The Fake Political and Media Class 323


This blog has been silent for three weeks so nothing would stand between the “bold” predictions in my last article, and the proof that they were true. I am in fact neither particularly prescient nor brilliant. To anybody with serious experience of diplomatic negotiation, it was very obvious a deal was fairly easy. As I predicted, the level playing field mechanism is solved by it not only being a case of the UK following EU standards, but of mutual rights. In the entirely improbable circumstance of Tory UK adopting higher environmental, social or safety standards than the EU, the UK will have resort to a range of measures against unfair competition; just as the EU can in the much more likely scenario of the UK failing to keep up with evolving improvements in these areas. The same goes for state aid. The mutual obligation undercuts the “sovereignty” argument and squares that (silly) circle. Elsewhere, a few tonnes of fish here or there was never going to outweigh the manufacturing interests on both sides. So this very limited agreement, covering the 22% of UK/EU trade that is in goods, was always a shoo-in.

As I also predicted and still predict, the media will now go wild about “Johnson’s Christmas Triumph”.

What I want to discuss with you is not the agreement itself, nor the process of reaching it, but the quite extraordinary fact that a deal which was always going to be made, was the subject of pretend cliffhanger drama and tension by the entire professional media and the entire professional political class, both government and opposition, not just in the UK but right across Europe and on other continents as well.

Sane, sober and alone, any serious professional political journalist knew that this deal would be made and broadly what it would look like. So did Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, Bill Cash and Nigel Farage. Yet absolutely everyone has been pumping out this false narrative of cliff-hanging tension, as have the national ministers of EU states in the EU Council and the Members of the European Parliament.

Why? I think this really is quite a profound question. And I think the answer is that the professional media and political class – the latter an ever burgeoning number, battening on to the body politic at our ever increasing expense – have become simply a form of entertainment. High politics is no more than a form of reality TV, where both those taking part and those reporting on it know that dramas and crescendos have to be manufactured to keep the plebs interested and keep the golden goose laying. The politicians and the political journalists have a joint interest in putting on a show over artificial crises. The worrying thing is, they manage to convince themselves, at least some of the time, to their own professional gain, that the version they are promulgating of what is happening, is reality.

Let me add a few thoughts to this. The first is that I do not think that anybody except a very few utter nutters really believe, for example, that Jeremy Corbyn is personally a racist. Yet the mainstream political and media classes pump out the anti-semitism slur in a continual stream. This forcefully reminds me of the run-up to the Iraq War, when I asked an FCO colleague working directly on Iraq how he managed to do his job when he knew full well that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. He replied to me that he was an avid player of “Football Manager”; while in the game he really was immersed for hours and the manager of Arsenal, once he left the game of course he knew he was not. Walking into the FCO to work was the same. While in the FCO, he believed Iraq had WMD and acted on that basis; once he left in the evening he did not.

In a sense this game, where the political and media class connive at contrived dramatic happenings, replaces and covers for the absence of real differences in politics, as will be illustrated when Starmer’s Labour votes for Johnson’s Brexit Deal. Just as they have failed to oppose even the granting of powers to kill and torture to the security services, or the granting of amnesty to those who commit war crimes. When you do not really have an actual opposition, you will get pretend political events. I am also reminded of those in the SNP who pretend to be absolutely committed to Scottish Independence, while having not the slightest intention of doing anything towards that goal that may jeopardise their comfortable and well-paid political careers.

I stand by my prediction that phasing of implementation of procedures will mean that the non-tariff friction that is, despite this agreement, going to make UK trade in goods with the EU much more logistically difficult, will not have immediate effect, so in the early part of 2021 Brexiteers will be gloating that predictions of doom did not happen. I also stand by the prediction that the real effects will come through slowly and surely and increase both inflation and unemployment in the second half of 2021. This agreement of course covers goods only – the UK financial services industry will become still further oriented towards servicing non-EU clients seeking minimal scrutiny. The EU will now be able to impose a transaction tax as a brake on reckless trading in derivatives. London will become the high risk centre for the dodgy money and the fast buck, to an even greater extent than it is already.

Johnson will now surf a jingoistic media wave and be hailed a great success. Which, for us Scots, makes it still more certain he will never agree voluntarily to an Independence referendum. Anybody who now argues the route to Independence must only lie through the agreement of Downing Street, is arguing the Unionist Case.

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323 thoughts on “The Fake Political and Media Class

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  • Dave

    The dilemma in politics is if you have a good idea and make the effort needed to become popular, you get a flood of members who join and throw you out as an obstacle to progress by trimming the message to achieve office and the end result is an entirely new party with a different message.

    The problem is, apart from revolutionary periods there is only a small pool of people who want to do politics full-time and they will join any party to secure office and equality legislation including the Blairite Quango EHRC make it illegal to stop these people joining your party. Not a problem when you’re not popular and its how dissent is managed.

  • defo

    Played Charades with the family at xmas.
    Lots of fun.

    Where is this all leading to Craig?

    Good luck up in court mate, if it actually happens.
    I sense a possibility of abandonment.

  • Geoffrey

    Craig, there is no media triumphalism at “Boris’s ” deal. I see no reason why the UK should not have higher standards then the EU on the whole. The EU does not have high environmental standards, they love covering the countryside with tarmac and roads to nowhere, but then I know the environment is not something that bothers you too much as a supporter of Trump’s environmentally damaging golf course in Aberdeen.

    • N_

      Would it be a crime against nature for the proles to ride out from their urban hovels to the Test Valley and the Chilterns, disturbing the serene views of the British landowners who pocket so much money in “environmental” grants for doing eff-all? Since when did most modern farming have any respect for nature whatsoever?

    • N_

      a supporter of Trump’s environmentally damaging golf course in Aberdeen.

      Saving the world from the unprecedented and much greater level of horror represented by the business activities of Joe Biden’s son? LOL

      (That’s a joke. Happy New Year!)

  • N_

    So most of the 10000 lorries that were stuck in Kent have now been allowed to cross into the EU. The question is how soon this winter they will be coming back laden with the imported food on which Britain relies.

    • glenn_uk

      So what’s your latest prophesy on when we’ll all be starving to death in this country? September came and went, there was no sign of major die-off from starvation here, much to my astonishment, you’re usually _so_ right.

      Oh, I forgot – you only answer your own questions.

      • N_

        Anybody can be sarcastic online. I don’t know the answer to the question I just asked. Let’s hope the lorries come back soon. I would have thought that firms based on the continent that export to Britain will be faced with increased costs, but maybe the extra debt to enable British consumers to buy at higher prices won’t make much difference since most of them are in such huge debt already. Until the day comes.

  • N_

    Boris Johnson: “This is not the end of Britain as a European country. We are in many ways the quintessential European civilisation … and we will continue to be that.”

    Hahahahaha! He calls Britain a “civilisation”! He is talking about

    * the only independent country in Europe or Asia that doesn’t have a constitution (even Saudi Arabia uses the Koran as one, and Israel has an entrenched body of basic law),

    * a country which didn’t even exist at the time of the Renaissance, and

    * a country which for a long time resisted Leibniz’s understanding of calculus. (Leibniz was foreign. He didn’t go to Trinity College. Goodness knows how infrequently he washed. Did I mention he was foreign?)

    But…Purdey rifles! Glyndebourne! The principle of sending children away to live in institutions! Bishops in the House of Lords! Civilised, I tell you!

    For calling Britain a civilisation, Johnson surely deserves a nomination for Biggest D***head of 2020.

    • N_

      Boris Johnson’s quote as it stands is stupendously moronic, but it’s possible or even likely that it wasn’t off the cuff at all and he simply fluffed his words. He might have meant to say something like this for example: “We will always be a part of and a contributor to the essence of European civilisation”. That statement wouldn’t be stupid at all. But what he actually said will make people in Austria, Hungary, France, Germany, and basically everywhere in the EU, think “what an idiot”. Perhaps he was too drunk or under the influence of cocaine to say his words right.

      One day he could shove his foot in his mouth so hard regarding Scotland that no “hug a Jock” offensive would repair the damage. If the Scottish general election actually goes ahead in May as planned and if the SNP perform as well in it as they are currently doing in the polls, and assuming Johnson is still in office at that point, he’ll be given his cards soon after for this reason. No Unionist in their right mind would want somebody like him as British PM during a Scottish independence referendum.

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