Old white man guilty on three of four counts

I have been accused of being a “bullying, old, white man”. I emphatically deny the first but plead guilty to the remaining three charges as the truth stares back at me from the mirror.

The charges were laid when I called for less rigid interpretation of the rules I had helped to write for a social media page. No, you didn’t misread that: I called for a relaxation of moderation, not a tightening.

The accusation of bullying therefore left me confused but then a light went on in my head.

Of course! Bullying is when you say something with which someone else disagrees. Continue reading “Old white man guilty on three of four counts”

Media should be careful where they tread in 2022

An iconic photograph of Diana Princess of Wales came to mind as I contemplated the year ahead. It shows her on a dusty Angolan track, dressed in blast vest and visor, flanked by signs with skull-and-crossbones and a stark warning. I recalled the image because media this year will need to be very careful where they tread.

Care, of course, comes with the territory but the figurative landmines that media could face this year go beyond the usual hazards. Some will be sown by the Covid pandemic while others will take advantage of the frayed tempers that result of seemingly endless restrictions. Some will be planted by groups marching to the drumbeat of polarised opinion while others will result from the mistaken placement of measures to protect New Zealanders. And a few will be ‘own goals’, where the media step backwards onto their own devices. Continue reading “Media should be careful where they tread in 2022”

Time we woke up about Cancel Culture


For a moment I thought Enid Blyton was about to suffer the same fate as Dr Seuss.

The Daily Express headline screamed at me: Five get cancelled! Enid Blyton’s work ‘racist and xenophobic’ The Daily Mail fumed: Enid Blyton fans slam English Heritage ‘insulting’ re-appraisal of children’s author’s work as “racist and xenophobic”. Then Piers Morgan waded in: “Leave Enid Blyton alone, you woke w*****s”.

Oh dear, I thought, the Famous Five were headed for the same oblivion as I Ran the Zoo and five other titles Dr Seuss Enterprises will no longer publish because they contain racist images. Continue reading “Time we woke up about Cancel Culture”