Nigel makes me feel slightly awkward

It seems that a few weeks ago I missed the fact that Nigel Farage had spoken out about the South East of London to journalists at the UKIP party Conference. For those reading this not aware of who UKIP are, they are party who generally think that immigrates are both ‘stealing all our jobs’ and at the same time coming to the Uk to ‘live off our Benefit system’. Very clever some of these foreigners. The Party are pro British business and interests and want to see the UK come out of the European Union – a view, to be fair, held by many people who don’t share their anti-immigration stance.

Anyway, It seems as part of his argument that parts of the UK had become “unrecognisable”, Nige got on a train at London Charing Cross and headed to the south east. Over to Nige:

“Do I think parts of Britain are a foreign land? I got the train the other night, it was rush hour, from Charing Cross. “It was a stopper going out and we stopped at London Bridge, New Cross, Hither Green, it was not til we got past Grove Park that I could hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage. “Does that make me feel slightly awkward? Yes it does. I wonder what is really going on. I am saying that and I am sure that is a view that will be reflected by three quarters of the population, perhaps even more.”

Oh, how I laughed.

I’ve been on that train, and indeed, as I live in Hither Green, I’ve done that journey out of Charing Cross at many different times of the day, and yet I can’t ever remember being sat there thinking ‘ well, this makes me feel slightly awkward ‘ – well, ok, there was that one time, but that was just because the toilets were broken, and I’d been drinking and, well. But seriously, what IS he on about? For starters the biggest percentage of people travelling at that time are commuters, so travelling solo, so are most likely to be reading The Standard, a Book, their Kindle, and/or listening to their iPod or using their mobile device – not talking. Only a small percentage will be talking and a lot of those will be doing so on their phones. They also, like most people I know may not feel the need to speak at 100 decibels to make themselves heard down the other end of the carriage – though some certainly do seem to think it necessary.

As a result, when I’m travelling I can probably ‘hear’ the handful of people that are sat /standing near me in the carriage (unless it is post pub chucking out time). So, maybe a dozen or so people on a carriage that at capacity will hold 150+ seated and at rush hour, inc those standing, 200+.

So even if we take Nige’s story at face value what he is essentially saying is that on one carriage on a packed commuter train where he would not have been able to move, or hear more than a few rows/back forward – if he got a seat –  there were a few non English speakers stood/sat next to him for a few stops. Quick, close the Borders, we’re being over-run, it’s an invasion of foreigners … or, it’s being on public transport in any major city in the world, where in those non- English speaking countries the sound of ‘English speaking’ voices would not doubt be the invading foreigners.  If this makes Nige feel slightly awkward, I wonder how he copes having a German wife and relatives? I can only guess they’ve never gotten on a train with him and lapsed into German? If they did, the poor man must have been scared shitless.

BUT, Nige makes it clear that “I’m not saying that people on trains should be forced to speak English. That’s a bloody stupid question.” Phew, that’s a relief.

But, don’t worry because Nige is sure that his view – that clearly doesn’t actually stand up to even the most basic scrutiny – “is a view that will be reflected by three quarters of the population, perhaps even more.”

Nigel’s politics are the politics of fear. They’re the politics of blame (although, again to be fair, you could argue that covers most politics). Why look at yourself when there is someone else you can blame for whatever situation you find yourself in.

As a wise departed soul once said we have a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors … close yourselves off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. It is clear through which set of eyes Mr Farage sees the world.

Reaction not Regulation?

I enjoyed reading this blog post on Radio Today by John Myers, the former GMG Radio Chief Executive. It takes as its starting point a decision by Ofcom to uphold a complaint that Global Radio has failed to comply with the requirements of its published format since re-launching as Heart Cornwall in 2012. In particular Ofcom has found that Heart Cornwall was not delivering some important aspects of the Character of Service of its current published format, in particular the requirements that the station should be “A full service local station for Cornwall, with speech an important part of the content”, and that it should feature “locally-focused….speech content.” Ofcom found that the output examined demonstrated an overall lack of speech on the station and very little “locally-focused…speech content”. Ofcom warned Global Radio that, should similar issues arise in future, it may consider taking further regulatory action.

According to Myers this decsion sums up the current state of radio regulation in the UK, and Ofcom’s flawed approach to it. I agree. Ofcom relies on someone making a complaint. If it did a spot check of radio station across the country next week it would no doubt find that a lot of them are in breach of their Format, and that most are fully aware that they are and are doing so on purpose. The stations owned by the main players just want to offer defacto ‘national’ services, and the smaller players are having to compete for listeners so often go the popularist route to do so. But, Ofcom have neither the time, inclination nor resources to discover this. This is not likely to change.

The ASA, to a degree, sufers from the same issue. It needs to rely on complaints and the majority of these come from competitors playing a tit-for-tat game. I see ads every week that are in clear breach of the rules, but I have better things to do with my time than spend my life writing to the ASA. Beside for most advertisers it is a game. If you’re short on advertsing budget then an ad that breaks the rules will generate lots of free press for your slapped wrist. More importantly the ad run will almsot certainly have ended and have its desired effect way before the ASA tells you not to run it again. You need to be a BAD repeat offender to get referred to Ofcom. For example, Sit-Up Ltd [ Bid TV / Price Drop TV] were on the end of 30 rulings in the last year – 28 upheld.

In May last year the ASA referred Sit-Up Ltd, to Ofcom for consideration of statutory sanctions following repeated breaches of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising by its channels Bid and Price Drop. At that point there had been 27 rulings against Sit-Up Ltd relating to misleading pricing claims and misleading product descriptions since January 2012. Of the 30 I mentioned in the past year, 10 came AFTER the referal to Ofcom.

As far as I’m aware Ofcom has yet to make any ruling on any sanctions. Uk regulation is a slow beast.

Holmes under the hammer

I note the other day that American heiress, Andrea Plunket, has popped up this side of the Atlantic laying claims to the SHERLOCK trademark. Her UK reghistered company does have a number of marks registered in a variety of classes. Plunkett, who has had a number of US cases slung out and been accused of filing “frivolous” lawsuits, told the Daily Mail: “No one has asked permission to use my trademarks and I am confident that, if and when I go to court, I will be able to prevent the BBC making any more ‘Sherlocks’. That is my wish.”

Let’s ignore the merits (or not) of her case and just examine that statement. Her wish is to the prevent the BBC from making any more episodes of a vastly popular show that sells well abroad and generates millions of pounds. Yes, of course that’s her wish. I mean, whatever other options would she have or wish to pursue …

Arguing someone has it in for you not a reason for not complying with Ad rules

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against Fleetcomm Mobile Networks Ltd  for a number of claims on their website, including: that they are the largest Band II (MPT 1327) Network Provider in the United Kingdom, their coverage is improving every week, and that Fleetcomm does not deal directly with the end user.

It is not an especially unique case, but it is one that highlights the occasional stupidity in the responses to Ofcom.

Fleetcomm Mobile Networks Ltd believed that the complaint was maliciously motivated and that the complainant was a competitor and former employee

I love it when an advertiser / company thinks that this matters. It’s a bit like the endless ‘adult chat’ cases that are almost certainly all generated by competitor companies. It doesn’t matter WHO made the complaint. ALL that matters is whether or not you advertising complies with UK advertising rules.

As such Fleetcomm make lots of references to their former employee in their responses to Ofcom, whilst at the same time stating that all the claims on their website are true. Where they seem to have had a problem is that when asked to provide evidence to substantiate each of the claims and to disprove the complainant’s claims they failed to do so. I wonder why that is. For example, on their claim that Fleetcomm does not deal directly with the end user (a claim still on the website today London Radio Networks are listed as the company who dealt with the end user, a company that coincidentally have the same company address as Fleetcomm Mobile Networks. Fleetcomm Mobile Networks said London Radio Networks was a separate company, but failed to provide any evidence to disprove the claim they were owned by the same company.

Of course, at the end of the day, this is just a wrist slap. The ASA tell Fleetcomm that the claims must not appear again in their current form and to ensure they held adequate substantiation for their claims. As far as I can tell they have yet to amend their website to fully comply with the adjudication, so are still currently in breach of UK advertising regulations and the adjudication.

Local TV – a reality

It is true. It’s what we have all been waiting for since Jeremy Hunt (back when he was fucking up media in this country as opposed to healthcare) outlined his vision for US-style local TV networks. Back at 2011s Oxford Media Convension he told those amassed “For consumers what this will mean is a new channel dedicated to the provision of local news and content…one that will sit alongside other public service broadcasters, offering a new voice for local communities, with local perspectives that are directly relevant to them.”

Well, London’s channel – London Live – will go live on 31 March. Run by the Evening Standard and Independent owners Alexander Lebedev and his son Evgeny, it promises to live up to that goal …

Or does it?

Remember the whole purpose is to create a channel that is dedicated to the provision of local news and content

According to this report in The Guardian, the 24 hour channel has pledged five-and-a-half hours of news a day, as well as at least one hour of original current affairs programming. About a quarter of its output as news. Sounds ok, although, of course, if 4 hours of this in between 2am and 6am, then it becomes less impressive every quickly. So, we’ll need to know when this news will be scheduled.

What about the rest of its daily output?

“A deal with Channel 4 includes comedies Peep Show, Spaced, Smack the Pony and dramas such as White Teeth and Misfits. A deal with BBC Worldwide includes shows such as Twenty Twelve and The Shadow Line.” 

Hang on, isn’t this DAVE? That channel already exists?

These shows have been picked because London Live’s broadcasting strategy is, apparently, to acquire content set in London. That should make it unique and stand out from the crowd. I have always found a terrible lack of programming set in and around London.

There will be some original programming. ” The station is also commissioning its own programming, including a deal with Jamie Oliver’s production company, Fresh One, to make a series about passionate foodies based in London ” I wonder if Mr Oliver has inked deals with the other local TV license holders so that we can have make a series about passionate foodies based in Manchester, Southampton, Leeds etc … If he hasn’t, he may be missing a trick there.

So, in conclusion the reality of local tv will be another repeats channel with a bit of local news thrown in. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly contain my excitement.

Latest stupid gmail idea from Google

The latest weez from Google HQ is apparently a plan to let allow people to send anyone an email, even if they do not have the person’s email address, just so long as both people have a Gmail and Google Plus account [and, as i'm sure you know if you have the former you have the latter regardless of whether you use it or not]. Google’s brilliant logic behind this is that it will be useful for people who know one another but haven’t exchanged emails.

I don’t know about you, but if I want someone to have my email, I share it with them. If I don’t … guess what.

Just because i know someone doesn’t mean I want them to have my email address.

You will be able to ‘opt out’ of this bollocks. It’s a shame you couldn’t opt out of having to have a G+ account to post comments to YouTube, Google’s last cack-handed attempt to force peoploe to use G+

Google are a great company. I loved Gmail from day one. I Love YouTube. I Love Android. I love Chrome. BUT. Slowly, they are pushing me away, particularly when it come to Gmail. It has been my main personal email for what will be ten years later this year, but I am now seriously considering ditching it. This latest ‘great idea’ just makes that decision move one step closer.