Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In which Aaro namechecks a Watch site!!

But sadly, it is not us. Mailwatch is a very good site, and probably of more general interest than AW. Nevertheless, I am currently crying on my keyboard. I suppose it's fair enough since we no longer link to him ever since I nearly killed the blog with that Wordpress disaster - I'll try and sort out the sidebar.

Dave's piece is all pretty good stuff (you can tell this, because it doesn't have a conversational headline). If everything happened exactly as he reports it, then my god what a cow that woman from the Mail was. In general, the Mail shouldn't be given the benefit of the doubt.

Aaro's general point is also quite important. People who make inaacurate claims about the direction of crime statistics, the current state of the British economy and so on, in the knowledge that there is a sizeable paranoid community out there for this kind of stuff pitched the right way, are involved in the same kind of game as people who talk crap about the safety of vaccines. They ought to get the very harshest treatment. But I have two caveats here.

First "setting the agenda" is not a magical property that Paul Dacre has ever since he was an infant on planet Kal-El[1]. The Mail sets the agenda because specific people respond to it and take it seriously, when they had the option of doing otherwise. In particular, the last four Home Secretaries could at any time have responded to Daily Mail campaigns about "the rising tide of crime" by pointing to the actual statistics and inviting their critics to a) take a running jump and b) upon landing, stop lying to their readers. Instead, four consecutive Home Secretaries, with the support of their Prime Minister, have chosen to respond to "the very real public fear of crime" as if it were an actual thing.

Second, So Has Dave! If the Mail woman had decided to speak up for some of the more valid points about the use of "green taxes" as contributions to general revenue, or if she'd opened up about identity cards being unnecessary, expensive and obviously open to abuse, or if she'd suggested that young people today are not worse behaved than in the past, or at elast not to the extent of requiring special legislation, then it would be Dave who was comically foaming at the mouth and claiming that everything was much worse than it was.

Dave is hardly in Nick Cohen's league when it comes to "Seals of Dacre", but he has in the past revelled in the title of "the Left's Mr Asbo", and has significantly exaggerated the scourge o'er our land that was anti-social behaviour when the occasion demanded. Indeed, in the original bruschetta orthodoxies article, there's plenty of it there, albeit that everything has now been cleared up by Mr Tony and his magic pals. While the Mail pushes dystopian bollocks about the present in order to damn the government for its inaction, Dave says many of the same things about the recent past (or about France), in order to praise it for its action. I hope I am not falling into the trap of easy cynicism when I say that this might be because Labour are in government and the Conservatives are in opposition.

Furthermore, there's a bit of discrimination missing here. While not everything about Britain is shit - au contraire, most things are great - there are some things, like agricultural policy, the financial management of the NHS[2] and prisons policy, which are a shitehouse, and Dave doesn't criticise them either. "Prisons full" in that Mail litany is actually a pretty atrocious indictment of the last ten years of a policy which was originated with Blair and has been closely identified with him. I don't support the Mail's solution to it, but nor am I a fan of ignoring the problem. The charge of Pollyannaism is not completely misplaced.

[1]Marvel Comics fans in the comments - please save your time, I really don't give a fuck.
[2] which is a different thing from the NHS itself


Blogger ejh said...

Did he say anything about Prime Ministers who promote scare campaigns by manufacturing evidence about the existence of imaginary weapons?

2/06/2007 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I know this isn't "insanse right-winger-Watch (incorporating Nick..oh)" but you really should consider Watching 'Gerry' (as his email says) Baker. He really does come out with some great stuff.


2/06/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

And, if you've got eight minutes and forty seconds to spare, you could take a shot at this thing,
in which he spends eight minutes and forty seconds spelling out the bleeding obvious as if nobody had ever had this discussion before.


2/06/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

in his criticisms of Dacre aaro manages to compare him to lenin, trotsky and stalin, but no actual right-wingers. is he under the impression that the daily mail is part of the tyrant-loving left-wing conspiracy against decentism?

2/06/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when the Mail paid Galloway 85k a year,did it force him to support the Musharraf coup?
Or was that a reaction to the withdrawl of older,sleazier cash from Pakistan?

2/06/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SWP line - we hate BushnBliar.Israel is to blame
Mail line - We hate BushnBliar.Islam is to blame.

Bambery,Dacre so what?

2/06/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous richard said...

my fellow guest turned out to be an elegant, rather nice-looking woman
This overdetermined perving is a fairly recent development isn't it?

2/07/2007 05:15:00 PM  

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