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I was reading an article by a black journalism professor about the challenges ethnic minorities face getting into the UK media. Nearly all of the hurdles were exactly the same as those faced by the majority of Britons; at least those who did not go to private school. In fact it struck me that I've heard more black people from the media/arts world from Tower Hamlets, Tottenham, Toxteth and Nottinghill on the radio talking about their childhoods than Scots from Easterhouse, Wester Hailes, Cranhill or Craigshill. The likes of the BBC regards skin-tone diversity as enough. But what we often end up with is the likes of the odious Razia Iqbal who parrots the Home Counties' No Sentient Life North of Watford attitude to life. I wouldn't trust her to cover The Pony Club. The real hurdle is not skin tone, it is parents' address and which high school you attended. To discriminate in favour of is also to discriminate against. Discrimination is always ultimately corrosive.

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It's been just over a year since The Great Eviction when everyone in my block of flats was thrown out. So far, there's only one death that I would link to the mass turnout from the dozen flats. The anniversary had me thinking about how many times I'd been evicted by folk who just didn't care. I counted that in just over 40 year's I'd lived in 18 houses or flats. I'd been kicked out of four of them, five if you count the landlord trying to sell the house without telling us. He had cheek to demand three months’ notice when I moved out. Anyway, that's a scary eviction rate of more than 20%. I hadn't realised how precarious renting was. And there was the landlady in Gayfield Square who after pocketing three months rent announced she was withdrawing access to cooking facilities. The first full eviction was in Shetland when my landlady decided she wanted my room for someone else. Then the guy in Newcastle who said he wanted the house vacated so that he sell it. That was followed by the optician in Oban who wanted the flat for additional storage space. And then last May. Legal rights don't really come into it. Fight the eviction and the landlord puts your stuff in the street in the rain anyway. You could sue, but what's the point in having your worldly goods destroyed for the sake of a few more weeks more occupancy? In any case, the civil courts are only an expensive, and lengthy, game of chance. Don't, ever, confuse the Law with Justice.

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In the 1940s the BBC was accused of undermining good English usage. But at least it said what it meant and meant what it said. Now thanks to ever increasing levels of ignorance its broadcasts are a riddle within an enigma surrounded by a puzzle. If a Lebanese politician really relinquished party leadership after 40 decades, why wasn't he interviewed about what it's like to be more than 400 years old? Did RAF Bomber Command really let wireless operators pilot its planes, as the BBC reported in its coverage of recent funeral? Here's a clue BBC, the pilot drives the plane. Zoom Zoom. 

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Just after I started work at The Evening Chronicle in South Shields I popped into the bar where the folk from head office in Newcastle city centre went for an after-work beer. One of the reporters was sitting recounting how she had got a pretty heart-wrenching interview with the mother of a murder victim. She reckoned the mother would be equally candid with other reporters who approached her about her daughter's murder. So, the reporter decided to make the mother so disgusted with the media that she would give no more interviews. Her parting comment to the mother was along the lines of "But she was a bit of a slag, wasn't she? I mean, she basically asked for it". The mother went ballistic. And our reporter was right, the mother gave no more interviews. Her fellow reporters were almost unanimous in applauding her initiative. 

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I heard recently of a scumbag who set fire to his rented flat while trying to burn off the plastic coating on stolen copper wire in his livingroom. The blaze was confined to the livingroom. Grounds for eviction. You'd think so. But his social worker didn't agree and helped him fight the eviction. The social worker wasn't bothered that next time the scumbag wanted to "process" stolen cabling the fire could burn the whole block of flats down and kill people. The very same people who pay the social worker's wages. One of them is a former neighbour of mine. I wonder what his social worker makes of the situation. Or maybe my former neighbour and the scumbag share a social worker. In the latter case it must hurt that the social worker puts the right to commit crime without fear of eviction above my former neighbour's life.

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