I hate our politicians. Vapid, publicity-seeking pillocks who will say anything for a headline, promise anything and break every promise so long as it keeps their power. I despise our government, for every time they say ‘we won’t raise taxes’ the next sentence is ‘but we shall cut benefits to the poor, the disabled or the discriminated against, we shall shut down the arts and slash services that benefit the poor while the rich can carry on paying for their private ways anyway’ and I hear this and I want to throttle them. My income remains precisely the same as it was ten years ago and my bus fair is 100% more expensive, my food costs have also essentially doubled and I’m one of the lucky ones. I really am. Raise taxes! Raise taxes on the rich so that the poor can have a hope in hell you irredeemable arseholes!
I hate our opposition too. They’ll say anything, promise anything, so long as it sounds good, and doesn’t upset anyone. As a result they promise almost nothing at all. Our post office is being privatised. Our railways, our healthcare, our everything. If there is something that is a vital part of national infrastructure which the government can sell, they’ll sell it. Hell, if the SNP offered to buy Scotland off this government, it’d probably be for sale.
I loathe them.
I’m also coming to loathe our press, who themselves must carry a massive burden of responsibility for the quality of the political debate in this country. Not unsurprisingly this latest spate of anger has come about because of that bastion of dirty reporting, the Daily Mail. One look at its front page and what is trotted out is a virulent parade of semi-racist, angry, bilious right-wing, vile and often factually wrong – just wrong! – headlines. In recent press in the UK, the Daily Mail lashed out against the leader of the Labour opposition – who is himself about as thrilling a politician as a snotty handkerchief – through the medium of his dead Dad. ‘Red Ed’ as our entirely centralist and limp Labour leader is dubbed, was attacked, it seems, for no better reason than because this vile organ of information likes to attack people. And he’s not alone. If you’re Muslim or Eastern European, it’s fairly predictable that you are single-handedly bringing down good old British values. Like casual bigotry, that bastion of Englishness.
This isn’t reporting; this is shit-throwing. And worst of all, people read it. The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror are the highest selling newspapers in the country. Pages soggy in ‘celebrity’ gossip, in who said what to whom perhaps while wearing not many clothes; and always, always! Women in either nothing or very little at all with a banner of Phwaor! Get a load of that!
I was about to write that I don’t mind if people want to read that stuff, but actually, thinking about it, perhaps I do. I do mind if the culture of this island is one in which racism, sexism and plain bigoted lies are promoted on a daily basis for a small fee from your local newsagent. I do mind when vital matters of society are boiled down to whether someone’s wearing a low-cut dress, or to ideological attacks with no room for debate. Worst of all, I mind that the debates of tomorrow may yet be informed by the hateful headlines of today, because if they are then nothing in this country can ever get better.