2007 - 2021

A Failed and Broken Media for a Failed Britain

BrDyxEPCUAAAA0XRebekah Brooks, seemingly the only editor to have literally no knowledge of where her paper’s stories came from is promising a revival and a makeover better even than the now permanently re-heated Gordon Brown.  The Sun was in full-scale celebration mode. “Great day for red tops” read its front-page headline.

It’s difficult to know where to begin with the disastrous week that Ed Miliband and David Cameron have had. As drones fly over Baghdad and the myth of British influence crumbles in the Juncker Yard Britain-England staggers nearer the EU Exit whilst mouthing ‘stability’ ‘security’ and talking of Britain’s international ‘influence’.

Miliband has faced criticism over his leadership strategy from the Labour ranks amid concerns over Labour’s falling poll lead. In a letter to the Guardian a broad coalition of Labour grandees were united in calls for more clarity about his plans and for his vision to be bolder. The Blairite faction are circling as the long civil war within the Labour Party continues to destroy itself from within.

indexIt’s in this context that the media verdict matters. Miliband could have put clear blue water between himself and the hapless Prime Minister, marking out one of the few areas where his defenders say he has taken a stance. He failed again.

We’ve become so inured to the fact that ‘our’ police, media and political classes are in some kind of depraved nexus of living that the full impact of Andy Coulson heading for jail has slipped through this week making less impact than it should. The sordid  courtroom celebrity circus has gone on for so long (three years have now passed since the revelation that the News of the World had hacked into the phone of the murdered school girl Milly Dowler) we all seem to have sloped off in disinterest.

But whilst Brooks and the Sun might be celebrating it’s not all been brushed away. These last few years have exposed the deep levels of venal behaviour at the core of the political elite. Writing in the Telegraph, Peter Oborne notes:

The phone hacking scandal exposed a louche, selfish, privileged metropolitan elite at the heart of British public life. That elite still exists. Incredibly, the Chipping Norton set, of which the British Prime Minister was such a leading ornament, still flourishes.

Late last year, the Telegraph’s diarist, Tim Walker, revealed (after initial denials) that Mr Cameron and his Chancellor, George Osborne, had attended the 50th birthday celebrations of Matthew Freud, an unappetising public relations mogul who is married to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Elisabeth. Another PR crony of Mr Cameron’s, Alan Parker, was given a knighthood in the Birthday Honours.

It is not just the Prime Minister, and the coterie of chancers who surround him, who carry on as if nothing has changed. The same is true of Ed Miliband, who last week caused such offence to his supporters by posing with The Sun. His failure to score points in Parliament yesterday looks like the result of a cowardly reluctance to offend Rupert Murdoch for a second time.

Or consider David Blunkett. Labour’s former home secretary was one of the most notorious victims of phone hacking, and has spoken movingly of how the intrusion drove him close to a breakdown. Yet until last year he was happy to accept an annual payment (equal to £3,300 a day) as an adviser to News International on “corporate social responsibility”.

The impotence of the Leveson Inquiry and the reality that Westminster politicians of all colours still feel a desperate need to lie down with the press barons is a depressing fact about British political life. The more desperate they are the less likely they are to try and change the utterly failed ‘self-regulation’ model. And they are desperate. As Miliband threatens people with border guards, Andrew Cooper, a recently appointed adviser to the No campaign, has stated that “No opposition party has ever gone on to win the next election from the poll position Labour is in now.”

So David Cameron and the Princess Royal head to Stirling to celebrate ‘Armed Forces Day’ with the Red Devils, and Brian Wilson tries to re-tread McConnell’s farcical ‘Commonwealth Games Campaign Suspension’ ploy in the Scotsman, bleating like a broken record that ‘the timing of the referendum is already an act of political manipulation’. What a cheek. You can feel the fear now in the increasingly shrill voice of Wilson and assorted Unionist scribes.

It’s as if the High Command of ‘No Thanks’ / Better Together / Britain United (or whatever it’s called this week) have wheezed into Wilson’s ear: ‘Do something Mutley!’

As Ed Miliband heads south after threatening Scotland with border posts for having a more progressive immigration policy than the pan-Unionist approach seemingly being led by the Brigadiers of UKIP and White Van Man Ingerlund, up pops David Cameron, a man deeply wounded by his disgraced spin doctor and his broken European stratagem.

Its not all bad news.

Cameron has so badly managed his European diplomacy it leaves broken relations everywhere across the continent where he had hoped to whisper poison against Scottish democracy. Miliband’s comments on border posts leave him looking both desperate and ridiculous. He has been badly advised.

Both leaders credibility is massively undermined. England’s crisis could be Scotland’s opportunity. Across the country the role of the media, from tabloids to national broadcaster is in question.

Wouldn’t it be a delicious irony if, in reverse this time, Scotland wins independence and we can all say ‘It was the Sun wot won it’?


Comments (29)

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  1. Reblogged this on HAPLOGROUP – bit that makes us human. and commented:
    #Rebeka Brooks the only editor to have literally has no knowledge of where her paper’s stories came from

  2. Peter Arnott says:

    Brilliant. If they weren’t so broken and exhausted, we wouldn’t be so strong…

  3. Clootie says:

    Did we not have a trial at the end of WW2 with the same defence?

  4. Ian Kirkwood says:

    Great stuff, it is going to be another great couple of days for YES!

  5. Rebeka Brooks and Andy Coulson were sharing a bed for about 5 years.

    One wonders what their pillow talk was about?

    She didn’t know how her reporters obtained their scoops?

    I smell shite.

  6. qzchambers says:

    There’s been some talk of what the continuity UK should be called. I suggest Cameronia, or even Greater Cameronia, in honour of its founder.

    1. Iain Hill says:

      Wrong tone. Lesser Cameronia would better reflect its status.

      1. Dr Ew says:

        I believe Tory Central Office want to call it “The Home Counties plus some other bits where smelly northerners and the incomprehensible Welsh reside”, but having consulted with their good friends in the Lapdog Party and the Lib-botomies, they have come to a cross-party consensus on “The United States of Albion” or USA 2.0 for short. This will permit UKIP to effect and official name change on 19th September to “USA All The Way! EU NO!”

  7. gordon murray says:

    It was David Cameron’s brother who led the legal team that got Rebekah Brookes off the hook. Makes me wonder what she has on him from her phone hacking colleagues that he would go within a million miles of News International?

  8. Abulhaq says:

    The content of the newspaper supplement Milliband holds speaks volumes about the chauvinistic mindset informing the British establishment; trouble is, although we can see it, they cant. Cameron’s games merely reinforce the view. A case of national autism?

    1. rabthecab says:

      That supplement was posted through my door, along I think with every front door in England.

      I had to apologise to the cleaning crew who cover my estate for the mess on the balcony. Well, what else was I going to do with it?

  9. Graham Harris Graham says:

    If there’s a YES vote in September, it proves that actually, having almost the entire British media standing against your campaign, didn’t matter in the end.

    At the moment. the political parties in London have convinced themselves that the media matters. It only matters when the people couldn’t care less.

    But we in Scotland do care & are willing to do something about it. That’s why there is the biggest civil participation in Scottish politics in decades.

    If Westminster doesn’t recognise this then they really are as thick as pig shit as I think they are. And it also reveals that, deep down, voters in England still don’t care enough to do anything about it.

    Sure, point fingers at the politicians but the blame ultimately rests with the electorate. It may well be a worn out cliche but it’s true; you only get the people you deserve.

    If after a YES vote, the people of England, Wales & Northern Ireland remain disengaged & resist asking for a new type of democratic settlement, they really only have themselves to blame.

    Thank God I live in Scotland.

  10. The Ghost of Daniel Morgan says:

    Excellent article though I would caution anyone who thinks that the big headline cases like Coulson and Brooks signal an end to the phone hacking saga. That is very far from the case and there are many trials scheduled and even more in the pipeline to play out.

    There will also be an increasing amount of detail uncovered of just what some of these papers were up to since Milly Dowler was by no means the only example of complete and utter disregard for decency and morality in the pursuit of headlines. There are some real shocks still to come.

    Nor should the Westminster politicians breathe a sigh of relief as they can look forward to even more examples of the incestuous relationships between the Met, the papers and MPs finally being exposed.

    The public has never had such a low opinion of the tabloids and those spineless Westminster politicians who suck up to them, but rest assured, that low opinion can and will sink even lower when yet more gets revealed.

  11. Iain Hill says:

    To end your confusion, the correct title of the naysayers is “Better Together? No, thanks. I prefer the 18C”. The rumour that a new title Drones over Stirling was imminent has been denied.

  12. Dr Ew says:

    In the 80s and 90s I was a supporter of a movement that argued the privileged legal position of the ‘Fourth Estate’ – above regulation, despite the comparable taboo on trade unions being shattered by this time – could only be justified if it could be seen to deliver a plurality representative of the general shades of opinion of the general population.

    Led by the likes of Paul Foot, the manifesto pro-freedom of expression and freedom of the press, but pro-regulation of ownership that reflected that ownership. It was, to say the least, an imperfect response to a corrupt hegemony. History, insofar as it gives a toss, will record this as a failure. Amongst our many other shortcomings, we simply did not forsee the technological revolution wrought by the internet. In our defence, neither did the press.

    The magnificent Referendum on Scottish Independence will be studied, recorded and reviewed by generations of future historians. History will care, deeply, about the profound effect upon the psyche of a people but also because it will provide a startling illustration of how the 200-year reign of the printed press finally began to wither at its very roots. Their credibility crumbles by the day and people are turning away.

    Bella is a prime example of how a media in metamorphasis, effecting change in ways it will take decades to truly nderstand. Already there are broadsheets and even a couple of tabloids who would kill for the readership you have in Scotland.

    They are the past. You are the future.

    On September 18th, I believe Scotland will vote for the future.

    1. Dr Ew says:

      Note to self: Don’t post after a bottle of wine. This is gibberish.

  13. rab alexander says:

    Well put doc.

  14. Muscleguy says:

    And of course one of those trials still to come will be Coulson up here in Scotland for perjury in the Sheridan libel trial where he testified under oath that nobody in the Newscorp stable hacked phones and he knew absolutely nothing anyway. He is now bang to rights for that.

    The Establishment’s mission to destroy Tommy Sheridan because he was becoming too popular has now come back to bite the Establishment. I don’t know when that trial is set for, I just hope news of it at least is in the media before September 18.

    1. Tog says:

      Looking forward to the Coulson trial up here. Although no doubt exists that the NOW tried every trick in the book against Sheridan ultimately he was the author of his own downfall and even if Coulson is find guilty of perjury it does not mean Tommy was not. if the establishment did bring down Sheridan it backfired as the SNP were the main benefactors at the subsequent election.

  15. bringiton says:

    The right wing English press and the Westminster politicians are joined at the hip and form the core of the British establishment.
    This has been exposed by the Scottish referendum and the excellent work done by people on blogs like this and for many,the printed media and a certain TV broadcaster will forever be seen as not much more than a state institution.
    The purpose of the Anglo centric media is to assist the British state in keeping “order” within the population and ensuring that anything which threatens the state is kept out of sight.
    With Coulson’s conviction,we may not have heard the last word on what was going on at NOTW.
    He has been hung out to dry and may not like it.
    Let’s hope so.

  16. goldenayr says:

    Dr Ew

    Trying to type after two bottles and a not inconsiderable amount of Guiness…gawd,whaurs the backspace?

    Apart fae that,we all had visions in our youth,yours in the late eighties early nineties,my one a lot earlier,my fathers earlier than that and so on,Each generation creates its radicals,the difference with the indy movement is it transcends generations.

    I hope I’m not making sense here,it might undo various “under the influence” laws.


    Dream on in your London establishment that Tommy is looked on as a pariah.

    1. Dr Ew says:

      I’ve had an abstemious day so I can write with some confidence that even if your post was a wee bit garbled the meaning and emotion rang true as a bell. Cheers, goldenayr!

  17. A good read but the big issues are blurred by your focus on the political landscape painted as Tory v Labour.

    They are: 1. British politics changed when Blair took a centrist line to take power and Labour has failed to regain the working mans trust never mind his vote. No single party can gain power so alliances and shared thinking matters making deals and collaboration the only way to affect change and progress. Only Cameron is capable of this both domestically and in Europe.
    2. Europe is and will remain our single largest market for the short term until we achieve trade agreements with China and India of any scale. Divergent cultures and so many vested interests make deal-making highly challenging and we have a weak position due to our reluctant commitment to membership of the European Union. When the Scotland question is finally answered Cameron will find it easier to keep our identity and respect whilst retaining our European status. Europe needs the UK just as much as we need it, our financial sector is our trump card as negotiations ensue.
    3. Secession from the Union is a non-starter for Scotland. A deal will be done that suits both sides when the Scots vote to stay in, and it will not be a close vote. The Union adds up to far more than the sum of its parts and the Scots will recognise this as well as fear the loss of their larger corporate entities that will simply migrate south if they were to vote for independence. The Scots are important to the English too, they remind us of our heritage, our shared journey to today and we will need their natural resources including the energy from their inclement weather for many years to come.

    In our increasingly interconnected world, Unity and Partnerships will become keywords that sustain the health and growth of our communities and such inter-reliance might make our lives more meaningful and fulfilling.

    1. Dr Ew says:

      A not so good read from you, Paul, presenting a shallow perspective that fails to recognise much less understand the innate corruption at the very heart of the British State. Westminster and the City of London are hand in glove, with no interest in governance for or by the people. And you’re wrong about the Referendum vote too – it will be close, and it will be Yes. Best prepare yourself.

      1. All government is self serving and corruption is a by-product of any power or political system. You fail to understand that we British, that includes the Scots right now, have been tugging our forelocks and doffing our caps for centuries and have little appetite for change that weakens our trading position in times of uncertainty. If I were you I would be careful what you wish for, though in the case of the referendum your wishes will not I fear be fulfilled.

        I remain hopeful that sufficient Scots realise the greatness that exists in the union between our nations and that we all gain by our partnership. I guess we’ll find out in a few short weeks, then our dialogue will come to a natural end.

  18. Did not Brooks administrate the shredding of hundreds of e-mails and documents?

    On the other hand, she was accused only of approving phone hacking.

    Stand by for her reincarnation – a presenter on SKY … partially owned by her mentor.

  19. Bill Hume says:

    I grow tired of all the claim and counter claims in this debate……..most of which I don’t trust. I can however, say this. I don’t care if voting yes costs me several thousand pound per year…….provided I never see the likes of Thatcher again………..evil bloody cow. Yes is the only way to ensure that, in Scotland at least. I hope we light a beacon of social justice which illuminates and inspires my brothers and sisters throughout the rest of Britain to seek a better way forward.

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