Four political stories in the BBC news this evening here in UK. (1 Sept 2016)
- British manufacturing output figures last month grew at their highest rate for 25 years
- A government pledge to work towards a redistribution of wealth – by way of wealth trickling downwards in society
- The Prime Minister accusing Junior Doctors and The British Medical Association of ‘playing politics’ because they plan to withhold their labour in 5 day stoppages
- The new Prime Minister Theresa May and her Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had a ‘heart-warming’ tete a tete whilst she was appointing her new ministers and so forming a government
Before I begin considering the import and importance of these four announcements and news stories; I feel I need to remind any readers I might have that these people now in power as the British Government are far and away for the most part the same set of people who told us here in Britain so much that was untrue; so much which was calculated to stir our nastiest prejudices; so much which was couched so as to sway us towards voting for a disastrous Brexit; all of which had so very little basis in fact, historically and demonstrably so.
Thus for me the old question turns up like a bad penny:
Would you buy a used car from these people?
We say a leopard doesn’t change his spots; that old habits die hard; that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; all our in-common traditional wisdom points me to the cautious and sceptical side of the street with these people.
Now I say clearly up front here that I do not believe the import of any of these four news items prima facie as they were served up to us by BBC news this evening. I have little doubt that BBC news is pretty well daily, if not more frequently, ‘in league with’ the movers and shakers in government who star in these news stories. And I heavily suspect that as news items these four stories have been angled and fashioned by these parties, the BBC and the government Press Office, in cahoots so as to present listeners with messages carried in their undercurrents. These messages are those which the government wants us as citizen listeners to swallow like sprats are used to catch mackerel.
Now I that have stood up and signalled where I am coming from I suppose it’s only right that you should expect from me some of my reasoning for being so belligerent about these people and their ways of doing things. So here goes.
- The news presenter did point up that the idea of governing so as to allow wealth to be shared out by it trickling downwards from the better off was in no way a new idea. She left it there after offering a few examples of this policy being aired in recent years. Joseph Chamberlain; John Major; David Cameron; she pointed out had all purveyed versions of this policy. These examples were all Tory enthusiasts or in the case of Chamberlain a proto-Tory.
Strange as it may seem no leftwards-leaning politicians or Prime Ministers were hauled out to view as historically having been supporters of such a policy?
But let that go; but see, the obvious point was not made; because it is what tragedians call ‘the fatal flaw’ in the policy and the idea that wealth trickles downwards. This obvious point was the question why – especially over a short recent period (1990 – 2016) – three times – the number of times Julius Caesar refused the Crown offered to him by the governors of Rome – an honourable man – why was it necessary to reiterate the same policy thrice in a 25 year space; and iterated by three Tory Prime Ministers?
The obvious deductions to be made are that:
- It had to be reiterated because the policy previously had not been enacted/or else was not working
- It had to be reiterated because it is a vote catcher in ‘enemy territories’ where some lower income persons are swayed by it
- It works as a cosmetic to show government in a humane light
- It is trotted out occasionally knowing well it is mere window-dressing
2. The Prime Minister responded to the Junior Doctors’ calling several 5 day work stoppages in the autumn in protest at a deal being imposed upon them by government. The Prime Minister retorted that the Junior Doctors and the British Medical Association (who are supporting them) were ‘playing politics’ with ‘patients’ lives’. (Note the alliteration which for me denotes a crafting of words).
For the figurehead of government in the UK; the one on whom the remainder of government looks for leadership, to have publicly calumniated her own trade of politics in this way; or rather for her to have chosen a saying or idiom which like much in-common traditional wisdom carries within it considerable truth value, this represents a beautiful ‘own goal’ on her part. For her advisors and her ‘punch-line’ writers to have passed such a howler successfully through the mill of political-correctness-scanning and public-impact-assessment is startling and perhaps revealing.
The news presenter then missed a trick – or did she – did it occur to her and yet it was not mentioned by her because it was a comment which would not have supported that side of the bread she butters?
3. Britain’s manufacturing output grew at its fastest (monthly?) rate for 25 years in the month of August – it seems. This is Brexit-slanted news if ever there was such a thing. Of course the High Tory bandits who hijacked the UK political scene by way of the means of a Brexit referendum; and whose successful(?) strategy has in fact resulted in a coup d’état by them in Britain; these guys and gals in their Brexit campaigning had been hammering on about British manufacturing in the doldrums and how the EU was the villain of the piece. And lo, behold, the first month since Brexit and the manufacturing production level rate records are broken!
Can this be coincidence; that their prophetic souls were so prescient? And it is suddenly newsworthy to report this leap in manufacturing as a salutary item prominently in the new news media; whose new outlook on Britain tells us we have now become ‘unshackled’ from the long slow freight train that is Europe.? The media indeed has duly ‘fallen into line’ behind the coup leaders who are now riding high and at the top of their bent. Like the Marxist term ‘lickspittles’ the media clamber to hype and to toady before the rising (risen) stars of the politics of the day and to provide them their bidding and more. The media even overstepping the mark of due deference, by them feeling it their role and duty to shepherd us all, the non-Oxbridge set, into all understanding regarding our new political colours and slants and priorities.
‘Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room’
And regarding manufacturing, I suspect that behind this statistic there is a good (or rather bad) amount of ‘manufacturing’ having gone on.
An amusing note: The news presenter began her announcement on Britain’s increased manufacturing by saying: ‘Britain’s manufacturers have been performing well……’ – yes, yes indeed; a performance, oh what a circus oh what a show. And like Ben Jonson’s Shakespeare, she perhaps spoke wiser than she knew.
4. This last item – although I did not deliberately leave it till last – is perhaps the most salacious. It is the metaphorical icing on the cake which proves – at least for me – my point that news (if that is what it is?) in Britain goes rather like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go with Hamlet.
The story is that Hamlet in the play is outraged by the two courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who would use the pretext of their friendships with him to attempt hamstringing his planned revenge. They attempt this at the behest of and in the pay of Hamlet’s murderer Stepfather.
Hamlet asks these two courtiers, these would-be-friends of his, whether they are able to play a recorder, and so provide him with some light musical entertainment. They cannot. Hamlet persists asking them to play. They protest they cannot; do not know how. Hamlet then makes his point with justly famous words:
‘Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops. You would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. And there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? ‘Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.’
Our media are the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the plot of today’s politics and politicians
Back to the last news story. Jeremy Hunt was Health Secretary before the Brexit referendum result. His history dealing with the Junior Doctors’ dispute has been chequered and somewhat ‘gloves-off’. His post-Brexit career as Health Secretary was (said to be) in the balance. Theresa May, the incoming post-Brexit Prime Minister when in process of forming a new government; was ladling the prizes for all who had buttered their toast aright.
Jeremy Hunt had been known (by whom it is not clear) for wearing as an emblem of his Office of State a National Health Service (NHS) lapel badge in his jacket; and (apparently) was never to be seen without it. On the day he was called by Theresa May to her Downing Street headquarters to hear his post-Brexit political fate from her, (ominously, so the story goes, so as to add some pepper and salt to it) the ubiquitous NHS lapel badge was absent from his jacket as he strode down Downing Street into the PM’s offices. Here we hold our breaths.
Half an hour later Jeremy emerges jubilant from Downing Street with the NHS lapel badge back in its place, and his job as Heath Secretary in good form and continuance
Well, isn’t that a human story? Isn’t it like something mummy reads to you before bed? It sounds like what it is; and that is fiction. Fiction, but this is not to say that it did not happen just this way – no doubt it did – but fiction in that its authenticity as a ‘feelgood’ story feels wholly bogus. We should ask ourselves before we accept its narrative in good faith, why was Jeremy Hunt carrying the NHS badge – presumably in a pocket – on his way to the Prime Minister – especially when the story has it that he expected imminently to be sacked from the post of Health Secretary?
We should ask ourselves in addition: does the political propaganda machine do anything as an impromptu and a natural event, that it is able otherwise to stage?
These are the people who hire hustlers and bandits to plan and manage their electoral campaigns for their party and its factions. They are the people whose bread and butter are to make the most of every half-chance to make political capital; and on the other hand to downgrade as much as possible those tricky announcements and events that come less welcome to the public ear. There is no doubt in my mind that the story of Jeremy Hunt and the NHS lapel badge is a fabrication – orchestrated, certainly concocted, and tarted-up and fed to BBC news as a deliberate subterfuge to be used to gain from the listening public some (affection?) sympathy for the government and for Jeremy Hunt.
So, we have unpackaged some of the baggage on each of these four politics stories in the news today. None of them are news. All of them are cheap steers aiming at herding a public into directions, views, outlooks, which the government wants them to hold to; and each of the four stories shows plainly that the abject BBC is happy to kowtow along, and provide mash and pease for their new masters
A howling monster, a drunken monster
No more dams I’ll make for fish,
Nor fetch in firing
Nor scrape trencher, nor wash dish.
‘Ban, ‘Ban, Ca-caliban
Has a new master. Get a new man.
Freedom, high-day, high-day, freedom, freedom, high-day, freedom!
O brave monster! Lead the way’
It’s not wealth trickling down.