by John Ward
If one looks back over the last fifteen years (which, having started blogging in 2004, I’ve been doing of late) it doesn’t take that long to enumerate what The Slog – and its predecessor nby – have been about. I have an awful feeling today that Brexit might yet be killed by censorship. For me, that would make every one of those years a pointless exercise.
The key editorial elements of this blog have been:
- At the End of the Day (2005 –
- Iraq Inquiry and Blair v Brown (2005-7)
- The Coming Crash I (2006-9)
- Barack Obama – “Where’s the beef?” (2008-16)
- Gordon Brown’s mental and visual health (2009)
- The 2010 UK General Election & Coalition formation
- Crisis in the eurozone (2011 –
- The Paedo File (2011-15)
- The Hackgate scandal (2011-15)
- The Arab Spring (2011 –
- The SPA ‘Waspi Women’ pensions heist (2013 –
- Crash2 (2014 –
- The Brexit Years (2015 –
- The 2015 General Election
- The 2016 UK Referendum on EU
- The 2017 General Election
- Les Gilets Jaunes (2018 –
Skipping through these largely specific subjects, it’s equally easy to identify recurring themes:
- The need to reject Ideology
- Citizen apathy
- Surveillance & citizen privacy
- Social media
- Perversion of Justice
- Process vs Creativity
- Political sociopathy
- Dysfunctional bourse capitalism
- Financialised fantasy
- Media Power
- The Corporate State
- Small v Big
- The rise of the Isms – Social, Islam, Neolib, Neocon & Femin
- Electoral reform
- The UK political duopoly
- EU as a new bloc dictatorship
Equally, it’s not hard to see that they’re interrelated. But this is especially true of the last three…..and the topics they reflect – the UK referendum, the UK 2017 election and the Gilets Jaunes.
However, there is one subject which is both an issue and a theme….one which I’ve largely skirted clear of, because it is too often imagined without being real. Now though, it is no longer possible for or any thinking commentator to deny it. The subject is censorship.
Even during its best years, Fleet Street (like advertising, marketing and TV programme production) was a profession that was anything but professional. There was always a huge element of midday drinking, extended lunches and general idleness. So over time, I have tended to assume incompetence and laziness rather than conspiracy.
The last three years have forced all of us working online to confront the monster in our midst: there is a growing body of irrefutable evidence to show that – unbelievably for me, a bloke born soon after the last War – what I had always regarded as the cradle of investigative journalism is now a Fourth Estate behaving more like a sink estate. Equally obviously, its lines on various topics are being dictated by shadowy members of the Alt State.
This is not just spiking – that has always gone on. I remember vividly being in the same room as Robert Maxwell when he sat on a story about Princess Margaret scalding herself by falling into a hot bath when pissed. (The Eye ran it a week later). What we’re dealing with here, by contrast, is the arrival of two factors that previously simply didn’t exist:
- Failure to investigate on cost grounds, after sleepy Fleet Street suddenly woke up one day to discover that the internet had changed the business model.
- Adoption of a narrative – choking all others – dictated by two sets of relationships: first, the political élite and the senior editors around town; and second, the security services via the Home Office (sometimes the FCO) conspiring with both editors and proprietors promote a line.
It was inevitable that in the end, the “spin” so sleazily invented by Mandelson, Campbell and Blair would morph into straightforward lying for political advantage. But the additional development now is one of grey accountants calling the shots, and even more faceless Whitehall apparatchiks dishing out D-Notices as if they were Smarties.
At the start of last year, I brought a good story back from Goa involving corruption in the Indian police and visa cadres (no change there)……one that extended to the British DWP’s outsourced “surveilance”, local authorities and estates like Grenfell Tower. The Guardian, Indie and Mirror weren’t interested – far to ‘incorrect’ for them. Eventually, I tried to broker the piece via an old friend now retired in Spain.
“Forget it, John” he said, “Twenty years ago you could’ve turned it into an auction. But nobody writes stuff like this any more….if the editor doesn’t turn it down, the accountants will. And even if you get past them, somebody in Downing Street will stamp on it”.
Seen in the context of ‘The Brexit Years’, the actual scale of what’s going on is horrific. Things like Verhofstadt using EU funds to spread vicious lies about Viktor Orban are bad enough. When one sees a whole swathe of American ‘liberal’ news media behaving like Izvestia on the subject of Donald Trump (a bloke whose whole personality I find repulsive) then one can smell the drift into totalitarianism giving off fumes of evil as it creeps through American life. It doesn’t matter how much you hate Trump: inventing lies about him is wrong, wrong, wrong….your own citizens elected him – address that issue for sure – but don’t be a hooker about it.
As the referendum campaign progressed, I was close to two organisations involved in day to day canvassing. People with American accents, Wall Street gofers, Germans, regular harassment by Leftlib Remainers and (naturally) a dozen scare stories emanating from the Blairite camp….all of these came to my attention, and all of them were plausible to the point of being undeniable.
After Jo Cox’s murder, nobody in the MSM would touch anything about her behaviour, her attackers frustrations, and the (shall we say) “personality” of her husband. Senior politicians went on television and blamed Nigel Farage for the atrocity without ever being contradicted. There were eight serious inconsistencies in the evidence offered about her killer, and the way in which he was tried. Nobody in history has gone so quietly into life imprisonment as that man did.
Now, the British People have the most overriding, divisive and complex national debate of modern times to deal with – Brexit. I am bound to observe that the ‘coverage’ of it at all levels has been the usual cesspit of distortion, distraction and deception: but above all, last year it gradually became the most blatantly censored peacetime issue ever along two very specific dimensions – the ‘health’ of the eurozone, and the negotiating position of Brussels.
Not one single newspaper in Britain – not even the most rabid tabloid – has devoted itself to pointing out what is profoundly obvious to those with fisco-financial and economic training: with a US President renegotiating all EU trade agreements, strong anti-EU feeling in Italy, Hungary, Poland and Greece, and the loss of their Spanish puppet last year, the existential structure of the European Union per se is now in grave doubt. Add the final factor – that we lose €55bn a year on trade with them, whereas as they rely heavily on us for wine and automotive exports – and the idea that Brussels is in a strong negotiating position goes beyond ridiculous….it is positively Orwellian in its misrepresentation of the real position. The chocolate soldiers could not be in a more perilous place.
Censorship in these areas is largely business-based, and in many cases self-inflicted: the FT has been a disgrace throughout, as has the Mail since its new editor took over. Only Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has steadfastly pointed out what a myth Brussels “power” really is. In the US, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times simply blank the issue, running editorial wittering on about how they ‘cannot understand why Britain wants to leave’. It is at the socio-political level of EU events, however, where the carefully crafted neocon-to-security services narrative has muted the volume completely.
Nowhere is this more clear than in the case of the Gilets Jaunes movement in France, the “Yellow Vests” apolitical opposition to the creeping corporatism under Emmanuel Macron. Not only is there zero coverage of how big a problem this is for Macron, there is a similar blackout about the now firmly established sister movement in Britain.
Here are some typical headlines from the last two days:
Just so nobody’s in any doubt, last week the BBC insisted that the GJ demo in Paris ‘fell by 50% compared to the previous week’. In fact, it was one third larger. The once inflexible Macron has had to climb down on petrol prices. He has launched ‘the great National Debate’ about “how citizen tantrums can be contained by solutions” – which is entirely laughable as one of the main solutions the ‘Yellow Anger’ wants is no more Macronism.
It is in reality a classic piece of Blairesque spin, but it isn’t cutting any ice: as Macrony swung south on his whistle-stop debating tour, 10,000 demonstrators – more than in Paris – turned up in Toulouse yesterday to offer him the order of the boot. France’s top satire magazine Le Canard Enchainé led its front page with ‘Macron launches a big little boat’, and several papers quoted GJ responses to his great debate containing less than flattering phrases about ‘blah-blah’ and ‘hot air’.
The deep doo-doo created by the Macrons’ Bourbon-style arrogance can only get deeper: the economy is at last being accepted as weak, and in April we have EU elections where the so-called ‘populist’ vote is going to blow Brussels the loudest raspberry to date.
But here’s one stat you won’t see anywhere in Britain: the fact (leaked from the Trésor Public) that France faces a 35% deficit between expenditure and tax receipts. This is easily a record….from the bankers’ candidate who was supposed to get France back in the black.
In truth, France, Germany and Holland are all seeing falling gdp, because more single-currency chickens are coming home to roost: the idiotic austerity slapped on ClubMed six years ago is coming home to roost….the southern books may have been balanced, but the northern export figures show that poorer consumers make fewer purchases.
Read the UK nationals, and you’d think the Italian crisis had gone away. Despite a bruising battle with Brussels over the budget, however, the new government has made good its promises to give earlier pensions and further Poor relief. Critics continue to say the policies are unsustainable given Italy’s already swamped public finances (they’re probably right) but the point is, Brussels is having to lump it. Worse still, the Germans have also had to forego any ideas about bailins, as the Italian banking system has been forced to rescue another ailing institution this year so far.
So there we are folks – a bit of a dog’s dinner. Can Berlin afford to get heavy with both France and Italy over Fiskalunion rules? Er, no.
One happy Italian, however, is the leader of the EU Army Game, NATO’s No 1 pin-up girl Federica Mogherini. Claims by Nigel Farage during the UK referendum campaign (that the EU was planning an army) were ridiculed across the EU and throughout Britain as more evidence that Mr Barage (as well as being a murderer) suffers from swivelling eyes syndrome.
The post-referendum world has proved beyond any doubt that the naysayers were liars all, and Nigel has been completely vindicated. Furthermore, last week Macron and Merkel signed “a binding treaty” to coordinate military strategy for the EU. Quite a step considering that there wasn’t going to be an army, but also something of a bummer for long-held FCO strategy on Europe – viz, that under no circumstance should Germany ever be given nuclear capacity. But it just signed a binding agreement with a nuclear power. Hmmm.
Now look for these facts among the British ‘old’ media, and you will find yourself in a haystack devoid of needles. Sky and the BBC blank it completely, apart from reporting the treaty devoid of comment. No medium anywhere is prepared to come out on the front page and say Brussels lied.
Signora Mogherini’s official title is Commissioner for Security & Foreign Affairs. The clue’s in the name: she is the EU’s top spook, and the minute any type of dissent gets a tad too “populist” it doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to see how her Rommel and Himmler roles might be merged. On top of this, she is uncomfortably close to NATO and the entire anti-Russian shtick.
What is la Moggie doing at the moment? Why, taking an extended tour through every Arab/North African country she can get to. Which, you know, one would’ve thought was NATO’s job. But hey – Arabia gets to be in the Eurovision Song contest (and we nearly let Turkey in to the EU) so who knows where a little bit of expansion by force of arms might come in handy? Not me, officer.
The Times of Malta and Israel have run the story. The British media haven’t.
One of the biggest Remainoid whinges following the referendum result was that “Leavers didn’t really know what they were voting for”. If we do wind up with a Second Referendum (and as Toxic Theresa has ruled it out, such a thing looks increasingly likely) then quite clearly Remainers will not know half as much as they should about just what a basket case the European Union now is.
This time, however, we can be sure that the dearth of knowledge was no accident. The kakah across the channel is being kept from the British people by an Alt State united in its refusal to leave the EU….and the media are complicit in that.
Next time, the issue won’t be in or out of Europe….and it won’t be MI6 and Downing Street tugging at the marionettes. It’ll be the CIA, europol and the Italian Mama’s Army.
How to round this dismal picture off with something that isn’t a cliché? It’s a toughie. But let me suggest one thing to you on this grey Sunday morning. Do you want to be at the beck and call of tax cheats in Luxembourg, fraudulent bankers in Frankfurt, newspapers censored in Paris and a military policy dictated by Berlin? Do you want to be one region in a totalitarian superstate controlled by an Italian and overseen by the US Deep State?
Or would you prefer to fight for a free press, a democratic legislature and a radically devolved pro-citizen régime on one Front – your own domestic one?
It’s not the best offer you’ll get this year. But when it comes to liberty and sovereignty, it really is the only one on offer any more.
Enjoy your Sunday lunch.