We began our journey through last nights news at the BBC News at ten; the leading feature being the flood chaos in England. We were told that a month's rainfall fell in a matter of hours and that roads turned into rivers. We saw various images of torrential rivers and flooding to illustrate the seriousness of the problem.
"England - underwater", we went to Leeds where we saw flooded houses, people interviewed, a flooded basement garage and were told two of the partly submerged cars we could see were a Jaguar and an Aston martin. Why did they decide to feature these two cars. Is the Jaguar still fresh in our minds after it's recent offloading by Ford. Do they maybe represent Britain in a symbolic manner, like the red double decker bus. Britain is sinking ?
From there, we saw images of cattle, wading through flooded fields. This imagery is used in several features, migrants, Africa etc. Over to Sheffield where staff from an office block have had to be airlifted by helicopter due to flooding. We saw images of people being winched up. Then, Tenbury Wells, where we saw a bridge, the water running extremely high, almost to the top of the arches. The reporter indicated a water level gauge and told us that "all over England, people are watching the water rising."
Alan Johnston and Gaza next. A video has been posted on the internet which shows Mr Johnston asking that no rescue attempt is attempted as, if it is, he will be blown up. To verify this, he wore what appeared to be belt of explosives round his waist. The BBC showed the video along with some images of Hamas supporters celebrating in the streets and then some burning buildings. We finished by recalling the balloon release of last week, marking 100 days in captivity.
The Commons - Have we "sold out to Europe" or is this "the best deal for Britain." "Is it a simple treaty?" These appeared to be the questions being asked yesterday and as such we saw a "heated debate" between Tony Blair and David Cameron in front of a half empty commons. Reference was made to the forthcoming appointment of Gordon as PM and the camera cut to him. How chuffed can a man look. Anyway, Cameron wants a referendum over this entire issue. Tony however, does not feel that is warranted. We were told that "Britain is giving up its rights to veto" but this would result in some positives. The example given was a "swifter delivery of emergency aid in a humanitarian crisis." No evidence or tangible example was provided for this however, and it was left to our imaginations.
Just in time for holiday season, the BBC decided to show a feature on an investigation that they have made regarding airline pilots in Birmingham being too "fatigued" to fly properly. We saw a blacked out pilot called Andy telling us of some potential horror stories. We a simulation of one such incident where a lever marked flaps was pushed up. A voice shouted out "Oh, youve raised the flaps instead" . It should have been the wheels lever that was pushed up apparently. 32 pilots say that they have flown whilst fatigued, no figure was given as to how many were asked in total. Furthermore - "air travel is expanding fast" and pilots "barely have a chance to leave the cockpit" between flights. One captain said his co-piot fell asleep but he didnt report it as it was gross misconduct. So is not reporting it, surely ?
Social mobility, the ability to rise from one social class to another. Children born in the 70's have less chance of escaping poverty than those born in the 50's we were advised. We saw black and white photographic images of adorable children and babies from both generations. A bar graph using various countries flags was shown. The UK had the smallest bar flag, a tiny Union Jack, dwarfed by the others. We are the "worst in the world" at this mobility caper and this could be blamed on our education system. Apparently, "private school" gives an advantage plus the "well off get their children into good state schools". We saw the Harry Enfield character, Tim Nice but Dim and were told that his "well paid job in the city" should go to somebody more capable.
Things wont get any better though because "there is an outcry from the privileged if something is done for the non-privileged" and there is a "sizeable gap between intentions and outcomes". I dont know what the point of this report is other than to create a division. What social class is what. Is our class only based on money and not behaviour to others ? Thats what this suggests and its one of the major problems with our society. This feature just perpetuates this order of things which is fundamentally, insane.
Hamas again, another short story.
Then another special, Nick Robinson chatting to Gordon Brown in Kirkcaldy, where Brown spent his schooldays. We were told of Brown's strong religious upbringing, his father was a Minister. Not prime though. The cameras got into the church and so we got the usual stained glass window images; one in particular which the camera lingered on; declared - God is Light. This was set within an almost sun shaped symbol in pale yellow glass. We strolled round the manse and church with Gordon and Nick, where we were advised by Nick that "Gordon Brown does do God" and that Gordon does not think that people want to be lectured.
Nick gave us a run down of Gordons boyhood, being the son of a preacher, he had to be pretty well behaved and we saw some black and white photographic images of Gordon, as a child, back in the 50's. Gordon produced a magazine and sold it, giving the money to African orphans. Often, when younger, the doorbell would ring and the door be opened by one of the Browns, revealing beggars, begging. One wonders if perhaps a secret mark was placed on the door in the manner of Gandalf and Bilbo ?
In Kirkcaldy, Brown would be known as thrawn, a colloquialism, meaning stubborn. At school, "it was not just the sportsfield he excelled on" and he was moved up two years, meaning he attended University at the tender age of 16. At some point he received a severe sporting injury and chose politics instead for a career. He became rector of Edinburgh University. What concerned him was the way his classmates "fell away" during their education. Obviously they had no aspirations for social class climbing then. Strangely, for a man who does not believe that people want to be lectured, he yearns for a return to the values of a century ago.
I will write ITN up shortly, did Billy Connolly not do a joke about Kirkcaldy ?