A bit ironic this report from the BBC, The WW1 poet kids are taught to dislike, in which we are told of the prejudices and cultural values that teachers impose upon their pupils, not teaching them facts but attitudes, using the ‘facts’ as propaganda to sell the pupils a particular narrative. The teachers approach WWI as an event in history that was unremittingly appalling and anyone who supported the troops and the fight against the Germans should be condemned as jingoistic warmongers, the teachers using such people merely to contrast with the views of those ‘good people’ who opposed or who expressed cynicism about the war which naturally the teachers believe is the correct approach to viewing the war…..never mind that poets and writers are not perhaps the most inclined to be warlike or keen to fight and so may produce a rather jaundiced view of things whilst many people were up for the fight and had a ‘good war’.
It is all a bit ironic for the BBC to report critically on the teacher’s attitude when the BBC is probably the single most powerful purveyor of such an attitude towards War, the Empire, British colonies, British society and its influence in the world…all of which are apparently bad….no wonder any immigrant who comes here is disinclined to sign up to the institution of ‘Britishness’ when he’s told everything British is tainted by our history.
One part of Britain’s anachronistic history is still with us, John Humphrys, still treasured by the BBC which has let him off the leash to supplement his meagre BBC stipend with an article in the Telegraph, John Humphrys: Where did this general election go so wrong?, that is entirely negative and, whilst making little mention of political parties, is almost entirely weighted against the present government in its bleak view of life in modern Britain.
He tells us this has been a passionless, ‘bloodless’, election with little conflict or argument….can’t really see how he can say that when everyone else is saying this is an election that is breaking the mould, the end of two party politics (ignoring of course the fact we have had a coalition for the last five years…and several in the previous century), not to mention the rise of UKIP, the SNP, and Miliband turning ever redder if not tartan, and the TV debates certainly being examples of a great deal of passionate debate from the polticians.
Curiouslyy he tells us that in the most recent debate the audience was ‘angry’and ‘bad tempered’ [Peston thinks they were ‘irrational’…that is…anti-Miliband!]…..not exactly bloodless then.
Here he gives us a very narrow, and I don’t believe at all a representative view, of the public’s take on things…
It remains to be seen how representative of the national mood that bad-tempered audience really was. With Today’s little jaunts around the country, we wanted to get cossetted presenters out of the studio for a few days and try to find out what real people are thinking about the election, as opposed to what the politicians and experts tell us they are thinking. Often – too often, perhaps – the answer this election campaign has been not very much at all. Sometimes, it has been absolutely nothing.
I imagine the views expressed in that debate are exactly what the majority of people feel rather than ‘absolutely nothing’. By way of example Humphrys tells us of his talk with a woman in a car wash who wanted him to tell her what was going on in the election…
‘I struggled in the car wash was that she wanted me to tell her what, exactly, was going on. To which there was only one honest answer: damned if I know.’
Humphrys is ‘damned if he knows‘ what is going on in the election…..this is one of the BBC’s senior political reporters from their premier current affairs programme and he doesn’t know what is going on? Some might say that’s not a surprise.
Humphrys moves onto the economy and our lack of productivity…or supposed lack….again a Labour theme now that thye have lost the growth and living standards arguments.
‘This is the sort of business that Britain needs to succeed if we are ever to get our productivity out of the slow lane, and it has big ambitions to expand. Should things go to plan over the next few years, it will be the biggest technology park of its kind in Europe. That means plenty of jobs – the right kind of jobs – and a serious boost to the economy.’
He goes on to dismiss the jobs created in the UK as the equivalent of ‘mere’ hairdressers….a habit that most BBC reporters have of dismissing the new jobs as worthless and demeaning….
‘….the economy could not really be said to be improving if the jobs being created simply amounted to more and more people cutting each others’ hair. It’s not that I have anything against hairdressers – that’s what my mother did – but those jobs don’t create real wealth by boosting productivity.’
Never mind that Employment in Creative Industries grows five times the rate of the wider UK economy and that ‘the Creative Industries contribute more than £8m per hour to the UK economy, and generate more than £70bn a year, and is outperforming all other sectors of UK.’
No real wealth then from the ‘creatives’…which includes the Media of course.
Then we had another Labour narrative…Europe, we must stay in…because the big bosses tell us we must….Ed Miliband…the ‘voice of the People’!!….
‘Europe. Dr George Gillespie, the chief executive of MIRA, had just returned from a trip to China. One of the big bosses he’d been trying to impress there asked him if it was true that Britain was leaving the EU, because if it was, he couldn’t see much future in investing here. Clarity on whether Britain is staying in Europe or leaving matters to Britain’s bosses.’
Humphrys trundles off to Lowestoft and makes a comment completely untrammelled by the inconvenient fact that the very Europe he has just been praising is responsible for the death of the UK fishing industry…
‘The fishing industry is dying on its feet and there’s little to replace it. ‘
Then we get the idea that Ed Miliband’s ‘everyday folk’ have been ignored…another Labour narrative…
‘….walk ten minutes from the 21st century centre and you’re back in the grim days of derelict factories when Birmingham stopped being the manufacturing heart of Britain.’
Never mind that the Midlands is powering back to industrial health….and Birmingham is in there fighting its corner...Birmingham is top regional ‘hotspot’ for businesses going for growth
Then it’s on to housing and then university with that old lie about ‘debts’…
‘ for their sixth-form children, the worry of accumulating their own debts if they manage to get to university. ‘
Does he not know that more of these ‘children’ have been applying to university than ever before, and from the poorest backgrounds?
He finishes on a whimsical note…
‘The laws of physics dictate that when a moving object achieves a precise momentum, it will proceed on its set course because its weight is balanced against the curve and the gradient. Something like that. It struck me later that political leaders would have us believe in such a happy state. Set the course, press the accelerator and the country will cruise merrily along. Dream on.’
Of course that is not the Tory narrative that we can carry on as before by pressing the accelerator and spending our way out of trouble…that’s a Labour one.
Intentional or not Humphrys is peddling a pro-Labour narrative, one that is entirely negative not to mention mistaken in its perceptions of how people think about the election and events surrounding it.
I suspect they know a great deal about the political options on offer and the various scenarios that may occur should votes go one way or the other.
Humphrys paints a picture of the election and of Britain that is distinctly jaundiced…perhaps he has been listening to the news on the BBC from his own colleagues and swallowing their nonsense whole for too long.