Peter Oborne 55

An extremely good article on the riots by Peter Oborne in the Telegraph.

Indeed, I believe that the criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up.

It is not just the feral youth of Tottenham who have forgotten they have duties as well as rights. So have the feral rich of Chelsea and Kensington

I really am quite a fan of Oborne, whose books are well worth reading.

55 thoughts on “Peter Oborne

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  • Beeston Regis

    I read his book The Triumph of The Political Class on your recommendation and found it well worth a read.
    Glad to see him sticking it to the current crop of back stabbers
    and arse kissers.

  • mark_golding

    I think this young man epitomizes the key issues raised by Craig – but will agent Cameron listen? He will instinctively listen, respond sympathetically, return to the confines of Downing Street oblivious of the conversation while preparing to enact, authorise and legislate more control, loss of liberties and other draconian measures to sustain the culture of greed and impunity.
    My young man:

  • Eddie-G

    I enjoyed his book called, I think, “The Rise of Political Lying”, maybe time for a new one, “The Rise of Political Criminality”.

    But agree with him very much that Parliament is pretty much much devoid of moral authority on this issue, and seeing Hazel Blears and Michael Gove amongst others wax righteous was almost more of a spur to vigilantism than the riots themselves.

  • deepgreenpuddock

    Will go and read the Oborne article but it seems palpable to me that the corruption and degraded civil values we have seen in evidence over the last few days is a symptom of something much bigger-and as Cameron says “we are all in it together” (although I doubt if he will say that now that it s less convenient to say it). Apparently this PR man is now a preacher and clergyman and moral arbiter to the nation.
    A notion so ludicrous that one is led to think that we have collectively entered the rabbit hole after Alice.

    I watched Newsnight last night and had to:

    1. Laugh : at the BBC wheeling out all the most predictable voices. Davis and Two jags, and a few other ‘serious’ commentators whose are wheeled out regularly and who have nothing new to say and I suspect little or no real understanding of the true situation. They looked very seriously not up to the job of understanding the scale and gravity of what has happened, saying all the most predictable things-rants and roars.this was an entertainment show-not a serious discourse.

    2. Suppress nausea: at watching these people with nothing worthwhile to say. One senses that they are there simply for the appearance fee. They just looked, as ever, like the pigs at the trough, most of them being rather corpulent, and heavily jowled,and wobbly, as befits the blabbering wankpots they are.

    They were brain farting (with passion and logic) all over the place. The stun was leaking through the cathode ray tube. (Sorry no plasma or lcd screen here) It was embarrassing, for the country, and embarrassing to think that a matter so serious and so devastating to so many people, and with such far reaching consequences, and deep origins, was approached by the BBC in such a customary ‘mock serious’ way.
    (another organisation that is falling apart as we speak) due to its putrid sycophancy and the utter lack of genuine or credible analytical material.Do they realise they have drifted into the same place that Isvestia and Pravda occupied for so long-where the yardstick for the Russian people was to simply reverse what was being expressed,.to arrive at something close to the truth.

    I seems blindingly obvious to me that the whole political class is in need of clearing out, and while i despise the wanton stupidity and malice of the rioters. I cannot believe that these politicians will be able to evade their culpability for the decades of collusion, narrow minded careerism, expense fiddling, political chicanery, mendacity and ‘blind eye turning’ that have led to this point of widespread dysfunctionality.

    One little point that no one talks about.

    Has anyone sat down and costed Cameron’s response to the riots and policing and court time and prison time that is about to ensue. Even back of fag packet estimates take the breath away.

  • Alex Grant

    Terrific article and encouraging that it appeared in the ‘Torygraph’? Yes, but….
    I am fed up hearing comments like, ‘no one has the honour to resign anymore’ and now ‘moral disintegration in the highest ranks of society’! Does anyone seriously believe that these so called ‘standards’ are only ‘in recent decline’? The elites have always done this but in the past they were never held to account – and they still aren’t to a great extent. The major difference now is that it is slightly harder for them to hide – but only slightly. As Oborne pointed out Cameron and his pals at News International thought they had got away with it until the Milly Dowler exposure finally engaged the masses. The underclass are now less likely to take lectures from the rich, especially as they get richer. They certainly don’t believe ‘we are all in this together’

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I agree with most of what Oborne has written and with what Craig and the other posters have said – some excellent, knowledgeable comments, btw – on this thread.
    It’s good a career journalist in the MSM is foregrounding the obvious in a vigorous manner. I do respect what Oborne has been writing on various subjects over the past several years.
    Millions of people have been saying the same things for years – decades, even. Yes, we could have told Peter Oborne all of this and more in 1981 (where was he, then?), or again, in 1991 (where was he then?), or again, in 2001 (ditto) and now it seems, he’s got it. [cue song from ‘My Fair Lady’]. Yes, I swear, he’s got it! Jolly good for him. So, the truth is out, spoken from a ruling class mouth to whom some people might listen! They are both our oppressors and our champions; often one will be married to the other – how very apt. We will cheer one side or the other, depending on the periodicity and degree of our myopia. You see, sir, madam, m’lord, here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, we remain peasants. We know our place.

  • mary

    It was Question Time Deep Green but the panel could have come from any BBC programming you can think of. I switched off and went to bed.
    They are giving 12 months’ availability. God help us and something you might actually want to watch again is either not available or goes after a few days. Billed as Riot Special!!!!
    Lord! Prescott the apoplectic lecher and croquet player. However did that secretary allow herself to be mauled by him?
    Brian Paddick the ex cop and Mayor of London wannabe
    David Davis Con Party leader manqué
    John Sentamu Man of God and establishment toady
    Camila Batmanghelidjh a Common Purpose clone. Prescott’s department handed out £half a million to Common Purpose btw. Many members of police forces, local government and the BBC have been on their eerie indoctrination leadership courses. Julia Middleton founded it. See her Wikipedia page. Her husband Rupert is Director of Manufacturing for Trinity Mirror.
    Fraser Nelson right winger from the Spectator

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mary – me, too. Sleep was more stimulating than QT. I dreamed of Morris Dancers. Must’ve been Camila’s outfit – it was enough to give everyone a migraine!

  • ingo

    Ha ha, Suhayls faux passe was brilliant, I bet Ireland would love to be Island and put three fingers up to bankers.

    Very much agree with peter’s article pointing fingers to consequetive neo con controlled Governments. Labour will not be able to wriggle away from sharing guilt, under there policy regime child poverty doubled and its not getting better with the recent cuts, the young man who gave Boris a hard time was on the ball, he knew what his mates are feeling.

    Boris can’t imagine, because him and the rest of the cabinet are far removed from this world.
    It says a lot if people re elect Hazel Blears, it means that they have no better choice, no hope in any of the alternatives. All they ever had is UKIP and the BNP, easy to sideline, and not a single councillor or representative has ever had more than 40% of the electorates mandate, so Ms. Blears is talking for a minority of people that is largely apathetic.

  • John Goss

    The last paragraph clinches it:
    “The culture of greed and impunity we are witnessing on our TV screens stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media. It is not just its damaged youth, but Britain itself that needs a moral reformation.”

  • Clark

    Oborne’s article is very good. I noticed two little assumptions in it:
    “The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite”: –
    Should we really have a “governing elite” at all? It isn’t very democratic.
    “The culture of greed and impunity […] stretches right up into corporate boardrooms and the Cabinet. It embraces the police and large parts of our media.”: –
    I notice that he gives only his own sector, the media, the qualification of “a large part of…”.
    But yes, a very good article.

  • OldMark

    As Deep Green & Mary have already pointed out, QT last night was pathetic. Even Sky’s debate earlier on ‘the causes of the riots’, featuring, inter alia, Aaronovitch & Hitchens the Younger, was better.

    Prescott on QT in particular was going thru the motions,extruding his usual stream of consciousness bilge all over the shop.

    Oborne right on the money, as he often is.

  • mike

    Ah, but this column appeared in the Telegraph, John, so the debate becomes one of “morals” and “standards” — not economics.

    Does he question capitalism, how its turbo-charged neoliberal phase has fed this “help yourself” mindset?

  • abc123456

    That’s quite an interesting article. But show it to somebody here in China and they would practically die laughing that somebody could get so worked up over such comparatively tiny sums of money. Have people read this article, also from the Telegraph?
    2.8 billion dollars! Not Chinese yuan, dollars! And from an official who couldn’t really be considered to be at the very top of the Chinese government. And this kind of thing is very far from rare. So while corruption in Britain may be a problem, it is nothing compared to China.

  • Robert Stace

    Quite agree with your praise of Peter Oborne.

    He could have added in his article that our prime minister, whilst taking the trouble to condemn drug use amongst the lower orders, has never come clean about his own recourse to ‘the substances’. It can also be pointed out that although he now expresses a loathing for gangs, Mr Cameron, in the company of the Mayor of London, is a former gang member himself: the Bullingdon Club, with its reputation for criminal damage.

  • Jonangus Mackay

    A phrase I committed to memory in my early teens:
    The lesser of two evils is evil nonetheless.

  • mary

    Another Couldn’t make it up!
    Coe added: “The images we witnessed a few days ago were disfiguring.
    “Nobody would remotely want to downplay that but the 205 Olympic committees that are with us in London at the moment, and the political leadership of the IOC that is with us as well, saw a city that had to cope with some severe challenges, but a city that also delivered a number of test events and world championships at the same time.
    “The sporting community is a grown-up community and the world of sport understands that from time to time that cities confront all challenges.
    “There is no serious doubt anywhere in the world of sport that London is able to deliver a great games.
    “We will and we will do it an a secure and timely fashion.”
    He missed out the ‘We are all in this together’ mantra.

  • deepgreenpuddock

    Suhayl- I won’t have Morris Dancers maligned/mocked. In the time of John Knox a morris dancer was condemned to death for dancing on a sunday. (John Knox, our ver own Mullah Omar). There was a near riot in Edinburgh as the general population considered this a harsh punishment, and the dancer was reprieved.

    Morris dancing had a long tradition of mayhem, and anti-estaishment action, although I suppose nowadays it is a source of amusement.

    Gangs of agricultural workers, who, lacking work, found themselves in distress, went and performed for the well-to do, in the understanding that they would get beer and food. If they were refused succour, they retaliated by ploughing up the neatly tended grounds of the ‘refusiniks’.
    There was also the tradition of mocking the higher-ups -in song and recitation of scurrilous, bawdy verse or even in choreographic manoeuvres or variations that the audience would understand as criticism.

    In some ways they represented a (contained) tendency to social chaos, which could be unleashed if there was a perception of the better off overlooking the less fortunate- i.e. a few timely reminders to the gentry and well to do, to live up to their responsibilities.
    There is an Ashley Hutchins album-Rattlebone and Ploughjack -which has a track on it about civil disobedience and direct action in the past, a mixture of recitations and music. It is a fascinating insight into the past. i would have posted a link but there is only a small section of it on youtube. k

  • Stuarty

    Interesting link to the Scottish approach Mary. Refreshing to read about a more original and thoughtful response to gang violence than locking ’em up and removing their benefits. The Downing Street petition to remove state benefits from those involved in the riots strikes me as being rather vindictive and the measures it proposes as totally counter-productive. Surely it’s better to try to engage with and inspire our young people and give them more constructive ways of channeling their energies, than to send more to our already overcrowded prisons (although I’m not proposing that those involved in some of the more violent and abhorrent incidents of the last week escape punishment).

  • MJ

    abc123456: it would be unwise to assume that corruption on that scale has not taken place in the UK. We do not know.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Hey, I’m not mocking Morris Dancers, I’m praising them, Deepgreenpuddock. Didn’t you notice? ‘I’ll set the Morris Dancers on the Blackshirts’ is what I was saying. Draw on genuinely powerful traditions to squash ideologies of hate. And, I was making the point that the Morris Dancers were originally the ‘Moorish Dancers’. These are good things. Please read what I wrote. Perhaps you assumed that I would mock them – if so, your assumption was incorrect. You ought to have read enough of the interactions b/w ‘Richard Robinson’ and i to know that. Or… are you ‘Richard Robinson’ in another guise?!
    Thanks for the information, btw, as always, fascinating and useful.

  • mary

    There might be more trouble. The IPCC are investigating the sudden deterioration in the health of a young man who was arrested by the British Transport Police at Northwock Park Station and who was taken to a Wembley facility where he was being held in a custody suite.

  • Suhyal Saadi

    Oh, Deepgreenpuddock, the Morris Dancers reference to which I was alluded was on another recent thread, I think. I thought you were referring to that one; I realise now you may have been referring to the one on this thread.
    But anyway, even wrt the post in this thread, why would dreaming of Morris Dancers be deemed to be ‘maligning’ or ‘mocking’ them? I was using the image as an antithetical one to the riots and specifically as one which I found more critical and interesting than the farce of Question Time. But maybe because of previous experience, understandably perhaps, you’re primed to assume that people will mock Morris Dancers. That is not necessarily always the case, you know.

  • ingo

    Thanks mary, Lord Coe can’t guarantee anyone’s security nect year. Unless they can approach this deepseated problem, in the whole of society, we could see more of the same next year.

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