From Kirsty Wark’s hilarious opening diatribe in Latin for Newsnight last night, in which she declared Theresa May ‘the imperial master of all before her’ [watch it and weep] to the media’s vitriol against Corbyn’s unillingness to conform, the media class is blithely unaware of the unfolding ‘British crisis’. Wark’s performance was the sort of extraordinary anglocentric news programming that would you have screaming for a new TV news programme for Scotland, oh… wait a minute.
Her analysis seemed to systematically exclude the entire Brexit shambles, or indeedd the trifling matters of Scotland and Ireland in her imperium.
But while the media gloats in Labour’s tragic floundering, and the knives are sharpened by Old-New Labour’s rejected (and equally directionless) coterie (John rentoul, Peter Mandelson and yes Tony himself) there’s another story from this week’s by-election results.
This was a day where a candidate called The Incredible Flying Brick got 3 more votes than the BNP. This was day where the media-enhanced power of the UKIP fell apart. As Jonathan Shafi has put it:
“The radical right are meant to be the insurgents – a rising tide on the back of Trump and Brexit. They are meant to have won the hearts and minds of the working class, and are lavished with massive media attention. They have big money, and declare loudly that this is their time. They have the White House, they have an enormous social media reach, and everything they argue has been pre-packaged by the right-wing press for years. Corbyn’s Labour is permanently savaged in the media and undermined internally as Mandelson admits, on a daily basis. Today was meant be the UKIP breakthrough that reflected the new Brexit Britain. Up until a few short weeks ago it was looking like this might come to pass. But Stoke said no. If the job of the radical is to raise confidence and hope, then the English left might look to Stoke for both.”
UKIP’s comically stupid leader makes their old champion look like a figure of gravitas. UKIP are a busted flush, and the Tories despite the hyper-ventilating over at Newsnight face a catalogue of difficulties that won’t be covered-up by Corbyn’s ineptitude.
As the Guardian’s John Harris pointed out: “England is faced with a mounting NHS disaster, which blurs into a matching meltdown in adult social care.” He continues: “Theresa May regularly looks scared out of her wits; under harsh light, her government seems plagued with crises” and still “In essence, we now find ourselves back where we were before both these contests started. Labour is racked by a deep, historic crisis that preceded the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn, but which his leadership seems to have immeasurably deepened.”
Ando so, despite the triumphalism of media coverage of one party and the nihilistic cartoon coverage of another, the reality is of a nation unable to confront the social reality of its governing decisions. Labour lost Copeland because they dared to challenge the orthodoxy of a failed nuclear power source and won Stoke wrapped in the St George’s flag. Theresa May may well be imperious but she presides over a broken land heading into an abyss.