You know how we all know the media lies and excludes anything important, and that it’s under authoritarian Tory control, right? That Iain Duncan Smith “monitors” the BBC for “left wing bias”, that the Guardian’s occasional forays into truth are stifled by jackbooted officials marching in and smashing hard drives. So do you really imagine that such a government spokes-media will do any justice to reporting about the positive intentions and actions of its opposition? Not one bit.
Yet curiously I see some people commenting with bitter politico-gossip gusto, using the cherry-picked, distorted media spun sound-bites, as if the media is suddenly somehow credible when it publishes about the opposition. Of course, when we read from source what was actually said or proposed, more often than not, it bears little resemblance to the media tales of the unexpected.
If we trouble ourselves to investigate these things, the rubbish being published and broadcast via the mainstream media doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We accept that the “news” about the government is positive spin, lies, distortions and propaganda, it’s a curious thing that some people also think that the media may suddenly yield tangible evidence of some deep and absolute truth about the Labour Party.
And when the media resort to personal smears – like they did last year about Ralph Miliband – you just KNOW the press barons and the establishment are very worried about being defeated by the Labour Party.
This is a crucial time when we need to make sure we know the difference between truth and propaganda, fact from fiction. It’s up to you to discern – so please do. We are each responsible for what happens next. It cannot be 5 more years of the same brutal neo-feudalist tyrants.
The right are engaged in an all out propaganda war, and we need to be prepared for it.
Firstly the Tories know that Ed Miliband has edited their script, abandoning the free-market fundamentalist consensus established by Thatcherism in favour of social democracy.
Secondly, the right-wing media barons who set the terms of debate – they establish the agenda, and tell you not what to think, exactly, but what to think about: they establish what is deemed politically palatable in Britain – have never forgiven Ed Miliband for his endorsement of Leveson, which they believe is an unacceptable threat to their established power.
Thirdly, they know and fear Labour under Ed Miliband may very well actually win the 2015 election.
So there are a LOT of false claims about Labour around at the moment.
For example, one false claim quite often made is that Labour endorse the Coalition’s welfare cuts. That’s completely untrue. Labour have opposed the welfare “reforms” from the start. Iain Duncan Smith said:
“Long overdue, it was this Government that set out a plan not only for economic reform, but for social reform as well – and there is broad consensus that this was not only necessary, but right.
Except for the Labour party. Not only have they failed to support reform – opposing every single measure we’ve taken to transform the welfare state and get the benefits bill under control – they are now talking about reversing it: rolling back on the progress we’ve made and reintroducing complexity, confusion and expense.”
This is some clarification about the welfare cap. There has certainly been a lot of confusion over this particular issue. There’s a difference between a budget cap – as is the case here, and benefit cap – which isnt the same thing and not what this was about. Rachel Reeves knew that Iain Duncan Smith would overspend and not stay within the budget cap, because of his expensive vanity project failures like Universal Credit. This is entirely about HOW THAT BUDGET IS SPENT and Reeves does not want private contractors profiting on failures that penalise the poor. She says:
“A Labour government would take a completely different approach, focusing on the things that drive increased social security spending – such as low pay, long-term unemployment and the inadequate supply of housing.
Labour would tackle low pay by strengthening the minimum wage and encouraging more employers to pay a living wage. We would get 200,000 homes a year built by 2020 to help bring down the cost of rents and tackle the housing crisis. And we would tackle the £330 million cost of long-term youth unemployment with a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee. Ministers are having to spend more because of the cost of their failing policies, waste and the cost-of-living crisis which has left working people an average of £1,600 a year worse off.
The levels of overspending and waste under this government are staggering. £1 billion has been spent on the government’s flagship Work Programme, but people who use the scheme are more likely to return to the Jobcentre than gain a job. An astonishing £2.4 billion of taxpayers money has been overpaid in benefits by the government due to ‘official error’ since 2010.
Long-term youth unemployment has doubled since 2010, costing £330 million a year. The housing benefit bill has risen since 2010, and figures in the Budget pointed to a further increase of £100 million in 2014-15, and £300 million in 2015-16. Universal Credit is now costing a staggering £161,000 per claimant according to figures released last week.”
So, despite the cost-cutting, punitive measures imposed on people who can’t find a job, and “tough talking from” ministers, the Budget well and truly confirmed their failure to control welfare costs.
The “allthesame” lie came straight from Lynton Crosby at Tory HQ. It’s purpose is to divide the left. The BBC’s Tory correspondent Nick Robinson admitted live on air, that Cameron’s best chance of winning the next election is if people believe politicians are “all the same”. That is very clearly not the case. One major ploy has been to use propaganda based on an exclusively class-based identity politics, aimed at the “working class”. This has involved carefully seeded discontent to factionalise, and to undermine support of the Labour Party.
Such propaganda purposefully excludes other social groups and also sets them against each other, such as the working class unemployed attacking migrants – it’s really is divisive, anti-democratic, and quite deliberately flies in the face of Labour’s equality and diversity principles.
That’s the problem with identity politics: it tends to enhance a further sense of social segregation and fragmentation and it isn’t remotely inclusive. Of course it also enhances the myth of “out of touch”/ “allthesame” politicians very well. (See also “When the oppressed are oppressive too.”)
It’s a clever strategy, because it attacks Labour’s fundamental equality and inclusion principles – the very reason why the Labour movement happened in the first place – and it places restriction on who ought to be “included”.
Think of that divisive strategy 1) in terms of equality. 2) in terms of appealing to the electorate 3) in terms of policy. Note how it imposes limits and is very reductive.
The Tories set this strategy up in the media, and UKIP have extended it further, the minority rival parties, including the Anarchists, the far left/neomilitants (“narxists”), NOTA, the Green Party, the SNP, TUSC and groups like Left Unity have also utilised the same rhetoric tools. Yet we KNOW right wing parties have no interest in the working class. Nor is it in working class interest to divide up their vote amongst parties unlikely to gain mainstream electorate approval and votes.
The Labour campaign has focused on inequality, Miliband knows that Britain is not divided by race and culture, it’s divided by massive wealth inequalities fuelled by the Tory-led Coalition’s “austerity” policies. Blaming the unemployed, the sick and disabled and immigrants for the failings of the government has fuelled misperceptions that drive support for the far right. Miliband’s campaign is positive campaigning, promoting policies that benefit the majority of citizens, with some, such as the bedroom tax repeal, being aimed at the most vulnerable minority. Quite properly so.
Lynton Crosby, who has declared that his role is to destroy the Labour Party, rather than promote the Conservatives, based on any notion of merit, is all about such a targeted “divide and rule” strategy. This is a right-wing tactic of cultivating and manipulating apostasy amongst support for the opposition.
Such negative campaigning is a very evident ploy in the media, too, with articles about Labour screaming headlines that don’t match content, and the Sun and Telegraph blatantly lying about Labour’s policy intentions regularly. Propaganda isn’t obvious, and that’s how it works. We really do need to be mindful of this.
This is a propaganda war, and the Tories think that chucking an avalanche of crap at the opposition is enough. It isn’t. Where are their positive, supportive, life-enhancing policies for the citizens of the UK? The Tories have NOTHING but increasing poverty and pain to offer most of us, and no amount of smearing Labour and telling lies will hide that fact. And they will do all they can to make sure Labour don’t get space in the media to tell you about their own positive social democracy program, based on tackling the inequality and poverty that Tories always create.
Cameron needs to learn that politics isn’t soap opera or about just providing handouts of OUR money to the very parasitic wealthy Tory donors: it has real consequences for real people. As a society we cannot tolerate another 5 years of the terrible and real consequences of this government.
The only viable alternative is to vote Labour on May 7, 2015.
Thanks to Robert Livingstone for his brilliant memes