The Guardian Swells the Tide of Illiberalism 9


I have posted the Guardian’s reply with my original letter below. I have now gone back as follows:

Elizabeth,

Thank you. I am sure you appreciate that the concern of many natural “Guardian readers” over this article is that it reflects longer-felt anxieties about the direction the Guardian is taking. Michael White’s “Comment is Free” piece is another example of how the Guardian’s senior editorial team appear to have swallowed wholesale the authoritarian “War on Terror” agenda.

Of course a newspaper has the right to take what line it wants, although I am not sure the Murdoch/Daily Express world view really needs reinforcing. But, given the Guardian’s history, you cannot expect many loyal readers to be indifferent to the Guardian assisting the spasm of anti-liberalism which has afflicted our society.

I appreciate Mr Rusbridger is probably too busy hobnobbing with his sister-in-law Tessa Jowell and brother-in-law David Mills to respond to my emails. But if you could get past your numerous guards a sentence he will actually see, to the effect that Craig Murray would be grateful if he would at least read my emails, that would be very kind of you.

Craig


9 thoughts on “The Guardian Swells the Tide of Illiberalism

  • kazbel

    The lack of comment with which the Guardian reports John Reid's suggestion of a state of emergency is also worthy of comment – both for what it says about the Guardian and what it says about the government – not to mention the danger it poses to us all. See
    http://freecommonwealth.blogspot.com

  • Chuck Unsworth

    So, Rusbridger runs for cover – yet again. We all know that getting the minion to handle the difficult question is the standard procedure for anyone in authority who is not confident about their position.

    I've never been impressed by Mr Rusbridger. He's only 'courageous' when he's on a winner. Anything which requires the cut and thrust of true debate – with all its uncertainties – is simply not on his horizon.

    As to his in-laws, well he has certainly shown himself to be fiercely loyal to them, if not to his self-proclaimed principles. Real honesty, integrity and professionalism are completely alien territory.

    It's a shame, really, to see the demise of a decent journal as the direct result of a personal weakness of character.

  • dodo

    Guardian's own website reminds us that: "The prospectus announcing the birth of the Manchester Guardian 182 years ago said it would zealously enforce the principles of civil and religious liberty, would warmly advocate the cause of reform and be independent of any political party."

    In 1992, the Scott Trust identified its central objective as being the following: " To secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity: as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to liberal tradition; as a profit-seeking enterprise managed in an efficient and cost-effective manner." Something of a dilution, of principle but retaining some core themes.

    All of this has been abandoned.

    It seems to me that I can detect the dissonance within the distant wail of C.P. Scott, Alastair Hetherington and perhaps Hugo Young spinning in their graves.

  • greengorilla

    As mentioned elsewhere on your blog, I had an email exchange with Michael White re. the Tisdall article in which he became quite hysterical.

    Instead of answering any of my points he went into a tirade about dogmatic individuals such as myself, how the Iraqi 'terrorists' were attacking civilians etc.

    I sent him the GAO Graph published on Juan Cole's blog showing that the vast number of guerilla attacks were being made against the Occupying Forces.

    After further invective about civilian casualties he stopped replying, presumably to write his Comment is Free tirade on the "War on Terror."

    Previously, I asked him how as a christian he managed to reconcile this war-mongering with his conscience, reminding him of Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS in which Sir Thomas More says to William Roper:

    "And when the last law was down, and the devil turned on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast – man's laws, nor God's – d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"

    I never received a reply!

  • writeon

    I've touched on this issue before, but perhaps it needs repetition. We're moving out of the realm of "liberal democracy" towards something else entirely. I call it the post democratic society. In the past we've been able to maintain "democracy" at home, and at the same time drowned our imperial conquests in blood and gore abroad. I've an unpleasant feeling that we may be seeing the "hard state" beginning to rear its ugly head at home with all that it implies for our civil liberties and way of life.

  • Craig

    The Scott Trust – now there is a thought.

    How about a legal action to accuse the Guardian of acting ultra vires, ie not within the objectives of its governing trust, by abandoning liberalism?

    It would entail quite a lot of digging around the terms of the Trust and the Guardian's governance, but the neo-con ramblings of White, Tisdall and Nick Cohen have nothing to do with liberailism.

    Craig

  • Strategist

    I dunno about the Guardian, but The Observer gets my blood pressure soaring every week. If we're going to have a campaign, can it be for the Scott Trust to sack its editor Roger Alton? That once fine paper has been destroyed by that guy.

  • hayate

    Guardian Unlimited is not a British Labour Party mouthpiece as many think. Maybe they were several decades ago, but whatever support Guardian gives Labour is mostly by default. Like New Labour, Guardian is completely enamoured by the neo-liberal philosophy (and the great wealth and power that generates). The people's views they actually represent, though, when they get down to the business of foreign affairs spin are the Israeli Labour Party and those whom that party represents.

    There was mixed opinion on attacking Iraq in the Israeli labour Party, likewise, the Observer took the pro-war pov and the Guardian the anti-war pov(though a very lackluster anti-war pov in their daily coverage). Both Isreali Likud and Labour Parties support aggression towards Iran, so both Observer and Guardian are promoting this aggression (though again, Guardian is being more sly about it to avoid criticism from long time readers now betrayed by this swing to the ziofascist right). When British Labour (or Conservatives) are in sync with Israeli Labour policy, Guardian supports those policies. When not, you'll see alot of that support withdrawn.

    At the Guardian side of the organisation, they are usually quite round about and clever in their rubber stamping of Ameroisraeli policies. There are always several frothing chickenhawk columnists, but I have not really noticed the editors themselves promoting these war crimes. Most of the tacit support they give is subtle through things like their daily news coverage where the terms set by ziofascist spin doctors are used to describe events, thereby placing the debate on Ameroisraeli/EU terms and allowing the ziofascist right to set the terms on how the debate will proceed.

    The controversy about Guardian's use of Ameroisraeli propaganda to stir up war fever against Iran is not being allowed on their talkboard. As is Guardian policy in the past, this isn't being done in the open, No "thou shalt not talk about this" announcement, but at least one thread on the talkboard discussing the controversy was disappeared within a day that I know about. A lot of threads critical of the USA wind up disappeared the same way. I've used that talkboard on and off since late 2000 and the bias of their censorship there has noticably moved far to the ziofascist right in how it's applied.

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