Actually, the word is oppressed.
Like many people, I stopped watching the BBC for politics and current affairs long ago. It is not designed to inform, educate or anything else useful. It is designed to obfusticate and divide and to subvert attempts at rational thought.
I am, of course, writing this now because like many people, I was interested to see how the remarkably successful Mick Lynch would get on on that peak-obfustication circus known as Question Time. He didn’t do too badly, bearing in mind the useless chairing. Chair Fiona Bruce’s aim appears to be to keep things dancing around, and keep the tone as confrontational as possible. Perhaps it’s because she thinks that’s what makes for a good show but, whether she knows it or not, there is a darker purpose to her behaviour.
The root problem of course is that we have hardly any honest politicians left. It seems to me that the BBC is set up so that those who are currently acceptable to the profiteering classes get away with it and those who aren’t, don’t. Let’s take two examples from last night: the letter and the COVID parties scandal.
Conservative MP Rachel Maclean excelled herself in Tory reality-denial by jubilantly producing a letter she said proved Mick Lynch was wrong about rail workers facing compulsory redundancies. Lynch looked at the letter, and said it didn’t say what she claimed. She said it did, and read out a bit that said something along the lines of: the rail company hoped there would not be compulsory redundancies, didn’t want compulsory redundancies, but stated that if workers did not accept voluntary redundancies there would be compulsory redundancies.
That is, if you have a brain and the time and the inclination to think, compulsory redundancy – but the BBC did its job. The Chair interrupted enough, and kept things moving enough, that Maclean was not forced to face the fact that she’d just read out ‘chalk’ and claimed it said ‘cheese’.
Why are politicians so blatant in their reality-denial? Because they have faith in the BBC, and are used to the BBC helping them to get away with it.
The COVID parties scandal
You may well have come away thinking the Welsh Labour MP, Nick Thomas-Symonds was a much more honourable politician than Maclean. He certainly seemed to be making more sense most of the time but in the end, he let himself down by trotting out that very publicly discredited story about Keir Starmer bravely offering to resign if he got a COVID rule-breakers’ fine (we found out, Nick – Starmer only said that because he knew the police force in question would not hand out such a fine).
So, what did I learned from watching QT last night? That the BBC is currently willing to let both Tory and Labour MPs get away with a lot, but no longer that bothered about helping Boris Johnson. That tells me the establishment is now lined up to accept either a new Tory leader or a Starmer-led Labour government.
But I knew that already, as does anyone who’s been paying any attention to actual reality.
What the BBC is not willing to do is to slow down enough to tease out the actual truth of any exchange. Why does that matter?
Divide and rule
The way the BBC skates around with political so-called debates creates the overall impression that ‘the people’ are a mass of contradicting views that cannot be reconciled but that MPs are largely reasonable people. That is the opposite of what we need to understand right now.
I succumbed to temptation last night. I will not be watching QT again in a hurry. Let’s not use the BBC for politics and current affairs. It might feel like a relief to see a bit of ‘Boris-bashing’ at last but, if you want to know what’s going on, talk to some proper people in the real world.
Who we really are
On the whole we, the people of this country, get on much better than the BBC would have you believe, and we’re much better at getting at the truth when we don’t have a professional obfuscator running the conversation. We get on well enough in fact, that we could probably lay aside our differences and challenge our politicians when things get really bad, as they are now. Let’s do that. Let’s demand something better from them – like honesty, like a government that’s willing to run the country in a way that works for everyone. Let’s demand that they do that, instead of trying to score points on BBC clown-shows.
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