I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Friday, April 26, 2013


For a few days coverage of the Marathon Bomb in Boston dominated all of our news channels almost completely. We saw hour after hour of rapidly despatched reporters bringing us all up to speed from street corners across the city. We heard all about the greatest manhunt America has seen in years in graphic, minute-by-minute detail. When I went along to Anfield on Sunday afternoon, we all added the people of Boston in with our deceased local hero, Anne Williams, in a roof lifting minute’s applause

And not one of us was in the least bit surprised. Of course we weren’t. This was without a huge news story. Massive. It would have seemed completely weird had every TV and radio station not given the whole thing wall to wall coverage.

Maybe it is worth stopping for a moment and asking ourselves why this was the case.


Is Boston close to home? Not really. It is 3200 across the grey waters of the world’s second largest ocean.

America of course was once upon a time a colony of ours until they got fed up with us and spat the dummy out. Funnily enough the place where the dummy spitting started in earnest was in fact Boston when the city hosted the world’s most historic Tea Party.

For a while, we had no truck with the jumped up aspirations for independence displayed by these uncouth and unwashed Colonials. Then of course George Washington made mugs of us all and we had to get out of Dodge quick.

Our legacy? The English language and a democracy that doesn’t work all that well any more.

Despite falling out big time in the 18th Century, we managed to bury the hatchet and kiss and make up. In the last century we established our Special Relationship. The Americans helped to finish two world wars which we started. In the first war they lost 116,000 men and in the second war they lost 418,000 men. Since then we have stood shoulder to shoulder in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan and seen off the threat of the Soviet Empire.

So we’re mates. Good mates. The old master/servant thing has been long forgotten. And when one mate suffers, the other mate is both interested and concerned. Fair enough.

Next reason.

The event was utterly, utterly horrible. Thousands of completely innocent turned out to run and watch a marathon and two misguided maniacs decided to kill as many as they could.

And did they ever.

3 dead and over 170 wounded, many of them horrendously. Obviously when something as horrible as this happens to a friend and ally, we are going to give the event wall to wall coverage.

Or do we?

3900 miles away lies another of our old colonies. Like with America, our legacy to this particular piece of our lost Empire is the English language and a democracy that doesn’t work all that well any more. They also got fed up with us and we had to get out of Dodge quick. Like the Americans, these ex subjects managed to put the bad old days behind then and come through in spades in the two world wars which we started and they helped us to finish. In the first war they lost 74,000 men and the second war they lost 116,000.

Since then, they have stood shoulder to shoulder with us in seeing off the threat of the Soviet Empire and they are our allies in the so called War on Terror.

It might come as a surprise to hear that they have also had a rough time on the terrorist front this week. Between Monday and Thursday of this week 17 bombs rocked the cities of this friend of ours leaving 29 dead and 93 severely wounded. These were also utterly horrible crimes committed by cold hearted, craven murderers.
However these events have received no media coverage whatsoever, let alone the wall to wall, minute-by-minute stuff.

So it is that suddenly things look a little less clear cut.

In one ex colony 3 are killed and 170 are injured in an appalling terrorist attack.

In another ex colony 29 are killed and 93 are injured in 17 appalling terrorist attacks.

The first incident receives wall to wall coverage and I am stone cold certain that the statistics I have quoted are correct.

The 17 incidents have received no noticeable coverage whatsoever. The stats I have quoted are a result of ten minutes of Google research which I very much doubt is comprehensive. There were probably several more bombs and deaths which would have taken rather more research to dig out.

So here’s the bottom line.

Ex Colony number one is America and the unfolding story of the Marathon Bombers felt like a real time episode of '24' or 'Homeland'. The dead people seemed to be people like us. People who had done nothing wrong only to be snuffed out by a couple of random maniacs. Getting the reporters in place was no bother. There are plenty of flights to Boston and when you arrive the city offers plenty of clean hotels with room service and great broadband connection.      

Ex Colony number two is Pakistan. We don’t tend to see prime time TV dramas about the efforts of the Pakistani authorities to overcome the wacko bad guys. I dare say that Pakistani TV has a Jack Bauer equivalent, but we never see him. There are not as many flights to Pakistan and when you get there most of the hotels are a tad rough and ready and the broadband is lousy.

More to the point, dead Pakistanis are simply not box office enough. This week’s deaths in Pakistan are nothing unusual. They are just the same as they are every week. The same will happen next week and of course we will barely report it. When a particularly large bomb rubs out an unusually high number of civilians, then we will grudgingly give it a couple of minutes on the news. How many is enough? That is hard to say. Over fifty certainly. A mere three wouldn’t cut it in a million years.

Many of the wannabe terrorists who crave the chance to bomb us are raging mad about the fact that they believe we see Muslims as being inferior. They claim that we stop at nothing to attack them, steal their stuff and keep them in their place. And we react with moral indignation to these claims. What complete and utter rot. Don’t even think of listening to the ravings of these people. They are maniacs and nutcases. We are better than that. Better than them.

I wonder at times if they maybe have a point after all.

3 dead white, western people care of a terrorist outrage warrants hundreds of hours of appalled news coverage.

29 dead brown, eastern people doesn’t even warrant a mention.

Can anyone possibly argue that this isn’t rather conclusive proof that some lives are deemed to be of more worth that others? I can’t see how they can.

1 comment:

  1. Strangely, I heard more about Pakistan than Boston (but little about either) I 'missed' the Boston event due to one of my 'I'm living real life and keeping away from the media' weekends. But in general, for news coverage, I veer away from BBC into the arms of Al Jazeera and more recently into CCTV-News (Chinese) where you do tend to find out that there is a big world which is NOT dominated by funeral costs of ex prime ministers and where our pissy little economy is in terms of recession - but in general terms you are exactly right - white western people are much more NEWSWORTHY to us it seems. Another reason for people to vote with their feet and start LOOKING for news sources rather than relying on the one we are 'fed.'