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My blog in 2011 – a summary

Most of this will be meaningless, as I've deleted all the posts from last year to comply with neutrality of reporters required by some of my clients; but it is interesting (to me at least) none-the-less.

Last year, the most popular search terms which brought people to my blog via search engines were:

  • Gavin Drake Blog
  • Gavin Drake
  • Giles Fraser
  • Policing By Consent
  • Tottenham Riot
This is a sign that social media is only one way of getting the word out about blogs - the fact that people were searching specifically for me and for the blog meant they were hearing about it from other means (word of mouth) and trying to find it.

That doesn't mean that social media isn't an essential tool to get the message out.  The top referring sites (where people came to my blog from), are:

The busiest day of my blog last year was 1st March with what became the most-read  article of the year: Misplaced outrage over High Court "ban" on Christian foster parents.
Those stories have gone now.  And I'm not entirely sure what shape the blog will take in 2012; but I hope it remains interesting and relevant.
Thanks for following and reading in 2011 - please stick with me through 2012 too.
Happy New Year!

New front in Israeli / Palestinian conflict opens up in Britain’s system of advertising regulation

Last week, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority released its latest adjudication on an advert by the Israeli Government Tourist Office in London.

The advert featured the feeding of the five thousand and the authority ruled that it was not misleading or offensive for the national press and magazine advert to say “the masses have always been well fed in Israel” or to say that Israel is “a melting pot of races and creeds".

This week’s adjudication is the sixth time in the past nine months that the authority has adjudicated on complaints by pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian campaigners as activists take the battle for the Holy Land to the sphere of advertising, as Gavin Drake Reports.

  • The link above is an extended audio report.  A shorter version, suitable for radio broadcast, is available on request.


The all-new singing and dancing Gavin Drake blog

Welcome to my new blog!  Actually, it is my old blog, but without the old content.

Having moved back into news journalism it is no longer appropriate to maintain a blog in which I espouse my opinions, thoughts and prejudices.  Not least, because some of my clients don't like their freelance (or in house) journalists doing that.  Some news organisations go as far as to say its reporters can't do that.  And so I won't.

To some extent, it goes back to one of the lessons I was taught by my very first editor: "Opinions are like backsides, everybody has one."

That doesn't mean I no longer have opinions, thoughts and prejudices.  Of course I have.  Every journalist has - because every journalist is a real living human being.  But it does mean that I now have to keep these to myself and let the facts tell the story - without my prejudices getting in the way.

My blog isn't dead, though.  It just has a different purpose and identity.

I will be posting summaries with links to those news organisations which have had the good sense to use and pay me for my work.  I'll be posting some articles here exclusively.  And I'll be writing about some of my more interesting exploits in this glamorous world of news media.

And all the time I'll be trying to ensure I stay on the right side of my clients' policies on social media, opinions and the like.

I hope this doesn't mean that this becomes a boring blog.  It will just be a different blog.

Thank you for sticking with me thus far - please stay with me in the journey ahead.

Rector loses employment tribunal case

A former Church of England Rector has today lost his employment tribunal claim against the bishop and diocese of Worcester.

The Revd Mark Sharpe, former Rector of the Teme Valley South benefice near Tenbury Wells, alleged that the bishop and diocese had failed to protect him from parishioners in his "toxic parish". He claimed a catalogue of abuse and bullying, saying his dog had been poisoned, excrement had been smeared on his car, and his tyres had been slashed.

  • The Times
    ('Toxic parish' rector loses at tribunal - not available online)
  • The Daily Telegraph
    (Parish priests cannot sue the Church, rules judge - not available online)

Council and councillor join battle in court over prayers

The practice of saying prayers at the start of council meetings is akin to councillors’ reading pornographic or racist material, lawyers for the National Secular Society (NSS) told the High Court last Friday.

The NSS and the former Bideford town councillor Clive Bone brought judicial-review proceedings against Bideford Town Council after coun­cillors there twice rejected Mr Bone’s request for prayers to be abolished. The council said that prayers were not compulsory, and that councillors who objected to the practice could either sit in silence or leave the room until prayers were completed.

Judge must decide on priests’ employment status

A former rector, the Revd Mark Sharpe, will have to wait up to three months before he finds out whether he can bring a case of constructive dismissal against the Bishop and diocese of Worcester.

The chairman of an employment tribunal, A. J. McCarry, told Mr Sharpe at the end of a five-day preliminary hearing in Birmingham last week that he was “constrained to get decisions out within three months, and it may be close to that.

QC: ‘Spirit of Trollope is alive’

A leading ecclesiastical lawyer has suggested that “the spirit of Trollope is alive and well in the Church of England.” Geoffrey Tattersall QC made the admission on the second day of a week-long preliminary hearing at an employ­ment tribunal in Birmingham.

The tribunal, chaired by A. J. McCarry, is being asked to decide whether the Revd Mark Sharpe, formerly Rector of Teme Valley South near Tenbury Wells, was an employee. If he was, he would be entitled to bring his claim for unfair dismissal to a full tribunal hearing.