We started off on the BBC News at 10 with the release of their reporter, Alan Johnston, who had been held hostage for 114 days. Obviously, the BBC are chuffed about this and so we heard of the negotiations etc., etc., etc., and then the final release. We saw images of AJ and were told that he had advised "the last few weeks have been the worst of my life". However, we were told that when Alan was released he was "almost apologetic". Our reporter however considered him "a superman", this was based on the fact that he had spent "114 days in captivity".
We were told how he kept sane by listening to BBC radio and how he was knocked about a wee bit, just before his release. A congregation of his work collegues were shown, standing in a car park I think, all clapping and cheering, to celebrate his release. Images of his parents in an up market bar were also shown, obviously they too are very pleased, although they show considerable dignity in their behaviour - which is to be commended. Our reporter however considered this dignity to be down to the fact "the news has not really sunk in yet" so "they will probably properly celebrate tomorrow."
The BBC advised that there had been "pressure on the kidnappers from a global alliance" which was comprised of clergymen, medics and the like and this was apparently a significant factor in his release. We were told of Hamas, the Dogmooshes (phonetic spelling) and a "glimmer of hope."
It appears to me overall that Mr Johnston is a decent and humble man who probably does not wish all the attention. As far as I can ascertain, he was the last western reporter who actually lived in Gaza and I feel that he thought he was doing a good thing for humanity in his reports given that they appeared to show some of the true suffering of this, or any, "war".
Yet the BBC and all most journalists seem to see the release of Mr Johnston as some sort of victory. I think Mr Johnston, like myself, would rather we were celebrating the end of war full stop, throughout our world. What has actually happened is that the story of AJ and the vigils etc. has become the news, in a simliar manner to that of the McCann's and Madeleine. The ongoing human suffering in the rest of the conflict appears to have been forgotten.
Next was a worrying feature. Old Nick Robinson, the chief political editor was discussing the NHS - "a funny place" - and the dilemma that our politicians face in the terror attacks. The NHS appears to now be considered a recruiting ground for al-Quaeda and so Nick told us that this is somehow leading to debates over identity cards etc. As newspaceman pointed out yesterday, if, for example, the M6 suspect Dr. Asher, has had his identity stolen and utilised by "terrorists", then this will create further pressure for identification cards, especially given the media attention on his home, work and even family.
Two other issues strike me on this point. The first is that most Asians look the same to white people. I confess that this theory is based entirely on my own experience of seeing few Asians except in the shops they own and on the news; where they normally are burning effigies . This is especially true of bearded asians. The second is that any fool could comandeer a vehicle, some gas bottles, a canister of 4 star, a few empty juice bottles and some old rags - then head to the airport or train station. It doesnt take too much planning and one wonders if this type of attack is taught at "terrorist training camp, high in the hills".
Coming up - Trading in bones
First, Hull which has suffered badly from flooding. We saw a lady with a four year old house and four month old kitchen. She obviously did'nt have any adorable four year old children or we would have got to see them as well. Her kitchen is ruined though and the lady was quite angry about matters, overall. We cut to another flood damaged property which our reporter looked around and then commented "looks like it's been ransacked"
Concerns over looting was the next sub-topic. We were told that people who were insured and were throwing out their old appliances - tv, washing machine etc., were being told by their insurance companies to "destroy them further to deter the thieves." To me then, it looks like the "thieves" are only taking items which are skipped and headed for landfill. Is this not a good green thing. Furthermore, some of these bits and pieces may be extremely desirable in the construction process of a Brazilian style, shanty-town shack as discussed last week.
Cameron next in the Commons, the tories are talking of a broken Britain, social breakdown and poverty. There was talk of a battleground, in what respect I am not sure.
The housing market next - flats are apparently not so hot any more. Some of them are "loosing value" as demand is falling. Is this not strange, surely in a land of rising water, the top floor dweller is King ?
To finish we had the promised feature on trading in bones. I would have loved to have seen a covert camera film of two dogs meeting and swapping say a string of sausages for a sheep's shin bone, but it was not to be. Instead we featured a remote island and were asked to consider "Is this really poverty" as the locals displayed piles of pigs tusks, their form of money.
I am sorry the coverage of the last couple of features is so shallow, I had a mini-crisis in the kitchen during the news and could only catch snatches.