This is tabloid country

If the BBC sets the agenda for the media, then the right-wing tabloids play the role of court provocateurs. The written word is traditionally more partial than television news in the UK. So the tabloids are still defined by the BBC, as they rail against it. This is the irony behind the talk of a ‘left-wing’ bias. Even still, Britain’s tabloids have become notorious for their news coverage. The two biggest players, The Sun and the Daily Mail, are worthy of classic case studies. The Daily Mail is well known for its sensationalist headlines, and its ultra-conservative agenda. By contrast, … Continue reading

Is Africa’s success story over?

The most impressive person I met in Botswana barely said a word. She was an older woman, small in stature. We were sitting next to each other at a table during lunch at a conference about Botswana’s economic model. In a quiet voice, she told me that she was a former government minister. We talked briefly about the conference, neither of us saying anything particularly memorable. Then we were both drawn away by other conversations. I learned later that Gaositwe Chiepe was the first woman to serve as a government minister in Botswana, the large but sparsely populated country just … Continue reading

EU: the neoliberal union

David Cameron has signalled that the long-awaited referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union could be held early as the summer of 2016. This is big news for Britain, its Europhiles and its Eurosceptics. Not only does it demonstrate that the Conservative Party is still looking to settle old scores. The Tory government is looking to play both cards at once. Cameron does not really want a ‘Brexit’ – the portmanteau for a British exit from the EU. But he does want to increase the distance between Westminster and Brussels. Once again, the government is looking abroad to … Continue reading