Why the news needs to be good

The Queen rarely makes comment on matters of public debate, but a few weeks ago she gave a message of support to the British newspaper industry, praising traditional media outlets.  She said that “having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital”.  This is very important, for in our democracy we rely on trusted news sources to inform us, challenge us, investigate wrong doing, and hold governments and public services to account. Continue reading

Why Ireland Needs Answers

Notoriously, some generals have prepared to win the battles fought by the previous generation. British armies from 1939 to 1941 used the tactics of 1918. As a result, UK forces were routed by the Wermacht in the Battle of France. Two years later, General Percival repeated the mistake in Malaya and Singapore. He failed to appreciate the importance of air-power, armour and a lightning advance. 120,000 soldiers surrendered to a much smaller Japanese force; millions of civilians were left defenceless before one of the most brutal and cruel forces unleashed on civilization, the Imperial Japanese Army. Continue reading

“We Didn’t Know”

In a recent interview with a national newspaper the Israeli writer and journalist Gideon Levy said that the reason he tries to tell the truth about how bad things are for those living in Palestine is to prevent a situation in which people in Israel could say “we didn’t know”. Too often “we didn’t know” becomes an excuse for a failure to speak up for the plight of others. Tom Paxton, the American folk singer, wrote a song about people in different situations who claimed not to have known . . . the burgomeister in World War 2 Germany who didn’t know about the concentration camp on the edge of town, the congregation in Southern USA, singing a hymn in a church of white: “. . . we didn’t see a thing, you can’t hold us to blame we didn’t know.” Continue reading