Royal Wedding Special No 2: Tyrants on the guest list

The royal wedding is not a state occasion, or so it was claimed to justify the non-inclusion of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Perhaps that is just as well, since Westminster Abbey would have contained many more tyrants if it was. Neverthess the guest list still contains seven “royal” tyrants who are expected to attend in addition to the the Crown Prince of Bahrain whose henchmen have violently suppressed democracy protests but who has decided not to come. These are the royal representatives from the dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Swaziland, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Abu Dhabi, whose invitation has been attacked by human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell: Continue reading

Revolution and the rise of Al Jazeera

Perhaps it was unintended, but two or three weeks ago, at the height of the protests that were gripping the great cities of Egypt, the director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, appeared on the channel’s flagship current affairs programme, Newsnight, in London as part of a debate on the future of newsgathering, and mentioned the BBC and Al Jazeera in the same sentence. Continue reading