Before I start my post on today’s Culture and Education Committee, I would like to say congratulations to David Miliband for lambasting the Tories’ new allies in Europe. As I have said many times on this blog, the Tories in the European Parliament have joined up with some very unsavoury, not to say extremely right wing, bedfellows. David mentioned both the Tories’ Latvian partner whose Party has taken part in a march commemorating the Waffen SS and the homophobic Polish Law and Justice Party, the current holder leadership of the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists). At last people are beginning to find out about the real Cameron Conservatives.
Congratulations also to the Irish for their excellent result in ratifying the Lisbon Treaty – another blow for Mr Cameron who now seems totally at sea over whether or not to have his cherished referendum on Lisbon, always assuming he gets the opportunity.
Add this to a good week for Labour in Blackpool with outstanding performances from Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and Harriet Harman and it becomes evident that the Tories are failing to keep up.
Meanwhile on the Culture and Education Committee which also has responsibility for media matters, product placement has reared its head again. The Committee today received a pre-study to identify further research on the new legislation on product placement on commercial television. As we already knew, product placement accounts for only two per cent of TV revenue across the EU. However, since it has gone up by 37 per cent in the last year there is perhaps potential for further revenue raising.
The Committee was concerned abs to whether product placement would have a detrimental effect on children, perhaps having a subliminal effect as far as violence and abuse are concerned. While this will probably never be answered satisfactorily, what we do know is that children watch considerable amounts of TV during adult viewing time. In Britain 69 per cent of children into this category, while in the USA and Japan children watch over four hours of television a day. Mercifully, this latter figure is better in Europe where the lowest number of hours viewed by children is in Holland at 106 minutes per day. This is, of course, only television and not other “screen time” such as that in front of a computer.
Whether we like it or not, television is a huge part of everyday life. This is why it’s so important to think about viewing habits and not just let the drift towards ever longer time in front of a box of some sort continue without our being aware of the consequences.