Opinion: Brexit challenges the meaning of ‘political’ reporting

The problem isn’t just about quoting unnamed sources. It’s about what’s reported in the name of ‘politics’

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED OCTOBER 27, 2019 | UPDATED OCTOBER 29, 2019

Some hard-hitting comment has been written recently about the dangers of using of unnamed sources in reporting about Brexit. Less attention has been paid to how the main broadcasters put different aspects of Brexit into separate reporting categories — particularly “politics” — and how this affects the debate.

The two issues are linked, though. The priority given to what the “sources” say colours the meaning of “political” reporting too. Journalists compete to get the scoop instead of providing the most informative coverage. They are not the same. Continue reading “Opinion: Brexit challenges the meaning of ‘political’ reporting”

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A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text

I’d never heard of a ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit — until recently. What does it really mean? And does Brexit change it?

 

video iconAvailable as a video (4’40”) on YouTube

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED JUNE 17, 2019 | UPDATED JUNE 17

“Mr Speaker, can I welcome the Prime Minister ruling out a second referendum, and ruling out revoking article 50 and leaving a WTO — whether managed or not — deal on the table.”

— Kate Hoey MP,
House of Commons, January 21, 2019

A “WTO deal”. The phrase is spin used to camouflage the negativity of calling it “no deal”. But that’s what it is: no deal between the UK and EU.

We can question if “WTO deal” actually means anything in terms of a relationship between the UK and EU.

Usually the phrase refers to deals struck in negotiations within the WTO, as we shall see. That’s why many claim that for Brexit, it’s nonsense. A “WTO-deal” Brexit doesn’t exist.

Let’s be charitable and assume it might exist. If so, what would it mean? Not much. Continue reading “A ‘WTO-deal’ Brexit? Video and text”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 3: They ain’t seen nothing yet

A shock is in store for many who are impatient for the UK to ‘just leave’. There is more and probably worse to come.

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, MAY 1, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

This is the third of five parts on thoughts on what happened in the last couple of years and on what lies ahead. Several have been discussed before. They all contain new developments:

3. It can only get worse

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 3: They ain’t seen nothing yet”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 2: Dishonesty and trade-offs

And still they keep coming. The ‘fantasies’ about Brexit. Slogans like ‘Just leave’ are easy to say, but the trade-offs are complicated

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, APRIL 30, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

This is the second part of five on thoughts on what happened in the last couple of years and on what lies ahead. Several have been discussed before. They all contain new developments:

2. Dishonesty and a failure to recognise trade-offs

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 2: Dishonesty and trade-offs”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 1: Red Queen Theresa’s Race

Months of frantic efforts, take the UK more or less nowhere. Reflections on Brexit as Easter brings calm — but not for long

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, APRIL 29, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

Members of the British Parliament were under round-the-clock pressure. They were the target of torrents of abuse. Several received death threats — taken seriously since MP Jo Cox was murdered by a right-wing extremist during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign.

Exhausted and stressed-out, they struggled mentally and emotionally to make rational decisions as over and over they debated and voted on the same issues.

Finally, early on April 11, for a second time the EU agreed to postpone the date of the UK’s exit. It was originally March 29 under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union — which governs an EU member’s departure — two years after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered it.

The UK is now scheduled to leave the EU by October 31. Theresa May wants to do it by June 30, so that newly-elected British members of the European Parliament won’t have to take their seats. The chances of achieving that now look slim, but not completely impossible.

Then, a strange calm descended. MPs took a much-needed Easter break — this year April 19-22, and the week leading up to it.

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 1: Red Queen Theresa’s Race”