Posts Tagged ‘Journos’

The Sunday Times – a filthy fascist rag.

August 8, 2010

Not an unexpected statement considering that this is the paper employing the talents of Jeremy Clarkson, AA Gill and Rod Liddle.

But today’s edition was filled with even more hate-stirring fash nonsense than usual. In a report on the groundbreaking news that in a few parts of the UK most of the babies being born in hospitals are from ethnic minorities (to stress my sarcasm, I was apparently the only white baby on the mid 1980s London hospital ward, so this has been the case for a while) the Sunday Times descended into BNP propagandising.

It really, honestly does. The report was accompanied by a black-and-white photograph of a VE street party. Everyone is of course white and looking happy. Then, in a clever and subtle piece of juxtapositioning, the Sunday Times puts a photograph of a woman hidden away under a niqab. ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ – you see? The niqab-wearer is clearly meant to represent the onset of a multiracial society and it’s hardly a positive image.

The only BNP leaflet I’ve ever had delivered to my address also had the ‘happy white people in 1940s’ versus ‘niqab madness of modern multiculturalism gone MAD’ theme.  ( Yes, this was delivered in Islington! What did they think they were doing? Won’t somebody please consider the house prices!).

I find it disturbing, but not entirely surprising, that the Sunday Times editor seems to be getting his inspiration from BNP leaflets.


Since Liberal Conspiracy is sending lots of people here I thought I’d ingeniously bypass the Murdoch pay wall and show you what I’m talking about:


“It is not a question of taste”

August 3, 2010

Brilliant post (bit old now but hey) on the importance of reading the tabloids over at the Angry Mob blog.

Know your enemy

July 27, 2010

Some vomit-inducing profiles of Tory advisers provided by Josh Neicho (formerly of The Hall School Hampstead, Eton, and Oxford).

WARNING! There is serious danger of choking on your own puke as you read the sentence: “affable, charming, always very clever and often extremely well-connected, they are proof that the Conservative Party under Cameron is fashionable again“.

And he came up with this nonsense on the day some polls put Labour only a few points behind the Tories.

Some other highlights:

“Rupert Harrison
Chief of staff to George Osborne

Circle: Moves with a glamorous- sounding set — actors Simon Woods and Rosamund Pike, poet and Krupp armaments heir Claus von Bohlen und Halbach — but characterised by his kindness and strong values.”

I’m glad to know the Chancellor has a Chief of Staff characterised by kindness and strong values as he plans to decimate the UK economy and shaft the poor like its 1931.

“Known for: Huge policy brains and fine judgment, a man who can pour oil on troubled waters.”

Oil on waters? I think we have in Mr Harrison a candidate for CEO of BP!

“Henry de Zoete
Adviser to Michael Gove

Age: 29
Earns: c. £55,000
Family and education: A scion of the de Zoete banking family. At Ludgrove and Eton in the year above Prince William, then Bristol university.
Social circle: A social chap who goes drinking with the other media advisers; keeps separate friends outside politics including football buddies and Lefty Eton pals whom he house-shared with in Hackney. Currently single.”

Hurrumph. I know a thing or two about Lefty Etonians. Any Lefty Etonian worth their salt would not share a house with a Tory overseer of capitalist oppression.

I would go on but it’s too depressing.

I don’t know what hits me more – the fact that these sorts of people are getting parachuted into positions of power and influence or that this Facebook-journalism got printed in a real newspaper.

What did Jarvis Cocker sing about a certain type of person still ruling the world…?

You will get me, I’m part of the union?

March 30, 2010

There are legitimate criticisms to be made of trade union leaders who enjoy generous expenses accounts, but this story in the Daily Mail is pretty smeartastic:

BA union boss and a Bangkok go-go bar: Two-day stopover paid for by Unite included visit to seedy joint

Read it and I think you’ll agree with me that the title promises so much and yet the report fails to deliver.

Whilst walking around in the vicinity of his Bangkok hotel Derek Simpson was recognised by a British tourist. Said tourist shouts out Derek Simpson’s name. Desperate for a drink and undoubtedly a tad perturbed by a stranger calling out his name, Simpson heads straight into the nearest bar.

Tourist bloke, bizarrely, follows Simpson into this bar so that he can keep staring at him. Simpson’s discomfit is increased through the realisation that he has entered into a morally dubious establishment. He therefore makes a swift exist.

Looking at the Daily Mail’s picture of tourist bloke, I can’t say I blame Simpson. And the whole ‘walking into a dodgy bar’ scenario by mistake – well, we’ve all been there haven’t we?

Gutter journalism is still gutter journalism, even when set in an exotic location. The right-wing press despise trade unions and will concoct pathetic smears on their leaders to try to undermine public support for workers’ representatives.

Odd choice of talking head.

February 5, 2010

Revolutionary agitator and football analyst?

I’m not sure if I hallucinated it. I was watching a report on BBC London news about John Terry no longer being England Captain when a beardy bloke called John Rees was suddenly asked to comment on the matter.

John Rees is, of course, one of the foremost Trotskyists in the country. He’s a former Socialist Workers Party bigwig and parliamentary candidate for the Respect coalition. One solution = Revolution and similar nonsense.

Apparently, however, he is a ‘social commentator’ and therefore a legitimate choice of person for the reporter to interview. I don’t have a problem with far-left weirdos being allowed on the telly, but I was surprised that anyone would consider Rees to be an authority on football. Perhaps the reporter was very, very desperate to find someone to talk to?

I can’t seem to find any reference to the report on the BBC website which is just making me more concerned that the entire thing is a construct of my hyperactive imagination.

Will Hutton on class.

January 11, 2010

Will Hutton had an eminently sensible article in yesterday’s Observer entitled ‘Of course class still matters – it influences everything that we do’.

For the distribution of reward and positions in today’s Britain does not mainly correspond to proportional talent, effort and virtue. It has been largely predetermined by the good luck of to whom and where you were born. There are 10 million men and women in work earning less than £15,000 a year; nearly all their parents were in the same position, as will be their children. There are nearly 3 million people of working age who do not even make themselves available for work, again reproducing itself through the generations.

Meanwhile, the middle and upper classes are becoming increasingly effective at ensuring that their children have the capabilities and qualifications to populate the upper echelons of the economy and society, what the great sociologist Charles Tilly called opportunity hoarding.

The good luck of being born into the right family is profound. Two American researchers, Betty Hart and Todd Risley, show how children from professional families hear on average 2,153 words per hour compared with 616 words per hour for kids in welfare families, so that by the age of three, there is a 30 million word gap between the vocabularies of children of families on welfare and those of professional families. On top, welfare children hear words of discouragement twice as often as they hear words of encouragement; children of professional families are encouraged more than 10 times more than they are discouraged. Don’t get born into a family on welfare in a council house.

The fact that our society remains so class-ridden after more than a decade of Labour being in power points to a fundamental failure of government policies. Even if discussions around class do form a central part of the general election campaign and Labour feel confident in the legitimacy of pointing out the connections between Cameron and Co’s wealthy backgrounds, their policy programme, and the Conservative Party’s historic role as the defenders of privilege, members of the government will have a hard time explaining why such little progress towards tackling inequality has been made over the years under their own watch.

It would have been interesting to find out what Hutton thinks should be done. He seems to be suggesting that private education plays a central role in perpetuating class divisions (I agree) but doesn’t come up with a strategy to actually address this problem. Likewise, whilst Hutton is speaking great sense when he points out how the opinion-shaping profession of journalism is dominated by the inequality-ignoring middle-class, he does not propose any sort of solution beyond “the media effort to close the conversation down as irrelevant should be resisted”.

Of course, Hutton had limited word space and he seems to think that simply starting a discussion is worthy in itself. But it’s not as if no one has ever written anything like this before. The columns of the Guardian and Observer have been graced with some eminently sensible articles about class for many years now. The mostly middle-class, left-leaning readers will nod their heads in agreement and will use the columnists’ arguments as another excuse to complain about New Labour (yes, something I’m guilty of as well!).

When will this awareness about class divisions and inequality actually get more people motivated to find out about what needs to be done, what sorts of policies could be implemented, and how they can try to force politicians to prioritise this as an issue? More attention needs to be given to concrete policy proposals to address inequalities and then people rallied behind them in support.

Cowards are flinching, traitors are sneering.

January 7, 2010

There are two good posts over at Though Cowards Flinch today.

Paul points out that Hoon’n’Hewitts’ call for a secret ballot amongst the PLP to decide whether Gordo should remain Labour leader completely neglects to take into consideration the party rules. Party members and affiliated trade unions and socialist societies also have a say in the matter. Their opinions could not be completely side-stepped.  

The ignorance and arrogance of the terrible twosome demonstrates how some of these politicos are not only living on a different planet to the general population; they’re even detached from the realities of the political movement of which they are senior members and which has been kind enough to give them very profitable careers over the years.

I also like Dave’s post in which he finds himself in total agreement with Shaun Woodward. It’s not often you’ll find Dave praising a Cabinet minister for being “so righteously on message”! His analysis of the media response to the half-arsed coup attempt is bang on, IMO.

Daily Mail celebrates the execution of Akmal Shaikh.

December 29, 2009

Remember how the Daily Mail provoked a storm of fury when they published an article by weirdo bigot Jan Moir speculating about Stephen Gately’s death only a few days after the singer kicked the bucket?

Well, they’ve stooped to a similar level, if not even lower. Akmal Shaikh was executed less than 12 hours ago but today’s Daily Mail contains an article by Leo McKinstry entitled ‘Sorry not to join the liberal wailing: heroin traffickers deserve to die’.

It is full of the usual Daily Mail gibberish about “the human rights brigade” being responsible for crime and describes Akmal Shaikh as “amoral, selfish, and irresponsible”. Because laying the boot into someone killed earlier today is the moral, selfless, and responsible thing to do, eh Leo?

This being the Daily Mail, it’s impossible for the article to gain the editor’s approval without any references to celebrities. It is therefore accompanied by a big picture of Kate Moss and McKinstry predictably rants about drug-abusing celebs not being given meaningful punishments. Will McKinstry next be calling for Moss, Doherty, Winehouse and Michael to face a firing squad as punishment for their indiscretions? Surely that would act as a deterrent, following his logic!

On a more serious note: McKinstry’s argument (if it can be called that) would work better if there was evidence that China’s killing of drug traffickers was actually helping to stop people using heroin there. He can’t provide any – I certainly can’t find any. Even if I could, I don’t think we should trust any data coming out of a country run by a single party dictatorship. It is bizzare that McKinstry pours so much bile on our liberal, human rights-respecting legal system and is instead so enthusiastic about an authoritarian Communist state’s approach to dispensing justice. 

As for McKinstry’s boring claim that the death penalty lowers crime rates, well, zzzzz. Correlation does not equal causation. McKinstry writes that there were fewer murders and crimes in the 1950s when Britain still had the death penalty. Aside from improvements over time in police data-keeping and recording crime (which means of course the numbers will go up), McKinstry can’t back-up his argument that abolishing the death penalty led to more crimes being committed. You could just as well posit that mass ownership of televisions in the 1960s messed with people’s minds and increased criminality.

It would also help McKinstry’s rant if countries with the death penalty (such as China and the USA) had lower crime rates than Britain and if the safest, most crime-free countries weren’t ones where the death penalty has been abolished (places like New Zealand, Finland, Denmark).

McKinstry’s article is so outrageous and stupid I find it hard to believe he genuinely believes in what he’s writing. Perhaps he instead felt he needed to raise his profile a bit. I hadn’t heard of him previously. Similarly, I wasn’t aware of Jan Moir existence before her controversial piece – maybe McKinstry’s trying to repeat the trick? Daily Mail columnists often like to lecture everyone about morality but their primary motive is almost certainly a greedy craving for attention and the extra cash that can bring their way.

As FCO Minister Ivan Lewis said today: “Anybody with a modicum of compassion will be horrified” by Akmal Shaikh’s execution.

Clearly that does not apply to Leo McKinistry and the rest of the scum at the Daily Mail.

All the Torygraph wants for Christmas is the repeal of the ban on foxhunting.

December 26, 2009

Am currently staying with my folks. They usually get the Guardian delivered on Saturdays. However, some sort of festive mix-up meant that they had the Daily Telegraph left outside the front door today.

It is a good thing to occasionally stray outside your newspaper comfort zone. Reading a rag with an editorial line that you strongly disagree with helps familiarise you with the arguments, assumptions and prejudices of your opponents. You will then be in a better position to counter these views. If you are like me, you will also end up furious with renewed dislike of your opponents’ opinions.

The Daily Telegraph today has certainly succeeded in this regard. It contains the usual rage-inducing delights. There’s Simon Heffer’s column in which he bangs on about how 12 years of socialist government have eroded British freedom to “be ourselves”. There is also the paper’s printing of the ‘Court Circular’, which really suggests to me that the folk at the Telegraph would prefer to be living in the aristocracy-respecting 18th century rather than an age of iPhones, Twitter, space travel, automobiles, women’s rights, mass suffrage, etc.

But what really strained my seasonal goodwill was the Tally-ho, Tories editorial. The Telegraphers are convinced that David Cameron will soon be forming a government and that by this time next year Labour’s ban on foxhunting will have been repealed.

Apparently it is quite right that this should be a priority for Cameron and the Conservatives. The Countryside Alliance is of course delighted and arrogantly expecting that things will soon be going its way. After all, supporting foxhunting is the main focus of the Countryside Alliance. They seem to consider it more important than post office closures, house prices turning the countryside into the preserve of the rich, unemployment, pensioner isolation and poverty, and a host of other serious problems afflicting people in rural areas.

In fact I can’t recall the Countryside Alliance ever organising marches around any of those issues. Call me crazy but I would put the legal status of foxhunting pretty low on the agenda when it comes to ‘pro-countryside’ campaigning that could actually improve peoples’ lives.

Cameron’s earnest committment to revising the ban is evidence that he’s not genuinely changing the concerns of the Conservative Party to reflect broader opinion in modern Britain. It may be the number one issue of importance for a small number of people, but let’s face it most of them are privileged and wealthy. Once again Cameron’s new Conservativism seems very similar to the Conservatism everyone recognises from the past.

If, like me, you support the ban on foxhunting then you should sign up here.

Conservative Future lash-banter.

December 22, 2009

A journalist has gone undercover at the Conservative Future Christmas party. Read about his amusing experience in the article he then wrote for Prospect magazine.  Go read it now!

Here’s a highlight:

Meanwhile, to my left, one young Conservative is explaining his scepticism about joining the party to two CF members. “I vote Tory—you know I vote Tory. I’m just not a Tory member. I don’t like parties.” He pauses. “Well, I like these kinds of parties obviously! God… can you imagine what a Labour version of this would be like?”

“Well,” his friend replies, “there’d be a lot more ethnic minorities for one thing.” “Oh really?” the other replies. “I thought the Labour party was trying to make itself seem more respectable!” They laugh awkwardly, seemingly aware that even as casual racism, it doesn’t really work.

As I shape to leave, I hover for one last cigarette. Three new acquaintances are making idle smalltalk. “Tim is such a common name…” one of the smokers is saying. He checks himself, not wanting to offend the Tim in question: “sorry, not, you know, common… I mean ‘popular’.”

“Yah but your surname is Jenkins,” his friend says through a mouthful of teeth. “That’s such a butler’s name!”

It’s exactly the sort of stuff that makes you recall Nye Bevan’s infamous rant and think maybe he was onto something: “No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred of the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned, they are lower than vermin”.

Some decry the idea that social class is a legitimate topic of political debate and are convinced that it would be a mistake for Labour to bang on about ‘Tory toffs’. I’m not so sure. I think that Labour pointing out the extremely privileged backgrounds enjoyed by the vast majority of the Conservative Party leadership is fine as long as:

a) Labour simultaneously presents a positive programme of policies aimed at eradicating inequalities in Britain and commits itself firmly to the ultimate goal of creating a classless society.

b) Labour works harder to encourage people from non-privileged backgrounds to join the party, stand as candidates, and rise through its ranks – recalling the party’s historic mission of representing the working-class.

Without these efforts I concede that ‘Tory toff’ attacks are indeed shallow and hypocritical.