I bang on quite a lot about how dangerous the UK right-wing press has become: it's one of the factors that made me want to start writing in the political sphere myself. But I, like many, have arguably gone on about it too much now. I can't help but wonder whether there’s been a touch of ‘Crying Wolf’ effect; that even those who agree and recognise the danger, have now become desensitised.
I say that because what The Daily Mail have come out with today (at the time of writing), December 14th, regarding the recent Parliamentary vote on the Brexit bill, is absolutely categorically and unequivocally NOT okay.
The fact the tabloid thinks it can behave like this, posting vindictive and antagonistic bile to rouse a rabble against conscientious MPs, is troubling to the extreme. The fact it will doubtlessly continue unless we do something about it, and that the British public probably won’t even bat an eyelid any way – even more so.
Yes, we’ve heard it all before. Senseless Brexiters rattling on about politicians supposedly “betraying” 17.4m Brexit voters. Presumably inferring that the remaining 16.1m Remain voters (not to mention those who didn’t vote) are apparently not entitled to any representation within Parliament at all: we must simply do as we’re told. In their minds, we lost our rights the day they won their referendum.
Choice of words
Just look at the language on that Daily Mail front page: it’s horrifying. ‘Self-consumed’ (as if anyone who disagrees with this coup is automatically doing so for selfish or nefarious reasons). ‘Malcontents’. ‘Betray’. ‘Damning’. ‘Marxist’. ‘Treachery’. It’s the language of dictatorship, and of fascism. Evocative terminology deliberately designed to stir up anger, hostility, and even violence. You’d think The Daily Mail might have learned a lesson from the death threats Anna Soubry reportedly received the last time they plastered her face on their front page, practically with a bullseye on her forehead. That they’ve been as callous and as confident to do exactly the same again, and so soon afterwards, really begs belief. How did we ever allow them so much power?
Whereas the supposedly ‘responsible’ Telegraph formerly opted to describe Soubry and other Tory ‘rebels’ as “saboteurs”. The exact same term far-right nationalist Thomas Mair used in court to justify his murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, shortly before the referendum.
We really should all hear the alarm bells ringing, loud and bloody clear. But we don’t. Or nowhere near enough of us are hearing them, any way.
I'm genuinely upset by this, and very angry. To be frank, I thought my capacity for anger had been pretty much exhausted; the endless onslaught of bad news and scandal since June 2016 has taken its toll. I imagine even some of the most politically engaged are weary, now just wanting to bury their heads in the sand and/or see an end to it all. To be fair, that was probably the idea all along: a war of attrition.
However for me, this most recent and grotesque assault on parliamentary democracy by The Daily Mail is a whole new level of malevolence. I certainly wish there was something more physical or effectual I could do to protest beyond simply writing an angry opinion piece, but hey, we use the tools at our disposal.
It's just not morally acceptable to me. I cannot and will not accept that such evil and unscrupulous people have such a grip over public opinion in the UK. That a singular powerful and non-accountable/non-democratic faction can literally spew whatever hatred and overly partisan poison it wants, and know with absolute certainty it will form the categorical basis of belief for vast swathes of ignorant/hostile people across the country. The non-domicile Lord Rothermere, and his editor Paul Dacre, are truly two of the most dangerous men alive in Britain today.
I think they define as operating in Britain, even if their paper's money is mostly shielded from paying British tax, offshore in Bermuda.
A Momentary Reprieve of Reason
The UK should be celebrating this small victory for democracy (actual democracy, not the mob-rule/pitch-fork variety that’s become so popular). Celebrating that, for the first time in eighteen months, reason seems to have been granted a momentary reprieve. We should all feel positive and buoyed that a small number of brave Tory MPs finally tipped the balance. A courageous minority had the guts and decency to put their country before their party, insisting that Parliament should be permitted to do its job – eg: be allowed to scrutinise a planned course of action that could theoretically make or break our country. That is its very purpose, after all. And thousands of men, women and children died over the course of British history to preserve that balance, specifically to keep would-be absolute governments and monarchies in check.
Hear that Brexiters, that is the patriotism and pride I take in my nation and its history. Not the ideology of this nationalist backwater you’re trying to turn it into, a place I no longer even recognise as my home.
But far from acknowledging the good sense of keeping options open, Brexiter factions are just stamping their feet, trying to whip up yet more division and hatred. Posturing how the very same British laws and sovereignty they supposedly champion is ‘treacherous’ when it doesn’t work in their favour. They don’t even seem to care if people are killed, or have their lives threatened in the process.
I just can’t bear how unreasonable this Brexit bunch are; it’s beyond farcical. The Tories are almost a secondary concern now, just hapless. As if every pantomime villain in the country was rounded up and told to form a government. I almost feel sympathy for Theresa May and her leading negotiators now, so hammered have they been from all sides.
It’s the Boris Johnsons and the Michael Goves, the Daniel Hannans and Julia-Hartley Brewers, the Nigel Farages and Jacob Rees-Moggs, the Tommy Robinsons and Katie Hopkins of this world shouting from the wings who are causing the most carnage now. Listening to them on social media, you’d think we were engaged in The English Civil War part two; that anyone not willingly aboard the Brexit-train should be shot for treason. Let’s face it, they all ache for continued division and confrontation though: it’s quite literally been their gravy-train. What’s terrifying is how many people agree with them, eating up every word they say.
Threat to Liberty
Why are they so outraged? It’s not like Brexit has been cancelled. It's not like we've totally extinguished the dream of the tax-dodgers and nationalists, or reversed their intended coup of Britain. Not like the adults have totally regained control of the kindergarten, or that someone with nouse has stepped up to suggest we forget the whole sordid nonsense: that we go back to being a sensible nation and economic powerhouse.
No. All that’s been agreed is that IF the deal is too horrendous, IF it’s likely to cause such harm that millions of people could realistically be plunged into poverty and economic chaos, our parliamentary representatives would have the right to say no. They’d have a chance to save their people from unnecessary hardship. So in other words, these Brexit factions, with The Daily Mail at the vanguard, deem the simple preservation of our well-being and long-term interests as ‘betrayal’. As ‘treachery’. They believe our refusal to accept potentially being disadvantaged is effectively a crime worthy of punishment.
Enough is enough. That’s a direct and tangible threat to our liberty as far as I am concerned. Not hyperbole, not exaggeration; simply a realistic assessment of what’s going on here.
Decent people in Britain must no longer stand for this poison being so liberally disseminated and so unaccountable: it’s time we did something about it, before it’s too late.