Friday, 27 May 2011

Champions League Final preview - Manchester United Vs Barcelona

With Wembley ready and waiting to host this years biggest club game in the World, the viewing public, the fans, the managers, and the players can do nothing but wait until the battle for the Champions League crown begins. Both Manchester United and Barcelona are worthy finalists this year and have huge experience in recent years at this stage. Barca in fact beat Manchester United at this stage two years ago, whilst Manchester United will be stepping out to their third final in four years.

Manchester United by no means had an easy route to the final, although they made it look so by not even conceding one goal away from home, and only conceding four in the competition so far. They overcame Valencia, Bursaspor and Rangers in the Group Stages, going on to shrugging off Marseille in the Round of the Last 16. They then were rewarded with a Quarter-Final against Premier League Champions Chelsea, with which they outplayed them over the two legs, finally demolishing German side Schalke in the Semi's.

Barcelona have also got an impressive record in the competition this season, only conceding three in the group stages and eight in total. Some may argue on paper they had a more difficult route, but again, they made it look quite easy. They eased past Panathinaikos, Rubin Kazan and FC Copenhagen in the group stages, and then followed by out-classing Arsenal in the last 16. They then faced Shaktar Donetsk in the Quarter-Final, easing past them with an aggregate score of 6-1 meaning they set up a dream tie with their 'El-Classico' rivals, Real Madrid. After and extremely controversial two legs, Barca's quality, and Lionel Messi's, shone through earning them their rightful spot in the season finale.

Barcelona will go into the game as the firm favourites boasting the quality such as 52 goal scored Lionel Messi, and the elegant Spanish midfielder Iniesta. However, Manchester United are hoping to welcome back their Scottish rock, Darren Fletcher, and have some well in-form players such as Antonio Valencia, Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney.

Likely Line Ups:
Man Utd -
Van Der Sar
Fabio Ferdinand Vidic Evra
Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Park
Rooney, Hernandez

Barcelona -

Monday, 23 May 2011

Cobbett and Dickens - Change in England

In this weeks lecture we discussed urban and rural England and how it developed; we also discussed the influential figures of the time (Cobbett and Dickens)

England’s economic stature grew after they became involved in the Napoleonic War in 1800. The implementation of income tax came in to affect in order to fund the war effort. The English inevitably succeeded ad the naval power became absolute in 1805 after all French Ports were blockaded which meant that the French were unable to export any goods. Therefore, England experienced a boom in exports and it came to a point where the British were actually supplying the French.

The Translantic Triangular Trade:

1) British ports send goods to Africa in return for slaves.

2) Slaves sent to America, and traded for cotton.

3) Cotton makes clothes that were then either sold on or sent to Africa for more slaves

This was beneficial to the British economy, but it became harder after the 1833 abolition of slavery act, although it did still continue.

The end of the war saw an end to the boom, and the British government had to do something in order to maintain and economic stability.

Corn Laws – A law, which put a tax on any, imported goods (grains)

What the Corn Laws done were protected the security of English farms, but for the poor who relied on cheap bread, it was bad, as it pushed many below the bread line. This led to extreme conditions in the slum areas of urban cities such as London and Manchester, and many people were falling victim to serious diseases such as Cholera. Anger began to mount against the lower class and this was something the government was fearful of, as they did not want to see a repeat of the French Revolution. They were therefore very brutal in putting down any from of revolt, and generally criminalized the poor. In most cases the government would have the revolting poor deported to places such as Australia, but their fear was shown at the Peterloo Massacre when 60,000 peaceful protesters were shown a barrage of violence after they criticized the fact that only 2% of citizens had the vote; 11 people were killed.

The government was seen as corrupt as it was made up of only the rich, who would have generally been happy with current situations; they were making money because of the Corn Laws and they were living in good conditions. The reform act of 1832 did set about changing this, but it only gave some middle class the vote, which meant it was still corrupt, as the working class still did not have a say. However, in fear of revolution the government had two choices: either pay workers more so they can afford bread, or repeal the Corn Laws so they could afford bread, the latter being the option they took.


Cobbett was extremely passionate when it came to farming and the rural lifestyle. He was extremely un-happy at seeing the majority of the countryside empty and he even argued that the population of England could not be growing, as he cannot see any people, but in fact it had doubled from 8.3 million to 17 million.

Enclosure – when a field would be divided up into common land, cattle would graze.

The landowners gave up enclosure, as they needed bigger fields in order to make way for new technology. This meant the farm workers had to go in search of other jobs that meant they had to migrate to the cities.

In 1830 Cobbett got into trouble for voting for the swing riots. These were riots that opposed the implementation of new technology on farms, therefore driving out the rural laborers.

Cobbett wrote the Rural Rides, which was first published at the political register. Cobbett went on horseback through the countryside of Southeast England and the Midlands in order to highlight the problems of rural England and how the relationship between landowner and worker had deteriorated. After the tax on newspapers meant that few people could afford them he created his works in to pamphlets, which were nicknamed 2-penny trash. It soon got a circulation of 40,000. In the majority of these pamphlets, Cobbett attacked the government and called for a reform, which he got into trouble for. He was tried and imprisoned in Newgate Prison for two years.

The rioting and opposition forced the government into a corner and again in fear of revolution, they implemented the Speenhamland system. This was a means tested system that offered some relief to the poor. It would work on the number of children to the price of bread. However, this was easily exploited by the idle poor and encouraged the poor to have more children. The government needed to implement something more full proof.

The Workhouse:

The Workhouse/Poorhouse was a stigmatized form of relief, which was offered as a ‘last resort’ for the poor. It came about in 1834 when the New Poor Law was implemented; meaning that no able bodied person was to receive any form of support from the government unless it was the workhouse. It would encourage the able bodied to find alternative work, as they made the conditions extremely vile. They would give you the bear minimum for food, money and health. It was divided into sections for children, men and women, and often children found themselves un-blocking heavy machinery, as their hands were the only hands small enough to fit. Jeremy Bentham, who we discussed in the first lecture, was fully supportive of this method, as he believed it to be the greatest good, for the greatest number.

The Andover Scandal:

The workhouse seemed to be a good idea, but it was often taken advantage of by the rich. The workhouse in Andover was put in the limelight when it was revealed that conditions were so poor that paupers were being starved, therefore eating peelings left for the pigs and sucking on the bones they were supposed to be grinding for fertilizer. Any body found misbehaving was also locked in the mortuary for punishment.

Dickens was somebody who attacked the New Poor Law reformation, something that we probably all know about from the famous ‘sir, can I have some more’ quote from Oliver Twist. Dickens was a fan of the life of a city dweller, and was also described as a Champion of the City. He loved the idea of a powerful and rich city, but he was appalled by the conditions of some of the slum areas. He believed that they were too overcrowded and ridden with disease and famine and by writing novels such as Bleak House, Oliver Twist and Little Dorrit he went about trying to influence the middle class into change, as it was this audience that had the power to change. Even though the lower classes would have agreed with Dickens a lot of them would not have the power to make changes, and the majority were illiterate anyway.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Super injunctions - are they needed? I cant Imogen why?!

For a few weeks now the United Kingdom has been in huge debate as to whether the super injunctions certain people get out to protect themselves from being reported in the media are actually needed in this day in age, when something as big as a footballer having an alleged affair, gets leaked on social networking sites, such as twitter, and other forums and blogs.

The super injunctions force media outlets such as newspapers and TV from reporting on the holder of the injunction, even to the point of being gagged from saying if they actually have an injunction or not. These laws only apply in the UK, and places such as America are allowed to publish whatever they please, as the injunctions do not take affect.

When watching the news, or reading a paper, they will either blank out the photo of the holder of the injunction, or they will blank out their name/s. However, today a Scottish newspaper (Scotland Herald), put a face to one of these holders of an super injunction, only covering their eyes with a 'censored' banner.

This all came about after a mysterious twitter account tweeted the name of a football star who was supposedly having an affair with previous Big Brother contestant, Imogen Thomas. The majority of the UK population knew who she was allegedly having an affair with, however, it had not been officially published. This then begs the question, what on Earth is the point in the injunction in the first place?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Public Affairs revision notes - Westminster


Made up of House of Commons and House of Lords

Commons – elected
Lords – not elected

Lords – made up of peers. Hereditary peers (these are being slowly cut from the House of Lords but still around 90), bishops

Peers – can be elected by the government – scandals of buying peerages – life peers (doctors, judges, etc e.g. Lord Sugar)

Peers – not paid a salary, do not belong to a constituency
Journalists have a PRIVILEGE to know what happens in Westminster

Sub judice rules:

1) If something is being considered by court
2) Cant repeat or say anything that can be seen as contempt

House of Commons – not supposed to mention the Royal family

Voting in the commons is called a DIVISION

Whip – makes sure the members of their own party is voting for what they are supposed to be

Free Vote – whips cannot get involved – although free votes are rare

New laws have to be approved by both houses of Parliament (except tax raising)

If disagreement between the houses then the House of Commons has the power as they represent the people

Making a law:
Green to White
1) First reading – goes to parliament
2) Second reading – debate
3) Committee stage – experts from the field give opinions (fine tuning)
4) Report stage
5) Third reading – more debate (possible amendments)
6) House of Lords – whips go around as there will be a vote
7) Consideration of lords amendments
8) Royal assent – Queen signs it off

House of Lords was the final court of appeal until October 2009, now taken over by supreme court – distinction needed between government and law

Karl Marx

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, empiricist and economist. He began his life as a top law student and to the surprise of his family, friends and tutors; he switched to philosophy and journalism. He had many theories on how and why the problems of society existed, however his theories on solving these problems were somewhat naïve and a little un-realistic.

Marx believed that man is the productive animal, and was the master of the world basically because of his use of tools and the fact that he is able to co-operate and live. He also believed that if you managed to grasp the economy, then it would be the key to understanding the human life. This is the reason that he based most of his theories and conclusions on the collection of masses of statistics and evidence. Marx is notably known for going to the British Library every day collecting data such as demographics, wages, prices of commodities, price of housing and price of bread; this was similar to that of Darwin. He then drew out conclusions from this empirical data to how life would evolve, being the first economist to do so.

For someone who was interested in these sorts of things, he had a strong dislike for philosophy and he believed that philosophers done nothing to change the world, they only interpret it. You can actually read on his tombstone ‘philosophers have only interpreted the world – the point however is to change it’.

Marx was fond of Hegel’s theory of materialism in his dialectics. This was basically that Marx believed that in the future there would be a war between the two opposing ends of society: the bourgeoisie (rich) and the proletariat (poor). He believed that the poor would overcome the rich, introducing a socialist system where everyone was equal. What this meant for the economy would be that production would now benefit society as oppose to the market. Although this is a good theory on paper there were clear flaws with this sort of communist theory.

It can be argued that Marx did not understand human nature in that it would not be as smooth as everyone settling down in to this Utopian society, ready to be equals with each other, without any central government or religion. Firstly without a central government and rules, there would be huge amounts of disorder and the country would soon spiral out of control. Secondly, people just DO NOT give up religion, to a lot of people their religion is so important, it is worth dying for, so to eradicate religion for a communist world is virtually impossible.

Without the feel of personal gain and improvement, people would start to get lazy and start to feel un-motivated to pull their weight. This is another major flaw in the theory in that if one person sees another not working as hard as they are but reaping the same benefits, they are going to quickly follow suit, which in turn would result in the decline of the economy.

Prometheus and romanticism

Romanticism comes from the late 18th to the early 19th century, which involves the move away from the preceding age of reason, which focuses on liberalism and the belief that every person should be free to live how he or she want without being blinded by society. The Romantics loved the idea of nature and the natural life and as Jean Jacques Rousseau said ‘man is born free, but everywhere is in chains’.

Prometheus was seen as a titan in Greek Mythology; a titan is someone who is not human but is also not a God, he is a giant like creature. He was one who revolted against this Kings and stole fire from them and brought it down to Earth where he created the first humans from clay. He was then punished in a cruel way, having defied the Gods, he was chained to a rock and had his liver pecked out by a bird; everyday his liver would grow back, meaning never ending suffering and torture. He was the champion of oppressed human kind.

Prometheus is therefore seen as the founder or the God of romanticism. He is referred to in different names such as the ‘bringer of fire’. He was seen as the earliest form of opposition to society and the Kings in that he was a rebel to their world. Philosophers such as Jean Jacques Rousseau would have loved Prometheus in that he was fighting for the freedom of the naturalistic world, and to not have Gods rule over. It is clear that he was an influential figure in that so many works have been written because of him such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that was sub-titled ‘modern Prometheus’.

Percy Shelley wrote a sonnet called ‘Ozymandias’:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said, ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand
Half-sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

‘Ozymandias’ is seen as someone who has fought against a tyrannical power in the face of oppression, similar to that of Prometheus. ‘The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed’, so these are the oppressive rulers who have led to Ozymandias being defeated. We know he has been forced to suffer, just like a typical romantic would, ‘half-sunk, a shattered visage’.

The idea of Prometheus was that he stole the fire to create man, which is also seen as romantic, as the romantics have a notion of making or creating things, hence the creation of the bust of Rameses II, which inspired Shelley to write this sonnet.

John Keats wrote a poem called ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (Link to the poem)

Straight away from the title of the poem we can see that the idea of romanticism was great, in that the poet is in awe of the urn, something that is created or made. This again links back to the idea that romantics loved the idea of creation. Staying with the idea of creativity, it is highly evident in the poem that Keats is trying to give across this romantic ideal in that the urn is personified as a bride, something you associate with beauty and elegance.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Final Cut Pro/TV Filming training

So after having camera training and editing training we were told to go out and film anything for criticism in this Thursday's lecture to make sure we were picking up the basics (at least). I decided to go to a local leisure centre where I interviewed a martial arts instructor about what they do and what it is all about.


We were told certain things about filming, and rules that should be followed. For instance the 'rule of thirds' by which the person your interviewing's eyes must be a third in and a third down whilst looking to one side (not directly at the camera). We also ere told how to focus the camera, and complete a white balance so the colours dont come out dodgy. We were also advised to always use a gun-mic and not rely on the mic that came with the video camera, however due to high demand there were none available.

One of my flaws after watching back the video is that I done my interview in front of a window (not directly in front but the sun was so bright from the outside it creates a blur on the side of the picture.

After importing my video in to final cut pro, I was told that my video was not rendered. We hadn't come across this in any lectures or training sessions although after a quick look on google I managed to find out that it was easily remedied. Saying this, once the video was rendered the sound began to stutter slightly, i'm sure I will find out why and how this happened.

So here is my video, all other criticisms are welcome bearing in mind this is the first video interview I have made!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

J'Accuse - The Dreyfus Affair

Alfred Dreyfus was a man who became a scapegoat for the French Army in one of the biggest miscarriages of justice ever to be seen. At the time just before Dreyfus fell victim, he was in the French Army and was quickly moving his way up the ladder and becoming a more and more important figure. France had just lost the German/Franco war, although at the time there was no Germany, it was known as Prussia, made up of German states. This was a huge embarrassment for the French in that along with the loss they had to give up Alsace and Lorraine, two states, as well as part with a huge sum of money for the Prussians war efforts, and to rub salt into the wound, they had to sit back and allow the Prussians to hold a celebration parade throughout Paris. Consequently, France were out to get revenge, and began creating empires in Asia and Africa, to rebuild their respect and pride.

The Panama Canal Scandal - This is often pointed at as the reason for such anti-semiticsm in France. This was the event that saw up to a billion francs lost after the French government took bribes, supposedly from Jewish men, to keep quiet about The Panama Canal Companies financial trouble. Dreyfus was a Jewish man who came from Alsace, one of the states that were taken over by the Prussians, both of which led to him becoming this scapegoat.

The Scandal:

The scandal it self was that at the time of the French trying to mount this comeback, and to try and get their revenge there was somebody who was giving the Germans details of future plans. Secret documents were found in a waste paper bin detailing these future plans about the French Army. Somebody was getting paid to be a traitor. Straight away the French looked for someone to frame, and of course with all the anti-semitism, it was a Jew that would fall foul, Alfred Dreyfus. He was found guilty and sent to 'Devil's Island', in which they built him a cell, where all he could see was the sky, he was shackled whilst he slept, given poor food, and had no form of exercise. He was furthermore humiliated as he was stripped of all his medals and his sword was snapped. When it is looked at logically, it can be clearly seen that Dreyfus had no reason to be a traitor:

1) He came from Alsace, which meant he was even more obsessed with recapturing the place where he came from back off the Germans.
2) He was extremely wealthy, so he did not need the money.
3) He was a very smart and intellectual person, so he would have known that being a traitor would have got him killed. (Although in the court case he was criticised for being so smart anyway)

In France at this time there was a strong divide between Rich and Poor, and the left/right political divide were extremely separated over the Dreyfus affair; the left being socialists and intellectuals who did not agree with the decisions, and the right bring the Army, Church and monarchists who believed that Dreyfus was the guilty party.


Emile Zola is said to be one of the best journalists that ever lived, and it was he who wrote J'Accuse or I Accuse, which accused all of the guilty parties in the Dreyfus affair and pretty much told it as it really was. He accused many army officers, and government officials of covering up the truth that it was in fact a man named Esterhazy who was the culprit. He was a well known traitor/spy, and when it was brought up, the Army officer's dismissed it and wanted it kept quiet, with Dreyfus left to rot on Devils Island.

In J'Accuse, Zola begins by addressing the President as a great man, he is full of praise for him ('you have conquered hearts'), aside from this one event or 'blemish' as he calls it. He even believes that the President could not have even known about this travesty, as it has been hidden from him. He speaks s strongly about Esterhazy's guilt 'a council of war, under order, has dared to acquit Esterhazy'.

He accuses firstly the man who was put in charge of the investigation, Lieutenant Colonel Du Paty de Clam. 'Forzinetti describes to us as armed with a dark lantern, wanting to approach the sleeping defendant, to flood his face abruptly with light and to thus surprise his crime'. The way in which he has described the blaming of Dreyfus by Du Paty de Clam, can be seen as to be mysterious or like he creeped up on him to plant this crime on him. Zola describes de Clam as 'inventing' Dreyfus for the crime, and he is extremely incensed with the way in which he has pinned the blame on the innocent. He publishes that Dreyfus was arrested in secret by Du Paty and that he forces Dreyfus' wife to keep quiet otherwise he would kill Dreyfus himself.

'Terrible denial of justice from which France is sick.' This is another strong quote as to how Zola feels about this miscarriage of justice. He may blame Du Paty for the birth of the affair but he also blames General Mercier, General De Boisdeffre and General Gonse for letting it happen.

Zola then questions why the case was behind closed doors, and how Du Paty had him found guilty, causing the public to whisper and talk of treason, causing them to be behind the public degradation of Dreyfus. Zola describes Du Paty's accusations as 'lunatic imaginations'. 'Hunting for the '"dirty Jews", which dishonours our time', here we can see that Zola disagrees with the anti-semitic views of the French Army and the right.

Zola often refers to the ones he accuses of having disturbed consciences, and that he knows that they know what they are hiding is wrong. He then begins to talk of the document that was found that pretty much guaranteed Esterhazy's role as the spy, and begins explaining how it was covered up and by whom: General Gonse, then General De Boisdeffre, then General Billot, were all there and did not want the truth getting out as Zola believed that 'the condemnation of Esterhazy inevitably involved the revision of Dreyfus's trial; and this, the High Command did not want at any cost.' So the Army and Du Paty would do just about anything to stop Esterhazy becoming known as the real traitor as it would inevitably prove Dreyfus' innocence. Major Picquart was the name of the person that stumbled across the truth and Zola praises him for doing all he can to convince his superiors to tell the truth about what really happened. To stop Picquart from revealing the truth Zola explains how he was sent on a mission that led him as far away as Tunisia. It is further explained how Esterhazy managed to escape the trial without being found guilty; and once again Zola feels it to be the work of Du Paty. He says that evidence that was held against Esterhazy was stolen and returned to the High Command.

Zola finishes with a final list of people that he accuses for what he describes as an abomination:
. Major Du Paty de Clam
. General Mercier
. General Billot
. General De Boisdeffre
. General De Pellieux
. 3 Handwriting experts: irs Belhomme, Varinard and Couard
. Offices of the war
. First council of war - J'Accuse