Bile-elections (tabloids in politcs)

It’s a sad week when both the Tories and the Americans look better than you when it comes to civil liberties and terrorism. Last week, in part two of the ’42 days detention without trial’ saga (so called because it is old enough to retire and yet doesn’t seem to want to), David Davis resigned as shadow home secretary in order to fight a by-election that he says will be all about civil liberties in Britain.

Last week, a comic on a BBC radio show pointed out, the government spent much of its time in the news telling the public not to panic with regard to possible fuel shortages (some tabloids of course responded with headlines like: ‘Panic!’). The rest of the week was spent trying to drum up panic about terrorism so as to get their 42 days bill passed. It was an odd juxtaposition.

So was the oft-mentioned fact that America allows just one day, rather than 42. Being trumped by the Americans on civil liberties is a tad embarrassing, but then, we don’t have Guantanemo Bay and the convenient ruse of ‘enemy combatants’ allowing us to interrogate (or ‘bully’ as one Radio 4 caller put it) people under scarily permissive military law.

daveThe big news was, of course, David Davis, a Conservative member of the shadow cabinet and a man not known for being terribly liberal himself (his parliamentary record, according to, shows him to be pro Iraq war, against equal rights for gay people and only moderately against terror legislation), resigning because he wants to champion civil liberties.

This, in turn, prompted Sun journalist, Kelvin MacKenzie, to intimate that he might stand against Davis bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch.

And this is where yet another concern should surface for Christians. Many commentators said that the significance of MacKenzie (and, by proxy, Murdoch) potentially throwing his (pointy white) hat in the ring would be the ‘circus’ it would create, a sign that nobody was taking Davis’ gesture seriously. Would that that were all.

from www.pixelmarx.comWhat if the step, even just the statement of intent, was a toe in the proverbial water for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.? What if uncle Rupert wants more direct control of our lives than he already enjoys?

‘Paranoia!’ you cry, ‘ridiculous!’ Really? Murdoch’s News Corp. owns The Times, The Sun, News of the World, The London Paper, Sky, Fox News, MySpace, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Harper Collins publishers, and a raft of other content providers with unparalleled access to the minds of virtually every demographic in the western world. His willingness to dictate the content of the news is legendary and has been widely reported. His papers, tv and web presence create opinions and influence news agendas more than any other individual in Europe or America, and now he’s thinking of fielding a candidate? Do you see how very frightening that should be?

from www.cuppatea.orgYou may say that New Labour has been in his pocket for years. I would say you’d be right. But Labour is still, in some respects, Labour. It is still answerable to institutions that stand for the rights of the poor like trades unions. It still occasionally acts like a party set up to represent the workers in a world too often biased towards the rich, however many compromises it makes with the media devil.

But imagine a country run entirely on the knee-jerk politics, fear-mongering and anti-Grace philosophy of the tabloid press. Imagine The Sun not only forming opinions but acting on them. Imagine the effect on immigrants, young offenders, international relations. Imagine that and then pray. Pray fervently that News Corp. is not making a play for parliament.


One Response

  1. where is something new?

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