“How is he the victim in this scenario? This is a pregnant woman who had to arrange new levels of protection because of the amount of racist abuse she was receiving, which escalated when she announced that she was pregnant. She’s always had racist abuse, but when she announced her pregnancy it multiplied because there is so much toxic racism in our society. … That’s not Danny Baker’s fault but what is Danny Baker’s fault is that he did something which was so offensive that when I first saw it I actually thought it was a prank. I just thought nobody, nobody who the BBC gives a platform [sic] could be stupid enough to say this and not intend it to be racist. Because it is one of [sic] and we could talk about unintended racism or micro-aggression, this is none of those. This is the most blatant, clear cut example of racism. It is a [sic] Generations of people have recognised this as an overtly racist trope. Within people’s lifetimes, black people still being compared to monkeys and dehumanised regularly. … So, I’m not interested in him. I’m not interested in him or what happens to him. By the way, he’s already done a show which was more successful than his previous shows since he’s been sacked. So, if you are worried about his career then I suspect there is no reason to. I am not interested in him, I’m worried about the millions of black people who regularly live with this kind of abuse and then have to be in spaces like this where everybody denies it’s a problem. That is something that I could not feel more strongly about and I’m living it right now in this conversation. It’s not good enough.” Afua Hirsch
“But the gap where the economic rationale for privatising council houses should be becomes a window through which it becomes possible to see beyond the individual privatisations to the meta-privatisation, and its one indisputable success: that it put more money into the hands of a small number of the very wealthiest people, at the expense of the elderly, the sick, the jobless and the working poor.” In an article that should be regarded as compulsory reading for citizens everywhere, James Meek looks back at 35 years of privatising UK industries. www.theguardian.com
“But how do you make that defense if the rich derive much of their income not from the work they do but from the assets they own? And what if great wealth comes increasingly not from enterprise but from inheritance?” After reviewing Capital in the Twenty-First Century by french professor Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman reflects on why this particular book is reshaping the debate on wealth and inequality. www.nytimes.com
“Fifty years after one of the most extraordinary episodes of social upheaval in American history, we seem to have forgotten what activism is.” Malcolm Gladwell looks back at the beginnings of the civil-rights movement and tells why the next revolution will not be tweeted. www.newyorker.com
I was just following the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th President and listening to his Inaugural Address. It appears to me that, at long last, the United States of America have got a class act to lead them.
“Gorbachev has been a persona non grata in his own country ever since. In the West he remains a hero, a respected historical figure, a man who peacefully cut a superpower down to its true size.” Newly published minutes from meetings of the Politburo reveal what really happened behind closed doors. www.spiegel.de
“Every German schoolchild knows the tales of German atrocities. But in England, Prince Harry parties with a swastika arm band.” Matthias Matussek wonders whether the time has finally come for the British to re-evaluate their stance. www.opendemocracy.net
“The Power of Nightmares – first screened in Autumn 2004 and repeated this week on BBC2 – questions whether the threat of terrorism to the West is a politically driven fantasy and if al-Qaeda really is an organised network.” Read producer Adam Curtis’ responses to comments from viewers around the world. news.bbc.co.uk