2007 - 2022

The Establishment and How they Get Away with It

Owen Jones may be a bit of a Marmite figure, but, as we’ve said before “As a rule of thumb anyone being smeared or attacked by the media is probably doing something quite useful. “

Jones – author of Chavs, the Demonisation of the Working Class – and The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It, was has been under relentless attack this week, oddly for being mobbed by far-right Brexiteers in the street.

This was what riled Andrew Neil, safely ensconced in his highly-paid Centrist Dad TV platform, the truly dire This Week that our TV license somehow, inexplicably pays for.

Jones was quite rightly pointing out that The Spectator has been at the forefront of channeling a racist dialogue in the past few years under Fraser Nelson’s editorship and Andrew Neil’s chairmanship.

Examples of this are many but let’s take Rod Liddle’s “Is it possible to draw Serena Williams without being racist” as just one recent example.

This is important – because The Spectator – that used to be a sort of fetid conservative snoozepaper for ageing reactionaries – is morphing into a clickbait for the Brit new right who are high on the triumphalism of the Brexit fiasco and titillated by the far-right’s populism.


Neil was clearly furious.

This was his domain where he and his chums get to just pontificate endlessly.

But this was personal.

As we have pointed out before Andrew Neil is at the heart of a nexus of think-tanks and media. As the former UK Editor of the Economist, the Sunday Times, Executive Chairman of Sky Television, publisher of the Scotsman and poster boy for the Adam Smith Institute, he last November joined an interesting melange of the Russian Embassy, Arron Banks, Guido Fawkes and Julian Assange in smearing award-winning investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr – for exposing many of the networks he is intimately connected to. Neil tweeted calling Cadwalladr a ‘mad cat woman’ before being forced to delete the tweet.

Brexit has brutally exposed some of these networks.

As Jones wrote of Neil in April last year:

“Imagine this. The BBC appoints a prominent radical leftist, a lifelong Bennite, the chairman of the publisher of a prominent leftwing publication no less, as its flagship political presenter and interviewer. This person has made speeches in homage of Karl Marx calling for the establishment of full-blooded socialism in Britain, including a massive increase in public ownership, hiking taxes on the rich to fund a huge public investment programme, and reversing anti-union laws. They appear on our “impartial” Auntie Beeb wearing a tie emblazoned with the logo of a hardline leftist thinktank. Their BBC editor is a former Labour staffer who moves to become Jeremy Corbyn’s communications chief. They use their Twitter feed – where they have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers thanks to a platform handed to them by the BBC – to promote radical leftist causes. This would never happen. It is unthinkable, in fact. If the BBC establishment somehow entered this parallel universe, the British press would be on the brink of insurrection.”

Scottish viewers will be familiar with such bullying and vilification. But it’s important not to assume that media bias is aimed exclusively at the SNP. It is aimed at anyone who might affect change in Britain. The Greens, the Labour left, difficult investigative journalists, in fact anyone who has an articulate idea to rub together will be smeared and attacked.

Image credit: David Kerr @davidpeterkerr


Comments (5)

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  1. Andy Anderson says:

    Well of course the media is biased in a neo-liberal society where the super-rich are increasing their wealth at the expense of all the rest of us. If they were not doing that then there would be a change in the dominant ideology. What is interesting, and is demonstrated by your video is that people like Andrew Neil are increasingly having to drop their guard and display their bias and animosity towards rational debate such as Owen Jones is showing. This proves to me that the system is collapsing and Neil and others are increasingly aware of the weakness of their position.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      I am a bit less sanguine than you with regard to what you see as a sign that “they are increasingly aware of the weakness of their position” (although I hope the position is weak and crumbles). It could be interpreted as them feeling less constrained by the kind of conventions, such as ‘balance’ and are simply being overtly arrogant and bombastic, showing that ‘Yes, we are the masters’. I hope it proves to be hubristic.

  2. Christopher White says:

    Go on Mike. Break a brick over the heads of the rest of the media.
    Publish the Nostradamus poem I just sent you.

  3. Richard Easson says:

    Sic transit gloria Scotiae et Britannicae ( a long time since I gained my O-level Latin, 1964 in fact) but you know what I mean.

  4. Savage McTavish says:

    Odious little man and I don’t like Andrew Neil much either.

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