In 1921, C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian for nearly 50 years, wrote an essay to mark the papers centenary in which he wrote that the “primary office” of a newspaper is accurate news reporting, saying “comment is free, but facts are sacred”.
He would likely have abhorred the present time where news is less the result of investigative journalism and largely just the regurgitation (copy and pasted) of whatever is reported on newswire or PR copy.
Modern news reporting is in a parlous state, not least because the expression ‘fake news’ has been dragged from obscurity, where it belonged, and has been forcibly injected into the current mess by those who should know better and those for whom it serves their twisted agenda of falsity and deception. It comes at a heavy price, in particular for those who are the main consumers, but not creators, of news, ordinary people. The most invidious use of ‘fake news’ is in dismissing anything that the user wishes to dismiss without bothering to provide any evidence. Used in that way, it becomes a term of deception in itself, and it is a mark of our times that grappling with the news is like trying to find our way in a thick smog, it befuddles the mind, which is entirely the intent.
We live in an age of deception in which war is peace, or as George W put it – spreading democracy, and driving millions of people into poverty, as the Tories are, incentivising them to work.
Incentivising people into work through sanctions and benefit delays is not fake news, but it is a deception that has at its heart human rights violations which are driving people into penury and death.
Claims for social security have ceased to be access to a social safety net which people pay into over their life time, and have, under the Tories, become trial by ordeal, or conditionality, with requirements so exacting, cruel and harsh, failure, and therefore punishment by sanctioning, is almost guaranteed.
The Tories claim that trial by ordeal, or incentives, help (drive) people into work. The entire system is based on double speak for forced labour, which, no matter how you wrap it, is a violation of people’s human rights, just as escalating poverty is a denial of people’s right to life and homelessness is a denial of people’s rights to respect for privacy, family life, home and correspondence.
The point of human rights it to prevent suffering, mental torment and anguish and premature death, through reduced life expectancy and suicide.
The Tories have long expressed their desire to rid themselves of the Human Rights Act, but why bother when they can so successfully circumvent them through deceit, psychobabble and corruption? Exactly the same tactics which have been used to bring our NHS to its knees and privatise it.
What we are witnessing is a degree of UK state criminality against the people which was hitherto unthinkable, such that it beggars public belief, which is exactly the point. Fooling the public is now a government industry, ramped up under David Cameron, costing the public tens of millions of pounds every year, backed by a vicious right wing media.
Thankfully, the growth of social and independent media is proving to be a significant thorn in the side of government corruption. The power of the people is growing daily, much to the government’s dismay and anger. What is significant about the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, or Snoopers Charter as it is known, is that under the guise of preventing terrorism, it is every member of society who suffers from paternalistic and ever more intrusive government policies.
What is truly shocking is that all of these policies, enacted by government, through subterfuge and deceit, without our consent, are paid for by us. We paid for the bankers bailout, we pay for austerity, we pay for Universal Credit and every sanction piled upon us, we pay for the Snoopers Charter, we pay to be lied to, we pay for the privatisation of our NHS, we pay for corporate tax breaks and tax avoidance and evasion and we pay the salaries, expenses, food and booze bills of this rogue government. No matter what it is, we, the people, always pay.
Has anyone heard a single ‘thank you’, ever? Hardly, because they despise us. The Tories are bleeding us dry and the only issues that remain are how and when we get rid of them.
I wish everyone a happy and politically active new year, make every one of our lives count against this atrocious government of thieves and charlatans, who have not suffered a day of the austerity they have imposed upon us, indeed, they are all better off because we paid for that too.