The Obligatory Returned-Episodes Post
As Lawrence Miles says, there’s no point trying act all cool at a time like this. It’s great news and I’m very happy about it. Sincerely. You’d have to be a miserablist of a more perverse and determined stamp than I not to be as pleased as punch.
Of course, I could whinge about some things.
This blog has a USP after all.
I could, for instance, mention the way Nigeria – where the episodes were found – has suddenly swung briefly onto the mental radars of people who, until a few days ago, probably had only a dim idea that it existed at all. It’s ironic because, at more or less the time when those missing episodes were made, the Wilson government was helping the corrupt Nigerian military dictatorship crush Biafra. Britain continued arming the junta for years, despite government denials. The regime was engaged in a longstanding war against the Ogoni people – one of the forgotten persecuted peoples in the world. Shell’s exploitation of oil reserves in their region has had untold environmental and human costs, making the Niger Delta one of the most petroleum-impacted regions on Earth. In 1995, the Nigerian government – utterly in thrall to and bound up with Shell – began a campaign of ruthless repression against the growing anti-Shell protest movement. The ‘Ogoni Nine’, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, were arrested and executed, causing a (brief) international outcry. Nigeria achieved formal democracy in 1999 but the corrupt government still wages war against the living standards and rights of the Nigerian people in the service of international oil profits. Indeed, as in so many places, this war is a condition of IMF debt relief and loans. The American government occasionally declares itself troubled by the rigged elections and violence in Nigeria, but Nigeria supplies them with large amounts of oil – the country is up there with Saudi Arabia when it comes to oil exports – so they never do anything beyond the pious declarations. The crippling economic situation in Nigeria, with a huge portion of the population living in slums, is the root cause of ongoing ethnic and religious violence. Even the BBC is capable of making the connection between the violence and the poverty rate (above 60% and rising). Boko Haram, an Islamic fundamentalist group responsible for many attacks – including this last month – are based in the predominantly Muslim north-east, hardest hit by poverty. Go figure.
But they also had ‘The Enemy of the World’ and ‘The Web of Fear’ on a shelf somewhere, so I guess its swings and roundabouts, yeah?
Back in what I like to call my TARDIS Whingeorium, I could also mention the relative importance given by some to the release of these old episodes and the wanton sell-off of Royal Mail, which was announced on the same day and which constitutes a swindle on the taxpayer to the tune of millions, possibly billions… with much of the benefit available only to huge international ‘sovereign wealth funds‘. …