guarantee key elements of the channel’s public service remit.
In addition, as the Financial Times newspaper’s Lex column points out, the move brings home just how ‘horribly regulated’ the broadcasting industry has become, and how advertising revenue is flat lining.
If the Labour Party was to commit to promising it would re-nationalise the channel it could dampen the sale’s prospects even further. That makes shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell’s refusal to do so all the more incredible. So let’s get stuck into the campaign to stop the Tories’ attack on its most critical broadcasting opponent.
I will oppose the privatisation of Channel 4, just as I oppose all privatisation.
But let’s not pretend it some great alternative to the rest of the media. It was good when it started, but now, driven by advertising revenue it’s essentially the same as everyone else.
The government’s energy strategy published last week is completely inadequate, a terrible glimpse of the future if left to the present political establishment.
The Tories want to build as many as eight new nuclear reactors, including two at Sizewell in Suffolk.
Even worse in my view, there is a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas projects. Fossil fuels need to stay in the ground.
There should not be encouragement of further expansion of dirty fuels in British waters.
And I can’t really believe the government offered no new policies on saving energy by insulating buildings.
Energy efficiency is the simplest way to immediately lower bills and emissions.Even on wind power, which is allegedly to get a big boost, there is some support for turbines offshore with speedier planning consent.
But in the face of opposition from his own backbenchers, Boris Johnson has retreated from his original plans and offered nothing.
None of the measures offered will have any serious impact for years into the future.
And as we have seen during the war in Ukraine, any positive moves can quickly be overthrown if the people at the top decide there is an overriding “emergency”.
All power to the Extinction Rebellion people taking to the streets and the Just Stop Oil activists.
Does anyone still think the government of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine is some force for liberation?
Did you notice that in his address to the Greek parliament last week he spliced in footage of a member of the fascist Azov brigade?
This has revealed so much about the force that the Nato powers are so happy to support.
We can guarantee that if Vladimir Putin had appeared with a fascist then the Western media would be howling. But there will be no condemnation from the Nato leaders or a halt to the flood of arms.
I don’t support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But there has to be a much more truthful reckoning with a government that showcases Nazis in its case for more war. Let’s hope more Ukrainians recognise just how right wing Zelensky is.
How heartening to read of the unionisation victory by the Amazon workers in the United States (Socialist Worker. 6 April).
I hope it will spark a real turnaround, but US unions are coming from a low base. Only just over one in ten workers are in a union. That’s half of what it was in the 1980s. Among 16-24 year olds it’s one in 25 who are members. We’re not going to get from here to workforces that are well‑organised nationally by gradual gains.
Instead there have to be leaps, and Amazon in Staten Island could be one of those. It’s not surprising that it was an “unofficial” union that proved successful. Far too many of the established unions are led by a conservative and fearful layer who simply can’t relate to the sense of militancy that workers need today.
Let the old methods go to the wind and welcome in change from below.Let’s crack Amazon everywhere. Read everything you can from those who led the Amazon success, and then apply it where you are.
West London (formerly Chicago)
I don’t have a choice about deciding how to fight the increase in fuel bills. I just can’t pay them. So British Gas will have to take me to court or cut me off and then they must face up to the consequences. I don’t think I am alone in this. I think there has to be resistance.
Covid isn’t over. My husband is a health worker and every day I see evidence of how much the NHS is still suffering from the strains of the virus. I wish the government would stop ignoring it. Please keep writing about the pandemic even if everyone else stops.
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg recently said, “We see that China has been unwilling to condemn Russia’s aggression and has joined Moscow in questioning the right of nations to choose their own path”. If Nato is a purely defensive military alliance why does it involve itself in politics?
We need to stand together within the XR and Just Stop Oil protesters.
Mayday is coming. We the people need to put our differences aside and send a message to the Tories that we deserve better. There are many unhappy people, but we are all so divided and we are not organised enough to all come together on one day.
It’s one protest here, one there, one on a Saturday, one on a Sunday. We need to get organised and all turn up together and send a message to Westminster that we deserve better.
Action against fossil fuels
Another attack on the NHS
Actions for the right to roam
Benefits down but costs up