Solid-Not Slavish Relationship – Promo

produced by Lindsay Brown

Promo for the Solid-Not Slavish Relationship by LindsayBrown81

“The Solid-Not Slavish Relationship: Britain’s Media Coverage of America from September 2009 to July 2010” was produced by Lindsay Brown in part fulfillment of a Masters level dissertation for Edinburgh Napier University’s graduate program in Journalism.

Barack Obama and David Cameron renamed the relationship the “Essential Relationship” in May 2011. The original phrase the “Special Relationship” was coined shortly after World World II when Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt shared a close working relationship that ebbed and flowed throughout their tenures in power.

Audio: The Solid-Not Slavish Relationship

produced by Lindsay Brown

Solid-not slavish relationship – abridged by LindsayBrown81
“The Solid-Not Slavish Relationship: Britain’s Media Coverage of America from September 2009 to July 2010”  explores the coverage of the BP oil spill, Kraft’s acquisition of Cadbury, and the banking crisis.

Produced by Lindsay Brown in part fulfillment of a Masters level dissertation for Edinburgh Napier University’s graduate program in Journalism. This abridged version was made in August 2011 and is trimmed down to 19 minutes in duration.

Barack Obama and David Cameron renamed the relationship the “Essential Relationship” in May 2011. The original phrase the “Special Relationship” was coined shortly after World World II when Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt shared a close working relationship that ebbed and flowed throughout their tenures in power.

Audio: Media on Muslims

November 10, 2009

produced by Lindsay Brown

With so much mention of Islam in the media over the last decade, stereotypes of the religion have emerged. Some Muslims here are feeling increasingly misunderstood by their fellow citizens. A new exhibition in Edinburgh aims to tackle prejudices on Islamic culture. Local correspondent Lindsay Brown went to find out more…

MediaOnMuslims by LindsayBrown81

More BA Strikes

May 10, 2010

by Lindsay Brown

British Airways staff have announced strikes from 18-22 May, 24-28 May, 30 May-3 June and 5-9 June. The Unite Union announced this after talks with BA broke down this afternoon.

The BA website states “We are currently considering our response so we can minimise any disruption during this strike period.”

BA will update its website as more information becomes available.

During a series of strikes in March, BA trained and used roughly 1,000 temporary cabin crew workers and volunteers to resume flight schedules to their best ability. Nearly half the BA flights to and from Edinburgh airport were delayed or canceled during the March 20-22 period.

Passengers booked to fly during the strike dates are citing BA’s obligation under EU law to offer either a refund or a reroute, but the airline could avoid paying refunds for the reason that the strike is “beyond its reasonable control”.

During the strikes in March, BA offered passengers the option to change the booking to any other time within the next year.

Travel insurance policies bought before the strike announcement should operate according to their regular terms and conditions.

Edinburgh South: the Curveball Count

May 7, 2010
by Lindsay Brown  
For the first two hours of the morning, Liberal Democrat supporters at the Meadowbank Sports Centre were unable to contain smiles and beaming eyes. The results of the first and second counts added a certain graceful confidence to candidate Fred MacKintosh’s manner. He was photographed heavily after a quiet interview with a reporter at 2 AM. Yet down the corridor, a final box of postal votes had just trailed in- hours after the other 99 ballot boxes arrived.
On Election Day, the Edinburgh Council posted a statement by Returning Officer Tom Aitchison in which he explained the rules of the count and the likelihood of postal votes slowing the counting process. He stated “It is likely that each constituency will not receive this final box of votes until after all the contents of other boxes have been verified against ballot paper accounts. This means that the first count can not (sic) be completed until these papers been (sic) received and verified.”

However, during the course of the evening, Aitchison broke this rule because the first count had been completed and the second count was almost finished before the final box of votes arrived. The results of the 99 boxes showed MacKintosh won by a slim but sure margin- according to confident counting agents fifteen minutes past midnight.

The Council’s tweets show that at 23.41, 99 boxes had arrived. Another tweet at 23.43 noted 100 boxes were expected. Despite no sign of the last box, the second count was already started by 00.30. Finally, at 1.20, Meadowbank was notified that the 100th box was on its way. It arrived at 1.49.

With Murray to his right, Mackintosh at podium: "Ian hasn't put out anything in the last few weeks that says what Labour would do. He has frightened people about the council and about the government."/Photo by Lindsay Brown

The box contained postal votes that were handed in at polling stations up until 22.00 on Election Day. The reason the last box was delayed was to ensure that personal identifiers were successfully checked using computer technology at Waverly Court, according to Council Communications Officer Noel Miller.

Aitchison’s statement on the Council’s blog demonstrates to voters that a plan was in place to ensure the count remained untainted by postal vote fraud, which was a growing concern amidst the public. On May 4, the Daily Mail’s front page story on postal vote fraud specifically mentioned Edinburgh South’s increase in postal voter registration. Also on May 4, at the Edinburgh Sikh Community annual meeting, concerned members debated the ethics and legality of registering friends and family for postal voting using their properties as home addresses, according to an inside source.

Within the half  hour after the final postal ballot box arrived just before 2 AM, the demeanours of MacKintosh and Labour candidate Ian Murray changed. MacKintosh’s hands were on his hips as he paced from counting table to officers. He reprimanded a journalist who may have had his audio recorder on, “You cannot record this.” Meanwhile, Murray came alive with smiles. Then he would furrow his brows and nod as he scrutinised ballot papers on the table.

The adjudication of votes started at 2.23. Count staff and the candidates rejected 78 oddly-marked ballot papers.

At 3.15, a counting agent received figures showing Labour then had 15,220 votes, Liberal Democrats had 14,848, and Conservatives had 9,500. The difference between Labour and Liberal Democrats was 372. Council rules dictate that if results yield a difference of less than 400 votes, a recount is allowed. MacKintosh requested one and was granted a partial recount, which was a check of the sorting of bundles at 3.53. Its outcome almost one hour later narrowed the gap to 316 votes. Aitchison denied him a second recount, partial or full.

At 4.45 cheers erupted from Labour supporters. Minutes later, results were declared from the stage. The winner was Murray, who received 15,215 votes, a 34.7% share of the votes. Second was MacKintosh, with 14,899 votes, a 34% share of the votes. Conservative Neil Hudson received 21.6%, and the Scottish National Party’s Sandy Howat earned a 7.7% share of the votes.

Edinburgh South had the narrowest margin outcome of all constituencies in Scotland.

Murray was caught off guard by his victory and told the crowd “I haven’t got anything prepared because I didn’t expect to be standing here.”

Justice from Crisis: Paisley Meeting Calls for Climate Change


October 23, 2009

by Lindsay Brown

Green-minded charities and politicians across the country are revving for December’s Klimaforum ’09, the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

It was also the topic that Douglas Alexander, MP and Secretary of State for International Development, emphatically addressed in today’s Justice from Crisis meeting in Paisley, organised by Oxfam Scotland and SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund.


Ice melting in Paradise Bay, Antarctica/Photo by Lindsay Brown
Ice melting in Paradise Bay, Antarctica/Photo by Lindsay Brown

“Carbons emissions is a global crisis,“ he said, “and Britain is the only country that put a number on the table months ahead of Copenhagen.”

Alexander will attend the summit meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. A key point they want to hammer into the deal at Copenhagen is carbon emissions reduction, actually setting goals for beyond 2050.

“Can we convince any countries that we’ve been close with to have any number at all?” Alexander said while describing Britain’s summit goals in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. “If you take a country like the US, we’ve just lost 10 years with an administration that didn’t even accept the concept of the carbon emissions crisis.”

 Today he displayed optimism about the upcoming role of the United States.  “I struggle to see how we will not reach an agreement with the democrats being the majority in Congress.”

Copenhagen officials will discuss the creation of a successor climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol which was enacted on 16 February 2005 by 184 parties of the UN Climate Convention, but not the US.

Also on the platform at today’s meeting were Judith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland, Malcolm Fleming, the SNP candidate for Glasgow South MP, and Stephen Boyd, the Assistant Secretary at the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

Robertson’s experiences through Oxfam reinforce the platform’s message that climate control is crucial. “Oxfam works with populations dealing with severe droughts and flooding.  If we [the UK] stick to our 2050 goals, we will have lifted millions of people out of debt, most of them women,” she said.

Discussion after the Justice from Crisis meeting in Paisley/Photo by Lindsay Brown
Discussion after the Justice from Crisis meeting in Paisley/Photo by Lindsay Brown

Britain’s G20 goals for 2050 include an 80% emissions reduction target, a figure agreed upon by the other G8 industrialized nations in this past July’s Copenhagen environmental summit.

Robertson discussed the need for global accountability on climate control and the dichotomy between wealthy nations and poorer ones. “On the rich countries of the North rests the responsibility. The devastating effects rest on the poorer countries of the South.”

Robertson mentioned concern about the role played by the range of countries that lie in between.

“We’re not seeing developing countries working toward carbon reduction because they simply don’t have the resources.”

India and China are among these developing and threshold nations, known as the “Group of 77.”

Alexander said, “The US set in India’s psyche ‘it’s okay to wait, a better deal is down the road,’ but it’s not.”

Stephen Boyd of STUC talked about how joblessness affects the climate crisis.

“Climate change is a sign of the biggest market failure. We talk about creating green jobs, we’ve got to talk about creating all jobs.”

Alexander commented on this dilemma. “Forty-one thousand jobs were lost in Scotland in the past year. Politicians need to ask themselves, ‘How do I deliver gross domestic product growth for my local population and do it at a low price?’ The challenge is in balancing economic crises with climate ones.”

Green Jobs to Spring in Scotland

February 26, 2010
by Lindsay Brown
In 2009 thousands of jobs ceased to exist in Scotland. Increased unemployment is trouble for any society, but where one door closes, another opens. Scotland is one place on the globe that is atypically packed with a combination of ecological resources which can, and in fact, will engender a compelling renewable energy industry. Policy-makers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are already striding forward to gracefully harness the country’s mighty natural resources, including her wind and waves.

Photo courtesy of REUK Photo courtesy of REUK

Solar and geothermal forces will also be used to generate economic and environmental benefits for the people of Scotland and for entrepreneurs around the globe, as the shortage of energy is a worldwide dilemma. The ebb and flow of the North Sea tide is just one type of power found off the coast of the Orkney Islands. Scotland has 25% of the estimated total capacity of tidal power in all of the European Union.
 “Last year Scotland passed a Climate Change Act which has been lauded around the world as being one of the most progressive pieces of legislation in connection with climate change,“ says Shirley-Anne Somerville, a Member of the Scottish Parliament’s Climate Change Committee.

In correlation with the Climate Change Act, the Economic Recovery Programme strives to create jobs and save households and businesses money all the while remaining green-minded. Up to 16,000 energy-related jobs may be created over the next ten years.

Bringing it home

The people of Edinburgh will not have to travel far to encounter the facilities which will harness natural energy.

To synchronize with upcoming Scottish and European legislation, the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian councils have established the Zero Waste project, which aims to decrease household waste. This spring, it began to look at private contractors’ proposals to build a regenerative waste treatment facility in Midlothian.

“The plant’s construction will start no sooner than 2015, yet it is estimated that 300 jobs in construction will be created at that time, and then an estimated 40 long-term operational jobs will follow,” says Kelly Murphy, the Communications Manager for the project.

In January, the Crown Estate granted rights to SeaGreen Wind Energy, a consortium made up by the companies Airtricity and Fluor, to construct nearly 1000 wind turbines in Moray Firth and the Firth of Forth, off the coast of Fife. The project will create up to 4.7 gigawatts of power, and could create roughly 2000 green jobs in Fife alone by 2020.

From greasy to squeaky clean
A similarly-named company, SeaEnergy Renewables, is expected to partake in the building of a windfarm on the Moray Firth site. The company is a subsidiary of SeaEnergy PLC, which is based in Aberdeen. Formally known as Ramco Energy PLS, the company decided to shift its investments away from oil and gas in order to focus solely on the offshore wind business.

Aberdeen has been nicknamed the ‘energy capital of Europe.’ With a population of roughly 210,000, it has been a central hub for oil exploration and production companies such as Shell, ExxonMobile, Total and British Gas. Until recently, it enjoyed a very strong economy. The non-government organisation, Transform Scotland, warns that world oil supply is nearing its peak, and that after the peak, oil will no longer be reliable as a source of energy. The group continues to urge the Scottish and UK governments to set up greater measures to reduce dependence on oil-fuelled modes of transport.

Calum Cashley, a Parliamentary researcher, explains Scotland’s involvement: “We’re looking at how we develop green alternatives to our oil industry. One of the initiatives that Scotland brought forward is the Saltire prize, which is a 10 million pound prize, to anyone who can bring the best renewable project to the market.”

Aberdeen’s newly-named SeaEnergy PLC is a company ahead of the curve in transitioning to renewable energy. The oil and gas industries have taken on a bad rap over the years. Environmental and wildlife activists have admonished them for their role in damaging the North Sea over the course of nearly 50 years of oil exploitation. Everyday operations have included setting off underwater explosions, dumping drill cuttings onto the sea bed, submerging chemical-coated rigs and pipelines into the sea, and flaring noise and light pollution into wildlife habitats. These offenses are in addition to the occasional accidental catastrophe which claimed human lives, as well.

Holyrood set a pioneering national goal to obtain 31% of its power from renewable resources by 2011. By 2020, Scotland will aim to tap 50% of its gross electricity from green energy. In comparison, the UK as a whole has set their 2020 goal at just 15%.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger said that Scotland is encouraging other nations to step up to the plate,” boasts Cashley.

On Facebook this past winter, a group called “Put a windfarm in my backyard if you like, because I’m not an idiot” grew to almost 40,000 members by February. The group’s description includes a reproach to people who object to the sight of windfarms. It wryly remarks, “Oh no, we don’t want those turbines out there, they make a slight swishing noise which disrupts the sound of the main road and ruins the view of the landfill site.” The emergence of green industries has succeeded in gathering immense public support. Politicians are on board with the people, too, as the Climate Change Act of 2009 was passed unanimously. Clean energy is proving to be an attractive, unifying force for Scotland and beyond.

Magazine feature for Buzz

Points-Based Visa System: UK’s Fortress

October 21, 2009

by Lindsay Brown

The United Kingdom’s points-based system is a strict visa process which potential migrants must navigate to live, study, or work in the UK. The elaborate bureaucratic system was enacted February 28, 2008 in order to allow Border Agency officials to select and monitor foreigners who have entered the country.

Under the PBS only the most qualified skilled workers may enter.

Ian Paul, 37, an American who attended Edinburgh College of Art less than ten years ago and worked construction in England, was not able to navigate the PBS this summer.

“I got to the part where they wouldn’t let Americans work unless they proved they couldn’t hire anyone there first,” he said. Potential sponsors of migrant workers must first advertise in three places for local residents before venturing to pay the application fee and proceed to further steps to gain a certificate of sponsorship from the Border Agency.

“I knew bar managers who said they would hire me, but after I asked for them to officially sponsor me, none of them were willing to put in that much time, money, and effort to go through with it.”

When asked why he wanted to come to the UK, he said “I like the UK. It’s a great country. I’ve always been fond of it.”

The PBS ensures that only the most dedicated, organised students may enter.

Canadian/American/Israeli citizen Talia Lapid, 20, witnessed her classmates at New Mexico State University get rejected for student clearance.

“They couldn’t get their transcripts in time so soon after graduation.”

“In addition to the standard £145 student application fee, I paid a professional company $200 to have my paperwork expedited.” Lapid’s application was accepted.

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