Friday, September 05, 2003

Hypocrisy meets Daily Mail Watch

Polly Toynbee has noticed something.

"Never mind the substance of a policy - that's boring and time-consuming. The fun is targeting the next minister who might be knocked off his or her perch - will Hoon be the next Byers? (The public barely heard of either dull fellow until they came under fire.) This is political decadence, games filling the vacancy in ideals and ideas. "

All terribly true. The only thing is I don't remember Polly castigating the Guardian in the days of cash for questions, sleaze, Aitken, Mellor, Milligan et al. Indeed the Guardian seemed rather proud of themselves. There were 11 Jeffrey Archer stories in one recent month alone, after 6 years of Labour. Yet "there is no press "responsibility". To whom? Why should the Mail and the rest beat their swords into ploughshares?"

And "daily grotesqueries will continue to decorate the front page of the Mail and others." What - like "Outrage As Toxic Ghost Fleet Sets Sail For Britain" ?

Polly can see the problem all right. Observation 10, analysis 0.

"Journalism of left and right converges in an anarchic zone of vitriol where elected politicians are always contemptible, their policies not just wrong but their motives all self-interest. Those on the left should take this very seriously indeed. The right is individualist, anti-government, anti-tax, anti-collective provision. Undermining the idea that government is a force for good is its ideological aim, alongside the mad militias of Idaho. But the left, which purports to believe in government, should be wary of joining the same all-governments-are-rubbish camp. This anarcho-individualism is a very British mindset - and it is not compatible with social democracy."

Ignore the idiotic Idaho stuff and she has a point - the same point that spiked makes over and over again. The death of 'deference', so celebrated by the Guardian, and a belief that all mainstream politicians are contemptible, is indeed bad news for social democracy as Polly knows it. Things fall apart - the centre cannot hold.

Solution ? "When some newspapers continue to distort, cut them off and denounce them bravely. Making enemies also makes friends."

The BNP won another council seat last night (note - the photo on the BBC site is of an ex councillor, not the Essex winner). Barring a series of high profile arrests on charges of paedophilia and cannibalism just before the election, they are likely to win several European Parliament seats next year, thanks to PR.

That's it, Polly - keep those eyes tight shut and keep blaming the Daily Mail !

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