That Was The Week That Was
In terms of national and international news, this week’s been relatively quiet. Eric Joyce – the disgraced MP, who last month head-butted two Tory rivals in a Parliament brawl – resigned from the Labour Party on Monday, apologising "without reservation". Rebekah Brooks and her husband were arrested on Tuesday by police investigating phone hacking. On Wednesday, the UK jobless total reached a new record for seventeen years, and 2.8 million are now recognised as unemployed. Thursday saw Ashraf Rossli, 21, and John Kafunda, 22, dubbed the "Good Samaritan thugs" by the papers, sentenced for the crimes they committed during the London riots in the summer. And on Friday, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced his resignation, to the disappointment of thousands of Church of England members and millions of Anglicans worldwide.
None of these stories will be remembered by the wider world in months to come: they’re not Earth-shattering. But, naturally, for those involved with them, the outgoing week will be remembered for the rest of their lives. One story which will be remembered for a long time by many is of the horrific Swiss bus crash, in which 22 children and six adults were killed, after a coach carrying Belgian students returning from a ski trip crashed into a wall of a tunnel. There’s a couple of things that are stuck in my memory: a quote from the BBC journalist who reported for the evening bulletins ("For the child survivors who’d escaped the bus, there was no screaming, no shouting, just children numb with fear.") and the sight of the destroyed bus. The cause of the crash will probably never be known, but it’s now thought that the driver was trying to change a DVD in the on-board entertainment system just before the crash.
Much, much closer to home, though, the biggest story of the past few days is the announcement of plans to relocate Furze Platt Senior School to Spencer’s Farm. I’ve written my full thoughts in a separate blog post but in short I think they’re ill-considered. It’s an attractive deal, no doubt, for both the school and the council (not to mention the developer), but I can’t see how children from a planned 700 new ‘family homes’ can possibly fit into one new school, if they’re to demolish the current Furze Platt Road site. Developments in this story are bound to appear on this site, as and when they happen.
That Was The Week That Was
This week being the beginning of Lent, events I’ve attended at church have included Shrove Tuesday’s Pancake Party in the Church Hall and this (Sunday) afternoon’s Lent Lunch in the Parish Centre. With my Grade Five Music Theory exam and Maths GCSE retakes next Thursday, Friday, and a week on Monday, I’ve spent much of the weekend in my ‘learning den’ (aka my bedroom) completing past papers and catching up on other work. But I did manage a bike ride to the river with my mum yesterday (Saturday), a few hours of reading the weekend papers, and have just enjoyed a roast dinner with former St Luke’s vicar Richard Holroyd – in Maidenhead to sing at a concert at Norden Farm, which Mum, Dad, Matthew, and a large number of the St Luke’s congregation attended.
Normally, this introductory piece to the Review also includes a summary of the week’s bigger headlines. We’re in the strange position this week, though, where in addition to the continuing investigations into phone-hacking and bad press behaviour, Rupert Murdoch has launched a new paper to replace the News Of The World that he and his son killed off last year – and that new newspaper has become news in itself. It’s called The Sun On Sunday (advertised by a frankly brilliant campaign yesterday centred around the song from Annie, Tomorrow, which of course includes the line: ‘The sun’ll come out tomorrow’. The print-run for this first edition: 3 million. The price: 50p. As the BBC’s Nick Higham commented, it looks and feels like The Sun, and features a front-page splash (an exclusive interview with Amanda Holden) continued onto four pages inside.
Regardless of whether you do or don’t like Murdoch’s media control, one must commend his journalists. They’ve clearly worked hard – amid an uneasy, to say the least, environment with the recent arrests and challenging Leveson Inquiry backdrop – to get this paper out. Remember, very, very few of those still in Wapping were there during the old Sunday paper’s dodgiest days – the majority are innocent journalists, living under the shadow of those who sat at their desks before them. And yet, in spite of all this, the true hero of journalism, who’ll be remembered longer than almost all Sun hacks, is Marie Colvin (a writer for News International’s other Sunday publication The Sunday Times). She died this week after the makeshift media centre she and her colleagues were working in was, by designed attack or pure chance, bombed by Syrian forces. Fellow journalists have been paying tribute to her since Wednesday – including, rather bizarrely, Katie Price, in the first of her columns for the The Sun on Sunday.