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Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and there will be many recollections published I’m sure.  I wasn’t born then, so I can only defer to my parents’ recollections, which were few – their generation did a good job of shielding us from the horrors they experienced.  However, the odd ‘time capsule’ still emerges.

A few months ago while sorting through some old papers left behind by my father-in-law, we found an envelope with some letters in that were not his.  The note on the outside read: letters found down the backs of chairs.  He was an upholsterer, and obviously used to find all manner of stuff that way which he gave back to the owners. But these must have come from jobs for antique dealers who had no use for them.  One was a small envelope stamped Bath, May 1945.  Inside was a four page letter sent to Harold and signed ‘Madam’.  It reads as follows: Continue Reading

BBC Statistics

It is difficult to understand how a media organisation that, over the last few years, has consistently failed to correctly predict major election results can believe it retains any credibility.  Yet that’s what we have from a BBC statistics department that now has to go into full spin mode to cover its embarrassment even during a live results programme.

Such was the case on Sunday when it became immediately obvious that the Brexit Party were absolutely creaming the opposition, as if that hadn’t been widely predicted from the point, just six weeks ago, when Nigel Farage launched it.   But this article is not about the politics of these elections, it’s about whether our national broadcaster is fit for purpose in the field of political analysis.

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“It’s all gone a bit flat here.”   These were the words of BBC 5-Live’s chief football correspondent George Riley in his report from Rio this morning, following England’s rapid exit from the World Cup at the hands, or should that be feet, of Costa Rica – before we had even played them!  As might be expected, his report was heavily cliché-ridden, focussing particularly on the need for facing uncomfortable Truths.

World Cup

Last night’s message from the Costa Rica fans

He was making his comments from the comfort of the massive World Cup Media Centre in Rio de Janeiro, but was he reflecting the mood of England fans in Brazil, or the atmosphere among the thousands of two-bit Fleet Street hacks whose long summer holiday watching the Girl from Ipanema had just been cut drastically short?  Because the greatest Truth to be faced here is that, were world cup success for our soccer team measured purely in back-page column-inches, then we would have won more trophies than Brazil and Germany put together. Continue Reading