Tuesday, February 28, 2017

News from Abroad

Some people have drawn parallels between the shock of Brexit in the UK and the shock of the advent of Donald Trump as President of the United States. In particular on both sides of the Atlantic there is a powerful sense of the role of the media in both events. Of course, Trump himself is a product of celebrity culture who managed, improbably, to turn a reality TV show into a platform for government. Through the power of the alternative media he was able to create a platform and a power base. The supporters of Brexit many of whom, such as Nigel Farage, are close to Trump also followed an alternative media playbook.

Both the Leave campaign and the Trump campaign played fast and loose with the truth, or to put it plainly- they lied.

There are doubtless many other parallels in the campaign, but what has happened since the the advent of May and Trump- May unelected as PM and Trump 3 million votes behind in the popular vote- is instructive. Neither government can claim a fully legitimate mandate, yet both are following an agenda that is extreme and, by the standards pertaining before 2016, illegitimate.

However the overwhelming difference is that in the United States the majority of the media are attacking the policies of the controversial President. In the UK, by contrast, the majority of the media is so supportive that they are demanding that the the Conservative government be even more extreme.

Theresa May is following an agenda that is directly dictated by the editorial policy of the Daily Mail.

What is particularly outrageous is that the newspapers that advocate the most extreme- and in my view damaging- policies have several things in common. The are all owned via tax efficient holdings, often foreign or offshore. They do not pay the full amount of tax due to the UK, while at the same time hypocritically savaging those deemed guilty of a lack of patriotism to the UK. These targets for abuse seem to include include such "radicals" as any judge, politician, actor, sportsman- or indeed any public figure- who speaks up against them. The disgraceful invective that is launched against those who dissent from their dangerous, damaging and occasionally out-and-out evil agenda is truly terrifying. 

The United Nations has condemned the hatred put out by the UK right wing press, but the response from the five off-shore and foreign billionaires who control 60% of the UK press has been to double down on the hatred, confident that no one will not dare challenge them, even when there is proof positive of activity- such as phone hacking- that is unambiguously and undeniably criminal.

So whereas in the United States the media is challenging power, in the UK the media is cheering on extremism- it is power. Figures such as Paul Dacre- backed by his proprietor Lord Rothermere, who Private Eye named as one who falsely claims non-domiciled status in order to avoid taxes-  spew forth an agenda that is fully in keeping with the Daily Mail of the 1930's. At that time the Mail supported the Blackshirts of the British Union of Fascists. The Barclay Brothers- the owners of the Telegraph- avoid tax by living on the island of Sark, where their attitudes have earned them the loathing of most of the islanders. The owner of the Daily Express- a newspaper that refuses to accept even the toothless regulation of Press Complaints Council and in consequence repeatedly prints lies with no sanction- is a porn baron, Richard Desmond

Then there is Rupert Murdoch. The charge sheet against this Australian naturalized American is long indeed, but the "dirty Digger" has acquired a level of power and influence that few- if any- have ever acquired without holding political office. Yet he has been investigated and censured by the UK Parliament and several of his highest executives jailed.

These five men, these five billionaires, are evil men who serve an evil cause. 

For as long as they control the UK media, the country will find it exceptionally difficult to change course. The incompetence and arrogance of the May government is coupled with cowardice in the face of the hatred and bile of the press. The result is that while Donald Trump is being challenged by his media, the UK is being incited to jump from the bridge by the baying mob orchestrated by the corrupt and criminal press barons.

As the break-up of the Kingdom moves inexorably forward, with Scotland now facing another referendum and Northern Ireland fearing a return to the abyss of violence that a Brexit hard border would very likely create; as millions- both British and European- now contemplate the economic disaster beginning to unfold and make plans to leave; as it begins to dawn on the British people how much they have been lied to by the Brexit mob; so the worst predictions emerge as the grim reality.

When the time comes to name the guilty men, the five billionaires, and those who did their bidding, should be the first to receive condemnation.

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