These are strange times to be living in, huh? Our financial system is fucked, our political structures are discredited and our Supreme Overlord is some tone-deaf Geordie woman who cries at the drop of a hat. It really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that our priorities are a little skewed. So it came to pass that, while our mass media continues to spread racism and re-affirm the class structure in favour of those at the top, what really riled people was some right-wing fucktard writing unpleasant things about a former boyband member. It was, of course, a deeply unpleasant article. But the Daily Mail is full of deeply unpleasant articles every single day. Seriously – have a look at it right now. If you are of a liberal mindset, it will not take you long to find something that you find very offensive. We could complain about each article, and perhaps have some success with this. But that obscures the real issues. The real issue, for example, of our newspapers becoming concentrated in the hands of a small number of super-rich people who use them to push their own agendas, misinforming people in order to turn them against any target other than themselves and their entrenched power. They really couldn’t care less if people complain about one of their columnists being homophobic. It’s just another act in the endless show of putting ultimately meaningless targets up there for us all to become outraged about.
To go back to something I mentioned at the start – the discrediting of our politicians and the structures around them. Again, there was obviously a real issue there, and real public anger. However, this story was pushed most vehemently by the Telegraph. The Telegraph which is owned by the Barclay brothers, renowned tax-dodgers who have tried to influence the politics of Sark (they ‘own’ a tenement island, you see) in boldly nefarious ways. The spectacle of tax-dodgers rousing public outrage at expense claims which pale into insignificance beside the sums they are avoiding paying to the Treasury really is quite something. Yet public anger is never directed at these tax-dodging, rabble-rousing, shady figures who try and influence our political systems for their own gain. You will not read spitting editorials about tax havens and tax loopholes, about media monopolies and union-crushing, about unelected economic power on a massive scale and undue influence on national governments. No, instead we’re told that our problems are because of immigrants. Because of unions. Because of politicians. Then we’re thrown some blether about Cheryl Cole and encouraged to grab our pitchforks over Stephen Gately. Over 20,000 people have complained about the Jan Moir article. 20,000. Can you imagine if 20,000 spoke in unison to demand that the government curb the power of media monopolies? If 20,000 people spoke in unison to demand the government end the scapegoating of ethnic minority migrants? If 20,000 people spoke in unison to demand the end to our regressive tax system which, government after government, continues to place the tax burden on those who can least afford it? Such a noise would be extremely powerful, and would attract other people to the cause.
I re-iterate that the Jan Moir article was horrible, and it is pleasing in some ways that people are so outraged by it. Yet the Daily Mail and homophobia are long-term partners (civil, of course) and a more subtle attack on gay rights will be along in a minute. We should ask why, and to what purpose – and this leads us to the people behind the scenes, who want to make sure that the outrage is never directed at them.