Brexit, Boris and Trump head the Populus poll which asked which news story, political or otherwise, the public have paid most attention to during the course of that week.
Will Clothier, a senior research executive at Populus, reports in The Times that no more than 5% mentioned the antisemitism story at any point in the past month. In fact, it has never been mentioned by more than 5% since hitting the headlines months ago. He comments (ruefully?):
“ . . . right now this simply is not a big story for most people”
Brexit was outdone though in the second week of the month by one of its architects: the former foreign secretary. His comments about the burka made him the most memorable story of the week for 27% of people.
In August, with Trump’s former campaign manager and his personal lawyer both implicated in financial crimes, the president became the British public’s top story of the week for the second time this year on 20%.
The public may well have seen through the barrage of baseless allegation and innuendo in reports permeating mainstream media. Is their ‘hidden agenda’ now so obvious to the 95% – and even counterproductive?
Rattled by Labour’s Oldham by-election success and three other recent by-election victories, right wing journalists are now moving away from gripes about Corbyn’s national anthem silence, and his consistent support for moves to stop wars, to focus on those of his supporters who have high incomes.
They ignore those of the 99%, the people to whom Corbyn has given hope, and who continue to support him, as seen in audience reactions, by-election wins and Labour Party membership figures.
The FT’s Janan Ganesh (below left) enlightens ‘poor whites’
Possibly influenced by UKIP defeats in all four by-elections, Janan Ganesh whose articles I usually will not read, earlier wrote approvingly: “Political apathy in the UK is perfectly respectable”. Now he writes hopefully: “Years will pass before we know the consequences of Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader of the opposition Labour Party but the alienation of working-class whites, UKIP’s quarry (sic), has to be among them”.
He hopes! And, trusting in the power of the press, he is trying to achieve this. His arguments are too specious to repeat but may be read here on free registration for anyone who wishes to spend time in this way.
Ganesh writes about ‘’poor whites, especially those who line the eastern edge of England and populate the deindustrialised north” – subhuman? – whom he believes Corbyn has alienated: “Many will not vote. A few who can swallow their ancestral aversion will go Tory”.
UKIP fits the bill?
He appears to prefer a UKIP resurgence: “UKIP still has what it takes to win the larger share of these votes: economic populism, rhetorical bluntness, name recognition. The shambles of its leadership is not fatal. Populism does not attract people looking for a government but people bored of having their plain sensibilities laughed at. If Mr Corbyn leads Labour into a general election, UKIP need only stand still to move forward”.
With an ego enhanced by his entry as one of Debrett’s 500 most influential people, he then refers to the return of the ‘perfumed Islingtonian’ !
And the unwholesome Giles Coren (right) in the Times (scroll down his entry – but avoid the even nastier Esquire article) adds substance to this trivial attempt to alienate Corbyn supporters: “a cabal of wealthy north London professionals who have taken an interest in Labour because they haven’t much else to do”.
“Labour is the new hobby for the idle rich: Corbyn’s revolution is a Woosterish indulgence for Islington millionaires. They’ll join any protest, if they’re not in the Dordogne”.
Readers who can face it may read the article here — at a price: “A disproportionate number of Labour members who have joined since the 2015 general election are ‘high-status city dwellers’ pursuing well-paid jobs,” reported The Guardian on Thursday, after getting its hands on leaked data commissioned by the party.
Ganesh adds that protests/demonstrations are “Weekend japes, in other words. Because being a Labourite in 2016 is nothing but another leisure option for the seriously rich. Like sailing or collecting wine or riding to hounds”.
Messrs Ganesh and Coren have no idea what is happening outside London
Labour’s new strength lies in its core supporters who do not read these articles and would discount them if they ever wasted money on them. The establishment has been ‘rumbled’. Here (below) are a hundred or so of the thousands in Birmingham who attended Corbyn or Momentum gatherings. Far from wealthy, their incomes will have been hard-earned . . .
Face it: at long last advertisement/corporate dependent mainstream media and their corporate-political masters have lost their former influence over most of the general public – and that is a wonderfully healthy and hopeful development.
Secret State 15: Why did BBC helicopter footage of flooding fail to show the threatened Cumbrian nuclear installations?
Secret State 1 drew attention to a 2011 report in the Guardian showing how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with multinationals EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse, to try to ensure that the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.
Three years ago DEFRA reported on the nuclear sites which are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion – see Rob Edwards in the Guardian – but politicians are not facing the risks. Today’s Drigg flood alert:
Last year, the Guardian reported that in internal Environment Agency document, suggests that it was a mistake to position the Drigg radioactive waste site close to the Cumbrian coast because of the risk of flooding. In 2013 Drigg Railway station was closed due to the flooding and the area was also affected in 2014.
Ian Parker, the Environment Agency’s group manager in Cumbria said, after detailed technical examinations: ‘It’s highly probable the coast will erode and the waste (at Drigg) will be disrupted.’
Marianne Birkby who lives in the area, has been questioning the Environment Agency and the Department of Energy and Climate Change via the Freedom of Information facility about the condition of nuclear installations in Cumbria and Lancashire.
Earlier this month, she reports that the BBC helicopter relaying images of the devastation avoided showing areas in which nuclear installations are located: Sellafield, Drigg, Lillyhall and the proposed new nuclear plant on the river Ehen floodplain, Moorside.
In her blog she asks:” Why the journalistic omission? Why are there no questions being asked about the breaching of Cumbria’s growing number of uncontainable nuclear installations which already leach “a controlled release of radioactivity” into groundwaters, marine holding tanks and such like?”
Answer: most mainstream media, including the BBC, depend on corporate or political favour for survival and become, to varying degrees, servants of the state.
Drigg Coast (above) is a special marine protected area of conservation – ideal for housing radioactive waste?
Government websites record that it has extensive sand dunes, saltmarsh, intertidal mudflats and sandflats and estuaries. The dune wetlands support other SSSI notified features including an amphibian assemblage with great crested newt, natterjack toad and dragonfly assemblage. They also provide an important environment for reptiles, breeding birds and invertebrates. Its politically-backed corporate neighbour – Drigg radioactive waste disposal site – may be seen below:
Successive governments have also promoted risky and polluting nuclear and waste disposal industries, encouraging mass medication of the water supply. The current administration has permitted the latest abuse, fracking, and looks on supportively as the corporate drive to use the green belt for unnecessary ‘aspirational’ housing is underway. Approval for GM crops, though constrained by EU legislation, is another item on their agenda.
In 2016, will the public continue to tolerate politically backed corporate pollution – a threat to human and environmental health?
Happy Christmas: “regardless of the systematic dismantling of the state . . . and the ideological glee at making the disadvantaged suffer”, rejoice!
The writer tried to ignore the news, cynically announced as the public prepares for Christmas festivities, that – on ‘trash day’ – a total of 36 written ministerial statements and 424 government documents were published, as Parliament rose for the Christmas recess. Consequences:
But the words of a Walsall blogger, the Plastic Hippo, made it impossible.
“Clearly, lots of time, effort and thought has been devoted to the black arts by the Conservative Party, their corporate backers and a sympathetic media. It seems a shame that they are unwilling to turn their expertise to reducing the national debt, securing public services, ensuring that no child goes hungry and made some effort to unite the nation and not divide it for the sake of short-term electoral advantage”.
“The Machiavellian undermining of political opponents by Tory Party strategists is as good if not better than a John Le Carré novel”, he continues:
“The clever manoeuvring began on day one of the coalition government . . . Within weeks, Liberal Democrat lightweights with ideas above their station were quickly neutralised by a quiet word to the Standards Committee and the Essex constabulary . . . Vince Cable vowed to take on Murdoch over BSkyB but the old fool fell for an elaborate sting involving a couple of young lovelies working for Murdoch . . .
As informed political debate goes, all this was a reminder that informed political debate is dead . . .
“With the enthusiastic cooperation of a feral right-wing media, Tory spymasters set about Ed Miliband with the ferocity of fox-hounds after Reynard or possibly Rennard the Liberal Democrat lord. The best that quality journalism and profound political thinking could come up with was that Miliband has two kitchens, his father “hated” Britain and that he looks a bit odd when eating a bacon sandwich . . .
“Duly elected with a considerable majority, the systematic destruction of Corbyn began. Unfortunately, Comrade Corbyn seems able to ignore the increasingly hysterical attacks and even a casual observer might be impressed with his dignity under such savage provocation.
“He regularly wipes the floor with David Cameron at the dispatch box leaving the Prime Minister red in the face unable to answer reasonable questions and shouting at the opposition benches that everything is the fault of a party last in power five and a half years ago. Tory activists will be asking for their three quid back . . .”
Fortunately the general public is increasing aware of these machinations peddled by mainstream media and careerist politicians – and despite their best efforts continue to applaud and support Corbyn.
Read Plastic Hippo’s article in full here.
Not before the children
David Carr: If Labour had lost this would have been all over the news!
Comment on that site:
”Nice job from the unelectable”
Euxton North (Chorley) is a key marginal between Labour and the Conservatives, has been one of the more reliable bellwether seats in the country, having been won by the party that went on to form the government in every election since 1964.
The three candidates hoping to win the seat on Chorley Council were Tommy Gray (Labour), Alan Platt (Conservative) and Christopher Suart (UK Independence Party).
Comments on https://twitter.com/JeremyCorbyn4PM
Last word from UK Polling Report site:
Corbyn would probably agree that a foreign policy based on subservience to the United States is a source of deep shame for many Britons
A reader sends this link to an article by Peter Oborne. The following highlights may tempt readers pressed for time to open it.
With barely two weeks to go until the election of a new Labour leader, a British establishment project has been launched to stop Jeremy Corbyn at any cost. Most of the mainstream media as well as the majority of Labour MPs and party donors are part of this conspiracy to nobble the front-runner.
The Western powers always assert that they support democracy. But the truth is different. Mr Corbyn’s critics always claim that they want democracy. But do they really? They only want democracy, so long as it does not threaten the interests of their powerful backers.
Some Labour strategists envisage that Jeremy Corbyn should be duly defenestrated if he becomes Labour leader in 15 days time – so that Labour supporters can be made to vote again. I am not a Labour voter, let alone a member of the Labour Party with a vote in the current election. However, I am certain this would be a disaster for British public life.
If he wins, he must be allowed to lead his party and to make his case.
Mr Corbyn is the most interesting figure to emerge as a leader of a British political party for many years. This is because he stands for a distinct set of ideas and beliefs which set a new agenda in British politics. If he wins on 12 September, he will be the first party leader to come from right outside the British mainstream since Margaret Thatcher in 1975.
Corbyn is mounting a direct and open challenge to the British system of government of international alliances as they have worked since Tony Blair became Labour Party leader.
For two decades both main parties have shared the same verities about British foreign policy. They have regarded Britain as automatically subservient to the United States. This in turn has meant that we have interpreted the partnership with the Gulf dictatorships – such as Saudi Arabia and UAE – as central to Britain’s Middle East focus, while taking the side of the Israeli state against the Palestinians. In the Middle East this approach has ensured that we are confronting a growing terrorist threat in the region with an ever-decreasing base in popular support, and actually hated by an ever-growing population who identify Britain with their oppressors.
No matter which party was technically in power, British foreign policy has remained unchanged. David Cameron is indistinguishable in foreign policy terms to Tony Blair. (Indeed, the former prime minister has become one of Mr Cameron’s most valued foreign policy advisors.)
Jeremy Corbyn would smash this consensus.
Most people would agree that on the most intractable foreign policy issues of our time Corbyn has tended to be right and the British establishment has tended to be wrong. What Corbyn does or thinks today is likely to be vindicated a few years later. Hard though it is for the British establishment to stomach, Corbyn’s foreign policy ideas have generally been more balanced and far-sighted than those of his opponents.
This certainly does not mean that he is always right. I believe that he has been naïve about Vladimir Putin, ruler of an authoritarian state which is founded on corruption and violence. He has been unwise to contemplate British withdrawal from NATO.
Corbyn is our only current hope of any serious challenge to a failed orthodoxy. Blair and Cameron have both adopted a foreign policy based on subservience rather than partnership with the United States, which has done grave damage to British interests.