It’s important to connect up propaganda, media distortion and the lies that we are being told, both about the independence campaign and the state of the British economy. We’ve just buried Thatcher but it’s worth remembering two aspects of her reign: the militarism and the media and the ongoing fall-out from the politics she nurtured.
John Pilger recounts how (‘Her Funeral was a Propaganda Stunt fot for a Dictator’) :
“When the journalists and producers of ITV’s landmark documentary, Death on the Rock, exposed how the SAS had run Thatcher’s other death squads in Ireland and Gibraltar, they were hounded by Rupert Murdoch’s “journalists”, then cowering behind the razor wire at Wapping. Although exonerated, Thames TV lost its ITV franchise.” It was a landmark defeat for media freedoms and a victory for the British State.
He then proceeds to excoriate her military record:
“In his arms-to-Iraq enquiry, Lord Richard Scott heard evidence that an entire tier of the Thatcher government, from senior civil servants to ministers, had lied and broken the law in selling weapons to Saddam Hussein. These were her “boys”. Thumb through old copies of the Baghdad Observer, and there are pictures of her boys, mostly cabinet ministers, on the front page sitting with Saddam on his famous white couch. There is Douglas Hurd and there is a grinning David Mellor, also of the Foreign Office, around the time his host was ordering the gassing of 5,000 Kurds. Following this atrocity, the Thatcher government doubled trade credits to Saddam.
Perhaps it is too easy to dance on her grave. Her funeral was a propaganda stunt, fit for a dictator: an absurd show of militarism, as if a coup had taken place. And it has. “Her real triumph”, said another of her boys, Geoffrey Howe, a Thatcher minister, “was to have transformed not just one party but two, so that when Labour did eventually return, the great bulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversible.”
In 1997, Thatcher was the first former prime minister to visit Tony Blair after he entered Downing Street. There is a photo of them, joined in rictus: the budding war criminal with his mentor. When Ed Milliband, in his unctuous “tribute”, caricatured Thatcher as a “brave” feminist hero whose achievements he personally “honoured”, you knew the old killer had not died at all.”
What has this got to do with media representation and debate today?
Well the continual promotion of figures like Nigel Farage on BBC Question Time represent a media anglo-sphere (touched on yesterday by Kevin) which is all pervasive. UKIP have no representation in Scotland yet these saloon bar bores are given an extraordinary profile on the flagship BBC current affairs programme. They (UKIP) were described today as ‘Not so much a political party, more a League of Gentlemen sketch that got out of hand’ and it’s easy to laugh at them (today announcing their policy of reversal of the smoking in bars).
Whilst it’s fun to think of them as sort of Taxi Cab Politicians, the reality is they represent a continuum between the right and the far-right shaping the landscape of British (reserved) social and foreign policy. So how they are represented to us in the media is crucial.
Despite being constantly presented as an affable rogue by the media there is endless examples of their membership having cross-over with the far-right and English nationalists.
Rather than moan about this – we’ll be countering the media bias and presenting facts about what’s happening. One key area we need to keep responding to is the attack on universal benefits led by the coalition and supported by all the Unionist parties. We are not ‘all in this together’ The reality is to bail out the banks, Britain’s national debt nearly quadrupled. And who is paying the price? The National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers, details the impact on the poorest. This is a massive media failure to respond to this attack and it’s a key opportunity for us to examine the farce of being lashed to this agenda as being ‘Better Together’.
Here’s the cuts agenda of Austerity Unionism so far:
CUT of £385 million pa by 2014/15
CUT of £2,010 million by 2014/15