There is good news out there, you've just got to look for it
PUBLISHED: 11:40 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 05 February 2020
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Bad news seems to be everywhere at the moment, but if you dig a little deeper, says James Marston, there are good stories out there
I've found myself shouting at the radio this week. The other morning as I prepared my breakfast cereal -I'm endlessly trying to diet - I listened to what seemed like 20 minutes on the American election. It hasn't even happened yet and the BBC are starting their coverage of the 59th quadrennial presidential election; apparently there's stuff happening in Iowa, wherever that is. This is to be expected of course, the BBC's over-coverage of the presidential election is neither news nor a new criticism but I'm bored already. Though I suppose the fact that we know so little of the politics of our nearest neighbours - I don't know about you but I'd have to look up the name and party affiliation of the leader of the opposition in the French senate nor do I fully understand the French electoral system - might shed some light on Brexit.
Having said all that, it's this coronavirus that's also making me worried, not least because I wonder if the pudding isn't being a bit overegged. I'm no expert of course, but I can't help thinking the outbreak of an emerging disease - caused it seems to me by increasing urbanisation and the proximity in which urban dwellers live with animals, the similarities with a Hollywood storyline, all go to fuel our fear and, in the world of 24 rolling news, fear sells. Let's hope I'm right.
In the meantime my father has declared he no longer will tolerate processed ham in the house, doesn't want anything with chilli flavouring, and would rather not eat things from Vietnam and Thailand, or anywhere in the Far East, that "for some inexplicable reason stock our supermarket shelves." Perhaps, from an environmental point of view, eating less produce which has travelled so far, might not be such a bad idea. But then I like king prawns occasionally, even if they are better travelled than I am.
I've also been irked by what appears to be the constant closing of the Orwell Bridge in Ipswich - I use it fairly regularly and it seems - though I accept I might not know best on this - that it closes at the merest hint of a bit of wind - I don't remember it closing anything like as much as it does now. I do remember, when I was a younger reporter, the Evening Star, as it was then, reporting that Ipswich and the bridge in particular would be facing gridlock in the next decade - it seems that story was somewhat prescient.
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And in Norfolk, this week, it has been reported that "Frustrated councillors have hit out at a transport agency over "painfully slow" progress on improving the county's roads." It seems the Highways Agency has been dragging its heels on improvements to the A47 despite having the money to get going. I can't see why we can't get on with things these days or what value we are getting for our money.
Harry and Meghan have, according to one report, started flogging t shirts, or doing something with an image, or something like that, I can't quite work it out exactly, presumably as part of their plan to become independent. Indeed, my sister is still annoyed at the Harry Meghan fiasco because she bought a tea towel when they got married and if she'd known they'd call it a day she wouldn't have bothered.
Of course, all this outrage and confusion at a world I sometimes find hard to look at is most tiring but I have been most heartened by the people of Norwich and the people of Ipswich this week. Norwich because of those of Winchester Tower who fought back at racism and Ipswich where one resident, Sam Murray, has taken her own action against some white supremacist stickers by writing kinder messages over the top. "I heard about these horrific stickers being put out so I decided to come out with a Sharpie and edit them slightly," she was reported to say.
Both these incidents aren't at all pleasant - but the reaction to them is, as far as I can tell, a bit of good news, a source of hope.
I understand that good news doesn't really sell in quote the same way as the bad, but the positive stuff is out there, it just takes a little more effort to spot.
Do you ever shout at the radio or television? Are you heartened when you spot a moment of hope? What do you think of the coverage of the American election? Write to James at email@example.com