Over the last few days the misrepresentations of and attacks on Jeremy Corbyn have escalated. Whilst Labour continue, day-on-day to publicise and attempt to widely promote new policies on health, housing, Brexit, pensions, education and so on all we hear from the Conservatives (aside from juvenile insults and made up smears) is how 'strong and stable' they are. Their claims are twofold in terms of a 'strong and stable leadership' and 'a proud record' as opposed to 'a coalition of chaos with Jeremy Corbyn'. There is no talk of how the Tories might tackle poverty, homelessness, the health and social care crisis and so on and in their attempt to distract us from election fraud, their dubious allies (at home and abroad), the poor state of the economy, rising child hunger and the rest they continue with their their two pronged campaign of a) smearing the Leader of the Opposition and b) the cracked record like messages. In this they are largely supported by the mainstream media (MSM). No need to take my word for it; check out these two recent articles by Steve Topple:
In the few 'closed' speeches she has given in the last week (in contrast to the very public presence of Corbyn, other members of the shadow cabinet and politicians from other parties), and in the final Prime Ministers Questions before the General Election, Theresa May repeated her key phrases, most especially 'strong and stable leadership', and popped in other references to 'strong' and 'stable' innumerable times. To save you having to look I can also confirm that there are short clips of her repeating this mantra on her twitter feed also. There is a precedent for this type of campaign as the constant repetition of 'strong leadership', a 'clear economic plan' and 'a brighter, more secure future' helped the Conservatives to gain power in 2015. Well that worked out well, didn't it.
We have to hope this time that the simultaneously teeth grindingly annoying and comical repetition of 'strong and stable', (rather than, as many have noted, the more accurate 'weak and wobbly') by Theresa May, and anyone near her, has less of an hypnotic effect on the many. Anyone who parrots it needs to be reminded of this; a 'proud record' indeed.
I have written before of my gratitude to the alternative news sources (and to various bloggers and vloggers) for the challenge to and corrections of the MSM. If like me you lament the election coverage on the BBC and many other outlets and in much of the newsstand coverage have a look at The Canary, The Morning Star, The Word, The Prole Star (all available online) or written and video posts by people such as Peter Stefanovic, Harry Leslie Smith, Lindsey German, Rachael Swindon (and others) and look at some of my previous posts here.
Yesterday I was cheered also by a tweet from @MirrorPolitics. By way of introducing an article focusing on the foolish posturing of Boris Johnson MP (there's no need for me to go into detail given the MSMs preoccupation with this non-story but read the article if you want to.
As a further example of the current MSM spin on the messages from and behaviour of Jeremy Corbyn the BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg @bbcclaurak tweeted: Corbyn says 'I don't do personal attacks' but says disappointing the tories are doing negative campaigning. As at least one person has pointed out why BUT and not AND here. . .
Recent political events (in the USA as well as closer to home), and the media coverage of them, have led some to reflect on the significance of George Orwell's work. I see the point. Returning to Animal Farm (1945) recently myself I was struck, as others have been, by the rewriting of the agreed seven commandments of Animalism, by the ruling elite (the pigs). The seventh commandment which begins All animals are equal and becomes All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others is relevant not least in that: All British people are equal but some are more equal than others (and just as in Animal Farm it is the many rather than the few that are other/less equal. And it is the 1%/more equal whose privilege can even protect them from both the laws of the land and the demands of the tax office that the rest of us are subject to).
And then there's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Any cursory dip into mainstream or social media gives us much fuel for comparison between our most powerful media and the propaganda machine at the heart of the novel: the infamous 'Ministry of Truth'. Additionally, we know that Big Brother is not only watching but silencing us as the new surveillance law, or as it has been termed 'The Snoopers Charter', requires web and phone companies to store everyone's browsing histories for 12 months and gives the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data. There are implications here for all of us, not least in terms of the investigative journalism that we have left.
I wonder what's in your Room 101? As a researcher of both patient and healthcare professional experience; as a daughter and wife of individuals who suffered cancer and heart disease; as a friend of people who care for young children and others who care for elderly parents; as a mid-life woman who already accesses screening services (and will likely access more in the future) and who has a health condition that will need monitoring and treatment for as long as I live the death of the NHS is high up on my list. Take a look at this Alan B'stard YouTube clip which is doing the rounds at the moment: Sadly and frighteningly if it wasn't for the laughter it would be easy to think this wasn't a comedy sketch.
Staying with Orwell for a moment, anyone reading Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) or The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) and comparing the injustices and inequalities so evidence today to those described by Orwell in the 1930's must surely ask themselves, as Orwell did 'Why are we not all socialists?'
So as I said I see the point of these references but I'd like to suggest there were warnings in other iconic books. Just a brief review of a couple from my own childhood and youth.
John Wyndham's 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos tells the story of an alien invasion of children born on the same day across the world; children who protect themselves as much as possible using a form of mind control. When the people in the village that is the focus of the book begin to understand what is going on they attempt to resist but to no avail as 'the Children' make the villagers attack each other. Sound familiar?
Ira Levin's novel The Stepford Wives, published in 1972 focuses on the town of Stepford where 'Diz' (a previous Disney employee) is the ominous leader of
the Stepford Men's Association and the power behind the Stepford phenomenon of the gynodisation of the women of the town. The popularity of The Stepford Wives is reflected not least in the classification of Stepford as an adjective: ‘Relating to a person who has an unthinking. conformist, and uncritical attitude.' www.wordspy.com/words/Stepford.asp Take note everyone.
SO: What's propaganda got to do with it? Answer: A LOT.