Saturday, October 12, 2013

A rant

Richard Murphy grits his teeth at the Daily Mail, which is fighting a rearguard action on its criticisms of Miliband père and has started a counterattack on the Guardian's Snowden releases.

Richard has done sterling work on tracking offshore capital and tax avoidance, but has fallen into the trap of political and newspaper tribalism. What Dacre and Rusbridger say about themselves, each other and their respective publications will just be talking their brief. But the DM is something of a bullyrag to people of certain convictions, and it seems (I hope to be proved wrong) that they can't help but respond entirely predictably.

For example, a comment from "Philip" says, among other things, "The DM may not represent the ‘centre ground’ of establishment ideology but they do represent its worst excesses, its dregs, its most toxic sludge. They are its gutter. Gutter press in the truest sense."

So I say:

"Not sure the left vs right dichotomy is clear or helpful. On key issues both sides of Parliament appear to agree, e.g. on economic migration, though one suspects for different reasons (the Conservatives because importing cheap labour undercuts the working class' attempts to maintain and improve wage rates, New Labour because it "rubs the Right's nose in diversity" and - they hope - brings in fresh supporters for the Big State).

"The hegemony is that of coldly calculating careerist politicians and hangers-on who now know how to make the psephological machine work. Bear in mind that only one-third of MPs get 50%+ of the votes cast in a General Election (true in 2007 and 2010, for example), and look how they cooperated across the floor of the House to rubbish the Alternative Vote. Dum and Dee. I shall never forget seeing Cameron lead the applause for Blair as the latter parachuted out of Parliament and into the arms of JPM, and how only 4 MPs sat on their hands.

"I read the Daily Mail, just as Philip appears to read Karl Marx - critically (BTW - reference for the quotation, please?). This is something Radio 4 comedians and their obediently sniggering audiences don't seem to understand. When they slag off the DM, perhaps for the sake of balance they can remind their sycophantic listeners how the journalists in the Guardian newsroom watched the Twin Towers burn live on TV and said the Americans had it coming to them. As far as I'm concerned no paper and no TV station represents "pravda" or "izvestiya"."

And, by the way, as with Assange, I'm glad Snowden has made certain documents public. It's not the Russians that our lot want to hide it from, it's us. In recent years we've begun to understand what our own governments are like - they are, as Charles Lamb said, "as bad as they dare to be" (10 March 1798).

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