“Killing is wrong, Mr Gaddafi. We’ll kill you if you kill people.”

“Hypocrisy and double standards”. These tenets are actually written into the UN Charter, just in Latin so that everybody thinks it means something like “Peace and kittens for all”.

In recent days, the entire UN, namely France, the US and the UK, have arbitrarily decided that it doesn’t much like the violent rumblings in Libya and has come up with a masterplan: prevent the aerial bombardment of Libyans by aerially bombarding Libyans.

If the majesty of this plan wasn’t quite evident enough, then the added spice of shelling Gaddafi-friendly tanks, which are approximately the size of a tank, with smart bombs so smart they eviscerate everything in a 200ft radius should be enough to make even the most venerated military tactician doff the proverbial cap.

"We only got the tank. Those cars were already on fire."

The justification is stunningly arrogant: “[The Libyan opposition have] expressed a clear and overwhelming wish for Gaddafi to go and we agree with that too.” – David Cameron

Fair enough, Dave, but it’s not the Libyan people en masse; a significant minority must still be loyal to the scruffy old tyrant else he’d be out on his arse already. In addition, DC himself isn’t exactly the most popular PM at the moment, but as yet I haven’t heard the unmistakable roar of an F-16 haring towards Downing Street recently. There’s still time.

Of more pressing concern than whether Ban-Ki Moon will crack out the jets next time students take to the streets is the question of what on earth the UN is playing at. This, of course, is a question which has followed the organisation since roughly the very beginning. The majority of the time the international community is perfectly happy to sit back and have a nice cup of tea whilst oppressive regimes tear their people to shreds. In Rwanda they actively stood there and watched, and that’s not an isolated occurrence.

So the incisive international action in Libya seems a little baffling, especially given that Yemen, Syria, and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia are also currently engaged in enthusiastically ‘repressing’ their own civilians. Apparently the UN doesn’t agree with those people.

The befuddling lack of any kind of consistency only serves to highlight that the whole institution stinks to high heaven when it comes to interventions. Whilst ostensibly an egalitarian forum for collective action, the major behavioural pattern effectively mirrors the whims and cares of the dominant states. Big guns like, big guns get. Big guns no like, Big guns veto. Simples.

“Col Gaddafi, we strike at you safe in the knowledge that the whole world is behind us. Except most of the world, but it’s okay because we can’t really pronounce them and they’re probably not important. I mean, pretty much all of them agreed with the whole no-fly zone thing but then I guess they didn’t see the obvious inference that we saw that by having a no-fly zone you automatically have to bomb anything that moves in order to enforce it, but I suppose that’s not their fault and we’ll just decide for them anyway and we’ve decided that the best way to stop things from flying is just to bomb everything on the ground in case it does start flying and breaks the no-fly zone rules, I mean you wouldn’t think tanks and buildings could fly but I saw an ant do it once so you can’t be too careful, know what I mean?”

The organisation is almost set up not to work; the security council and the veto are utterly ludicrous and do nothing except block majority-led consensus. The self-appointed permanent members effectively decide on all matters of international peace, and a no vote from any of them means no resolution and no UN backed action, which then leads to the big states going off and doing it anyway. Hi Iraq. Obviously this shuts out the rest of the world, unless you’re on the non-permanent committee that year, in which case you don’t have a veto anyway so you might as well be wanking furiously in the corner for all the effect your nation has on proceedings.

If there is to be a global forum for action on international peace, then fine. But let the whole world decide, and let it decide on the appropriate action too. Hold states who invade other nations without consent accountable, properly, and don’t let the big players get away with this cavalier bullshit.

The western powers have got a tentative agreement to stop the Libyan conflict being horribly one-sided, and have used that as an excuse to launch a bombing campaign against somebody they don’t like. The UN shows itself to be either a puppet to western whim, as it has this week, or incapable of holding the west to account when it goes on oil jollies around the globe.

Global democracy? Bollocks.

“This all appears to be in order Mr Murdoch,…

…you can have the BBC for an extra few quid?”

Some people own an orchard. The orchard is bursting with all kinds of fruit. There are apples, pears, some plums, and look! Aunty Mims has planted a lovely peach tree in the sunny corner by the stream. Isn’t the orchard lovely!

One day, some new people come in to run the orchard, but they aren’t happy with what they see. Too many leaves here, too much fertiliser there. They chop quite a lot down, but something is still missing. “A-ha!” They think, “That man at the apple tree is really rather good at growing lots and lots of apples. Why not let’s sell him the rest of the orchard, then he can grow all the lovely fruit and there’ll be food for all!”

So they sell him the fruit trees, and come back a year later to see how the orchard is coming along. But they don’t see the pears. They don’t see some plums. They don’t see the peach tree that Aunty Mims so lovingly grew in the sunny corner. They see apples. Lots and lots of apples. As far as the eye can see. And from then on it’s apples for breakfast, apples for lunch, apples for dinner; apple everywhere, apples up to our ears, we’re drowning in the apples, MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE!

The edible harbinger of doom



And so crushing inevitability is brought to bear on possibly the longest car crash in British media history. Our supposedly world-renowned media has effectively been swallowed up by one man and his empire, largely in part to a culture secretary who has shown all the characteristics of a love-struck puppy in his handling of the situation.

Even before the BSkyB debacle kicked off Jeremy Hunt was a self-professed Murdoch-lover:

“Rather than worry about Rupert Murdoch owning another TV channel, what we should recognise is that he has probably done more to create variety and choice in British TV than any other single person because of his huge investment in setting up Sky TV which, at one point, was losing several million pounds a day.”

Ah yes. Good old variety and choice. With the Sun, the Times and Sky News, you can choose whether you want your strictly-right-wing-news in less than two syllables, more than five or spoken to you, with flashy graphics and Kay Burley. And you only need to look to other countries where News Corp have a few media outlets to see how much variety, choice and absolute impartiality Rupert insists on from his channels.

Unfortunately, Hunt et al. are, as is to be expected, running down the classic Tory line, undoubtedly with their theme song playing in the background. Ever since Vince Cable stupidly said he was ‘going to war’ with News Corp, allowing the Conservative front bench to remove the last line of resistance from the situation, there has been no doubt that a Murdoch takeover would happen, and that the media regulators wouldn’t get a chance to, erm, regulate.

Did we vote for this shit?

Murdoch is held up on the right for several reasons. First and foremost, he generally provides a free advertising service for moderate right wing parties, which must be just dandy if you’re a moderate right wing party looking for some free advertising. Second, and probably equally important to the current administration, Mr Murdoch has proved himself to be very, very good at making lots and lots of money on the free market. Given that the government is hell-bent on turning the UK into a horrible cross between Ebeneezer Scrooge and a prostitute, simultaneously squeezing every penny whilst trying to sell everything we have to the highest bidder, it’s not entirely surprising the Dave and pals are cosying up to the Aussie tycoon. Whispering sweet nothings in his ear.

I wonder if Hunt calls him ‘Daddy’ and makes sure to swish his hips just that little bit more when they’re together. I say ‘wonder’, I more mean I’m going to have nightmares where that happens. Is there such thing as economic dirty talk?

“I want you to stick your bell curve right up my pre-tax profits; I’m sure you’ll get some great returns;my interest rates have shot right up…”

That was unnecessary. Sorry.

Back on the main point, what the worshipping servants of Guru Murdoch have failed to realise is that the antipodean news machine makes his money by ending competition. A market with Murdoch so dominant, and with government regulation evidently so impotent, only serves to create a climate where it is impossible to compete or for new outlets to enter the market, so the realm effectively becomes his. This then paves the way for the government to make even more concessions to the dominant force, which lowers media standards, eradicates plurality of news sources, and is proven to lead to nuclear holocaust.

On the plus side, the man from down under has offered to sell off Sky News. Plurality lives! But only for ten years-ish. And with a heavy, heavy ‘subsidy’ from News Corp. RIP plurality! Potentially the biggest cop-out since the end of Lost.

So, as ever here at rantraverelax, the concluding message is simple:

Unless you really love apples.


P.S. Finest resignation letter ever.