Patrick Ward

Tabloid Islamophobia - the web of deceit

Issue section: 
Author: 

"They sometimes say if you give a fool a piece of rope he'll hang himself, and it seems that in this case this person has done exactly that." So said "terror expert" Glen Jenvey to CBS news in 2004, referring to his "sting" of cleric Abu Hamza, which he claims was pivotal in Hamza's arrest. Perhaps Jenvey should have chosen his words more carefully.

On 7 January the Sun ran a front page story with the headline, "Islamic fanatics name Alan Sugar, Mark Ronson and Lord Levy in a hit list of Britain's leading Jews." The story was based on claims by Jenvey that fanatics were using the online Ummah forum to orchestrate revenge attacks for the siege of Gaza. "Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs," said Jenvey.

Censored 2009

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Eds: Peter Phillips and Andrew Roth, Seven Stories, £11.99

Censored 2009 is a collection of some of the stories which didn't hit the mainstream US news in 2007-2008. While the Winter Soldier testimonies of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans which exposed the brutality of the occupations were ignored, plenty of airtime was available for stories of actor David Hasselhoff's drinking and junk food binges. As the trials and tribulations of Britney Spears dominated the major news networks, news that US oil giant Chevron was complicit in Burma's dictatorship was relegated to the alternative media.

Interview: A structural crisis of the system

Issue section: 
Issue: 

István Mészáros won the 1971 Deutscher Prize for his book Marx's Theory of Alienation and has written on Marxism ever since. He talks to Judith Orr and Patrick Ward about the current economic crisis.

The ruling class are always surprised by new economic crises and talk about them as aberrations. Why do you believe they are inherent in capitalism?

I recently heard Edmund Phelps, who got the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. Phelps is a kind of neo-Keynesian. He was, of course, glorifying capitalism and presenting the current problems as just a little hiccup, saying, "All we have to do now is bring back Keynesian ideas and regulation."

It was. Are you?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

"I feel a terrible personal failure - it's a very nasty place to be if you're me," said Independent editor Roger Alton, after the newspaper lost 16.29 percent of its readership in one year.

Alton gained notoriety when, as editor of the Observer, he supported the illegal invasion of Iraq. His record at the Indie has also been less than promising. Its hot news is now more likely to be about Gazza than Gaza. His belief that "pictures of semi-naked women basically make the world a better place" has also led many to leave the paper on the shelf.

But with its appalling circulation figures have come 90 job cuts and its impending move to share office space with the Daily Mail - a newspaper Alton refers to as "the best paper in Britain".

Recession to the rescue

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

"Tell people that biology and the environment cause obesity and they are offered the one thing we have to avoid: an excuse," said Tory shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley last summer. "We have to take away the excuses." Having a job is probably one of those excuses too.

"Interestingly, on many counts, recession can be good for us," Lansley wrote in November. "People tend to smoke less, drink less alcohol, eat less rich food and spend more time at home with their families."

His insight appeared on his blog, but was removed swiftly. A David Cameron induced apology was swiftly forthcoming.

Climate change: radical solutions needed

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Building a Low-Carbon Economy, Lord Adair Turner's 511 page report, made interesting Xmas reading for environmental campaigners. Produced by the Committee on Climate Change, which Turner chairs, it is the government plan to drag the world out of the clutches of uncontrolled climate change.

But, as campaigner and author George Monbiot writes in the Guardian, "Lord Turner has two jobs. The first, as chair of the Financial Services Authority, is to save capitalism. The second, as chair of the Committee on Climate Change, is to save the biosphere from the impacts of capitalism. I have no idea how well he is discharging the first task, but if his approach to the second one is anything to go by, you should dump your shares and buy gold."

New challenges for the new year

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

This time last year the world looked very different. Ian McCafferty, the chief economic adviser of the CBI, argued on New Year's Eve 2007, "While the 2008 slowdown may appear dramatic set against this year's strong growth, the fundamentals of our economy remain sound and talk of a full-blown recession is overstated."

Meanwhile the idea of a massive grassroots electoral campaign ousting the neocons from the White House in favour of a black president might have been labelled hopelessly optimistic. 2009 therefore offers new challenges and opportunities for socialists as we enter uncharted waters in the midst of a global storm. But one thing is certain: there will be no time to sit back complacently to see what happens next.

Number crunching

Issue section: 
Author: 

The impact of the economic crisis over the past year has led to a significant change in our phone habits according to recent figures from directory enquiry service 118118.

There has been a 67 percent increase in calls to debt collection agencies, as well as a 135 percent rise for credit card companies. Calls for restaurants fell by 6 percent, as cheaper pizza delivery enquiries rocketed by 97 percent. Office stationery enquiries are down 46 percent, and those for au pair agencies fell by 98 percent. Meanwhile, calls for second hand shops have increased by 299 percent.

Hedging their bets

Issue section: 
Author: 

They leech off the system, destroy public services, and bring unemployment and now they're threatening to come to Britain. But this is one group of migrants to whom the gutter press won't be devoting the front pages - hedge fund managers.

At a US congressional hearing over their business practices, George Soros, Kenneth Griffin, Philip Falcone, Jim Simons and John Paulson claimed that any "knee-jerk" regulation may lead to their sort taking their business to unregulated London.

They are presumably as worried about the crisis as the rest of us. Despite their combined wealth of some £20 billion they manage to pay proportionally less tax than a US school teacher.

Glenrothes: Where did it all go right?

Issue section: 
Author: 

Voters in Glenrothes backed Labour in a surprise by-election win last month. The victory in itself was not the only boost for the beleaguered Gordon Brown.

Labour increased its share of the vote from the 51.9 percent won at the 2005 general election to 55.1 percent. And Labour not only increased its share of the vote for the first time since 1997, but also the actual number of people who voted for it. This hasn't happened in a Labour seat since 1978.

Just days before the poll, the Scottish National Party was crowing that it had already won. Leader Alex Salmond proclaimed, somewhat embarrassingly, "Yes we can win, and yes we will win."

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Patrick Ward