Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Quotable Quote: Parliament is sovereign

November 8, 2016 Leave a comment


In the face of Prime Minister Theresa May’s determination to make the British people lie in the bed they’d made for themselves, Gina Miller and her People’s Challenge group took the government to the High Court. The court ruled that any move to trigger the UK’s withdrawal from the EU must be approved by Parliament, and the ruling was greeted with howls of anger and accusations that the judiciary was attempting to derail the democratically expressed will of the people.

Journalist Polly Toynbee, writing in the Guardian (Guardian online, 3 November 1916), said:

There are times when MPs need to rise above their party interests, their own interests and the views of their constituents. That may risk being voted out, but they may earn more respect by standing up for the national interest as best they can determine: that’s what representative democracy is for. In times of war or national crisis, defending the country from grave error, at whatever personal cost, is their duty. Brexit is the greatest threat to national wellbeing since the war, and this will test the mettle not just of individual MPs, but of the nature and purpose of a representative democratic system.

Quite so.


To pee, or not to pee

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Several years ago I undertook what was probably the strangest writing task that has ever been offered to me. The Dutch sanitaryware manufacturer Royal Sphinx Gustavsberg had produced a women’s urinal, the Lady P, and was about to launch it in the UK. It was the brainchild of industrial design graduate Marian Loth, and Loth’s aim had been to speed up the queues in ladies’ lavatories and at the same time to improve hygiene – apparently the user was meant to “hover” rather than sit. Loth is quoted as saying that “The Lady P principal is piss and go”. Read more…

Nice ‘work’ if you can get it

November 12, 2009 Leave a comment

I visited the Guardian’s offices in London the other day to see the Jane Bown ‘Essentials’ exhibition. What a fine workplace this is – and a far cry from conditions in Fleet Street in the old days. Read more…

The fourth estate in an age of new media and instant gratification

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

If we accept that the press, from its earliest days, has always been influenced by factors other than the wish to report the news and to inform the public, then it seems to me that the most important challenge for the press today arises from the search for an economically viable yet credible way to adapt news output to the demand for an online presence, in the face of criticisms about ‘dumbing down’. Both present huge problems: the lowering of standards is difficult to overcome, and probably reflects changes in society – one could argue that the people get the press they deserve; the move to ‘online’ is also inevitable, and is likely to be very difficult to regulate. Read more…