Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Guardian’s Anti-Labour Agenda

Another election, and another well-orchestrated campaign to drown out political debate behind lies about The Labour Party, using the well-known trope of screaming about prejudice that does not exist. The Guardian has reverted to London property owning type and has basically failed to cover the local election campaign, instead electing to smear Jeremy Corbyn with multiple articles about his being a racist every day.

I’ve written this letter to the paper and cancelled my direct debit.

I’d just got over the anger I felt towards the Guardian over its bias during the General Election, and even set up a direct debit to “support independent journalism”, when another important election came along and the paper reverted to its alt-right, fake news, anti-Labour faerie land.

There is not a newspaper that I can trust in this country. Having to give up on the Guardian feels like a loss, but the harm your alignment with a right-wing smear campaign has done will probably cost my job, my ability to live a decent life when I can no longer work and any sense that I am a welcome member of my national community.

Just to be clear, because you’re avoiding any meaningful reflection on the matter: you are pushing the lie that the Labour Party is defined by ideas and attitudes that are mainstream in the Tory party and are the very definition of fascist beliefs. What are they paying you?

You think you’re getting away with it, all you London property owners who are terrified of a just economy and a democratic movement. You are not.

Liars.

Peter Mason

To my delight, there is a decent, authoritative rebuttal on the letters page. I am posting it here, with no permissions whatsoever, to save having to state the obvious myself.

One of the main concepts in journalism education is that of framing: the highlighting of particular issues, and the avoidance of others, in order to produce a desired interpretation. We have been reminded of the importance of framing when considering the vast amounts of media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged failure to deal with antisemitism inside the Labour party. On Sunday, three national titles led with the story while news bulletins focused on the allegations all last week. Dominant sections of the media have framed the story in such a way as to suggest that antisemitism is a problem mostly to do with Labour and that Corbyn is personally responsible for failing to deal with it. The coverage has relied on a handful of sources such as the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and well-known political opponents of Corbyn himself.

It is not “whataboutery” to suggest that the debate on antisemitism has been framed in such a way as to mystify the real sources of anti-Jewish bigotry and instead to weaponise it against a single political figure just ahead of important elections. We condemn antisemitism wherever it exists. We also condemn journalism that so blatantly lacks context, perspective and a meaningful range of voices in its determination to condemn Jeremy Corbyn.
Prof Des Freedman Goldsmiths, University of London
Justin Schlosberg Birkbeck, University of London
Prof Lynne Segal Birkbeck, University of London
Prof Mica Nava University of East London
Prof Greg Philo Glasgow University
Prof Annabelle Sreberny SOAS, University of London
Prof Jeremy Gilbert University of East London
Prof Joanna Zylinska Goldsmiths, University of London
Prof Bev Skeggs London School of Economics
Prof James Curran Goldsmiths, University of London
Prof Julian Petley Brunel University
Prof Natalie Fenton Goldsmiths, University of London
Prof David Buckingham Loughborough University
Prof Gary Hall Coventry University
Prof Neve Gordon Queen Mary, University of London
Prof Michael Chanan University of Roehampton
Prof John Storey University of Sunderland
Prof Allan Moore University of Surrey
Jo Littler City University
Dina Matar SOAS, University of London
Bart Cammaerts London School of Economics
Tom Mills Aston University
William Merrin Swansea University
Catherine Rottenberg Goldsmiths, University of London
Richard Macdonald Goldsmiths, University of London
Milly Williamson Goldsmiths, University of London
Margaret Gallagher Senior research consultant
Jane Dipple University of Winchester
Peri Bradley Bournemouth University
Dean Lockwood University of Lincoln
Maria Chatzichristodoulou London South Bank University
William Proctor Bournemouth University
John Cunliffe Birkbeck, University of London
Zeta Kolokythopoulu London South Bank University
Becky Gardiner Goldsmiths, University of London
Jill Daniels University of East London
Seth Giddings University of Southampton
Maria Sourbati University of Brighton
Richard Smith Goldsmiths, University of London
Ruth Catlow Co-director, Furtherfield
Jonathan Eato University of York
Theodore Koulouris University of Brighton

Anti-semitism, like any politicized hatred, is anti-democratic, deeply irrational, immoral and anathema to the new left movement that has grown around Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The satanically cynical weoponization of that hatred as a meme with which to derail and shut down democratic debate in this country is a crime as great as the hatred itself.

If you’d like to let The Guardian know that they are not getting away with their toadying to the right-wing’s lies, this the place to do it. Be sure to include your full name, address and phone number. Also, keep your message to 250 words or fewer.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Desperate Tories Have Sunk To A New Low

For about a week now, the Tories have been trying to smear Jeremy Corbyn, not with some sort of misjudgment from his past, but with an absolute lie. Their sponsors in the right-wing press made up a story saying that he had been a communist spy, based on the fact that someone he had once met had included him on a list of people he claimed, falsely, to have recruited as spies.

There is absolutely no truth to this, and every informed source has stated so, including the foremost specialist in the Czech Security Service archives.

Nevertheless, the Tories are not going to let it go. They are stuck in the belief that if they can spread doubts and repeat a lie often enough, there are enough idiots who will believe it.

The Tory vice-chair, a loud-mouthed braggart with the sneer of a street racist, has had to pay legal costs and a “substantial” sum to charity after repeating the lie on his Twitter feed. Still the Tory scum are pushing the lie. [1 WARNING! Links to The Sun] [2 WARNING! Links to The Telegraph]

However, it is heartening to see that the British press is not without honourable representatives. I have had harsh thoughts about Andrew Neil in the past. There is little doubt that he is no friend of the Labour Party, but he has shown his journalistic credentials on this issue and gained my respect. Watch with pleasure as a snide Tory creep is skewered by Neil, as the journalist insists upon the truth over grotesque falsehood.

As ever, Jeremy Corbyn has responded to a ridiculous situation with calm, dignity and a rigid adherence to fact and good judgement. Murdoch and Rothermere fear rational, fact-based government in this country: they’ve had their own way for decades and they want to keep us desperate, divided and panic-stricken, chasing our tails over their lies. Corbyn threatens that.

For a broad discussion of the issue of political smears by tax-exile billionaires, the following embed, from the James O’Brien LBC radio show, is worth a listen.

 

 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Footsore But Hopeful, Despite So Much Horror.

We went to the People’s Assembly March in London on Saturday and had a great time. So many people, so many conversations: it was like an ambulatory night in the world’s friendliest pub without the booze. I have, at last, heard Jeremy Corbyn speak live, and it was a belter, but we also heard Diane Abbot, Suggs, and, though the tone was triumphant and optimistic, it was overshadowed by many horrors: prominent among them, the Grenfell Tower massacre, although the speaker who talked about anti-muslim hate crime left me devastated by her description of the recent acid attack, of which I hadn’t yet been aware. Excuse a little outburst: SICK BASTARDS!

Perhaps most depressing for the long-term, however, is the drift towards fascism represented by Theresa May’s £1.5 Billion bribe to the DUP to prop up her discredited regime. Speaker after speaker pointed out the hypocrisy of it, and how it lays bare the lie of austerity, particularly coming, as it does, in the same week that the imploding government managed to strap itself together to vote down the repeal of the 1% pay cap for public sector workers. For me, though, it shows that the swivel-eyed fascist is determined to hang on, to do the maximum damage, and ignore the pain her illegitimate government is doing.

I want to write about some things that happened on the march, including the conversations I had, but it is a work day. For now, I’ll leave you with another cartoon. Theresa May is an open target for satire, and our political cartoonists are not missing.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Monday, 29 May 2017

Voters’ Complicity

Watch this. My own wife thinks this is the greatest moral reason for voting Labour: the cuts against disabled people and the cruel, relentless pressure upon them over the last seven years have really been akin to state cleansing of vulnerable people. I know, from Amanda’s study of the issue, that this woman is not exaggerating.

Watch this, now:

Then this:

 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Democracy Matters.

We went to the event at Northwood House in Cowes last night, to hear Julian Critchley speak again. There had been some debate about whether to cancel, but the decision to resume campaigning was, I believe, correct. We held a minute’s silence, and then Julian expressed what we have all been thinking: terrorism and the even more dangerous fear of terrorism must not stop democracy.

I didn’t have the heart or the time to blog after Tuesday morning’s news. As much as I know that children in Libya, Syria, the Yemen and Iraq are being murdered horrible every day with the complicity of the British state, the Manchester bombing was still a horrible blow. I am not immune to tribalism, and I feel the sense of shock, as well as a renewed pride in the British people, who are, by and large, responding with reason and love, rather than division and hatred. My hope is that the onslaught of lies and filth that the right wing press are spewing isn’t sticking; that people have finally seen through the militarised establishment and are rejecting their lies.

Theresa May was home secretary for five years. She has run down the police force (using her default contrived tone of crusading necessity to justify it) and then she has made a huge strategic blunder, looks as though she might lose the election, and is using the murder of children to justify putting the army on the streets and shutting down democracy for the better part of a week. It feels surreal. This morning, I see stories about them arming G4S, and letting them loose: the evil, incompetent demagogue wants to hire mercenaries from a company from which her husband profits and give them armed power over British citizens.

…the evil, incompetent demagogue wants to hire mercenaries from a company from which her husband profits and give them armed power over British citizens.

An excellent blog, which I recommend, posted this graphic on social media yesterday. It sums up the situation perfectly.

And, how is it, whenever MI6 drops the ball, it’s always in an election year? They’re fighting a couple of hundred disaffected onanists in bedsits, not the wermacht. What do we pay them for?

Monday, 22 May 2017

Why Would She Do Something So Stupid? Oh…Here’s Why.

Is the Dementia Tax a plan to make money for Theresa May and her husband?

 

“The other commercial opportunity: the dementia tax is a stealth incentive to take out equity release mortgages.”…The commenter adds: “This fast-growing market is dominated by Legal and General in the UK (29pc market share), of which a major shareholder is Capital Group, of which a key UK executive is Philip May, husband of Theresa May.”