The frozen planet series broadcast by the BBC network over recent months has been a revelation. The subject matter and the photography have been first class, the programme is currently one of the favourites amongst UK viewers. Those of us who need some peace and quiet to retire to, when prolefeed such as X factor is on, have discovered that when armed with iPad and head phones the series (on the BBC I player) provides welcome escapism.
The disappointment many felt learning that certain popular scenes have been faked was palpable. The scandal broke yesterday as we learned that the footage of the birth of polar bears was fake. Witnessing the BBC dissemble in an attempt to cover up or to explain away the situation has been pathetic.
Alastair Fothergill of the BBC: “These wonderful early moments in the lives of a polar bear are very special, that’s why we decided to do it in captivity”
The BBC went further by denying misleading Frozen Planet viewers with footage of newborn polar bear cubs filmed in an animal park, rather than in the wild. Episode five of the series featured the cubs in a den with their mother, with many people assuming they were born and filmed in the Arctic. But the cubs were actually in a Dutch animal park, as revealed in behind-the-scenes footage on the show’s website. The BBC said the filming was “standard practice” for natural history shows.
This particular sequence would be impossible to film in the wild. The commentary accompanying the sequence is carefully worded so it doesn’t mislead the audience and the way the footage was captured is clearly explained on the programme website.
Frozen Planet presenter Sir David Attenborough said: “If you had tried to put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or she would have killed the cameraman.” He added that an explanation about the animal park footage would have ruined the atmosphere of the sequence. “It’s not falsehood and we don’t keep it secret either,” said Sir David.
In the episode the camera follows a female polar bear in the Arctic as Sir David comments: “She starts to dig a shallow nest, once the snow here is deep enough, she’ll dig down to make a den. She’ll then lie waiting for her cubs to be born as winter sets in. On lee-side slopes beneath the snow, new lives are beginning.”
Footage of the newborn cubs filmed at the animal park is then screened. The den was actually created by humans before the polar bear entered. The BBC said the narration “talked in general about polar bears in the wild rather than the specific cubs shown”.
The over the top furore regarding the ‘Polar Bear scandal’ in the UK has only been matched recently by the ‘hurrahs’ in the mainstream media for the returning hero David Cameron. The majority of newspaper publications and news programmes have provided non too subtle, jingoistic and xenophobic coverage of the British prime minister’s absurd unilateral decision to veto changes to the EU treaty. Without any reference or recourse to UK parliament in a sweep the relationship with the UK’s EU partners, built up over circa fifty years, has been put in jeopardy and yet no real discussion on the reasons why has been entered into.
Instead UK voters have constantly been fed a diet of ignorant soundbites, that Cameron has; “put the British interest first, done what’s right for Britain, won’t be held hostage to the fortunes of the Eurozone”, insulting and simple language designed to appeal to the prejudiced and ignorant lowest common denominator element in UK society.
Despite it’s protestations UK citizens do not travel well, unless we count stag weekends on Easy Jet flights or package holidays to Mallorca. Measuring the UK’s level of integration with its neighbours is simple; in terms of percentages and head of population UK adults speak less languages than any other developed European nation and that shamefully includes most of the UK ministerial cabinet including Cameron. It is and always has been an isolated closed nation with a similar mentality, harbouring a “you come to us” deluded belief in its own self importance.
However, there was the hint that (similar to the Polar Bear incident) Cameron had something to hide, something that could prevent the UK signing up the the fiscal accord. Whilst the accord referred specifically to the seventeen shared nation currency members being subject to fiscal and monetary policy it would be determined by a higher authority than individual sovereign states’ governments. The inevitability remains that every member would eventually have to fall in line.
With a deficit running at circa ten percent and a debt versus GDP ratio that earmarks the UK as the “sick man of Europe” the UK cannot get in line with the disciplined measures proposed without unleashing austerity measures that would make the inevitable deflationary spiral or stagflation already ‘baked in’ appear like a blip.
To get the UK deficit down to the 2% compliance required is impossible. With a circa 466% total debt versus GDP (recorded in 2010) the UK is unique versus it’s Euro counter-parts and only matched by the USA in being swamped with personal debt, a legacy of out of control house price inflation that encouraged a borrowing mania from mid 2000 onwards.
As with all news stories that affect our industry it’s advisable to question the motives of the publisher, the forex industry is more affected by fundamental news than most other sectors. It’s therefore incredibly valuable to not simply accept with blind faith the information that’s pumped our way from what we perceive to be trusted sources. Traders would be best served by collating their information from several resources, this won’t guarantee total impartiality but will reduce the amount of ‘Polar Bear incidents’ we experience.