Summer used to be a rather dead time for news media, the long Parliamentary break giving way to a plethora of “Silly Season” stories. It’s still partially true, but less so in the era of Trump, Brexit, and the incessant need to throw as much mud as possible at the opposition leader, in the hope that something sticks.
In terms of media itself, above the typical noise and games, perhaps the most significant development came when Corbyn announced proposals for re-organising the BBC and the establishment of a Public Digital Corporation to run alongside it.
As usual, the devil will be in the detail, but at least this is an effort to practically address the domination of the digital marketplace by tax-dodging multinational behemoths. The responses from UK media were unsurprising: the right and establishment summoned varying shades of horror, liberals were at least interested, progressive independents offered constructive criticism while welcoming the start of a conversation.
The danger is that the proposals will now be all but forgotten. The noise quickly died down after a few days of coverage and reaction. This may be down to the attention-deficit nature of modern media, but it’s also the Labour Party’s responsibility to keep these proposals in the public consciousness. They have form for not trumpeting big ideas at the right time: who remembered Ed Miliband’s promise for a sweeping Constitutional Convention when the 2015 election came around?
Many will opine that such issues are not the concern of “everyday voters”, but not only is it the function of politicians and activists to highlight their relevance of bigger ideas, it can also be very patronising to assume that voters can’t see beyond the end of their nose just because they have concerns around employment, housing, family etc.
If Labour does allow these plans to gather dust, it will fall to others, such as the independent media, to keep them in the public eye and continue the discourse.