During our first meeting on a Friday morning we followed Geoff Corré’s idea and covered the Year 2017 in Review. After mentioning a few salient events, the discussion settled on sexual harassment. While agreeing that there was no room for sexual harassment in our day and age, we also came to the conclusion that at times the fight against it may have gone too far, blurring the lines between harassment, however unpleasant, and serious criminal offences against adults and, above all, children.
We then touched on press ownership and how it affects the editorial line of outlets like BBC World, Al Jazeera, RT or Press TV. The conclusion being that, apart from public TV like the BBC, when billionaires invest in news outlets, they do it to gain influence over the public opinion and politicians. Fox News in the USA, RT and Al Jazeera, among others, being examples of this trend.
Finally we touched on immigration – outlining the difference between the UK and the rest of Europe. Contrary to perceptions, there has been little uncontrolled immigration in the UK, mainly because of its geographic position, while the continent has seen a fair amount of it, with boatloads of refugees/migrants coming daily across the Mediterranean. Apart from immigration itself, which is difficult enough to control, the backlash against immigration constitutes a major challenge for our democracies, as extremist groups take advantage of people’s fears to advance their anti-liberal causes. In different ways Britain, Poland and Hungary are some of the salient cases.
As to future meetings, as I will be travelling during the next few weeks, Geoff Corré kindly offered to organise the next meting or two to avoid an excessively long break between sessions. Geoff will be in touch with you soon (through our distribution list), asking for ideas on subjects to discuss.
The next meeting should be, like today, on Friday morning 10:30 in the room in calle Calatayud 45.