Wednesday 11 November 2020

The Grotesqueries of the Hacks

Look at the appalling state of British journalism. This evening the lobby hacks and chief political correspondents are getting excited by rumblings in Number 10. Earlier today Laura Kuenssberg was tweeting breathlessly about the rumoured promotion of long-time Johnson lackey, Lee Cain, from head spinner to Number 10 Chief of Staff. A move reportedly opposed by, um, Carrie Symonds. Tonight, Cain announced his resignation following suggestions the Prime Minister had instead forced him out. Kuenssberg's clueless counterpart across the great televisual divide, ITV's Robert Peston witters on Twitter concerning rumours Dominic Cummings is about to jump ship in solidarity with Cain. "It's 50/50!", according to Tom Newton Dunn, quoting a Number 10 "insider" not at all likely to be Cummings himself.

This is the real meat and gravy of politics for our establishment hangers ons. Watching their twee output, you could be forgiven for thinking political power isn't about power. If politics is showbiz for ugly people, they typify the dominant strand of establishment political journalism: current affairs as Heat magazine, or more fittingly Hello thanks to the gallons of sycophancy they gush over their subjects and sources. What makes this all the more sickening is today, according to the ever-shifting definitions of Covid victims, the number of dead passed the grim milestone of 50,000. For the last 24 hour reporting period, some 595 people - lives as complex and feeling as your own - were snuffed out. The government are making strenuous efforts to deny culpability for their disaster, but it's not like the smiley, happy people of the pro-Johnson press pack are about to make matters difficult for them.

Some folks might put this high drama about low politics down to another Cummings masterstroke. But one should not attribute superpowers to him. He has not fetched a dead moggy from the Croydon cat killer's chest freezer and flung it to the cooing mob, this is a genuine power struggle in the Johnson project. Perhaps Cummings is feeling the pressure a wee bit. The holiday hunger debacle had Dom's inky thumb prints all over it, and even the pit ponies of the political press were forced to neigh in a faintly critical tone. One more idiotic move and his reputation as the sinister svengali is done. With one of his chums heading out the door, why not cut his losses and enjoy cashing in on the notoriety for the next few years? It must be tempting.

It doesn't really matter though. Whether Cummings stays or goes, the same rotten crew with the same rotten politics are carrying on handing rotten contracts out to rotten private providers. It's a national emegency, don't you know, so nothing to see here. And accompanying it all is the soundtrack of a reportage and commentary that elucidates nothing, and greases the wheels of mystification and befuddlement most people find bemusing about the politics shit circus. It's almost as if there's mutually beneficial collusion between the crew inside Downing Street and the tight-knit posse standing outside in front of the cameras.


David said...

Small point but Laura is broadcasting that this dysfunction has been going on for months. Why hasn't she been reporting it? It must have had an impact on the coronavirus response.

Dialectician1 said...

"Show business for the ugly"

You're right, Kuenssberg & Peston offer us nothing but endless dribbles of trivia..... can't wait for Cummings on Strictly.....