A broken clock is right at least twice a day
It’s no secret that the Morning Star swings to the left.
And one shouldn’t belittle its fantastic work highlighting underrepresented points of view.
But it’s quite remarkable when the newspaper it is most in sync with is … The Sun.
Obviously a constellational thing.
Many years ago it became clear to me that the right wing press was funnier than the left.
I grew up in the 1990s when most right-on alternative comedians opposed the Thatcher and Major Conservative governments.
So this all came as a bit of a shock.
But the culture war has now moved on.
People like me need to get with the times.
The war of ideas has become more sophisticated than I recognized.
Political marketing assumes many forms.
Have I become more paranoid?
Or have things genuinely moved on?
Until very recently Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire owner of the Sun, backed Theresa May.
She called an election in 2017 and made sure she put the elimination of the Leveson Inquiry into press criminality on her manifesto.
Murdoch’s staff had been paying the police and getting people sent to jail for relatively minor crimes such as helping undercover journalists buy small amounts of drugs.
In other countries such behaviour would be called entrapment.
For this she was rewarded with favourable media coverage and became so full of hubris that she didn’t even turn up to the TV debate.
Murdoch got what he wanted when the then Media Secretary Matt Hancock got the entire Tory Party (except 5) to vote, along with the DUP, to bin the Inquiry.
Hacked Off, a press regulation pressure group financed by F1 Billionaire Max Mosley, took a Judicial Review case to get the Government to reverse its position, but they lost.
The verdict was announced last week.
If only the story stopped there.
Carry on Brexit
Murdoch is for Brexit. It helps shrink the state and turn the UK (and its overseas territories) into even more of an oligarch-friendly low tax regime.
The links between the Sun’s ideology and the right-wing think tanks coming out of Tufton Street are repetitious.
But the the US Tea Party and even Reagan’s Republicans have always been skilled in dressing up their deregulation in a Ché Guevara beret.
Steve Bannon constantly refers to culture wars. I remember the American conspiracy theorist historian Webster Tarpley telling Alex Jones back in 2009 that to get rid of Obama the right would have to attack him from the left.
And so the Sun’s anti-regulation anti-EU stance now overlaps with the Morning Star’s!
I am not against debate.
But it is good to get enough background context to back up the valid instinct that you are being lied to.
Knowing who funds the article you are reading usually tells you more about what is being written than the words themselves.
The fact that the Morning Star is dead against the EU shows how strongly the unions must really feel about Brexit.
Phillip Coggan of the Economist tweeted about the parallels with UK 1930s politics recently. This was possibly in relation to the Nicky Morgan and Oliver Letwin suggestions of a temporary technocratic Unity Government.
George Lansbury (grandfather of actress Angela) became head of the Labour Party at a time when they split and one half (not his) joined a Unity Government.
Lansbury once edited the Herald, a workers’ newspaper that eventually became The Sun.
Funny to see the spectres of Mosley and Lansbury rear themselves once again.
Perhaps they never really ever went away.