Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (28)
By Kathy Martin…
Written August 2014
Another news item that caught my eye was the one about the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Television being investigated for over-paying its “star presenters”.
Should any readers wonder why anyone should be concerned at how much a commercial organisation pays its staff, the BBC is not a commercial organisation. Since 1st June 1946 everyone in the UK (with a very few exceptions) who have a television set (and recently a computer, laptop, i-pad or mobile phone etc) capable of receiving television broadcasts are required to pay for a BBC television licence!
When the independent (commercial) TV companies started broadcasting from September 1955, horrified that the BBC would lose some of its income, the BBC executives were thrown into a panic and lobbied their friends in government.
Fortunately for the BBC (but unfortunately for the ITV viewers) the act stated “anyone owning a television set….”
Therefore, even though they couldn’t receive any BBC programmes (which were transmitted to an “H” aerial), on their “ITV wiggly line” aerials, ITV viewers still had to pay for a BBC television licence!
Sorry, I digressed! The BBC is going to pay someone, co-incidentally the BBC’s head of strategy between 1989 and 1995, a figure in excess of £100,000 of licence payer’s money to say that the BBC doesn’t waste licence fee payers money!
In another co-incidence, the same person (Mark Oliver) was similarly tasked in 2008. His conclusion then was that there was “no evidence” that licence payers money was being wasted by the BBC! Perhaps he is searching his archives for the same script?
However and here is the main point of this part of my rambles, if the enquiry is actually to be unbiased, as it is in the public interests, why has the BBC been allowed to select the investigator and judge?
Under these circumstances no organisation or individual would select an investigator and judge that would probably, or even just possibly, find it guilty!
Its whitewash time (again) in the “old boy” clique!
The Greek-Cypriots claim that “Nicosia” is the “last divided capital in the world”!
I hate to rain on their strawberry patch (well, I love to really!), Nicosia is a capital city, but it is a capital, it is not divided!
Nicosia is (completely) the only seat of government and administrative centre of South Cyprus, the Greek-Cypriot country called the Republic of Cyprus, which is responsible for affairs only in that country.
To the north of the “Green Line”, which is an internationally recognised border between two different countries, is the capital city of Lefkoşa.
This is the seat of government and administrative centre of Kibris, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and is responsible for the affairs only in that country!
Therefore, although there is only one urban, commercial, residential and administrative sprawl, it is, in fact, “divided”. It is divided into two separate capital cities, each with their own country to administer.
I presume that the penultimate “divided” capital that the Greek Cypriots allude to was Berlin, the “divided” capital of Germany, between 1945 and the fall of the “Berlin Wall” in 1989.
Everyone knows the story, after the end of the Second World War, peace and harmony reigned, birds sang in trees and the sun shone, even at night!
That is, until the Russians got the sulks and became “baddies”!
In the words of Winston Churchill, on 5th May 1946, “an iron curtain has descended across Europe between Stettin on the Baltic and Trieste on the Adriatic”.
It is somewhat interesting that Winston Churchill should make this statement in 1946, after all, it was he, at the Yalta conference a couple of years earlier, (and against the advice of the American President Roosevelt) who had colluded with Stalin as to where the post-war Russian/pro- communist borders would be! Perhaps he had, yet again, been a bit heavy handed with his private and personal stock of brandy?
In fact, it wasn’t until 6 years later, in 1952, that the comparatively free flow of immigrants/emigrants and commercial goods between East and West Europe started to become strictly controlled and restricted. In fact, the infamous “Berlin Wall” wasn’t built until 13th August 1961. 15, yes, 15 years after Churchill’s speech!!
Mention of the Berlin Wall brings me neatly back to the point of this ramble.
At the end of the Second World War, while it remained politically as one country, Germany was divided into four sectors, each of which were “policed” by the four major allies, America, Britain, France and Russia (in strict alphabetical order).
Although deep within the Russian sector, Berlin (also divided into four sectors) was declared to be the capital city of Germany and the seat of parliament. Admittedly, the parliamentarians couldn’t sneeze without first obtaining permission from the occupying powers in Berlin (America, Britain, France and Russia); each country controlling a sector of Berlin, but there was only one parliament and one Germany!
However, in 1948, Joseph Stalin; the Russian leader, was determined that the population of West Berlin realized that they should be dependent on the generosity and munificence of Soviet Russia.
In an attempt to expel the other “occupying powers” from Berlin, he closed surface transportation routes on the American, British and French “corridors” through the eastern part of Germany.
However, Stalin didn’t reckon on the fact that with the war only fairly recently over, the “West” had literally hundreds of aircrew and aircraft who were still unemployed!
Men and machinery were pressed into service and, between 24th June 1948 and 12th May 1949, aircraft growled, almost nose to tail, along the air corridors, bringing food, fuel and any other essentials to the West Berliners.
Despite (or possibly because of) the success of the Berlin airlift, the western powers and the Soviet Bloc realised that the “status quo” wasn’t working, and Germany needed to be divided into “East” and “West” countries and administrative areas.
Therefore, on 23rd May 1949, nine days after the end of the airlift, the West German government set itself up in Bonn, declaring that Bonn was the West German capital.
It was the East German parliament, who set itself up in Berlin, declaring that Berlin was the capital of East Germany! The West Germans maintained a token political office in (West) Berlin, but despite the western propaganda, although it had been a divided city, Berlin was never a divided capital!
As a matter of interest, East and West Germany were unified on 3rd October 1990, and an attempt was made to return the “united” German parliament to Berlin.
However, on 20th June 1991, parliament voted to return to Bonn! Berlin didn’t regain “capital” status until 1999; ten years after the Berlin Wall came down!
While on the subject of “divided” cities and capitals, most cities in the world are, technically, using the definition of divided in its purist sense, in fact “divided”!
- Istanbul is divided by the Bosporus
- England’s capital, London is divided by the Thames!
- The only city that I know of that “bucked the trend” is the capital city of Hungary. In 1873 the two towns, Buda, on the hilly bank of the Danube, and Pest, on the low-lying opposite bank joined to become Budapest
Many years ago, when I was a stripling youth, one of the major themes of Hollywood films shown on the Saturday matinee performance at the local cinema was that of the “gangster movie”. With hindsight and politically correct spectacles, these films were immoral, as they glamorised the criminal and murderous lifestyles of real-life American bank robbers in the 1930’s such as Bonnie and Clyde, “Baby-face” Nelson etc.
However, it was a politically incorrect era, as in the “cowboy” films, (the other major Hollywood theme for Saturday matinee viewing) “Native Americans” were known as “Injuns” (Indians) or Redskins!
But I digress, we, living in Kibris (TRNC), have been able to enjoy a lifestyle in a comparatively crime-free environment, despite the military and political turmoil in a number of the countries that make up our neighbourhood in this corner of the Mediterranean.