My election notes. E-Day – 2
by Pseud O'Nym
With the election on Thursday, it behooves me both to use a couple of posts that weren’t posted and to briefly outline some idea’s that would have posts or just asides.
In 2015 I posted a blog about my experience of attending the hustings for my constituency. This time around there wasn’t one. No opportunity to challenge those wanting our vote. No opportunity to get the measure of them, to see how they quick on their feet they were answering questions both from the audience and each other. Neither has there been any canvassing at our house. Despite the fact we live in a safe Labour seat, some effort from the others would be nice. Evidence of the scandalous lack of such is before me now in the form of election leaflets that have been pushed through our door. One of them looks like it was done on someone’s computer and the Conservatives haven’t even bothered to produce one!
I love my brother, don’t get me wrong and he makes laugh more than anyone I’ve ever known – sometimes just with a look – but it does wind me up no end when my Mother says he takes an interest in politics. All this because he watches BBC1’s ‘Question Time – which is to matured and reasoned political debate what homeopathy is to science – and that he simply spews out second-hand opinions that he’s either read about or heard about.
And therein is the problem, not that he doesn’t join the dots up and more that he doesn’t know they exist. I’m not arrogant enough to delude myself that I see all the dots, but I am aware that there are some dots I don’t join and some I’m unaware of. But any discussion with him about anything to do with politics is frustrating enough, but as soon as I’ve provided evidence to refute yet another his bizarre assertions, does he comeback with evidence of his own? No. He simply goes off on another unrelated tangent that he imagines conclusively proves his point. It’s like conversational hopscotch; he jumps from one topic to another without warning leaving me constantly bewildered by his limited viewpoints.
When I tell him that the newspapers that he reads have their own political agenda, how newspapers are not impartial arbiters of facts, but have left or right wing agendas, he says that he has no idea what I mean by a left or right wing agenda. When I try to explain how newspaper owners seek to promote their own world view, he says I’m talking nonsense. Mind you, when I upbraided him some years ago for taking his daughters to McDonalds on an almost weekly basis, citing the health problems, poor farming conditions and workers rights violations as evidence, his argument to refute this? ‘Well if it was as bad as you say, then they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it’
I think of this mindset, this naive faith that the media is somehow above the grubby world of politics and not itself knee deep in dishonour, when I think of the snide and savage attacks on the character of Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour manifesto was officially launched on Tuesday and the press has been quick to castigate it for what perceives as it’s economic recklessness. But they weren’t so quick to point out that since 2010 the national debt has increased by 50%. Or that as Chancellor, George Osborne missed nearly all his economic forecasts? But Labour are economically reckless?
There aren’t words capable of expressing the complex range of emotions that I felt upon watching the news of the terror attack in London Saturday night, so I won’t.
But having said that.
My partner saw a report on the internet about the attack and immediately turned on the T.V. Now I get my news from the BBC – BBC Radio 4 that is – and consequently I am therefore used to news reporting, of not only an excellent quality and informed analysis, but above all, of sober, fact based reporting I was horrified by the coverage on BBC News 24 and on Sky News.
It wasn’t just the sheer repetition of the horrific facts. That was bad enough. One of the inherent problems of all 24-hour rolling news channel is that at times such as Saturday night they can be an insatiable self replicating behemoth, inasmuch as there isn’t much to report that is new, so they repeat the same thing over and over again.
It’s both seductive and incredibly cheap to make. Seductive, because my partner was aware she was watching the same footage over again, but was concerned that if she turned it off, she might miss something. It’s also cheap to produce -judging by what we see anyway – featuring accounts given by people who didn’t see the thing happen, but were caught up in the immediate aftermath. And some of the questions they’re then asked! Variants of “Were you scared?” or “How did you feel?”
When I raged against the triteness of the coverage of an unfolding trajedy, the inability not say something like ‘ The sitaution is confusing as you might expect and we don’t want to add to the chaotic scenes with ill-informed speculation my partner explained that all T.V news was like this now.