Alison Banville

Alison Banville Bio

Alison has written opinion pieces for The Guardian on embedded war reporting:

and benefit reform (she is fourth in this panel discussion) –

for The New Statesman on Democracy Village, police and protest, the media and protest –

and the following for BSNews:

Blair The Untouchable

By Alison Banville

Tony BlairBy any rational standard Tony Blair is a war criminal who, along with the other architects of the Iraq bloodshed, will one day stand in the dock at The Hague and be handed down the long sentence he so richly deserves. That we have to endure his preening presence on our mainstream news channels in the meantime is an insult to the mountain of innocent dead he is responsible for in Iraq and an indictment of the editors and journalists who helped him do it and who are still protecting him. Shame on them all.

Published 16 June 2014

Bill Hicks v the Brand Pimps

The Battle for an Authentic Culture by Alison Banville

Bill Hicks 3Turning just about every potentially profound interaction in your life into a (mostly financial) transaction would be sad enough if it affected only you, but ‘celeb’ culture, like the insidious virus it is, spreads throughout the population draining more and more lives of their beautiful individuality and creative promise leaving behind mere…designer-clad husks. It is these corpses, roaming the earth like extras from a George A. Romero zombie movie, that infect our culture with the life-denying values that can view even living beings as mere appendages. If you’re not worried by that then, guess what? – you’re a zombie too!

Published 23 March 2014

What’s Wrong with Channel 4 News? Part Three

By Alison Banville

Why Doesn’t Alex Thomson Have the Guts to Resign? The Plight of the Captive Corporate Journalist

Channel 4 news teamI have to admit, the Channel 4 News team does combine to give the public the palatable image of serious news served up with personality. They really do grill those politicians don’t they? But they also have a sense of humour! It’s winning on a shallow level we must allow. It looks like they’re not afraid to tackle anything or anyone; they could excoriate a government spokesperson and then end the show with a tap dance. Wow! It’s informative and entertaining! You don’t get that from the boring old Beeb. No. Channel 4 News is not like the rest of the mainstream media, it is fearless and engaging, endlessly dedicated to getting to the truth and making jazz hands along the way, its eccentric personalities a hallmark of its independence. How different it is to its straight-laced, establishment-loyal rivals!

If only that were so.

Published 15 Nov 2013

Pampered Pooches, What Would Voltaire Think?

parisBy Alison Banville

Channel 4’s flagship investigation show, Dispatches recently reported on the rise in demand for designer dogs and how this has led to an illegal trade in imported puppies. This demand, as the programme highlighted, is driven in no small way by the desperate need some people have to emulate celebrities and their lifestyles which includes acquiring that most predictable of accessories – the tiny designer dog that fits into one’s designer handbag. It’s a popular look, you must have seen it. It’s favoured mostly by the utterly talentless, although there are exceptions, which only goes to prove that talent is by no means incompatible with stupidity.

Published 7 June 2013

What’s Wrong with Channel 4 News? Part Two

By Alison Banville

The indiscriminate effects of cluster bombs run afoul of the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity fundamental to international humanitarian law
The indiscriminate effects of cluster bombs run afoul of the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity fundamental to international humanitarian law

Part one of this series examined the widely accepted view that Channel 4 News is, within the UK mainstream media (msm), fiercely independent and scrupulous in holding power to account. But as we discovered, when its coverage is scrutinised this image is revealed to be a myth. Channel 4 News is as rooted in The Propaganda Model as any other corporate news outlet, its reporters routinely parroting government statements rather than challenging them resulting in a fatally narrow discourse from which alternative, genuinely critical and radical voices are excluded.  As Media Lens have wryly observed, this is, depressingly, ‘as good as it gets’ in the mainstream. The premise from which all Channel 4 News journalists work is quite clearly ‘we are the good guys’ in terms of British foreign policy and consequently all of their interviews and investigations are based on this ‘act of faith’ assumption.

Published 30 April 2013

Why Vivisection Doesn’t Work

dog2A Complilation of Evidence by Alison Banville

If anyone is deliberately not watching these clips then they really have no right to comment on what goes on in the vivisection industry. Watch, and see if the neat and tidy arguments so smugly offered fit.

It’s a shame that there are still many people who fall for the ‘animal experiments are unfortunately necessary until alternatives are found’ garbage. The drug companies and researchers whoop for joy whenever they realize their propaganda has been effective in this way. It is not just ignorance, it is dangerous ignorance, to accept the vivisection industry’s assurances so completely.

Published 5 April 2013

What’s Wrong with Channel 4 News? Part One

c4nAs Good As It Gets? By Alison Banville

The Assange case is just the latest example of the Channel 4 News modus operandi, one that is, despite what its well compensated journalists and editors like to boast, firmly rooted in the ‘propaganda model’; the same model all other corporate media organisations strictly adhere to, the model outlined by Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky in their highly recommended book, ‘Manufacturing Consent’, a must read for any awakened individual who cares about the carnage wreaked by governments emboldened by a weak mainstream media that is constantly parroting official sources rather than questioning them, with tragic consequences.

Published 30 Aug 2012

An Apostle of Pity and Tenderness

PhilipBy Alison Banville

Our arrogance creates an imperative for us to separate ourselves off from ‘lower’ life forms, but that gulf is like the grave a murderer digs for his victim – only to fall in himself. Separation has the consequence of cutting off our empathy so that the suffering of individuals is unfelt because the victim is re-characterised as the perpetrator and is ‘guilty as charged’.  No longer does it matter that every squirrel or fox or rat is a highly sensitive being whose own life is as full of meaning for each of them as ours is to each of us. They are simply ‘pests’, and no more thinking need be done.

Published 10 Mar 2012

Liam Byrne’s Call for a new welfare state: panel verdict

William Beveridge was instrumental in the creation of the welfare state. Photograph: Guardian
William Beveridge was instrumental in the creation of the welfare state. Photograph: Guardian

In January, 2012, BSN editor, Alison Banville joined a panel discussion in The Guardian about benefit reform:

The panel discusses the shadow work and pensions secretary’s return to William Beveridge in his comments on reform.

Liam Byrne’s words are utterly meaningless because, like a bad actor in a very bad play, the narrative he is clinging to is entirely false.

To believe that Labour offers an alternative here is dangerously naive and reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of our corporate state, which relies on the 99% being in perpetual conflict with each other. As Phil Rockstroh points out: “In general, the middle class can be counted on to detest the poor … as long as the animus of the middle class remains fixated on [them], the criminal cartels known as the economic elite can continue to ply their trade.”

Published 3 Jan 2012

John Ray and Mark Austin

John RayGive Those Guys Their Own Show by Alison Banville

News at Ten on Tuesday 8th November broadcast a report on Iran’s nuclear ‘threat’. Middle East correspondent John Ray breathlessly rounded up by warning us that ‘time to stop the Iranian bomb is running out!’.

Does John supplement his income by doing voiceovers for movie trailers? He could. He’s perfected the exact tone of fear-mongering urgency needed for the latest ‘world in peril’ blockbuster. Someone get that man an agent! But hang on! This is the news for fuck’s sake! What’s he doing talking like that during a supposedly objective, balanced and factual report? He sounded so excited I wouldn’t be surprised if he was erect as he scared us all shitless and then fell into a post-masturbatory heap as the cameras turned off.

Published 9 Nov 2011

Don’t Do It Ria! There’s Still Time To Save Yourself!

By Alison Banville

ITN's Ria ChatterjeeRia, why did you make the statement that there is a fire hazard as though it were fact? It is clearly contradicted by the camp. And why did you not make your viewers aware that the camp contests this? Impartiality would insist on this would it not? Why did you not contact the London fire Brigade to check if the camp’s statement is true – very easy to do and something even a student journalist would know is important?

Natasha, what checks did you carry out to confirm that St. Paul’s ‘has been forced’ to close?’. Is this fact?

It’s important that ‘objective’ news reports do not simply parrot the statements of establishment voices without subjecting them to proper scrutiny.

Published 15 Oct 2011

‘The Price of Coal’

By Alison Banville

miners3All miners share the accolade of a spirit and courage to which the litany of their untimely deaths is a testament. There is a bravery inherent in going underground and a dignity and virtue in doing the back-breaking labour that carries such risks. I haven’t the time nor the space to list all the Welsh mine disasters here, nor have I forgotten the other mining tragedies in the British Isles and worldwide. The miners, too, who have suffered and died of illnesses caused by their years of toil have not gone unremembered. These many victims of sudden death or slow decline all belong to a distinguished and singular class of men. The very least they deserve are safe working conditions and decent pay, things they have had to fight for tooth and nail against those who value profit above human life and human dignity.

Published 19 Sept 2011