Friday, 24 July 2015

Tory Media Meltdown

This is a reality the Tory media and the Blairites deny.  In
their history, Labour was sunk as soon as Michael Foot
became Labour Leader in November 1980.  In fact, Labour went
 to over 50% in the polls.  It was only the SDP split, and
Falklands War, which saved the Tories.
The Tory media do not know which way to turn. The have found themselves, like Dorothy, in a world they cannot understand. It wasn't supposed to be this way. The way things work, is that there is a nice cosy consensus, about which the political and media pundits can agree, and engage in endless discussions, to demonstrate how enlightened, knowledgeable, and invaluable they are, to tell us what we all should be thinking. And when, one set of politicians have been in office for a while, and the natives become restless, the pundits can always advise us about the replacement set of more or less identical politicians, we should select to replace them.

Tony Blair was perfect for them in that regard, because he was rather like the Odo character on Star Trek Deep Space Nine, completely devoid of any political features, and able to morph into any shape the political terrain required, not to mention that Blair kept the media in jobs with all of the leaks about the personal in fighting between him and Gordon Brown. Why bother having news stories about the kinds of political issues that affect ordinary peoples lives, when you can do what the Tory media does so well, and endlessly write about celebrity scandals and cat-fights?

The average deficit under Blair/Brown was less than half that
under Thatcher/Major.  The Tories ran only two small surpluses
over their 18 years in government, whilst Labour ran 4 in just
10 years ahead of 2008.  Yet the Tories and Media talk about
Labour overspending!
When Blair went, it was to the chagrin of this media that Brown, for a time, had some considerable popularity, as he strode the world stage solving the financial crisis. In fact, of course, Brown was politically no different to Blair, and it was the failure of both to deal with the legacy of the Thatcher/Major years, in creating a low wage/high debt economy reliant on the blowing up of financial and property bubbles, that itself contributed to the financial meltdown itself, or at least the UK's ability to respond to it. Of course, the Tory media fail to make that point, because its easier for them, and fits their narrative, to lie about Labour overspending.

When Brown lost in 2010, therefore, the Tory media assumed that their chosen heir to Blair, David Miliband, could be put in his rightful place, and they could continue as before. Their nose was severely put out of joint, when the Labour Party defied their wishes and instead elected Ed Miliband. They never forgave him for it, and immediately set about undermining him with personal attacks and character assassination. Imagine, their confusion, therefore, when having lost another election, that the Tory media, with endless, has-been, failed Blairite politicians drawn along, to back up their narrative that Labour had a disastrous election (though an analysis of the facts shows that actually it didn't, in England and Wales it increased its number of seats, and increased its votes more than did the Tories), and that the reason it lost was that it was way too left-wing (in fact, the only place where the election WAS disastrous was in Scotland, where it got annihilated, by a nationalist party that merely adopted a more left-wing rhetoric), instead of choosing another Blair, looks to be choosing, by a large margin, someone way to the left of Ed Miliband!!!!

"Have you got any more of those 1930's film reels in the
attic, Charles?  I think I might have another buyer."
Its no wonder that the Tory press have gone to all sorts of lengths to try to associate Jeremy Corbyn with terrorists, and all of the same “this man eats babies for breakfast” nonsense that they used to come out with, against Tony Benn, in the 1980's. Of course, by the time he died, Tony Benn was revered, as yet another of those “national treasures”, that people can only become when they are no longer a danger to the establishment. Its rather the same as with Mandela, who all the world's media and establishment loved, by the time he was released from gaol, in his old age, but who just a decade before they all lambasted as a dangerous terrorist! Its all the more ridiculous, when that Tory media attacks Corbyn for organising meetings with such terrorists, like Gerry Adams, given that not only Blair held meetings with such people, but today that most established of establishments, the Royal Family also meets and shakes hands with them.

All of that could be expected from the gutter press, but some of the worst examples have come from the BBC. It more resembles the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, in the way it has covered both the General Election, and the Labour Leadership election. In some of its flagship politics programmes, like The Daily Politics, it has been at the forefront of pushing forward the narrative that the last Labour government, overspent ahead of 2008, and that it was a failure to deal with the need for fiscal responsibility that led to the election defeat, which again it has been at the forefront as presenting as a serious defeat. It should be remembered, in that regard that the Liberal-Tories had a majority of around 80 before the election, and today the Tories have a majority of just 12. The Tories junior partner, the Liberals got wiped out in that election, and even if the 8 remaining members gave their support to the Tories, it would mean a majority of only 28. So, if the General Election was a disaster for Labour, how much more disastrous was it, for the Liberal-Tories???

But, that does not fit the Tory media narrative. The logical conclusion from the election would be that the supporters of Liberal-Toryism, consolidated around the right-wing axis of that politics, whilst the party that reflects the kind of soft-Toryism that the Blairites prefer – the Liberals got crushed. Similarly, Labour's traditional supporters in England, were not enthused by the austerity-lite option it was offering, and so either stayed away, or voted for protest parties like the Greens, or UKIP. In Scotland, it was even clearer, in the support given for the more clearly ant-austerity, SNP. In fact, that process, together with the surging support for Corbyn, which mirrors the support for Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, and similar movements across Europe, whilst the old Blairite/centrist social democratic parties get Pasokified, is an indication that “the centre has collapsed”.

Its a world in which that centre has collapsed, that the Tory media, and the Blairites cannot understand, because it is simply outside their world view. And the more their own view slams up against this real world, the more they rage against it. One of the worst examples has again actually been the BBC. Nowadays, Newsnight, should probably be renamed Noisenight, because much of the time, the only thing that can be heard is the noise of Kirsty Wark, shouting and hectoring at guests, and drowning out anything they might say, with her own message. Why bother having guests, why not allow her to just spout her message for 40 minutes, because that is mostly what we get anyway!

Is it David Wilkes or Alan Milburn?
Last night's programme was a case in point. Over the last few weeks BBC political programmes have featured an endless stream of former failed Blairites like Alan Milburn, or John Hutton, to supplement the regular messages from former SDP supporters like Polly Toynbee. All to no avail, not only was the Labour Party throwing its weight behind Corbyn, but large numbers of the general public that heard his message also liked it, as opposed to the tired message of the Blairites. Then yesterday, they pulled out John Prescott, as the old plaster who had kept the Blairite and Brownite wings together, no doubt in the anticipation that he would perform the same function, and tell the party to be sensible, and reject Corbyn, as a destabilising influence.

They must have been fuming when he failed to do so, and instead attacked Blair for his intemperate language, telling people to have a heart transplant and so on. Moreover, Prescott refused to be drawn into the Tory media narrative of Jeremy being some kind of ultra left, extremist and so on. Well done Prezza. Its time the Labour Party stood up to these Tory bullies, and insisted on being able to have a rational discussion about politics amongst comrades.

But, things got much worse for the Tory Media and the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, with last night's edition of Noisenight with Kirsty Wark. I even found myself warming to David Owen!!!!! The item had been built up from newspaper articles about plots and coups being hatched if Corbyn were to be the democratic choice of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Labour party members. How could they frustrate the wishes of the democratic majority, now that the 'morons', had been so foolish as to allow the ordinary members to have the option of voting for someone who reflected their own views. There was the possibility of an immediate no confidence vote, followed by another election, in which the 'morons', this time would simply refuse to nominate the party leader, and then there was the old option of splitting, as the SDP had done in 1981. Cue David Owen.

But, Owen, to his credit – though it could never go anywhere near remedying the damage he did in splitting the party in 1981 – refused to play ball. Wark harried and talked over him, to put words in his mouth, as usual, but Owen refused to agree that a split was likely, if Corbyn won, and even refused to go along with the hysterical descriptions of Corbyn as some kind of monster, outside the normal parameters of what the Labour Party should tolerate. In fact, Owen made the point that he had been one of those who had proposed the idea of one member one vote, back in the 1980's, and if, as a result of such a vote, now, Jeremy was the winner, he would live with that decision.

Blair and the Blairites are today to the right of some SDP'ers
like David Owen (second from left).
The division in 1981 he said, had been over policies, not over the personality of Michael Foot, whereas today, he had come back to supporting the Labour Party on the basis of its current policies, which could hardly be described as left-wing. In fact, he said, what is left-wing? He was himself today described as left-wing, he said, because he opposed the privatisation policies introduced into the NHS, and wanted it returning to how it was! He went on to welcome the fact that Jeremy had said he would reintroduce the practice of having the Shadow Cabinet elected, rather than appointed by the Leader, a policy Owen said should never have been changed by Blair.

If you listen carefully, you can hear all of this over the continual monologue of Kirsty Wark that endlessly tried to get over the opposite message, endlessly imploring that wouldn't a Corbyn victory be disastrous, and cause all right-winded people to leave the Labour Party? Having failed in that, she turned to the next hopeful vessel for this message, the businessman and Labour supporter, John Mills, who owns JML. She got a little more juice out of him, but still no call for a split in the party, still no outrage from him that he would stop transferring JML shares to the Labour Party. Instead, he put forward the rather obvious comment that any democrat within the Labour Party should support that there have been times when it reaches decisions he agrees with, and times when it doesn't. He has the same right as every other member, to try to change the decisions he disagrees with, through rational debate.

The problem for the Tory media and for the Blairites is that what Corbyn is saying is not just hugely popular inside the Labour Party, it is also popular amongst the public too, as the public hustings have shown. Corbyn comes over as genuine, and a real alternative to the politics of all the same that the Blairites represent. As I wrote recently, in 1981, the SDP could have an effect because of the conditions under which it occurred, and because of the nature of the Gang of Four.  If Liz Kendall, John McTernan, Phil Collins (wasn't he a drummer) and other Blairites tried something similar today, no one would even notice, or care less, which, of course is itself one consequence of them spending so much time, making themselves into Odo like creatures, able to make themselves indistinguishable from one another or the Tories!
Blair could never have stood on Attlee's
1945 Programme, and probably not on
Wilson's Programmes either.
Moreover, their true nature was also shown yesterday. Their argument against leftish politics has always been that Labour could not be elected on them, and the only point of Labour was to get elected so as to be able to do something. Their criticism against Corbyn and his supporters is put over in those terms now. Yet Blair himself, and Mary Creagh gave the lie to it. They both said they would rather Labour lose elections than to stand on leftish policies. It was put to Mary Creagh that the policies Corbyn supports such as opposition to the removal of Tax Credits, opposition to austerity, for rail renationalisation an so on, are very popular. Well she said, we shouldn't just put forward policies that are popular, we should support policies that are right.

Blair made the same point in his press conference. You know, he said, even if these left-wing politics were the ones required to get elected, I still wouldn't support them. So, there you have it, the Blairites, from the fountainhead himself, have admitted it, they would rather lose elections for ever more than support policies that truly benefit ordinary working people, and undermine the wealth and power of their rich establishment friends. We knew it all along.

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