Media Silence Over Starmer's Frontbench Resignations


Our media, the mainstream media that is, when it wants to, is quite capable of holding power to account. Last night, we had the sight of an incensed Andy Burnham on Newsnight, tearing into the government over the risible support package it’s offering to Greater Manchester to move to Tier 3, a support package that does nothing to help the self-employed or those affected by the knock-on effects of closing pubs and restaurants. This morning Andy was being blamed for everything that’s gone wrong over the last 10 years by Dominic Raab and was rightfully shredded by Charlie Stayt on BBC Breakfast, leaving Dom fuming about how he will decide how he answers a question, by which point he was sweating like a glassblower's arse.

Burnham is absolutely right, of course, the north of England is becoming, in his words, the sacrificial lamb to the current Covid crisis. 

But despite their ability to hold power to account, so, so often the mainstream media fails to do so. Last night, despite massive outcry from the well-informed, the Brylcreemed Sultan of Abstainistan Keir Starmer made good on his pledge to not block the Covert Human Intelligence Services Bill, despite all amendments predictably failing. I said it in my previous vid, if the government knows you still won’t oppose, even in the face of your amendments falling, what pressure are they under to concede to any of them? Answer: None. 

It was a weak, risible, pathetic move by Starmer. The Labour Party, party of workers, the poorest, the vulnerable, the champions of fairness, the socialist base from which sprang the NHS and social security, the political arm of the trade union movement that fought for the working time directive, holiday, maternity pay, weekends and the like, led by a former human rights barrister, stood by last night and allowed a bill to pass at third reading, that blows all of that out of the water, renders it a distant memory. It is the party of abstainers and appeasers now, more interested in courting the right, than standing up for its core principles and the members who still believe in them. There are 201 Labour MPs, and out of them, 35 defied Starmer’s cowardice. Thank you for trying guys. There were eight resignations from his frontbench – good, principled MPs who put what was right before their own ambitions, but if you aren’t on Twitter, which among social media tends to be the focal point of political conversation, you might not have noticed. 

You see, despite having less spine than a cactus with alopecia, Starmer is acceptable. He’s no threat, he’s no danger, he’s establishment, he ‘looks prime ministerial’, so we don’t want to rock the boat. How the mainstream media reacts to this situation demonstrates their position. So far today, I’ve seen mention of the eight resignations from just two mainstream sources – Sky news and the Farage fan club at the Daily Express. None of the other right wing rags that masquerade as newspapers have bothered to mention it and the BBC certainly haven’t. As usual, it's left to the alternative media to cover the issue (such as Evolve Politics, Skwawkbox and the London Economic) or the real life consequences of what this vote means, such as The Canary have.

But what if this had been Corbyn? You can just picture it can’t you - Spawn of Dimbleby would be back on his doorstep, the BBC would have rolling breaking news with Laura Kuenssberg quoting a Downing Street source, Peston would be interviewing Jess Phillips, and you can picture the likes of Beth Rigby or Harry Cole glued to their phones for the inevitable Kuenssberg tweet for them to copy and paste a few minutes later. Wall to wall front page news. Sadly, this scenario is all too believable because we’ve seen them do similar a number of times over the last several years.

A terrible, terrible bill got passed last night with very little opposition. It’s a vote that I believe will come back to haunt many Labour MPs in times to come and deservedly so, but once more it shows the partisan coverage of UK mainstream news, and that to be kept properly informed, we must continue to turn away from them. Sales of newspapers continue to slide, the trust in the likes of BBC News coverage continues to erode, people are waking up to the fact, not that politicians are terrible (because most have been for a long time with a small number of notable exceptions) but they simply aren’t held to account. This bill, ahead of being voted through, was not pulled apart for allowing human rights abuse, or the infiltration of anyone or anything the government is threatened by. The extreme actions the police could now legally commit, should terrify, but most people will not have noticed and won’t until the day it directly affects them, and then they will ask how did this happen? 

The answer is: when the mainstream media could and should have stood up to power, it chose not to.

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