Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The modern Scotsman, Italy and the outside of Wandsworth Jail

I think it is deeply ironic that the Scotsman, on 7th April 1840, was the first newspaper in the world to publish a (controversial) account of the ice ages (from the utterly fascinating, unknown Scottish genious, James Croal) - but nowadays the paper sinks into ocassional fits of climate change denial. (And thanks to BBC2's Men of Rock for the details!)
Italian politics may be operatic in its tone (although they can teach our lot a thing or two about rioting) but underlying the Berlusconi confidence vote I think there is more than simply the man's scandalous behaviour. He flaunts his power and wealth and luxury in the faces of ordinary Italians. They face the same economic woes that we do in the rest of the West and can recognise a plutocrat just as well as we can. It makes people angry - and a violent reaction has now been demonstrated in yet another major European capital city to prove it. Our problem is not capitalism. It is plutocracy.
The Private Eye "Going Live" column will undoubtedly revel in the BBC News live report from outside Wandsworth Jail. Let's face it. They will have a serious point. Julian Assange arrived in a wagon and it seems desperately highly unlikely that anything else was going to happen - or that he was going to give interviews. Does it still cost a small fortune to do a live report?