Accessibility for disabled people on public transport

A consultation on improving accessibility for disabled people on public transport has been launched by the United Kingdom government.

A Transport System that is open to everyone was published by the Department for Transport on August 24th, 2017, with 21 organisations contributing to it, including Scope, the Spinal Injuries Association, the Mental Health Action Group and Age UK.

The Accessibility Action Plan provides a number of proposals, including working with the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, freight operators and Network Rail, to provide “alternative journey options” for disabled passengers if a train and/or facility stops working and how this information could be passed on. Additionally, eligibility for the Blue Badge scheme, set up to provide a way for people with mobility problems to park as close as possible to their destination, could be expanded to include those with hidden disabilities such as Autism and Dementia. A link to disability benefits could also be considered. A further proposal included within the plan is the creation of a National Assistance Card, which could be used across the transport system alongside existing schemes, such examples include the Journey Assistance Card and Transport For London’s “Please Offer Me a Seat”.

The latest data from the Family Resources Survey, as of March 2017, identifies 44% of people of pension age are disasbled, 18% are of working age and 7% are children.

The consultation runs until 15th November 2017


Government Reshuffle 2014 (Moved from Coventry Culture Blog) (From 15/07/2014)

Nicky Morgan has been announced as Education Secretary, replacing Michael Gove, whom held the post since the formation of the coalition in May 2010. What’s your response to the new appointment? Coventry Culture would like to hear from you.

If you would like to form part of the feature, submit your comment via this group, via the Contribute to Coventry Culture links on the blog or via the comment box on the blog. It’s entirely up to you.




sky news



Today marks a change in tact for MWDone.

Up until now, all the work on this blog has concerned my own. The success of Coventry Culture however has made me rethink my focus for this blog.

It is within that vein that I aim to turn MWDone, like Coventry Culture, over to the communnity. Same concept, just a different name.

ALSO THE NAME OF THE BLOG HENCE, WILL BE SIMPLY MWDONE. The name change across all platforms will be changed to reflect this in due course. Further, Coventry Culture and MWD now share the same channels, so anything that contributes to either site will now be posted in the same place.

The primary reason is that over time, I have come across content and sites which do not fit into the Coventry Culture framework, in other words, stuff that isn’t about Coventry.

MWDone will be the place where I will present the best of the web, if you like.

Coventry Culture IS NOT ENDING (oh god no! Really!?)

Yeah, sorry about that. 😦

So remember



305MC Power, Spectacle & Memory

In this document, I shall seek to answer the following question;

Choose a current issue/debate/controversy and analyse how it is informed and determined by power, spectacle and memory within contemporary mediated culture.

In order to answer this question, I first must decide upon the topic on which to base the essay. For this, I have chosen the current debate (and some would say issue), surrounding newspaper regulation and the British government’s proposal of a royal charter to regulate the newspaper industry, or what is informally called “the press” and of how this is informed and determined by the themes of power, spectacle and memory within mediated or “modern”, culture. I aim to use examples within the essay in order to provide context to the task at hand.

On Tuesday 8th October, Maria Miller, Culture Media & Sport Secretary in the coalition government, delivered a statement to the House of Commons, issuing the government’s reply to regulation of newspapers in the United Kingdom[1]

It followed 2 years of inquiry and deliberation, the inquiry being The Leveson Inquiry, the deliberation being between the industry (newspapers) and the government(s), both coalition and opposition, as to type of regulation of which to pursue. Indeed for the Conservative half of the serving government, the pressure proved, for a moment, to much and as outlined in Matthew D’Ancona’s book In It Together, The Inside Story of the Coalition Government “exasperated by the impasse, Cameron decided to pull the plug on inter-party talks” (D’Ancona 2013: 254)[2]. This however, was temporary and talks continued, leading to a late night agreement between the political parties in a meeting “alongside representatives of Hacked Off (D’Ancona 2013: 255)[3]”, the campaign group set up to fight for the victims of phone hacking.

Now that I have provided some background, I will now focus on the newspapers and their reactions to the royal charter and how it has been informed and determined by power, spectacle and memory. Firstly, I wish to present some of the reactions from across the newspapers.

“Press regulation: newspapers bridle at ‘historic’ deal” (The Guardian, 2013) (19/03/2013)[4] 


“Hot off the press: New regulation deal for newspapers rejected by editors” (The Independent, 2013) (11/10/2013)[5]


“Paul Dacre: Politicians must not be allowed anywhere near press regulation” (London Evening Standard, 2013) (12/10/2013)[6]


“Press regulation is only to ‘protect toffs’, says Rupert Murdoch” (, 2013) (07/10/2013)[7]


“Labour should be fighting FOR press freedom: MP says watchdog would not have stopped hacking” (Mirror, 2013) (09/10/2013)[8]


These are just some of the reactions. To understand such further, one must first understand the theoretical analysis which encompasses it.

Power can be defined as “a person or thing that processes or exercises authority or influence”. Such a definition can be attributed to newspapers. According to figures from Ofcom’s 2013 report into news consumption in the UK, 40% of respondents reported that they consumed news through newspapers, Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper the most read daily newspaper, at 25%. This was followed by the Daily Mail at 19%, The Daily Mirror at 13% and Metro at 12%. (Ofcom, 2013)[9]. With readership comes power.

In 1988, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, in their book titled “Manufacturing Consent- The Political Economy of The Mass Media”, the authors outlined what they called the “propaganda model” of media, in which they outlined that there was/are 5 filters within society which “determine what is news”.

These are;

• Ownership -> Control • Advertising

• Source(s)

• Flak

• Ideology/Principle

I am going to focus upon the first and last filter of ownership and control and ideology/principle as these are seek to explain the reactions to the regulatory oversight I’ve previously outlined. I will first
focus upon ownership and control.

“Rupert Murdoch accepted that The Sun broadly reflected his worldview” (Leveson, 2013: 1432) [10]. This is an extract from a section of the Leveson report entitled “The Press and Politicians”, the subject matter of which “was the contacts and relationships between relationships between national newspapers and politicians, and the conduct of each, considered in the overall context of the culture, practices and ethics of the press.”. (Leveson, 2013: 1428)[11]. Such is important to understand as to the relationships formed between media proprieties and politicians. Leveson had said himself in the Leveson report; “the press and politicians has been to close (Leveson 2013: 1438)[12], and during cross-examination at the Leveson inquiry, The. Rt Hon Lord Pattern of Barnes CH said this;

“I think major political parties, and particularly their leaders over the last 20 or 25 years, have often demeaned themselves by the extent to which they’ve paid court on proprietors and editors. I think politicians have allowed themselves to be kidded by editors and proprietors that editors and proprietors determine the fate of politicians”. (Leveson 2013: 1440)[13]

In order to highlight an example of how politicians and newspaper proprietors, most specifically Rupert Murdoch and The Labour Party were seen to be “sucking up” to each other took place in in a well publicised event in 1996, in the Hayman Islands. Lance Price further spoke of the presence of Murdoch in a quote in an essay entitled “Murdoch’s Politics” and of how Murdoch seemed ‘like the 24th member of the cabinet and that “his voice was rarely heard…but his presence was always felt”. Further can be read in Raymond Fitzwalter’s “The Dream That Died: The Story Of ITV, in which during the creation of the Communications Act 2003, when informing the government of poor signal strength in regards to ITV Digital, whom at the time were piling their hopes upon £315M for Football League match rights, when they closed down as a result of debts and of the said strength issue, the signal was in the words of Stuart Prebble, chief executive at the time “they”, signifying the government “turned up the signal”. He spoke of how this had a consequence “of eliminating competition” and in Stuart’s words “the whole pay television market was conceded to Sky and no one will ever take them on again”. He continued by speaking of Murdoch’s influence on government policy “The truth is that they were terrified of doing anything that would irritate Sky. News International owns The Sun” adding quite openly “I think that the government is uncomfortably close to Murdoch” adding that “everything is done no to upset Murdoch, especially on sports rights. On the Frost Program, Tony Banks” then sports minister “raised them and said it was a competition issue, and he was never seen again. (Fitzwalter, 2008: 226)[14]“.

Overall the topic of media ownership and monopolies surrounding is a subject of great debate and one which encompasses power in mediated culture. In Steven Barnett’s essay on media monopolies and media ownership policy “What’s wrong with media monopolies? A lesson from history and a new approach to media ownership policy”, Mr Barnett outlines how it is “almost universally accepted within advanced industrial democracies that concentration of media ownership within too few hands contradicts the basic tenets of democracy”, with a result of “threatening diversity of expression and risking autocratic control of communicative spaces” (Barnett: 2010)[15] In other words, singular power in a collaborative and thriving democracy risks only one voice being heard, the “master” voice as it were. such as was the case prior to the advent of commercial television in Britain, in the form of Independent TeleVision or ITV in 1955, breaking 30 years of BBC monopoly. Andrew Bibby expands upon this in his essay entitled “Media Entertainment and Arts, Global Concentration In The Media, when discussing media giants. He writes of how what he describes as “Murdoch/News Corporation, of how Murdoch encompasses not just news publishing, through the previously stated Sun newspaper, but also film production through 21st Century Fox and book publishing through HarperCollins. Alongside these, he also owns Fox News, which is spoken of having an “anti-liberal” and pro war stance, particularly towards the Iraq War.

To place this within the context of the essay’s current topic, the Leveson inquiry suggested “a new system must have an independent and effective enforcement and compliance
mechanism” (Leveson, 2013: 1750, 2.5)[16] The Prime Minister David Cameron concurred “What we actually have to deliver is that it is compulsory and has all those things that I said (ie: independence, penalties, compulsion, toughness, public confidence and all the rest of it” (Leveson, 2013: 1751, 3.1)[17].


Left: Daily Mail article (27.09.2013), which caused controversy by attacking Labour Leader Ed Milliband’s father as a Marxist and as “the man who hated Britain”

Right: Daily Mail’s reprinting of offending article, along with the paper’s editorial and the right to reply by Ed Milliband

I will now focus on ideology/principle in terms of spectacle and memory, in relation to the Daily Mail and it’s public issue with Ed Milliband. The reason for using this issue is to highlight ideology and principle within the propaganda model in terms of a current issue and of also, how this issue may have led to the government rejecting the press’ self-regulatory proposals. The combining of spectacle and memory seeks to highlight both it’s impact and of it being a recent event.

On 27th September 2013, The Daily Mail published a feature on Ralph Milliband, father of Ed and David Milliband, a jewish immigrant, whom with his father according to the Daily Mail “had fled to
London from Belgium, just weeks earlier to escape the Nazi Holocaust” (Daily Mail, 2013) (27.09.2013)[18]. “. The result was of condemnation by Ed Milliband, accusing the Daily Mail of “an appalling lie” (The Independent, 2013) (01.10.2013)[19], with the latest news as of this writing (12th Oct 2013), the editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, accusing the BBC of presenting a “one sided tone in it’s reporting of the story”. (BBC News, 2013) (12.10.2013)[20].

To understand the Daily Mail’s ideology, one must go back through history to the 1920’s to an article penned by Esmond Rothermore in May 1927 which sought to laud Italy’s fascist leader, Benito Mussolini as “The Leader Who Saved Italy’s Soul”, a year later announcing he was “the greatest figure of our age”. (Bingham, 2013: 2)[21].

Michael Hobbs, a PHD Candidate of the School of Humanties and Social Science in his paper titled “On Discourse and Representation”, Hobbs writes of journalists and their “profess to impart social truths” whilst valuing “objectivity, balance and the public interest”. He writes of these 3 pillars as it were, as codes within a discourse in which “events, objects and things are represented” with “the journalist interpreting the truth of a news event through a particular discursive way-of-seeing” (Hobbs, 2008: 11)[22]. To interpret this in the context of the Ed Milliband/Daily Mail story, the presented story to the reader is of a Marxist propaganda and of a man who hated Britain. Indeed such is stated up front through its headline “The Man Who Hated Britain” and its followup article and editorial, the stronger worded “We Repeat: This man did hate Britain”. This is the “representation” of Ralph Milliband within the text and within the discourse of the political slant of which The Daily Mail sits, that of right wing and anti-establishment. This in itself is a hypocrisy due to it’s support for Fascists and nazi’s in the early part of the 20th century, as previously described, as these can be easily seen as establishments, indeed the nazi’s can be seen as a “cult”, a establishment hidden under a veil of operating for the common good whilst undertaking heinous activities under the noses of it’s people.

Hobbs’ essay continues by writing of the “the journalist” and “the subject” and of how each “operates within it’s conceptual parameters”. Put simply, The Daily Mail will report a story within the context of it’s political ideology and it’s slant, as indeed do all newspapers. The crux of the discourse is outlined in the final section of the essay, when Hobbs’ writes “to be a journalist, or other news producer, is to be powerful with the institutional apparatus and techniques of the media intimately intertwined in the complicated embrace of power/knowledge”. Further “more so than the human sciences, it is the discursive practices of the journalist which have the power to “make true” particular regimes of truth”(Hobbs 2008: 12)[23], in this case the sandstorm of this article in order to create controversy around the Labour leader. The power of Marxism and it’s crushing regime, along with the headline “the man who hated Britain”, will draw the reader and inform them of a view, which in turn, is designed to smear the subject.

In terms of the royal charter proposal, what does the “debacle” mean for press regulation? In an article for Newsline, written by Raymond Snoddy, it has “elevated the level of offense to a different level and has lead to widespread condemnation of the paper” and that “the activities of the Daily Mail could be enough to push the outcome in the direction of the politicians if it is not inevitably going in this direction anyway” (Newsline 2013) (02/10/2013)[24] This was written on the 2nd October 2013. A week later, such an outcome has come to pass.

I now want to talk about spectacle in broader terms. To define spectacle, it is “something exhibited to view as unusual, notable, or entertaining, an eye-catching or dramatic public display; an object of curiosity or contempt”. How can spectacle work within the context of newspaper regulation? Dr Damian Paul Carney writes in his essay “The Constitution of the Public Sphere: The Post Leveson Landscape”, “the important role that the media plays in a democratic system has resulted in it acquiring privileges that enable it to perform it’s watchdog and public interest roles”(Carney 2013: 2)[25]. With this comes responsibility. In an essay written by Lauren Collins for The New Yorker entitled “Mail Supremacy”, The Daily Mail is described as “the most powerful newspaper in Great Britain. A middle-market tabloid, with a daily readership of four and a half million, it reaches four times as many people as The Guardian, whilst being taken more seriously than the one paper that outsells it, The Sun”. So the responsibility of The Daily Mail to inform it’s readers is great. It goes on “The Mail presents itself as the defender of traditional British values, the voice of an overlook majority whose opinions inconvenience the agendas of metropolitan elities” (The New Yorker 2012) (2/4/2013)[26]. It’s easy to read this and visualize Ed Milliband and the current saga, as such is designed to inconvenience the agenda, in this case Labour’s party conference which was praised from both party faithful and the public alike, of a metropolitan elite, this being Ed Milliband, part of an elite in terms of politicians.

The debacle by The Daily Mail was designed to shock and not only designed to draw attention to itself, but to Ed Milliband and to what the paper believes his style of politics stands for, his energy price freeze for example was seen as being socialist in nature. In Guy Debord’s book The Society of the Spectacle, the author speaks of spectacle being “not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images” (Debord 1994: 4)[27]. In this case the social relationship is the reader to the newspaper and to the article and it’s contents, the images represented by Ralph Milliband’s gravestone and family photos containing Ed, David and their father. The sociality of the newspaper is the forging of a bond. For example, newspapers have political aligns. The Daily Mirror aligns itself to the Labour, even down to the brand colour (red). The contents therein is slanted in favour of the party in which it supports. Further, as Guy Debord writes “at the root of the spectacle (in this case the newspaper), lies the oldest of all social divisions, the specialisation of power”.(Debord 1994: 23)[28]. The specialisation of power can also be applied to the government royal charter. Indeed one could apply the specialisation to all forms of power, such as it being “spokesman for all other activities”, it being judge and jury, albeit in an independent way.

How did the Daily Mail use specialised power? Through spectacle, through bombastic headlines. THE MAN WHO HATED BRITAIN. WE REPEAT: THIS MAN DID HATE BRITAIN.
I now wish to talk about narrative, meta-narrative and grand narrative and how such corresponds to the contents of the essay. First, I wish to provide some explanation as to what these concepts consist of.

To define narrative, it is “both the recounting of events in the past and description” (Munson 2001: 21)[29]. To define this within the context of this essay, this would be the Daily Mail’s reporting of Ralph Milliband but also the events of the Leveson Inquiry, which in itself was the recounting of past events related to the press in the form of a public inquiry.

Meta narrative expands on narrative. In a chapter written by Julianne Cheek and Noel Gough (Cheek, Gough, Lenwin 2004: 302)[30] the addition of meta to narrative is defined as “behind, after, of a higher or second order kind”, in other words an expansion of a discourse. For example the narrative of this essay concerns the reactions and notions of power, whilst the meta narrative is of politics, since such has been conducted within the arena of political discourse, but of which has spilled out into ideology, such as The Daily Mail’s anti-marxist, anti-establishment and historically, pro-fascist stance, which in itself is a narrative, with it’s meta narrative or undercurrent being that of Ed Milliband himself and his stance towards press regulation.

To conclude, press regulation brings forth a conglomeration of power and spectacle, both in terms of the newspapers themselves and the politicians themselves. Power to politicians through the creation of statute of which to enforce regulation, power to newspapers to vigorously defend the status quo and provide their own narrative, that of a muzzle being placed on the face of the press, spectacle in terms of the presenting of statute, which in turn leads back to power in that of producing a framework of which to present, spectacle for the newspapers in terms of the passion of the press, which in it’s own way belies power as to their “freedom” and exposure of wrongdoing, their livelihood, their own matrix world, if you will.

The power, the spectacle, the narrative, the meta narrative. The intertwining of a long and drawn out story of the press, played out through the press.


[1] Hansard- UK Parliament (2013) [online] available from < speeches/maria-millers-oral-statement-to-the-house-of-commons-on-press-self-regulation> [8th October 2013]

[2] D’Ancona, M (2013) In It Together: The Inside Story Of The Coalition Government. London: Penguin

[3] D’Ancona, M (2013) In It Together: The Inside Story Of The Coalition Government. London: Penguin

[4] The Guardian (2013) [online] available from < press-regulation-newspapers-furious-deal> [19th March 2013)

[5] The Independent (2013) [online] available from < news/hot-off-the-press-new-regulation-deal-for-newspapers-rejected-by-editors-8874708.html? origin=internalSearch> [11th October 2013)

[6] London Evening Standard (2013) [online] available from < paul-dacre-politicians-must-not-be-allowed-anywhere-near-press-regulation-8876129.html> [12th October 2013]

[7] (2013) [online] available from < newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/10360259/Press-regulation-is-only-to-protect- toffs-says-Rupert-Murdoch.html> [7th October 2013]

[8] Mirror (2013) [online] available from < fighting-press-freedom-2352586> [9th October 2013]

[9] Ofcom (2013) ‘Ofcom News Consumption In The UK- 2013 Report’ p8-9, available from <; [25th September 2013]

[10] Lord Justice Leveson (2011) ‘The Leveson Inquiry’, 1432, 2.8 [online] available from <http://; [November 2012]

[11] Lord Justice Leveson (2011) ‘The Leveson Inquiry’, 1428 1.1 [online] available from <http://; [November 2012]

[12] Lord Justice Leveson (2011) ‘The Leveson Inquiry’, 1438 3.1 [online] available from <http://; [November 2012] [13] Lord Justice Leveson (2011) ‘The Leveson Inquiry’, 1440 3.9 [online] available from <http://; [November 2012]

[14] Fitzwalkter, R (2008) The Dream That Died: The Rise & Fall of ITV, London; Trubadour Publishing

[15] Barnett, S (2010) ‘MEDIA@LSE Electronic Working Papers’ What’s wrong with media monopolies? A lesson from history and a new approach to media ownership policy

[online[ available from < EWP18.pdf>

[16] Lord Justice Leveson (2011) ‘The Leveson Inquiry’, 1440 2.5 [online] available from <http://; [November 2012]

[17] Lord Justice Leveson (2011) ‘The Leveson Inquiry’, 1440 3.1 [online] available from <http://; [November 2012]

[18] The Daily Mail (2013) [online] available from < article-2435751/Red-Eds-pledge-bring-socialism-homage-Marxist-father-Ralph-Miliband-says- GEOFFREY-LEVY.html> [27th September 2013]

[19] The Independent (2013) [online] available from < politics/a-man-who-hated-britain-ed-miliband-accuses-daily-mail-of-appalling-lie-about-his-father- ralph-8852106.html> [1st October 2013]

[20] BBC News (2013) [online] available from <; [12th October 2013]

[21] Bingham, 2013: 2 ‘The Voice of ‘Middle England’? The Daily Mail and Public Life”, online] available from <;

[22] Hobbs, M (2008) ‘Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association’ ‘On Discourse and Representation: Reflections on Michel Foucault’s Contribution to the Study

of the Mass Media”, 1440 2.5 [online] available from < Hobbs-Mitchell-Session-19-PDF.pdf> [December 2008]

[23] Hobbs, M (2008) ‘Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association’ ‘On Discourse and Representation: Reflections on Michel Foucault’s Contribution to the Study

of the Mass Media”, 1440 2.5 [online] available from < Hobbs-Mitchell-Session-19-PDF.pdf> [December 2008]

[24] Mediatel (2013) [online] available from < the-daily-mail-debacle-means-for-press-regulation/> [2nd October 2013]

[25] WG Hart Legal Workshop (2013) ‘Institute Of Advanced Legal Studies School Of Advanced Study University Of London ’ ‘Call for Papers, The Constitution of the Public Sphere: the post- Leveson Landscape ”, 2 [online] available from < WGH_2013_Abstracts.pdf> [December 2008]

[26] (2013) [online] available from < 2012/04/02/120402fa_fact_collins> [2nd April 2012]

[27] Debord, G (1994) The Society Of The Spectacle, New York: Zone Books

[28] Debord, G (1994) The Society Of The Spectacle, New York: Zone Books 

[29] Munson (2001) ‘Narrative and MetaNarrative’, 21

[30] Cheek, Gough, Lenwin 2004: 302 ’ ‘Postmodern Perspectives ”, online] available from <http://;


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