Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Important election advice from Nick

In his latest Standpoint blog, Writing versus Propaganda, Nick bravely tells us he prefers the former.

Minds are changed not by corporate propaganda but by individuals making an argument brilliantly. Only two pieces from this campaign have made me pace the room, and with admiration and envy muter that the author had said what I knew to be true but could never express myself.

I hate to interrupt, but isn't the point of journalism telling us things we didn't know? Can't say I learned anything from Roy Greenslade's argument that "although press campaigns ... have an effect, newspaper readers are quite capable of ignoring the advice newspapers editors give them". Really? Well, well. The two pieces are JK Rowling in the Times and Janice Turner in the, er, Times. One convinces the reader "not to back the Conservatives" (not as well as Johann Hari does, IMO) and the other that "on no account should Gordon Brown be allowed to return to office" (nicely written, but misses the point that Gillian Duffy's concerns are those of a bigot).

So that's Lib Dem then? Or Green?

Just noticed on preview in the quote above: Minds are changed ... by individuals making an argument brilliantly. Only two pieces [where] the author had said what I [already] knew to be true ...


Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Heads explode!!

5/06/2010 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Member of Labour Party in "Voting Labour" shock.

5/06/2010 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

In other shocking election news, the Daily Mail came out yesterday for the Conservative Party.

5/06/2010 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Minds are changed not by corporate propaganda but by individuals making an argument brilliantly

as the above suggests, that only counts if readers actually pay attention, or even read the pieces, in the first place. I don't read the times so both of those passed me by; the latter at least gets closer to the 'genuine concerns of the white working-class' guff Decents usually come out with, but again as CC suggests, the problem with that is that the woman was very narrow-minded, to put it kindly. If Brown has lost the connection with the traditional labour movement based on his idea that a bigoted woman was bigoted, doesn't that raise serious issues about the relationships between political parties and their core demographics? Where does that leave Cameron, who i genuinely think is happy with homosexuality, and the undoubted thousands of homophobes who vote Tory and even make up part of that party's demographic?

I also find Cohen's idea a bit weird given his own recent self-identification as a polemicist. Surely polemic is as close to propaganda as it is to nuanced writing?

Cohen has after allwritten several pieces in the last year which are direct propaganda pieces for particular charities. If corporate propaganda is so bad, where does that leave this kind of thing? And whree, especially, does it leave Nick's column-length advert for Ian McEwan's most recent novel - or indeed his clearly propagandist output on Gordon Brown and Charlie Whelan?

Four Lions is out this week. Standpoint hate it. I expect more decents will line up to suggest that contrary to what they said during the Muhammad cartoons saga, this is in fact no laughing matter...

5/06/2010 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Peter Whittle was better than I expected; I don't remember any Nazis in Dad's Army either. But perhaps Whittle just cherry-picked a particularly weak quote from Morris. As a good antidote, Jon Ronson recently tweeted: BTW, to be egotistical, there's a scene in Four Lions where they all go on about The Lion King, just as Omar Bakri does in my book Them. Ronson did actually research terrorists - and he pretty much concluded that "they don't know what they're doing." No pretence necessary.

5/06/2010 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger rioja kid said...

Thought the Aaro column was a bit lame. "I was really, genuinely considering voting for the Lib Dems, honestly, but their election leaflet was sadly too crap for that to be an option". Don't think so somehow

5/06/2010 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

This seems to be the article he's referring to:
I'd blame the journalist, rather than Morris, given how poorly written it is.

I thought the Whittle piece was a very weak piece of, um, propoganda. Essentially it boils down to you shouldn't laugh at people who want to kill you. Which seems a very unbritish attitude. Maybe he's one of these Eastern Europeans whose origin so confuses Gillian Duffy?

And this ending:
Are terrorists so incompetent anyway? ... There was also that cut-and-paste ramming of a car into the front of Glasgow Airport. Ha, bloody ha. The truth is that Islamic terrorism has shown itself to be extraordinarily well organised for a good 20 years now.

Yeah, which didn't work because they were incompetent. I mean to use that as your second example... The guy's hopeless. I could do his job better.

5/06/2010 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't remember any Nazis in Dad's Army either

Were there any in the "don't tell him, Pike" episode?

5/06/2010 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

No. There were Germans, but they were a U-Boat crew. They weren't ideological Nazis (no mentions of Hitler, sieg heiling etc), they were professional warriors. They were led by Philip Madoc[1] whose only evident 'Nazi' belief were the phrase non-Aryan and "Oh yes we are" (to Mainwairing's "You're not going to win this war." He wasn't ridiculous; he was a real threat (the plot, such as it was, went: Wilson advises Mainwairing that they shouldn't hold live grenades; they get to guard a captured U-Boat crew; said crew are real sailors; Madoc is difficult at every turn; clearly fakes stomach pains and seizes Home Guards' weapons; marches everyone to harbour with grenade down Jonses' trousers [Arthur Lowe refused, as undignified]; grenade revealed to be defused by Wilson in advance; Wilson recaptures all by borrowing 'real' army captain Square's pistol and thereby holding only weapon in whole show). The point, if there was one, was that the Home Guard were useless against a proper enemy. It's clear in the clip who is ridiculous and who is not.

[1] OMG, OMG. Were I Stephen Moffat, I'd have Philip Madoc in Dr Who. And... he is! When we see Amy's crack yet. Am ineffably excited.

5/06/2010 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Cian, yes it does. I just expected even worse from Whittle, who rarely bothers even to make a coherent argument.

Justin, true enough. Gosh the Decents really don't like Gordon Brown; I voted Lib Dem, and I'm happier to defend the poor guy than any of them (apart, perhaps, from Norman Geras). Disclaimer: I did vote Labour in 1997 (last time I did) and believed at the time that GB was real Labour and would reign in TB. Hmmph.

5/06/2010 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Now you're under control/Now you do what they told you. This election may yet show that M*****ch mind control works. I can has emigration?

5/07/2010 01:06:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Little Nicky told the BBC at four this morning that working class leftists had discovered that the only way to stop a Tory government was to vote Labour.
Does that clear everything up?

5/07/2010 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous peter said...

I'm an AW groupie but this bigot thing is a bit much to get hung up on for me.

Yes she was a bigot, so are most electors, so are any of your targets who blithely offer an unexamined defence of "enlightenment values" and incoherent attacks on "relativism/mumbo jumbo" and all that.

Gordon-approved wars and Milliband-excused torture are products of bigoted thinking.

What I mean is if you want to get elected you have to engage with voters, not merely superimpose PPE matrices and moral platitudes of technocratic social democracy on a self-pitying public.

5/07/2010 12:08:00 PM  

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