Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 44) or I deny having any part in the anti-Ken smear campaign

It was predictable enough that the Tory-controlled press, as well as the BBC, would line up behind Boris Johnson in the London Mayoral Elections. Those who seek to deny that the media played any part in the re-election of Boris Johnson are deluding themselves and lying to the rest of us. So it comes as no surprise that Kennite would write yet another poison pen letter to Ken Livingstone while denying that the media played any part in Johnson’s re-election.

Today, Gilligoon writes,

In 2008 Ken Livingstone could plausibly claim that his defeat was due to the unpopularity of Gordon Brown. This time there really can be no excuses – Labour in London is 19 per cent ahead in the polls – but that didn’t stop Ken making one. Complaining about his “incredible media battering,” he devoted a large part of his concession speech to attacking the press.

It’s mendacious stuff. He then adds,

One of the “smears” was presumably my story about Livingstone’s tax avoidance – which today’s Guardian describes as “ruinous” for his campaign. It’s not a smear if it’s true, Ken – which was no doubt why you could never produce those tax returns of yours. Nobody ever needs to make anything up about Livingstone; he gives us more than enough material of his own accord.

You can guarantee that the same attention will not be paid to Johnson, who will get a free ride from Kennite and the rest of the Tory-dominated press for the duration of his tenure. The fact that Johnson lost three deputy mayors in the space of a year or that he moonlights for the same paper that Gilligan writes for is neither here nor there to them because he is one of them. Kennite is apologizing for a newspaper industry that routinely interferes in the democratic process. If you were in any doubt as to what I am talking about, cast your eyes over these Sun front pages from 1992.

To claim that the media had nothing at all to do with Boris Johnson’s narrow victory is nothing short of an outright lie. Since the 1980’s, the Labour Party has had to dance to the tune of the Murdoch Press, the Rothermere Press and the Daily Telegraph.  Blair realized that in order for Labour to win in 1997, he had to suck up to the country’s right-wing newspaper barons. For him, it wasn’t that difficult a decision to schmooze such people because he came from the same place as them.  As I pointed out in a previous blog, Kennite produced at least two smear stories a day. This is what the right-wing press has been doing for decades. Just have a look at how they are covering the French Presidential Elections.

Now that Livingstone has retired from electoral politics, will that stop the smears? Probably not. In fact, Kennite may well continue to smear him. I mean, who else has he got? Without Livingstone, Kennite hasn’t got an awful lot to say beyond that… unless it’s to make the accusation that his enemies are “Islamist sympathizers”.

Elsewhere on Torygraph blogs, Hatchet-job Hodges pretends that the re-election of Johnson had nothing to do with the constant drip feed of smears,

Ken Livingstone has had a wretched campaign. Tax avoidance,  anti-Jewish slurs and tears at his own campaign script are not a fitting legacy for a man who at the height of his powers was skilfully and aggressively wielding a larger popular mandate  than any Labour politician in the land.

 These “anti-Jewish” slurs were a concoction. Yet few people, except me, seemed willing or able to challenge them. What I find so strange about Hodges is that he claims to be a member of the Labour Party but like so many other ‘modernizers’ (for that word read “Blairite”) is more than happy to put the knife into his own side and rally behind a Tory candidate.  If he is still a member of the party, perhaps Mister Ed should consider expelling him. But as we already know, the Labour Party is far more willing to expel socialists from its ranks than any turncoats who urge the public to vote Conservative.

The Leveson Inquiry may have exposed the incestuously close relationship  between the Tory-supporting press and politicians but  it has yet to demand that the industry’s playing field be levelled.  That won’t happen. Britain will continue to have a newspaper industry that sees its role, not to report the facts about candidates and their policies, but to corrupt the electoral process by orchestrating smear campaigns against those people who articulate the concerns of the disenfranchised and the least powerful in our society. The newspaper industry in this country serves no one but the interests of capital and the party (ies) that protects those interests. This is what passes for a “free press”. 

Yesterday Downing Street requested that it be given access to witness statements in the Leveson Inquiry. Nowhere Towers suspects that this is an attempt by the government to spike the guns of the inquiry and thus corrupt the process.

As long as we have a newspaper industry that is dominated by reactionary and self-serving interests, we will never have a proper democratic system and people like Kennite will always be free to spread their poison.

Neither Kennite or Hodges have talked about a single Johnson policy. Now that’s revealing. Because beyond smashing the RMT , introducing driverless tube trains and an expensive bus, he has no real policies and they know it.


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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, London, London Mayoral election 2012, Media, Tory press, Yellow journalism

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