Skip to main content

Looking in the Media Mirror

I am on a very quick trip to the UK, and wandering around Central London yesterday, I espied the gathering demonstration "against the cuts" by some students.

As demonstrations go it was not a particularly big one. There have been far bigger demonstrations which have not been reported at all in the national media. This relatively small demo has attracted media attention pretty much because a bunch of fringe nutters- Socialists, Anarchists etc.- decided that it would be fun to have a bit of a barney at the Milbank tower. Unfortunately the Police were not prepared, and there were not enough of them, so the nutters managed to hurt people and cause damage. The fact that the TV pictures were so good has meant that these criminal acts of petty violence are being reported as some kind of apocalypse.

Some of the Media have gone so far as to hint that the Coalition in some way "provoked the students". Leaving aside the fact that it was not students who led the riot, the fact is that the Anarchist and Socialist fringe have never been reconciled with the current social order: not capitalism, and not democracy either. They will always seek excuses to play their infantile and doomed games of violence because they are deluded that a revolution in Britain is not only necessary but popular.

I am willing to bet that the number of people who believe in Anarchism or Revolutionary Socialism as a practical political programme in the UK is a vanishingly small number. So why then has the media given any of the events of yesterday any political significance at all? I think the answer is that even the moderate left - which has a very strong swell of support amongst the chattering classes- does not believe in the sincerity of the politicians of the Coalition. Reporting of the past few months has been coloured by the idea that the Liberal Democrats are traitors to the progressive cause, and that the Conservatives are simply spittle flecked bastards. This media narrative as been so prevalent, most noticeably at the party conference season, that no one in the media- or at least the BBC- seems to understand that it is not true. The Coalition, is turning into an efficient and effective administration, particularly in contrast to the shambles of the last Labour government. That is not to say that they are not making mistakes, but the media narrative of incipient Liberal Democrat rebellion and/or collapse is simply a travesty of the truth. The party membership since the election has been growing - at times very rapidly. We are winning by-elections, and if the opinion polls are a bit weaker, then to be honest it was only to be expected. Party morale is high and while there are disagreements amongst the Parliamentary party, these are very far from being the coalition threatening challenges that, for example, Polly Toynbee thinks that they should be.

After the fiasco of the Brown government and the shallow cynicism of Tony Blair, I might have thought that the Labour Party would be a little less shameless about their opportunism- especially since they agree in private, and often in public too, that they would be following policies in government that would differ from those of the Coalition only in degree. However we must remember that some in Labour carry a visceral hatred as part of their Socialist legacy: political opponents are not merely wrong, they are morally corrupt, or even, a word used far too often: "evil". The idea that Clegg and Cameron are decent men trying to do their duty in very difficult circumstances is held up for the deepest contempt- too often, Labour are not the "loyal opposition" and this gives tacit encouragement to the radical left that violence is justified.

But such violence as we saw yesterday is never justified- it is simply criminal.

Therefore I hope that the media, caught up in the dramatic narrative that their own pictures provide should not give a bunch of Socialist and Anarchist narcissistic thugs any validity. Blowing up a Socialist "good day out, smashing the state" into a challenge to that state is grossly irresponsible. Whatever the personal sympathies of the journalists, they have a duty not just to reflect the immediate pictures but to place those pictures into a context, and the rolling news of the past 24 hours has failed to do this. These thugs do not represent any groundswell and it is outrageous to state that they do.

Of course, seeing red flags of the Socialists and the red and black flags of the Anarchists raises my hackles dramatically. For me, the only difference between the Soviet Socialists and the Nationalist Socialists is that Stalin killed more people, more brutally and for longer than Hitler. There is a complete moral equivalence between the two monsters of the Twentieth Century, and those who march in the name of this ideology should know that they attract loathing and contempt in equal measure. However the "Old Left" of fellow travellers, from which Ed Miliband springs, retain an affection for the revolutionary left, which is blind and morally cowardly.

It is time for Labour to stop excusing the revolutionary left- it is time for Labour to engage in grown up debate, accepting that their political opponents are worthy of respect. Alas I really don't think that they will. It is a pity, because without such an intellectual renewal I can see the British people- who do not support political violence- drawing their own conclusions. There are decent people in Labour but too often they have been marginalised in favour of the political grandstanding and cynical opportunism that a party shorn of a coherent ideology seems to encourage in its leaders. Blair was a dead end for Labour, but his poisonous legacy- and that of Peter Mandelson- remains. unchallenged.

Comments

Newmania said…
Agreed

PS The state is not the only thing that would improved by judicious pruning CS.....
Carl said…
Good to read that the Media have gone so far as to hint that the Coalition,facts about the media are really good to read.


__________________
Media Dissertation Proposal

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

In praise of off-shore tax havens

The last few years has seen a spate of "scandals" about the use of off-shore tax havens. The hacking and subsequent leaking of data about who does and does not hold assets in off-shore jurisdictions has become an old perennial in the British press, rather like the "COLD weather happens in winter and QUITE HOT weather happens in summer", whose alarmist capital letter laced headlines are such a lazy part of contemporary "journalism". 

The increasing sophistication of the hackers, whether Russian-inspired or not, has resulted in a steady trickle of information becoming a torrent. After the relatively filleted release of data in the so-called "Panama Papers", the data release of the "Paradise Papers" is even larger.  Of course, just natural curiosity dictates that the off-shore ownership, or even just "ownership", of assets is of general public interest.  Celebrities, from the Royal family to the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys, are …