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A recent British Royals visit to the Caribbean again raised the questions of reparations for slavery, long ago the basis of the former British colonies' economies. Interesting. The slave owners were compensated when slavery within the British Empire was banned in the 1830s. So, it seems to me that perhaps the fairest thing would be for the descendants of the slave owners to pay reparations to the descendants of the slaves. Meanwhile, what about reparations for the descendants of those forced from their homes by the Highland Clearances?  Or of the Scots held in bondage until the early 1800s and forced to work in the coal fields? 

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I was listening to an American radio programme called Democracy Now. The presenter asked a guy how old he was and he said he was twenty- three. She then said she had some tape of his twenty-two year old twin sister. Obviously "twin" means something different in the USA. Sadly, very sadly, the exchange is a good indication of journalistic standards on Democracy Now. I listen to it because it covers stories often given short shrift by mainstream media in North America. But way too  often the people interviewed are not challenged on what they say and only their point of view is supplied. There is little attempt at objectivity or truth. Instead, the programme often simply provides a platform for people who are just as dogmatic as those who appear on the unashamedly right wing American  media. No wonder the USA is so polarized. 

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I heard a radio programme recently in which an author was in the final stages of publication process. Part of what needed done was send advance copies to fellow writers who would write a positive blurb for use on the book cover. The writers had to guarantee to say something positive. In my naivety I always thought advance copies were sent to a number of writers and the most encouraging responses were selected for the cover blurb. But I'm pretty sure I heard a writer on the programme promise to write something positive before even seeing the book. I suppose appearing on the cover of someone else's book is free publicity and an endorsement of the blurb writer's credibility as someone whose opinion counts for something. 

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Many years ago I heard a BBC radio programme hosted by a young sounding Welshman. He was far from a typical BBC type and was a real breath of fresh air. At the end of the broadcast it turned out the presenter was former Welsh Guardsman Simon Weston, horrifically burned during the 1982 Falklands War. Sadly, the BBC and most major media outlets attempting to diversify their workforce think only in terms of skin tone, gender and sexuality. This means they still recruit almost exclusively from the upper middle classes. You don't hear a lot of presenters from Wester Hailes or Castlemilk. I can't help thinking that they would have a different, and valid, take on life from some woman from a privileged home in Home Counties whose parents happen to come from Pakistan. 

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I used to know a TV journalist who was always talking about "The Flavour of the Month" (FoM). Sometimes it seems the job scene all too often works on that principle. As the years go on and "positive hiring" practices  demand FoM criteria are more heavily based on skin tone and sexuality, things are just getting sillier and sillier. And the quality of the work done is plummeting. Right now in the Canadian media, it seems thst every newsroom must have least one Australian. But it seems it has to be an Australian woman. Most are at least competent. Which is an improvement on the results generated by the usual hiring  based on skin tone, sexuality and apparent lack of English language competence. Progress. But still a long way to go before ability becomes a factor in getting a new job. 

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