Spectator-Sport Religion

The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson tastefully chooses Easter to launch a political attack against the BBC in the name of religion. Tasteful, if obviously rushed and off-the shelf.

The more I find out about the history and practice of religion, partly through the BBC’s coverage, the more irreligious I become. There is no ‘Blind-spot’. The channel which produced the first British mainstream documentary on the history of Islam has nothing to be ashamed of. Not even its Olympic commentators failing to explain what a prayer is, which particularly annoyed Fraser Nelson –  apparently, American commentators had to.
What the reactionaries of the Spectator can’t understand is that Progress produces progressive, tolerant  Thoughts for the Day. And there is nothing they can do about it except rail impotently like the insane Lear at the world’s disobedience, while continuing their constant attempt to peddle selfishness as a spiritual virtue.
The saddest part about the protest is not its blatant advertising for Sky, or even its pathetically limp tone, but that like modern religion itself, it simply does not ring true as an expression of faith. It is just another desperate assertion of identity by a species which knows it is facing extinction, an attention-seeking exhibition psychologically identical to fundamentalist Jihad, another reactionary protest-too-much. Like all professions of belief in the incredible. ‘Which go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire’, as it says in the play.
The truth about both religion and Fraser Nelson come out eventually when confronted with Thought For The Day, when religious figureheads go off-script for a few minutes. The problem is simply a lack of  enough good old-time reactionary religion on the BBC. What Nelson really wants is religious political ‘balance’  Fox News style, presumably.

The speakers are described as being ‘from across the world’s major faiths,’ but almost always from the political left. Their ‘thought’ can often be summed up as: ‘Jesus was left-wing, too.’

For someone claiming to represent religion, Nelson is sadly lacking in scriptural knowledge. Especially concerning the Sermon on the Mount, surely Christ’s definitive political statement. His attitude to private property, for instance, is perfectly clear.

‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matthew 6:29)

And is clarified even further by Orwell, a master of clarification often used as a smokescreen by the Spectator:

“It could be claimed, for example, that the most important part of Marx’s theory is contained in the saying:
‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’
But before Marx developed it, what force had that saying had? Who had paid any attention to it? Who had inferred from it — what it certainly implies — that laws, religions and moral codes are all a superstructure built over existing property relations? It was Christ, according to the Gospel, who uttered the text, but it was Marx who brought it to life. And ever since he did so the motives of politicians, priests, judges, moralists and millionaires have been under the deepest suspicion — which, of course, is why they hate him so much.” Tribune 1944

The thought of Christ and Marx working together to drive history away from selfishness, property-worship and competition and towards co-operation and community must be a constant terror for the reactionaries of the Spectator. So much so that they choose the holiest time of the Christian calendar to launch a political attack. Their political appetite side-lining their spiritual needs. But not their needs for a nice Easter break in the West Country, in Nelson’s case. I trust he will enjoy the intense spiritual rebirth every true Christian experiences at Easter, in whatever church he chooses. But I doubt it. Such a thing probably hasn’t happened in Britain for 100 years. Other more desperate societies may be different, but even in the most feudal degradation of the extreme past, religious belief was always a matter of constant enforcement and mutual doubt, as the existence of ancient Eygptian grave-robbers and the means used to deter them both prove. If grave-goods really did travel with the departed, there wouldn’t be anything to rob. Both poachers and gamekeepers knew the truth. Five thousand years later, blinded by its obedient middle-class intellectualism, The Spectator is still trying to catch up with what every thief and pope has know since before Moses.


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – on BBC

Sadly, the live BBC’s coverage of the revolution, from Tunisia on, has been an insult to all people trying to rid themselves of dictatorships. The total reliance on demeaning CCTV footage effectively uninvented TV journalism. This was pure radio. A triumph for the audiophiles, but a total distortion of the real story. Then there is the constant drip drip of defeatism and scaremongering.
Typical (blind) interview with a hero of the square last night would go like this:

BBC Deskjockey: ‘You’ve been fighting for freedom now for over two weeks, you’ve been shot at by police, attacked by thugs with knives and whips, slept on concrete for days and days, and were told today by the army that your demand would be met tonight, and now Mubarak says he’s staying. How does that make you FEEL? 

Hero:‘How the fuck do you think it makes me feel you stupid fucking idiot?’

Deskjockey: ‘But shouldn’t you all just now go home in case the Muslim Brotherhood takes over and plunges the world into the dark Ages?’

Hero: ‘Who is this blithering idiot?’Deskjockey:‘But you don’t agree on anything, they’re bound to win’.Hero: ‘Yes we do, we’re all agreed that we want democracy. It’s called Solidarity. Once we have democracy, people can start disagreeing again and the ballot box will be the judge.

Deskjockey: ‘But it’s chaos! A political vacuum! Will no one think of the oil prices! We’re all doomed!’

Hero: Oi veh!

In one of the slimiest inversions of the truth in recent broadcasting history, solidarity has been constantly depicted as fragmentation, revolutionary order as chaos, and democracy as a danger.
Needless to say, other broadcasters have been no better, but I don’t care about them. And at least they had cameras and crew on the ground, showing the faces of the people. The inexplicably distant and objectifying camera-work of the BBC from their hotel window  depicted a diagram of a mindless, inarticulate mob. We might just as well have been reading Churchill’s reports of the Boer War. 
Skline. Talking Head. Voiceover. Studio Guest. And round and round again, with no footage from the events taking place. This is a grave distortion by omission, sending all kinds of negative messages.
And the insistence that the Muslim Brotherhood would inevitably destroy the world, plus the endless static shot of the vast organised crowd, made Tahrir Square look like the Kabba during the Hadj, at times. Was the BBC trying to say that the Revolution was a triumph for Al Qaida? Almost explicitly.
 Has journalism died at the BBC? It’s difficult to see how the Mubarak dictatorship was not heartened by this travesty of reporting, which amounted to nothing more than the White House press office line. And if there are deaths this afternoon, some of the blood will be on the BBC’s hands.

Contrast the BBC with the still-despised social media. The influence of social networks was critical, especially in moderating the revolution. Social media (of all kinds) subject the individual’s opinion to collective scrutiny, and nobody likes to look an idiot, so extreme or stupid ideas will tend to be informed or ridiculed away. So because the people feel they can collectively influence the tactics and direction of a revolution (as the shanty resistance movement in Nairobi found) they do not feel the need for a Great Leader, earthly or supernatural or a combination of the two. We could in fact be seeing the end of the era of hysterical political religious activism, and I’m sure the people of Iran are watching events closely.
The key thing is the sense of engagement and, for want of a better word, fraternalism. So however much the Nay Sayers may claim that social media had little measurable effect on the Iranian protests, this is to completely ignore the effect on the confidence and consciousness of the individual of being able to reach a community and not feel alone and completely powerless, or to use American cultural terminology, to be a ‘LOSER’. Power is a matter of perspective, as much as guns, which is why the world changed when we learned that the Sun did not orbit the Earth.
And the beauty is that a regime cannot win by simply turning off the Net. Firstly, they rely on it even more than the people, so in a strangling race, they will always be the first to croak. Secondly, switching off the net sends the direct message to the people that the state has played its last card and that they should instantly take to the streets. In chess terms it is a holding move, but one which sends a clear sign of weakness and leads to only one conclusion. And even then, everyone with a desktop printer now has a printing press, and they cannot all be smashed in the night. So as long as the supply of paper holds out, essential information can be distributed.
And all the while, people are getting more articulate and image literate by trial and error and peer review. Which bodes ill for the propagandists and advertising agencies of the future. 

Kiss Blatter’s Arse, Says Murdoch & Co

There has been a predictable tsunami of guff from the usual suspects about the BBC Panorama report into sporting criminality. They are absolutely disgusted that the BBC will potentially influence the outcome of the World Cup by revealing a few home truths before the decision is taken in two days time. They are, in effect, prepared to turn a blind eye to FIFA corruption as long as England gets the tournament.
That there should be any question of this report prejudicing England’s bid goes to show the level at which FIFA operates. If it became known that Spanish or Russian TV was witholding a similar report in order to ensure its bid there would be howls of rage in Wapping and Canary Wharf. If, of course, they could find a Spanish or Russian TV station with the guts and independence to do so.
Most rational opinion is that we’d be advised to understand the nature of the organisation we’d be signing away lots of sovereign rights to, such as taxation and minimum wages. Who would want to be a member of a club which allowed Sep Blatter to be a member? 
This afternoon, David  Beckham was wheeled out to defend the England bid and FIFA. The usual primary school mumblings aside, he sounded like something out of a 50’s gangland movie with Sidney Tafler : ‘Look, I know these boys aren’t exactly angels, but they get the job done. Know what I mean? We scratch their backs, they scratch ours, no questions asked.” The BBC has broken the unwritten code. It has snitched on its partners, which is an omerta! It simply doesn’t know to keep its nose clean. Or how to accept an offer it can’t refuse.
No wonder sport is riddled with crime and becoming In-Credible. In other words, dying.
Is it a co-incedence that the Kiss Blatter’s Arse Brigade are in agreement with the Anti-BBC media corporations who would all make a fortune from an English World Cup 2018?
Because if England does win the rights, which they should if their bid is taken on its merits, and goes on with a bright young squad hopeful of success after winning its qualifying group, which they probably will – it won’t matter. Because after the final group game, the gallant British tabloid press will systematically dismantle the team with a succession of ‘scandals’ and general muckraking. More than likely the captain will be forced to stand down, and at least two of its star players will be pilloried out of form by the gutter-sheets, just as they did to this year’s team in South Africa. And the only winners will be the media and the global corporations. The British public will be fleeced, as usual.

Thought for the Day: Toy Story Religion.

Another sad vicar on Today today trying to catch a ride for her dying job on the coat-tails of popular culture. Toy Story 3 makes men cry,  and therefore is simply repeating the great truths and lessons of religion, which got there first, and which cannot really be improved on.
In spite of the desperate attempt of religion to exploit the success of fiction, in this case a cartoon, religion is not fiction, it is a lie. The fact that religion cannot understand the difference between willing suspension of disbelief and the coercion of belief, of the freedom to interpret a story and being made to believe its literal, historic truth, is the ultimate demonstration of its lack of moral understanding. Religion is the least repository of moral truth.

The Siege of Wapping

It’s an old story. An entrenched vested interest is faced with a new technology which threatens its livelihood. It reacts by attempting to contain the advance, which is flowing around it like a river around a shopping trolley. Eventually, innovation always prevails, mainly because it refuses to fight the battle with the same weapons or on the same field. It fights with the weapons it has created. History records who were the losers.
The printers of Wapping in 1984 are definitely now seen as the losers in the technology war with Rupert Murdoch. And he is seen as the visionary liberator, whose victory over the unions ensured a golden future…to some.
It is surely one of the most historically monumental ironies that this same Murdoch is now frantically erecting barricades in defence of his own brand of corporate Spanish Practices. The Murdoch of the Siege of Wapping now under siege again from the same forces of progress he once posed as the champion of.
Peter Preston, in today’s Observer, compares him with Lear, railing against the storm. That is to grant him too much grandeur. He is not even Orwell’s Tolstoy, disillusioned by the failure of ideology to deliver happiness and therefore resentful of happiness in others.
He is simply a gigantic hypocrite, another corporate gangster able to deny anything and believe his own lies. Anything to make money and protect and enlarge his power.
Luckily, he is almost as insane as Lear on the heath, in that he cannot accept the inevitable, and is in hysterical denial about his emasculation.
Murdoch Vs The Internet can only see one winner. In 1985 Murdoch backed progress because he saw an empire to be built. Naturally he opposes the same progress which now threatensto demolish it, but that does not make him sane, only more desperate. And so the BBC can expect an even greater campaign against it than ever.
The BBC is embracing internet technology, having invented vital parts of it, and is committed to free access. The scrap between News Incorporated and the BBC is where the deciding punches will be thrown in the battle for free content, and from a British point of view, the battle for a keystone of our cultural identity. We should know the general outcome by the beginning of June next year. When a closely fought general election is over.
But in the meantime, the BBC might take a leaf from the Murdoch book, and win.
There is nothing to stop any Laundromat millionaire from setting up as an internet service provider. The BBC should do this as soon as possible and market the service globally. The package would include access to all the BBCs growing archive of comedies, documentaries, drama, wildlife etc… This income would subsidise the loyal British license payers who would have access to the service by right. Eventually, with even moderate global take-up (Flickr charges £15 a year) The British member of the corporation would be paying a peppercorn sum for a service which would meet all their needs. The scope for innovation is vast.
Naturally the boardrooms will squeal in horror and outrage, but all are going to have to face the facts that the age of the ownership of information is over. That the source of their profits and lifestyles has dried up. So the sooner they choose sides the better. The sensible will decide to use the new approach to encourage the democratisation of creativity. To enable as many users as possible to find and be stimulated by material produced by people, not the brands marketed and distributed by the usual showbiz/media conveyor belt.
The diehards will try to sue the BBC, and try to charge the public money to read about the drunken antics of the D-list. It’s almost sad.

Murdoch In Terror

The infantile demand by Rupert Murdoch that the internet play by his rules, and every site charge to read stories of drunken celebrities, is the last gasp in his futile attempt to sabotage the BBC. He realises that sooner or later, the penny will drop among the dimwits at broadcasting house, and they will start charging their overseas audience, just as they charge their British one. When they do that, and make some serious progresses in making their vault of superior content available online, the emperor’s clothes of the Sky empire will be obvious.
Murdoch knows that his content is inferior, and that he does not produce any content, unlike the BBC. And that he no longer knows how to make money from newspaper or internet advertising, so mass-subscription is the only model he can think of. He imagines that people will pay to maintain MySpace accounts when there are a dozen other platforms which can do the job as well. He imagines that people will actually pay to read the Sun online… Anyone as deluded as that is clearly agitated about something, and what Murdoch has to be agitated about is the prospect of the BBC beating him at his own game. Namely, by charging a tiny global fee for downloads of all the content it controls. British licence payers would naturally be exempt from this charge, and the revenue would be used to offset and defend the licence fee – which is the cultural bastion Murdoch hates most. It stands between him and total domination by guaranteeing the unprofitable.
Unfortunately, his paranoia is based on a belief that the BBC understands its own power. Sadly, this is still not true. The BBC is still a cowering, weak-kneed cringeing animal, desperate not to offend the Daily Mail, or seem to be treading on the profiteers’ toes.

Now it’s National

Until now, most states have been able to sit back and shrug their shoulders to the Iranian government and let the BBC and Gordon Brown take all the blame:

‘We’d love to help, but what can we do? Those pesky global Twitterers and hackers. You think they don’t cause us all sorts of trouble? We appreciate your problem, but we can’t do what you do and shut down the internet, even if we could, or lock up all the troublemakers. We’d love to oblige but, sorry, you see our position.”

But it could hardly rest there, and the logical response was always going to be

‘Not your problem? We’ll make it your problem. We’re not bad at the old cyber-terrorism, and our mates the Chinese are real experts. We’ll get them to lend a hand, and then we’ll see who’s got problems.
We do envy you in the west your computerised health and energy systems. It would be a great shame if they should get all frozen up and useless one day…’

The hope was that the Iranian power struggle could be between an alliance of the Iranian people and the online global community against the antiquated Iranian elite clinging to power. And that primitive twentieth century national politics could be sidelined for almost the first time in history. It seems we are not quite at that phase yet, which is hardly surprising. The discredited Iranian elite has every motive to strike back in any way which will drag the battle back to a ground it is familiar with and an enemy it can touch and use as a scapegoat, or whose embassy it can beseige – or whose dipomats it can hold to ransom.. And by threatening to launch hacking expeditions against, say, the British health service database, the Iranian government would be seeking to gain the initiative and bolster its own image. A bit like Krushev putting nuclear missiles in Cuba. And like Krushev’s USSR at the time, Iran is also far behind in this particular arms race. In spite of its Chinese big brother. Not only does it have to face up to the combined expertise of the western cyber-powers, but also the infuriatingly evasive geekocracy, who would be given complete licence to kill. An army of James Bonds sliding in through the airconditioning and crawling out of every manhole. The role every geek would love to play, and who would now get the chance. In effect they would be rallying to Kitchener’s call:
Your Country Needs You!
But safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t risk getting killed, maimed or poisoned.
However, neither shoplifting nor insurance fraud are victimless crimes, and the same goes for war. How many Iranian hospitals would the freelance commandos of the Global Iranian People’s Liberation Support Network (GIPLSN) be prepared to close if the Iranian government began executing leading dissenters? Would the GIPLSN take its instructions from the Iranian people, and if so, how? What consensus should it recognise, and from which source? Or are we seeing something more subtle at work? A form of collective, self policing morality, responding organically to the situation, and tending to deliver an appropriate response. A self-resolving chaos in which every butterfly’s wings really do make a difference.
Viewed as a brain, the internet is in its infant, amoral stage. Its neural pathways are still untrained and feral. Given enough exercises in decision-making and storytelling and role-playing, like the Iranian revolution, and the internet could develop into a healthy, upstanding, happy adult, ready and willing to enjoy life and the company of others.
Censored into a cupboard, and fed a diet of kill-games and porn, and only allowed the barest scraps of information from the outside world, the child’s morality doesn’t advance much more than that of the average rat.
So unless the internet is due to be univented or totally quashed, the outlook is still hopeful. And the enemies of progress everywhere are still just trying to paint over the ageing process, only succeeding in making themselves look less human with every brushstroke.
And when oh when oh when will the BBC stop being the ‘Mind-Control Centre’ of the western conspiracy to broadcast inconveniently true images and stories to the world?
Not as long as it’s a uniquely funded organisation, to judge from its privileged position (along with Voice of America) as almost the sole target of the Iranian propaganda machine.
How satisfying to see dear Old Auntie bouncing her brolly off the bonce of the mullahs in finest Margaret Rutherford fashion. They Do Not Like It Up ‘Em.
The Iranian vilification of the BBC is worth the licence fee alone. Of course, the Daily Mail knew all along what the mullahs have just discovered. Perhaps they should get together to try to destroy it. Mediocre minds think alike, if at all.
The absence of any commercial news outlets from attack by the Iranian regime is not just embarassing, its shameful. And those who ever demanded a surrender to commercial versions of truth should also be ashamed of themselves. But if that ever happened, Mullahs would fly and the tabloid journalism would be a footnote in history.
As I try to publish this, Twitter tells me that GCHQ is recruiting hackers from the naughty classes in much the same way that the novels tell us James Bond was:

” …the government had recruited a team of former hackers for its new Cyber Security Operations Centre, based at the government’s secret listening post GCHQ, in Cheltenham, to help it fight back.They had not employed any “ultra, ultra criminals” but needed the expertise of former “naughty boys,” he added.”You need youngsters who are deep into this stuff… If they have been slightly naughty boys, very often they really enjoy stopping other naughty boys,” he said.”

What more could a geek want? Except that being under the wing of MI6 means adopting their morality and serving their power base. In effect, telling lies. So as always, the real struggle is not between nebulous notions of Right and Wrong, but good old truth and lies, which may never be absolutes, but which are far more definable.

The BBC Spits In The Face of Vietnam

The BBC’s Top Gear proudly announces its Xmas Special – another expensive jolly holiday for Jezza & Co, on which they can sneer at the natives and admire the sunsets while playing schoolboy tricks on each other for the amusement of the backpacking and sex-tourist audience.
We wait 30 years for a decent TV documentary on Vietnam, and then none comes along all at once. What a responsible team of journalists could have done with the budget of this obscene farce we will never know. Perhaps the BBC might now consider a proper documentary on this ravaged country, unless, of course, the Americans might get annoyed and kick up a fuss.
Like almost every inch of film shot about Vietnam, this merely served the needs of its one time aggressors. Vietnam is there for our amusement. Another potential Thailand. A mecca for sex-tourists and other consumer perverts – as defended by the popular press in thios country, including even the likes of the Guardian, if the posts allowed on their obscene messageboards are anything to go by.
At best, western media coverage of Vietnam is merely a way of mourning Western losses. So far the BBC has never had the guts to tackle the question of Vietnam from the point of view of the Vietnamese and broadcast it at a time and on a channel where it will be seen. A half hour report at 3am on the World Service will not do.

Prescott Among The Chavs – Working For Cunard!

John Prescott’s examination of ‘class’ looks like being a real dog, and will only really attract the attention of the BBC bashers railing at the license fee being lavished on the ‘personal prejudices’ of a politician they hate. Same lame old dog. By the same token, why is anyone paid to present any Tv programme? It’s a nonsense.
The real issue is how much of a dog’s breakfast Prescott will make of presenting the simple realities of class, which are the same now as they have been since Arkwright’s first mill started rolling.
The less power you have over your destiny, the more working class you are. As the excellent ‘Coal House’ recently illustrated, a collier owned his mandrill, and that was about it. That was the extent of his capital, and did little to protect him and his family from the vagaries of the global marketplace, and offered as little hope of escape to more security.
The grocer of the small business class who supplied his family with food would have had to borrow some money to set up, and therefore be more ‘capitalised’, and therefore be a little more secure, but not much. His wholesale suppliers would have been proportionately more in control of their own destinies, and those of others, and so on until you reach the Rothschilds and Murdochs of this world.
It’s not rocket surgery, John. Nothing to do with how many designer labels anyone wears, or what they sound like, or how much land their great-grandparents owned. Simple a matter of knowing where the next meal would come from. Or to update it a little, how to pay the mortgage or hang on to your pension.
 Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that John Prescott’s politics are about as genuinely radical as a tea cosy in Tunbridge Wells, the fact is that any genuine examination of class realities and political truth is probably only to be found in the more obscure depths of Open University modules. The BBC as such steers well clear of questioning the prevailing assumptions of consumerist politics. Of course, things may have to change now that we know what a lie they were.
 It will be interesting to find out if Prescott knows the story of George Orwell’s experience on the liner bringing him home on leave from the Imperial Burmese Police Force. Orwell recounts how he was ashamed to see a steward or midshipman making off guiltily with the remains of a pudding from the table of the first class passengers, like a shifty child. The fact that this skilled craftsman, with the lives of many in his care had been reduced to this indignity helped Orwell to make the decision to resign from his imperial post while on leave, and become a writer. If he does know this story, how would Prescott relate to the steward? Especially as he has hardly retained much dignity himself in the last ten years.
What becomes clear very soon in this programme is that class is almost completely defined in terms of manners, appearance and habit. His visit to a country house gent concentrates entirely on the indefinable refinements of privilege, the phoney modesty of what is known as ‘taste’. Prescott earns a ticking off for the “fucking great chip on your shoulder” from his lordhip, who declares his irritation at people who ‘make it more important than it really is. And another from Simon Hoggart who accused him of being ‘classless’ and ‘not comfortable in his own skin.’ Both leaning entirely on the essentially pre-industrial definition of class, the one favoured still by those furthest up it. The one which states that ‘class’ is irrelevant. That everything is simply a matter of ‘being considerate to others’ and other variations of ‘playing the game’, and the fact that a merchant banker is worth a thousand sewer mechanics is nothing to get ‘a chip on your shoulder’ over.
Manners don’t matter, class represents an injustice, and is therefore very important to those at the sharp end. Those uncertain of their futures. To them, their class is something to escape from, not try to refine out of existence. The problem is that when they get as far away from it as possible, their definition of class changes to defend their new role as beneficiaries of the same injustice they once hated. It again becomes about culture and
‘identity’, not economic role. Something completely ‘complex, subjective, and non-sensical’ as the idiot-narrator informed us.
Prescott proved something by apparently not having heard the term ‘chav’ (or pickey’). And when enlightened proved even more by being instantly and thoroughly disgusted (“arrogance beyond belief”). When introduced to three working-class teenage girls, he asked them what it meant. They threw together some words – ‘Burberry’ – ‘labels’, but were clear that class was ‘not about how much money you’ve got, but what you’re doing.’ They hadn’t heard of Gordon Brown, or know what Parliament loked like;
thought teachers were ‘posh people’ and been expelled from school for fighting with them. They sounded a bit like voices from Mayhew’s rookeries, but after a free dinner reflected that ‘it was really nice to socialise… And I hope that if he takes away one thing, it’s that there’s no such thing as the Chav Class.’
Suddenly, they knew the word socialisation’. And knew what they were missing. They obviously know what ‘alienation’ means, even if they’ve never heard the word. But what Prescott showed was that it doesn’t take a PPP contract to break it down, just human contact.
In spite of these little glimpses of reality, the general prospects for rest of the series aren’t good. The direction is clear, use the antiquated, subjective, middle-class definition of class, and all will be well. It creates the ‘complexity’ which TV film makers love, which means they can justify a longer series, and do more location shoots to illustrate the endless parade of paper cut-out cartoons masquerading as ‘issues’. And if one of the cartoons happens to be a labour politician from working class ‘roots’, so much the better.
Anyone wanting a clear illustration of class should go straight to ‘Coal House’ and avoid this soap opera about the death of Blairism.
This will be no more enlightening about class than the BBC’s pathetic recent defence of racism was about race or class.

Deptford. Toffs & Junkies and…?

Eddystone House. Deptford.

So now we know. Another documentary telling us that Deptford is populated by heroin addicts, alcoholics and other dysfunctional derelicts; all rummaging in skips, getting into fights and looting local shops.
Needless to say, this is a complete travesty and an insult to the tens of thousands of decent hardworking people who live in the area and on Pepys Estate. Even the gallant Les Brooks, who fought a long battle with Lewisham council to stay in his home, was made to look like a crank. I mean, circus skills – what do you expect?
This orgy of gritty camerawork completely overwhelmed the serious issues of why, if this block is good enough for the rich, why it is not good enough for the people who have made their homes there for decades; and why was the money not available to maintain the estate for the local community when it is readily available to dislocate and divide the community; and how those buying apartments in the new ‘Z block’ for the view and to impress their business contacts will manage to get in and out of their barracks without being pelted with half-bricks.
As for the famous ‘trickle down’ effect promised by the developers, that will largely be felt in picturesque Greenwich, which is only 2 minutes by Porsche.
Aragon Tower may seem attractive as a lofty
pied a terre for the refined to sneer from, but there will be few if any families living in it. And without children, it will serve as just another dormitory for Canary Wharf, no doubt with its own gym, swimming pool and restaurant. And surrounded by razor wire to either keep the natives out or the inmates in.
We might get to find out which in the course of the rest of this series. But somehow I doubt it. The lure of lots of lovely squalor will be too much for the camerateam and director to resist.