BBC Charter Review

The BBC is getting its Royal Charter renewed in 2006. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are now conducting a public consultation on the new charter. If you care about the BBC and its independence and unique qualities, then I urge you to go look and send in your opinions on how you think the BBC is run – this is especially important post-Hutton – if you haven’t time to plough through the (lengthy) consultation document then at least try to answer the short questions page, or just email (they request that emails be in an ‘electronic format’, which forced me to change my plans, as I was going to write it on papyrus and email that as an attachment…)

(Found via

Enemy Property

Been trying to demolish the vast pile of pamphlets, magazines and newspapers that have been sitting on my desk for weeks that I haven’t yet got round to reading, so haven’t been looking at the internet much. One thing that did grab my attention (mainly because of the URL) during an earlier random Google search was, a little-known Government site, set up in 1999 to help victims of Nazi persecution (and their descendants) track down confiscated items. It looks impressive and has some 30,000 records online, but I have no idea of its success – is it a good example of e-government or another white elephant?

Brown on globalisation and poverty

Gordon Brown gave a pretty rousing speech at a globalisation conference yesterday, promoting the Treasury’s proposals for an International Finance Facility, a long-term lending programme for development. It’s well-written stuff and worth reading, but only makes me hanker more for the day when he gets to move office to next door (if it ever comes).

More info can be found in the Independent’s report on the speech, which has a rather disheartening list of the UN’s Millennium development targets drawn up in 2000, and how spectacularly they have been missed.

On Heston Blumenthal

The Observer this week named Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant as their reader’s favourite in their Food Monthly magazine. Blumenthal (who recently won his third Michelin star) is a bit of a weird one – he takes a scientific approach to food, seeking new and fresh angles of looking at it, and experiments with combining completely different flavours and textures to create bizarre dishes – egg and bacon ice cream, snail porridge and salmon with liquorice, anyone?

Appalling as they may sound to most, I actually find them – and Blumenthal – quite fascinating – he is open-minded, tearing up the rules of what is a profession often rooted in tradition with a bold and analytical approach. After reading about the scientific book, On Food And Cooking, which inspired him, I’m quite keen to buy it and learn what he has. I’ve not quite got the courage to try some of Blumenthal’s own recipes yet though – the crab ice cream is just a bit too daunting, and even his cheese on toast is needlessly complicated. But I might do soon…