13.11.12 The Guardian
More of a disappearance, really.
Sorry, you seem confused.
I’m trying to explain anew oﬃ ce craze called “stepping aside”, in whichBBC executives temporarily leave their jobs.
Oh right. Like taking a sabbatical?
A bit like that,yes. Only you do it after something embarrassinghas happened.
Wait a minute … This is just posh talk fora “suspension”, isn’t it?
Not in the least! Beingsuspended is when you’re told not to come towork while they decide whether to ﬁre you.“Stepping aside” is removing yourself from theoﬃ ce for the duration of an inquiry.
Completely diﬀerent. I see.
It began with theNewsnight editor Peter Rippon, who “steppedaside with immediate eﬀect” on 22 October,pending the outcome of the Pollard review intohis cancellation of an exposé of child abuse by Jimmy Savile.
This is on full pay, presumably?
So to “step aside” is to announce that you aregoing to stop doing any work while continuingto get the money?
I suppose so.
No wonder it’s caught on.
Not everybody is a fan,though. The BBC’s head of news, Helen Boaden
, and her deputy Stephen Mitchell bothhad to be “asked to ‘step aside’” from their jobson Monday morning.
“Asked to”? Not “told to”?
That’s what BBCNews says.
Hang on. Is this the BBC News that’s beingreported on, or the BBC News that’s doing thereporting?
“Step aside” is a quote attributed tothe former. The latter reports that the pair were“asked to”. Look, I will admit I’m quite confused.
People should just resign, like that nice GeorgeEntwistle.
He didn’t resign. What he actually saidon Saturday was that he would “step down”.
Down? And that means he won’t come back andhe won’t get paid?
Oh, he’s being paid all right. Hewill get £450,000 – double what he was entitledto for resigning, but exactly what he would havegot for being ﬁred.
So “stepping down” is like ﬁring yourself?
I don’tknow. I don’t know anything. Please don’t ask meany more questions.
“Sorry, I have a terrible hangover. I’d betterstep aside for a few days.”
“I blame Strictly Come Dancing.”
“All men are created equal.LOLZ!” Daniel Day-Lewisapparently remained incharacter throughout theﬁlming of Lincoln – eventexting his co-stars in the styleof the US president.Polling guru Nate Silver didn’tdo so well predicting the 2010UK election. According to theblog Political Scrapbook, heforecast far heavier losses forLabour and big gains for theLib Dems.
he military is normallyonly too pleased to heraldits successes, and topraise the courage of those whoput their lives on the line for theircountry. Perhaps it is the link (orlack of it) between these two thatencourages them to talk-up cer-tain missions, and come over allsheepish when it comes to drones. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs) have been the oneunqualiﬁed triumph of the war inAfghanistan. That is, if “success”comes in an equation where lotsof people get killed, at next to norisk, at an aﬀordable price.According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, whichcompiles ﬁgures on drone strikes,the US has killed up to 3,378 peoplein 350 drone strikes in the past eightyears. And that’s just in Pakistan.The US also orchestrates dronestrikes in Yemen and Somalia froma base in the tiny African state of Djibouti (which nobody is supposedto know about). But does the WhiteHouse want to talk about this? Notunless it has to. And not even then.
The websitethat reveals theUS drone war
Payment by Appleto license the SwissFederal Railwaysclock design,according to a reportin Tages Anzeiger.The company wasaccused of copyingit for a screen iconwhen iOS 6 wasreleasedin September
Lance Armstrong hastweeted this picture ofhimself “layin’ around”beneath seven framedTour de France yellow jerseys.
Texter-in-chief Contrite, moi?Flawed genius
C O V E R P H O T O G R A P H
R O B E R T N I C K E L S B E R G / G E T T Y
An image f r om D r onestagr am show ing the site of a US dr one attack
4 Bye bye bye.
Rememberthe member least excitedto be wearing that Santahat? Well he’s oﬀ. DoingA Robbie only works if you happen to be RobbieWilliams
Bryan “Brian” McFadden, lastspotted apologising for 2011 daterape-themed single Just The WayYou Are (Drunk at the Bar).
5 The band plays on.
Even if thelineup is still intact, a greatest hitswill be deployed, usually with aprotesting-too-much title suchas Volume One or The Journey SoFar.
a member leaves.
Backstreet Boys’Greatest Hits: ChapterOne, which pre-emptedKevin’s departure.
6 The split.
Unfortunately,the rumours are true, and fromtoday there’s no more …
All of the above.
The band announces atour, repackaged greatest hits anda brand new album the follow-ing year. As with Doing A Robbie,Doing A Take That really onlyworks if you’re Take That.
Most of the above; others TBA.
This is where James Bridlecomes in. Using what little infor-mation there is, Bridle, creatorof the New Aesthetic micro-blog,has set up Dronestagram. Bymarrying images from Google andtarget details from the BIJ, he hasstarted to show the places hit inUAV attacks.On his blog, booktwo.org,Bridle argues that “drone strikesare the consequence of invisible,distancing technologies, and atechnologically disengaged me-dia and society...” The images onDronestagram may be just “foreignlandscapes”, but he hopes theirimmediacy will add to the demandfor transparency. Earlier this year,Apple rejected an App that didmuch the same thing, apparentlyon the grounds that many peoplewould ﬁnd the content objection-able. Not, presumably, the relativesof the civilians who are often inevi-tably killed in drone strikes, how-ever carefully targeted the attacks.