Spotlight

convincingly mundane scenes of journalists bashing phones, knocking on doors and trawling through dusty records“.

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Just was never gonna take well to a movie that presents journalists as heroes.
Journalists produce so much crap, both in print and transmission.  They’re trusted less than any profession.
And on a local level, well I’m critical, although over time I’ve come to see how they have to try to assimilate so much.
So in coming to see this movie, I was sceptical, and more sceptical than most..
It’s hard to believe that the Boston Globe had /had a dedicated team of investigative journalists.  So take time to realise that the paper is aimed at a conurbation bigger than Manchester, and not competing so much with national titles.  Current circulation of a quarter of a million, 50% more than The Guardian.
Then it’s a bit hard to credit that the problem of sexual abuse of children by priests needed investigation at all.  Indeed, the movie shows how the paper could have grabbed the scandal of the Catholic Church moving priests on, rather than seeking their conviction and trying to stop these criminal practices, much earlier than it did.  Yet, we are dealing with such scenarios now in Britain, and not just within the Catholic Church.  For so long, such things seemed unimaginable.  Now, all kinds of institutions are clear that it can happen, are investigating what did happen and are on the look out for it happening now.
Then it seems unrealistic to see the victims so effective in the way they speak about it.  Samantha Morton, the Nottingham-born actor, has given an interview that demonstrates that kind of power; others not so much (including an allegation about Kenneth Clarke MP made at a public meeting, which a court case was later to show he was not guilty).

That journalists are great investigators, that priests can get away with such things and that victims can speak with authority may seem untrue now, but the film speaks truthfully of events that only occurred 12 years old or so ago.
Spotlight” is watchable and worthy.
The kinds of stories it shows have in so many cases still to be fully unravelled.
If nothing else, let us hope that we get to the truth, and that those culpable for hurting people, who were young or vulnerable, are punished.

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Gravitational waves detected

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A useful article and video from the Guardian on a discovery which gives us our best hope of how to see into the early creation of the universe and maybe explain where it all came from and how.
Oh, and someone from Birmingham University’s School of Physics and Astronomy was part of the team that first measured gravitational waves.

Moriarty was killed

I was scathing about an idea that BBC tv’s “Sherlock” might bring back Moriarty (having killed himself in the second series), for ratings.
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Turns out these writers of drama, magic and mystery knew better all along.
“Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”, a special episode, was superb.
Or as the Guardian put it “fast, fun, flashy and fantastic”.
Praise too from the Telegraph.
Some bewilderment too as the portrayal of women, played by actors we feel we know and love, as murderers in a secret organisation set upon killing husbands who are particularly cruel to their wives, wearing purple versions of cloaks, tantours and masks that we now associate with the Ku Klux Klan.

Would acknowledge that the drama is so chocker that I needed to watch it three times to appreciate it.
But there were many great lines and great moments.
This review published on the 3rd January 2016.

Huge tax breaks for private landlords highlighted by The Guardian

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Congratulations to The Guardian for highlighting the extent of the subsidy to private landlords.
Something has to be explaining why private landlords are doing so well, cos I can’t believe it’s quality of provision or service.
I’ve done a rough calculation that suggests pro-rata the tax breaks represent £2,500,000 per year in Bridge ward alone, although it might be sensible to try to get an official estimate than the guess I’ve made with loads of assumptions.
Meanwhile, all those moans about the cost of benefits. A startling contrast.

Alan Johnson bemoans Ed Miliband on Leaders Question Time

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Well, we knew BBC tv’s Question Time for the leaders hadn’t gone very well for Ed Miliband.
Yes, he was ambushed, by people who were Conservatove activists and had probably posed as undecided voters.
But, in a way, so what? Cos an ambush can happen anywhere, anytime.
If challenged on the economy and public spending, you have got to ‘fight back’.
If a Conservative leader waves a letter around, find your own letter to wave.
Alan Johnson notably expressed his disappointment on the evening of the debate on BBC tv’s ‘This Week’.