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Showing posts from March, 2010

Selling off the family silver

Global Auction of Public Assets
Dexter Whitfield

Dexter Whitfield is Director of the European Services Strategy Unit as well as being attached to the University of Adelaide in Australia. He has written widely on the privatisation of public services in the UK and undertaken commissioned work for trade unions fighting privatisation in a number of local authorities, including the London borough of Barnet, where the Tories are piloting ‘shrinking the council’. His new book is the first critical analysis of Public Private Partnerships across the world.

It is an impressive study which demonstrates the extent to which the selling off of public infrastructure has become common practice. The study includes the US, France, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Russia, Australia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa as well as the UK.

Whitfield derives from this comprehensive survey a strong critique of privatisation. He demonstrates that Public Private Partnerships (PPPS) are not an alternative to public inve…

Trevor Griffiths, Bill Brand And Political Television Drama

The Genesis of Bill Brand.

“The political mini-series is by no means foreign to television as examples such as Washington Behind Closed Doors (1977), Blind Ambition (1979), The West Wing (1999-2006), and the 1975 Granada TV British television series The Nearly Man (featuring Tony Britton as a right-wing Labour MP) all show. But rather than interrogating political elements influencing individual lives they often focus upon personal melodramatic issues. In this way they fall within familiar conventions of the type of television drama that Griffiths sought both to utilize and subvert. Personal relationships do occupy key levels of Bill Brand but they are never divorced from the historical and political context of a society that attempts to control individual lives and from which some form of different alternative direction is needed. Since Griffiths has spoken of the significant “detail of the lives of the characters” in this series, it is important to analyze how each episode functions a…