Tag Archives: right wing press

Brace Yourselves, Here Come The Tory Lies About Immigration

I’ve just been listening to the very unpleasant, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary talk about what he called Labour’s ‘open door immigration’ policy. This is not just a signal that the Tories intend to revert to their comfortable default position, it’s also a glaring example of racist dog-whistling. We know that over the decades, the British press has sold its readers stories of how immigration is bad, how it drives wages down, how immigrants are coming here and ‘taking our jobs’ and so on. Petty nativism and small-minded xenophobia sell papers, but don’t provide the public with the details they need to make informed choices. Instead, many members of the public internalize these lies and accept them as truths.

The Tories, Brexit Party and UKIP all talk about how they want to see an ‘Australian points-based system’. When I hear politicians use that phrase, I think of Australia’s whites only immigration policy, which I suspect they really want to implement here. Raab also repeated the line, also uttered by his fellow Randroid, Priti Patel, that they wanted the ‘best and the brightest’ to come to this country. Somehow, I can’t see ‘the best and the brightest’ wanting to come here. Why would they? Why would they want to come to a small backwater off the north-west coast of Europe, especially if they’re well qualified? They’ll go to Canada or the United States. I’ve read stories of how doctors and dentists from African countries and the Indian subcontinent come here, only to be told that their qualifications aren’t recognized. They end up working as cleaners, cab drivers and security guards.

Kenan Malik, writing in The Guardian in this April, wrote about the flaws in the Australian points-based system and its baked-in racism.

Australia introduced its points-based immigration system in the 1970s. The idea was to create a kind of non-racist version of the “white Australia” policy that had held sway for almost a century. Middle-class professionalism now came to replace “whiteness” as the measure of a good migrant. The trouble is, being middle class and skilled guarantees neither a job nor social acceptance.

A study last year showed that of skilled migrants from non-English speaking countries who came to Australia between 2011 and 2016, fewer than a third had found a professional or managerial job. Another study revealed that such migrants were 25% more likely to be in the bottom income quintile than either migrants from English-speaking countries (primarily white migrants) or those born in Australia. The unemployment rate for recent migrants on a permanent visa is more than 50% higher than it is for Australians in general.

He adds:

There is also the question of racism. A study by the economist Andrew Leigh showed that an individual with an Anglo-Saxon name is far more likely to get a job interview than someone with the same qualifications and experience, but with a Chinese, Middle Eastern or Indigenous Australian name.

We haven’t left the European Union, but already we have people being told to ‘go home’ because they look different and speak with an accent. The Australian points-based system that right-wing politicians long for are just words that are used to placate xenophobes and racists. In reality, such a system would still discriminate against people of colour.

Whether politicians like Raab, Patel, Farage et all want to admit or not, Britain relies heavily on immigrant labour to plug the gaps in the workforce. Our NHS especially relies on immigrant labour and so does agriculture. Last month when I tweeted about fruit being left to rot in the field because there was no one to pick it, I was rounded on by angry Brexiteers and self-styled Lexiters, who first claimed that ‘farmers hadn’t prepared’ for this, while someone else said ‘I hope they go out of business’. Others told me that the unemployed should be forced to pick fruit for their benefits. The fact of the matter is that fruit pickers from EU countries don’t want to come here anymore, because they’ve heard how foreign workers aren’t welcome. None of the people who attacked me, especially the Lexiters, would admit that this was a factor. Worse, they seemed to have no problem with food waste. Ironically, the papers which usually publish lies on their front pages about immigration, also complained about millions of apples being left to rot.

These people really don’t know what they want.

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Filed under General Election 2019, Media, racism, Racism, Society & culture

Corbyn And The Media (Part 2) or “The Members Don’t Matter”

The Labour Party now has over 500,000 members, many of whom have joined since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. Most politicians would chew off their right arm to get these kinds of numbers joining their party but not the Blairites. Indeed the most common response from them and their allies in the right-wing press is “the members aren’t the electorate” or “members don’t matter”.  Sometimes this is qualified with “Labour needs to win over Tory voters”. Let’s take each of these in turn.

To the first two replies, I always offer the following response: “When was the last time a party in the contemporary era with fewer than 100,000 members last form the government or the official opposition”? The silence to the question is always deafening. More members mean more people to argue the party’s case on the streets, in the workplaces, the pubs and other social spaces.  Party members are also part of the electorate. This is something the Labour plotters and their allies in the right-wing media have consistently ignored. They ignore it, not because they are blind, but because they know it’s the truth. Hundreds of thousands of newly politicized people scares the living bejesus out of the establishment.

This leads me on to the claim that Labour “needs to win over Tory voters” in order to win a General Election. There is no evidence to support this claim. When those who make this claim use the Nu Labour landslide of 1997 as their only mitigating response, it tells us only one thing: they haven’t paid attention to the fact that after 18 years of Tory rule, people were fed up and wanted something different. They’d have voted for anyone as long as they weren’t Tories. But those days are long behind us and the world has changed. The Third Way fails to meet the needs of the millions of people who have seen their incomes stagnate and the cost of living rise exponentially. People want hope and they want change. To tell them that “we must live with the world as it is and not how we’d like it to be” is no better than saying “tough shit”.

During the Blair-Brown-Miliband years, Labour lost 5 million voters and thousands of members. When I put this point to the Blairite MP, Jamie Reed on Twitter, he replied somewhat cryptically with “3 million dead”. Such a flippant reply reveals the arrogance of politicians like Reed, who are only in Parliament to feather their nests and satisfy their egos.  I mean, how dare you question them on their lack of vision or their contempt for their members? You should be tugging your forelock and lavishing praise on them.

Here’s Reed speaking to the Huffington Post. He claims that “Corbynistas (sic) hate humour”. I can remember the racist and sexist comedians of the 1970s brushing off criticisms of their humour with “it’s just a joke”. Reed’s defence is no less dishonest.

“There’s nothing like getting told to die by an anonymous egg,” says Jamie Reed, the Labour MP and lightning rod for Twitter abuse from supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

He knows why he gets it in the neck, but refuses to curb his criticism of his party leader on social media to pacify the “trolls”.

Remember even the slightest criticism is considered as either “abuse” or “trolling” by these oh-so-sensitive people.

The Huffington Post takes him at his word and gushes.

By contrast, Reed is playful, owing as much to Viz comic, the Beano and Carry On … as the tenets of the 1997 general election landslide. His Twitter avatar has been the British actor Andrew Lincoln in zombie series The Walking Dead. It is currently the leader of the Rebel Alliance starfighter corps from Star Wars.

 “Playful”? He’s poison.
More telling is this:
He says former Tony Blair adviser John McTernan put it best: the hard Left hates humour. “It can’t co-exist with it. Just treating people who are clearly incensed – and in some case for reasons they don’t know why – with a light touch is something they hate.”
McTernan recently told his Telegraph readers that the government should “crush the RMT”. Are these really the words of someone who claims to be a Labour Party member? Remember, McTernan lost Scotland for Labour and cost former Australian PM, Julia Gillard her job. He’s about as Labour as Enoch Powell. Anyone who uses the words of John McTernan to support their case doesn’t belong in the Labour Party.
Reed even thought that Miliband was too left-wing and worked to overthrow him.
Reed played a central role in the failed attempt to oust former Labour leader Ed Miliband before the general election, and is angry about him distancing the party from New Labour.
So there you have it. Unless the leadership gets a grip and moves to jettison these Blairites, then the Labour Party is doomed to go the same way of the US Democratic Party or Spain’s PSOE.  Labour leadership, take note.

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The Labour Leadership Contest: Who’s Voting? The Party Members Or The Tory Media?

Whose leadership contest is this? The Labour Party’s or the right-wing media? First, the Blairites tell us who they want as leader of the Labour Party (as if we didn’t know already), then the Tory-controlled press pipes up to tell us who should be leader. I always thought the members decided by secret ballot who becomes the next Labour leader. It seems the media gets in on the act too. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the word ‘modernizer’ prefacing a candidate’s name. For example, James Landale, the BBC’s Old Etonian and contemporary of David Cameron, will claim that “Yvette Cooper is a modernizer” and Chuka Umunna “is known as a modernizer”. It seems to me that the word ‘modernizer’ is a euphemistic way of claiming “this is a candidate who has the approval of Britain’s Tory-dominated media” but which also suggests “they won’t be beholden to the unions”.

The BBC said of Chuka Umunna.

He’s always been seen as smart and ambitious, metropolitan and a moderniser – he appeared alongside Lord Mandelson on Andrew Marr’s sofa on Sunday.

Appearing alongside the undead Mandelson was seen by the BBC as both an anointment of Umunna and a vindication of Blairism. Fuck off.

The British press has been hysterical in its coverage of the leadership election. Take this thinly-disguised hatchet job in the Daily Mail. Or this one that stokes the fires of “Red Len” paranoia.

The hardline Socialist boss of Unite – Labour’s chief paymaster and sponsor of more than 60 per cent of its MPs – has a visceral hatred of Blairite ‘modernisers’, who seek to reconnect the party with aspirational middle England following its humiliation in the general election.

And he’s doing everything in his power to drive them out.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy – a prominent Blairite – is the latest casualty.

He resigned on Saturday over what he described as the ‘poisonous’ war being waged by Mr McCluskey and his supporters against the modernisers.

It’s almost like reading a Daily Mail article from the 1920s. “The hardline Socialist boss of Unite” it screams hysterically. Notice how the word socialism is emphasized using an upper case ‘S’. Oh, scary. I’d better look under my bed to see if Grigory Zinoviev’s corpse is lying underneath. If you manage to get to the end of the article, there are a few paragraphs about Cameron’s former ‘adviser’, Steve Hilton too.

With the Labour party in deep disarray, Mr Cameron has a chance to lead one of the most reforming – and longstanding – Governments of recent times.

As the Situationist graffiti once said, ” Reform, my ass”. Hilton’s only telling us what we already know. Fuck off.

A day later, a slightly cheerier Mail article breezily declares that “Unions will not get to choose Labour leader”.

Modernisers in the Labour party want to avoid what happened when Ed Miliband beat his brother David for the job with the support of the unions.

It left the Tories able to claim the unions picked the leader, chose the policies and bankrolled the Labour party.

Ah, the damned dissembling Daily Mail, where would we be without your version of the truth? Of course, there’s no mention here of the hedge fund managers and construction companies that bankroll the Conservative Party. Unions are bad, yet JCB is good. Fuck off.

Over at the Daily Telegraph, Dan Hodges thought he knew who should be the next Labour leader, so he picked Dan Jarvis, who ruled himself out. Then Dan plumped for Chuka Umunna (with caveats), who then dropped out of the race last Friday. Poor Hodgie must be in bits. I can’t see any candidate in the race currently who’d appeal to the irredentist former Labourite, well, Blairite. Oh, hang on, there’s always Tristy. He crosses picket lines, so he’s bound to get Hodgie’s support. But then Tristy then ruled himself out of the contest and pledged his support for the Blairite, Liz Kendall while plunging the knife between Andy Burnham’s shoulder blades. Fuck’s sake.

From The [barely] Independent,

Tristram Hunt has decided not to enter the race to replace Ed Miliband as Labour leader and has thrown his support behind fellow moderniser Liz Kendall.

There’s that word “moderniser” again.

Hodges was clearly tearful when arch-Blairite, Jim Murphy sort of announced his resignation as leader of Scottish Labour. He blames Len McCluskey for Murphy’s in-out-shake-it-all-about resignation. Truth be told, rank and file Labourites were fed up with him, because Jim Murphy only cares about one thing: Jim Murphy. He can fuck off.

Hodges claims with a straight face,

For the past week it looked like the wheels were coming off the Labour Party. Right now it looks as if the whole car is about to be dragged to the junk yard and pounded into scrap.

Remember this is the man who has spent the last five years kicking the shit out of the party he claims to support. This is the man who is a friend of Lynton Crosby. If the car is “about to be dragged to the junkyard”, then it’s partly due to hacks like Hodges spending so much time and effort slagging the party off in papers like the Torygraph.  In fact, the day after the election, Dan wasted no time putting the boot into Ed Miliband.

And so Ed Miliband began to grow before our eyes. He was doing all right. Actually, you know what, he was doing quite well. Blimey, he was doing very well. OK, you’re not going to believe this, but Ed Miliband could actually be our prime minister.

When I say “our eyes” I mean the media’s eyes. The eyes of his own activists. The eyes of some his own MPs.

That reminds me, Dan. Have you actually left the Labour party yet? Isn’t it time you fucked off and joined the Tories?

In this article, Hodges borrows his title from the infamous S*n headline of May 1992. He even has a ‘quiz’ that asks the truly daft question:

Quiz: can you tell the Labour manifesto from that of the Communist Party?

I saw nothing in the Labour Party manifesto that could vaguely be described as “communist” (sic) . Clearly Hodges is playing to his rabid right-wing readership that views such things as equality and tolerance as ‘communist’. Three days ago, in the same paper, “Telegraph View” claimed:

The Labour Party is in trouble. There is a battle for its heart and soul raging – and it is unclear who will win. On one side stand union leaders and Left-wing activists, who refuse to acknowledge the mistakes of the past. On the other are modernisers with their eyes on a more moderate future. Yesterday afternoon, Jim Murphy, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, became a casualty in this war.

What exactly is meant by “moderate future”? The one envisaged by the current extreme right-wing government that has Michael Gove as Justice Secretary? Fuck off.

Yesterday, The [Hardly] Independent claimed:

Allies of Ed Miliband accused Britain’s biggest trade union of trying to keep modernisers off the ballot paper in the Labour leadership election amid fears that it could be limited to a two-horse race between Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper.

The bitter row between senior Labour figures and Unite intensified as it was claimed that the union was putting pressure on Labour MPs not to nominate modernisers Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh and Tristram Hunt in the election to choose Mr Miliband’s successor.

The Cat doesn’t recall the British media getting so involved in the Conservative leadership contests, yet the press barons and news editors seem to believe that they have the right to decide the outcome of the Labour leadership election. Free press? In this country? Fuck off.

The insane British media caravan rumbles on. But seriously, it can fuck off.

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Filed under BBC, Free Press Myth, Government & politics, Ideologies, Labour, Labour leadership contest, Media, propaganda, Tory press

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#14)

You’re going to love this comment. Man, is this a doozy. I found this comment on one of The Lyin’ King’s (Dan Hannan) blogs.

The blog, titled “Capitalism: the environment’s best friend” tries to make the claim that unfettered, that is to say laissez-faire, capitalism is best for the environment. Hannan has posted a video of himself speaking in the European Parliament.  in which he claims that capitalism is giving us “cleaner air” (sic). To this he adds, “the best thing to happen to the environment was the collapse of the Berlin Wall”… just sit back and take that in for a moment. I know, barking. Isn’t it?

Now to the comment. This one is from “spencerisright” but I think “spencer” is a little deluded in thinking that he (and it has to be a ‘he’) is “right”.

spenceriswrong

Yes, “spencer” thinks that the prospect of “increased co2” will spell a bumper harvest for the world’s farmers. What “spenceriswrong” has failed to consider is the fact that increased levels of CO2 will kill humanity and all animal life. And they say that right-wingers aren’t thick? Pull the other one.

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Fancy a laager? Britain’s right-wing press does.

You can tell something’s wrong: the usual suspects in Britain’s right-wing media have been working overtime to smear Tom Watson and discredit abuse victim, Steven Messham. The most recent effort in the Daily Heil was penned by notorious propagandist and smear jockey, David Rose, whom Tom Pride outed as a phony yesterday.

Ian Bone tells us that Rose’s hatchet-job has been pulled from the Mail’s website. 

The Right have retreated into their laager mentality and are now lashing out without a single thought. They accuse Newsnight of shoddy reporting, yet here they are thrashing about, throwing punches at anyone who asks serious questions about a high level paedophile ring that has operated in this country for the better part of 40 years with the protection of the police and the security services.

Anyone would think that there was a massive cover-up happening with the collusion of right-wing journalists, who smear the victims and accuse those who want to get at the truth of being “hysterical”.

What these hacks don’t realize is that by smearing Watson and ridiculing Messham, they are party to the cover-up.

Yesterday, former Tory minister, David ‘Toe Job’ Mellor appeared on The Sunday Politics. He called Messham “a weirdo”. Brillo didn’t challenge him but later claimed on Twitter that he didn’t approve of Mellor’s language. It’s a bit late for that. No? Besides, why is Mellor on our telly screens anyway? Didn’t he resign in disgrace? What’s he got to offer? Nothing. Back in your box, Toe Job.

Today’s Heil carries this article from headbanger Andrew Pierce, who paints Watson as a “zealot”.

There is no doubt that Tom Watson is a tenacious crusader. Indeed, he deserves considerable credit for his pioneering determination to expose the shameful and illegal behaviour of journalists at the News Of The World, where hacking was rife. It was why Watson was voted Backbench MP of the Year in 2011.

But many colleagues now fear he has overstepped the mark with his claims of a paedophile ring with No 10 links. And many are now beginning to question whether, as well as a quest for justice, his antipathy towards the Tories – and in particular Margaret Thatcher – has driven this latest campaign.

You can tell this numpty is a fan of The Auld Witch. He concludes,

But two years later he was embroiled in controversy once again with the resignation of Damian McBride as Brown’s spin doctor. McBride had lived up to his ‘McPoison’ nickname when it emerged that he had concocted untrue and offensive emails to try to smear Tory MPs.

McBride resigned, and Watson was accused of being implicated. He denied it and later told friends that what followed was ‘the worst week of my political life’.

After Brown lost the election in 2010, Watson joined the Culture, Media and Sport select committee. Just two days later phone hacking was back on the front pages, the committee decided to investigate it, and Watson turned it into a personal crusade.

Pure poison.

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Filed under Media, propaganda, Tory press, Yellow journalism

The Winter of Discontent: a media event

The abiding image of 1979 but was this scene was not universal

Last night I was watching Dominic Sandbrook’s one-sided look at the 1970s and was reminded how much the right are fond of bringing up the phrase “The Winter of Discontent” at every opportunity. Whenever 1979 is mentioned, archive footage of piles of uncollected rubbish accompanies the stentorian narration as if to say “Look, this is what happens when unions are too strong”.

The reality of life in the 70’s with its ethnic tensions, inflation, casual and overt racism and ideological polarization is barely touched upon nor is the fact that there were forces in this country that wanted to stage a coup against an elected government (to be fair, Sandbrook touched on it). The  ideologically driven Heath government is painted, on the one hand,  as being hamstrung by bolshie unions and on the other hand, as a victim of world events that spiralled out of control. There is no mention of its terminal incompetence save for Heath’s 1974 election slogan “Who governs Britain”?

Sandbrook had been building up to the ‘Thatcher’ moment  since the start of the series. His ideologically-charged narrative pointed the accusatory finger at the unions and the Labour Party. He repeated the by now familiar canard that the nationalized industries were a failure and that they were costing the taxpayer (a word of power for the Tories) far too much money. But this was a time when Britain actually made things. It had a shipbuilding industry, forged its own steel, built cars and dug its own coal. It made things that it could sell.  Now it’s all gone. The demise of these industries was blamed on the unions. The miners, who had been heroes during World War II, were cast as enemies of the state by Sandbrook (and the Tories), not as men who were fighting for better pay and conditions. Then there were the shipyard workers who were fighting to modernize an industry that was largely stuck in the 1920s, who were also cast in a similar role. Heath had proposed to close the Upper Clyde shipyards, not because they weren’t profitable or efficient but because he didn’t like the colour of the worker’s politics. The workers responded by holding a “work-in” rather than walk out. Their strategy worked and the shipyards remained.

Nowhere in Sandbrook’s narrative were Britain’s lazy and incompetent managers and directors to be found. Indeed the Right never mentions them. It is as if they were innocent of any blame for the state of the economy or the country’s poor performance abroad.

I can remember early in my working life watching directors roll up in their Jaguars or Daimlers at 4pm looking well-fed and watered. These ruddy-faced, gin-soaked men knew that no one could shift them from their positions – even if they performed badly. They were there for life if they wanted it and many of them were. They were more than content to deflect the blame for their failures and place it on the shoulders of those who helped to pay their inflated salaries.

This passage from an article from The Week puts the Winter of 1978/79 into perspective.

The so-called ‘Winter of Discontent’ of 1979 – which ushered in Thatcherism – is also shrouded in myth. James Callaghan never said ‘Crisis, what crisis’ – that was an invention of The Sun. The strikes themselves only lasted for a comparatively short period and were largely over by February 1979.

As this passage shows us, much of what we see on our television screens about the 1970s has been constructed by the right-wing press – particularly the Murdoch press, who were responsible for constructing the majority of the myths that have been perpetuated by the Tories and their allies to this day. This image of ‘militant’ trade unions has been fed directly into the right’s architecture of mythology into which extreme right-wing groups like the Trade Union Reform Campaign have inserted themselves.

 The Winter of Discontent myth has talismanic properties. Its invocation was designed to stop critics of the neoliberal project and defenders of trade union rights in their tracks. And for the better part of 30 years, it has worked well for the Right. Even Kinnock’s Labour Party ran scared of the horror show put on by the Tories.

Britain in the 1970’s may have been a politically polarized country but workers had a greater sense of class solidarity. There was also a greater sense of community.  Many communities had formed around pitheads and steel mills. Once Thatcher sold off the steel industry and shut the mines, the communities around them died. By the 1980s, the managers and directors who had wreaked so much havoc through a combination of gross incompetence and crass self-interest had crawled off into the darkness. It was if they never existed and the Tories were happy for them never to be mentioned again.

But such things have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt governments. We now have a situation where Britain’s economy is over-reliant on financial services. Yet, the current government, for all their warm words, have little will or inclination to change things. The current situation where rentier capitalists and other parasites dominate the nation’s economy suits them just fine. They will continue to lie and create myths to fool people into thinking that their way is the only way.

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Plural media or supine media? The right’s media claims don’t stack up

Jeremy Rhyming-Slang: Murdoch can count on him to do the 'right' thing

There are many right-whingers in this country who constantly moan about ‘BBC bias’. It seems to me that none of them actually pay any attention the BBC’s news output, particularly with regards to corporation’s reportage of the recent student protests. Throughout its history, the BBC has been more biased against the left and the working class than it has the right: the General Strike of 1929, the Battle of Orgreave Colliery are a couple of examples of this tendency. Then, in the aftermath of the 9/11, old footage of celebrating Palestinians was grafted onto current footage to help reinforce the myth that all Muslims hate America (this ignores the fact that there are Christian Palestinians). These are examples of real bias yet the right say nothing – and for obvious reasons.

Make no mistake, the right’s claim that the BBC is ‘biased against them’ is a nothing more than a manifestation of control freakery. They won’t be content until all the news media of this country reflects their views. Guido Fawkes blog tells us that “breaking up the BBC” will actually create a “plural media”. The subtext to this demand is that right-wingers like Staines want Murdoch to increase his stake in BSkyB. Murdoch already owns The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, The News of the World, Times Educational Supplement, The Times Literary Supplement and publishers Harper Collins.  Staines says,

The BBC must therefore be an even worse threat to “media plurality”, particularly when one considers that it is protected from fair competition by a state subsidy via taxation. Somehow this doesn’t worry the Guardian, which is hardly surprising because BBC News often feels like the broadcast arm of that paper. When one considers that the BBC overwhelmingly recruits from its pages the Guardian-BBC axis is abundantly clear.

The fact that media jobs (note I said media jobs) are advertised in The Guardian is not an indication of media bias any more than teaching jobs advertised in the Murdoch-owned TES will necessarily attract an overwhelming number of right wing, Tory- voting teachers. It’s a facile assertion. What Staines fails to understand is that the numbers of media jobs advertised in The Times and The Telegraph are fewer than in The Guardian because their media sections are smaller. The Guardian has had a dedicated media section for a number of years. This has not been the case with the right wing press.

Douglas Carswell chimes in with this

Creating a framework that allows local TV to flourish – and without public funds – would give a real boost to localism.  A patchwork of local TV stations across the country would help folk keep tabs on their ever more autonomous council – and their directly-elected police commissioner and mayor.

Besides, it would, as Guido suggests, give us a more decentralised, more plural media.

These TV stations will more than likely be bought up by larger concerns. This is exactly what happened to many local newspapers in the 1980’s which were bought up by larger publishing companies. As for a “plural media” how exactly will this be achieved by creating ‘local television stations’? ITV franchises like Anglia, Thames and Granada once provided quality local news until deregulation forced them to consolidate. Localism, my eye.

When the Broadcasting Act (1990) was passed, the Major government claimed that it would lead to more ‘choice’. 19 years after the Act was passed, it has led to dilution, repetition, dumbing down and a greater choice of rubbish. Television companies, including the BBC,  have been involved in a race to the bottom since the Act was passed. Commercial radio has fared even worse with much of the music output, for instance, duplicated across channels.  Interestingly enough the Act also provided a convenient loophole to protect Murdoch’s Sky which was defined as a “non-UK service”.

What the Tories and their supporters actually want is a supine media that disseminates their ideology and only asks polticians what Americans call ‘softball questions’. They want a British equivalent of Fox News which, in spite of its name, contains very little news and a lot of right wing opinion. Fox News, as Chomsky and Herman observe, is little more than an “unofficial ministry of information”. No doubt this is what Jeremy Hunt and his supporters want to see. Not content with having most of the newspapers on their side, they want control of the rest of the media too.

The last thing this country needs is to have the likes of Richard Littlejohn or Nick Ferrari elevated to the same status as Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity in the States.

Don’t let Murdoch get his own way. Please sign the petition.

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Filed under allegations of bias, Media, News Corporation, Society & culture, television, Tory press

Postcards From the Barricades (Part 3): a look at what the Tory press is saying

Since the national student demo in London on Wednesday, the Tory press has waged a campaign of smears and disinformation.  The issue revolves around the use of the word “violence” and what it means. The BBC have led the way in insisting that there were “violent scenes” at Millbank Tower. Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine have all tried to claim that the intention of the students was to act in a violent manner.  Paxman’s questioning of Claire Solomon, who seems to have been identified as a sort of ‘ringleader’, took the line of a CPS prosecutor and thus was the interrogatory voice of the state. The attitude of the BBC’s anchors and reporters has been consistent with that of a state broadcaster – yet the bods at the Telegraph still have the gall to claim that the BBC  is “biased” towards  Tories, Europhobes and other right wing lunatics (remember the run up to the Iraq invasion or the Battle of Orgreave Colliery?).

The entire Tory press without exception has made the claim that the protest was violent and was hijacked by ‘outsiders’. Writing in the Telegraph, The Great Lord of Darkness said,

No doubt our Chinese friends had a pretty good laugh at the TV news showing our happy students in democratic Britain express their delight at their lot by trashing buildings and assaulting the police,

Here is the lie that students “assaulted” the police.  I was there, I saw no student assault a policeman/woman. I would demand evidence from Tebbitt but I know that it will not be forthcoming. Here we also have a clue into their thinking: property is more important that people or their needs. The police’s primary role in our capitalist society is to protect property from the masses.

Benedict Brogan, blogging for the same paper repeated the line about “violence”,

Westminster and the police have been caught on the hop by the size and violence of the demonstration currently battering the glass walls of Millbank tower, or specifically 30 Millbank, the lowrise part of the complex where CCHQ is based.

He continues,

Objects are being thrown, and there appears to be a separate confrontation going on inside the lobby. Heads are being cracked, and some of the more excitable demonstrators seem eager to take on the cops. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Aaron Porter, the leader of the NUS, was on the telly last week using fairly extreme language to warn that students would hound MPs in their constituencies.

Hang on, no heads were cracked. Furthermore, Aaron Porter made some pusillanimous statement about “condemning the actions of a small minority”. I guess our Benny didn’t see that. The truth sort of gets in the way of a good horror story. Brogan uses the occasion of the demonstrations to make a cheap swipe at the opposition,

the NUS and Labour have formed such a tight alliance on the issue: this protest is in effect a Labour protest, and however the NUS and Labour try to disown the riot, it is their show – it wouldn’t have happened without them.

Let me get this straight, this was a “Labour protest”? I saw no one from the Labour Party (though it is possible that some students had voted Labour) on the march yet Brogan has made the suggestion Labour being behind the demonstration and, by extension, the ‘violence’. His last paragraph is very telling and reveals the lies that the right wing press resort to,

UPDATE @10.15pm: Labour chums have chided me for being unfair and tendentious when I suggest that the riot was the NUS and Labour’s show. Of course I don’t mean that they orchestrated it or even willed it. But Labour has lined itself against this reform, it supported the march, Harriet Harman made a big number out of taunting Nick Clegg about tuition fees at PMQs, and the NUS is a Labour subsidiary and forcing house for Labour politicians. So when what was supposed to be a Labour supported demo designed to put political pressure on the Coalition ends up with the mess at Millbank, I reckon it’s fair to say that this is an awkward moment for Labour.

Again, he has no evidence to claim that this was a “Labour supported demo”, so he lies.

This blogger calls herself “CyberBoris”...guess who she supports? She chides those horrid lefty students and suggests to them that they  should have adopted Gandhi’s tactics,

Twitter is awash with students foaming at the mouth, in their illogical and ill-judged attempts to insist that peaceful protest does not work.  “Can anyone” squeaked @noldorstu “name a peaceful protest that achieved something?”  “Yes!” I tweeted back enthusiastically.  “Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March and his policy of peaceful protest that changed the history of India!”  I didn’t even go to uni, so possibly David Cameron might consider raising tuition fees to £18K.  These students are clearly ill informed and any investment in such a volatile risk is money down the pan!

Er, wait a minute, someone hasn’t actually read their history here and has plucked out a single event (probably from Dickie Attenborough’s film, Gandhi). Besides, peaceful protesters usually end up dead. She’s completely ignored the fact that Gandhi was assassinated (or that he was a raving anti-Semite). Here is my first comment,

Yes, the whole of India was transformed by partition and the violence that ensued in the aftermath. Nice bit of propaganda there. Of course, you wouldn’t find it ironic that ex-Bullingdon Club members condemn a group of students who smashed a couple of windows.

And hers,

The truth is not propoganda. It was the peaceful protest that made the difference, the violence was something else.

This argument about the Bullingdon Club is absolutely pathetic. There was no violence even remotely resembling the violence yesterday. They all just got pissed and chucked a few flower pots. You are utterly ridiculous to bring this up.

Even when they are confronted with the truth, they lie. The Bullingdon Club’s antics are legendary and have even been the subject of a Channel 4 film written by the Honourable Tobes. What I find so amusing about her reply is the way she says “The truth is not propoganda”.  She quite clearly understands neither. She refuses to acknowledge the antics of the Bullingdon Club nor does she want to do her own work.

Just not any good to produce unsubstantiated accusations against the Bullingdon Club. Where is your evidence that what they did was any more serious than a few smashed glasses, the odd window and some flower pots, caused by heavy drinking? “Accounts are legion?” That’s not evidence. Produce some evidence or withdraw your daft statement.

Pathetic. This is a classic example of Tory denial that goes well with their sense of entitlement.

Back to the Torygraph, Today’s edition says that a “Lawyer’s son was behind the student protests”. Fuck’s sake, what is it with these right wingers? The article says that,

History student Karl Sielman-Parry, who uses the alias “WorkersDreadnought”, said a “workers and students’ bloc” should band together rather than go along with the official National Union of Students’ march.

He distributed a leaflet stamped with the anarchist “A” symbol calling for “Direct Action!, Occupation!, Strike”.

I wonder where they get this information from? Well, it turns out that the Telegraph and the other Tory papers have been trawling Britain’s student population for snitches. This article tries to tell us that students aren’t in charge of their own thoughts and actions and have to rely on a group of outsiders to stir up trouble,

The Radical Workers’ and Students’ Bloc, identified by red and black flags flown from the roof of Millbank Tower, was organised by the Anarchist Federation, along with the London Solidarity Federation. The Leeds Class War group and the Whitechapel Anarchist Group also confirmed yesterday that they were involved in the trouble

The suggestion here is that students aren’t anarchists and anarchists aren’t students.

The right wing press have also tried to claim that lecturers from Goldmiths College condoned and supported violent behaviour. The Torygraph again,

But the lecturers from Goldsmiths made no reference to the injuries suffered by police and some students as they gave the protest a glowing report.

“Yesterday was a really good natured but equally angry demonstration against the damage that the coalition is doing to higher education,” their statement said.

“Yes, that got out of hand, but yes, it also got media attention across the world.”

With reportage like this,  you can understand why Andrew Gilligan writes for The Telegraph.

This Daily Mail article tells us that the student demonstrators were all privileged. They even have a ‘story’ from Tory Party chair, Saveeda Warsi who tells us,

What I find truly baffling is the number of Labour MPs who used Twitter to support those protesters committing criminal damage and endangering lives. Former Labour leadership candidate John McDonnell MP tweeted: ‘Just shows what can be done when people get angry. We must build on this.’ And Labour MP Alex Cunningham wrote: ‘Well done our students – thousands outside the office getting stuck into the Lib Dem/Tory government over tuition fees.’

Warsi repeats the lie that Labour were behind the occupation of Millbank Tower. Ah, nothing like a bit of black propaganda. She adds,

There is nothing fair about attacking innocent people or property. Political violence must never prevail over rational debate. So it’s high time we restored reason to the debate on student finance and fairness.

So it’s all about “property”? Who are these “innocent people” of whom she speaks? Her staff?

Over at The Spectator, Rod Liddle couldn’t resist making up a couple of porkies,

If you fancy a laugh, and have the time to spare, check out the websitefor REVOLUTION, aka Permanent Revolution, the Trot group some of whose members smashed up Conservative Central Office this week.

First, it’s anarchists who smashed the windows, now it’s a “Trot group”. Can’t these liars make up their minds? Evidently not.

Another national demonstration is being planned. I expect the police to be better prepared and I also expect more smears, lies and yellow journalism.

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