Tag Archives: Dispatches


Antony Barnett’s silly Dispatches programme for Channel Four, Trump’s Dirty Secrets, especially so close to the most worrying Presidential inauguration in history, should never have been aired.  It was perhaps right to focus its thirty minute slot on one of the most serious aspects of the new administration, the Climate Change deniers, the oil and coal men, the hugely powerful business interests Trump has been involved with, and the new head of the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, that are going to make the Paris Accord a dead letter and wreck all the good work done by Nations around the world.

Except there was nothing new about it at all.  Seeing Barnett in Trump’s super hotel overlooking the White House, replete with sociopathically egotistical Trump products, from the Champagne to the Chocolates and monogrammed bathrobes, is nothing new at all and rather made a fool of the journalist.  Because it is the fact that we and America know all this, know about his business dealings, know about his arrogance and bizarre personality, and yet he was still voted into power that is the really despairing aspect of it all.  But half of America loves and believes in such ‘success’, sees it as part of the American dream, aspire to be that kind of man.  That is not to comment on why so many became so disillusioned with Washington and the Democrats.  But if Dispatches want to do a programme like that, please be serious and do it properly, come up with some real dirt, or something that is actually secret, don’t allow your journalist to go on a jolly.  Then I’ll take a trip to Trump’s hotel to see in what astonishing style the new First Lady will be redecorating the White House.  Surely a shrine to The Donald, next to the likes of George Washington, Adams or honest Abe Lincoln, with an award for ‘Greatest US President in the History of History’ from one of his own firms.

Meanwhile that Polish waiter of Politicians, Michael Gove, who consistently looks like a misunderstood weasel, a man famous not only for knifing Boris, but trying to take To Kill a Mockingbird off the curriculum, looked so awful scraping to Trump, so degrading Britain in his unctuous desire to prove we are now top of the queue,  that he and other famous Brexiteers should be spanked and sent back to school to be given a lesson in what really once made Britain great and why we should immediately bring to an end The Special Relationship!

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John Snow’s report on banking corruption on Dispatches last night made chilling viewing. It underpins ideas in the thriller The Godhead Game that World Markets have become a super casino, especially since the financial ‘Big Bang’, where players get in and out quick, and the business of banking has become much about whoever can get their snout in the trough. 75% of those polled said they do not trust banks. Well, if that ‘culture’ actually has the capacity to implicate everyone, in a world out of step, then a story about the Mayan ‘end of the world’ this year, and part satire, also proposes a way that World Markets themselves might be beaten! To get a copy Click here

As we have said before though, what happened with the publisher Abrams in 2008 was not unrelated to various kinds of collapse, while there were extraordinary synchronicities in other ways. When David Clement-Davies talked to editor Tara Break about interconnections though, after personal and professional betrayal, her Hew, Screw and Glue put at the heart of a firm, and the mounting financial crisis too, her only comment, or awareness of a world beyond herself and her ‘rights’, was “I don’t have any shares.” No shares in anything it seems though, including Publisher’s and author’s work and careers – exes, friends or otherwise. But when unwanted whistleblowers appear in the banking sector, at least they can fight back and are compensated.

Harold Rove’s removal as Publisher and Vice President at Abrams, although he most certainly tried to do the right thing, is proof of the scandal there, that coalesced around the ambition and long alliance of Tara Break and Sarah Van More. Yet David Clement-Davies has received neither apology, nor compensation for such enormous harm. Not only is he owed a great deal, with five novels so damaged, so much time and work abused,but when truth dies at a major US publishing firm, creating conditions of arguable criminal conspiracy, then the rot has gone everywhere.

Abrams publish hugely successful books like The Diary of A Whimpy Kid series, but perhaps it follows that the only real principle they supported was the power and rights of their editors over their own contracted authors,and the value not of the meanings inside their books and stories, but of sales and clinking cash tills. It was ultimately overseen by a man with his own agenda too, Mike Jacobson, and as suggested in a recent blog, by extension one of the heads of an entire publishing family, Herve de la Martiniere. From the actions of Macmillan UK and Penguin US too over eBook rights, meanwhile Sarah Van More breaching essential privacies to Sharyn Novembre at Penguin US, but mouthing on so arrogantly and hypocritically about silence, from an author who could not walk away, David has also seen how some big publishers treat authors as pure commodity, unless they are big enough to set an agenda, and ride roughshod over their rights and, crucially in this case, vital healthy working conditions. In such a world, the visions in valuable stories die too, and real free speech with it. No artist under contract and trying to write meaningful literature, can be expected to function under dishonest, threatening and harmful conditions, or, to quote a rather extreme analogy, used by the Nobel playwright Joshua Sobel, “no theatre in a graveyard!”


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