Monday, 30 November 2015

The Case for Jeremy Corbyn.

Everyone has been, over the last decade or so, bemoaning the disengagement of ordinary folk from politics. Suddenly we have had two historic examples of the masses being motivated to join political parties en masse.
Firstly the SNP’s campaign for a Yes vote energised a nation and indeed the subsequent reaction to the UK parties now infamously broken Vow (which persuaded many undecideds to vote NO at the last minute) saw the membership of the SNP treble in a couple of weeks, with it now standing at approx. 115,000 members. Now, that’s engagement. Was it welcomed? No. because the established political class do not really want mass political engagement as it threatens to take the reins of power from their hands and actually change things that political leaders only pay lip-service to changing. God forbid the 99% gain power, eh Tristram Hunt?
Then we had the astonishing Jeremy Corbyn affair. A man who was considered so out of touch by the Labour Party grandees that they felt comfortable to condescendingly allow him onto the list for leadership of the Labour Party.  Wow. Talk about out of touch? Due to his inclusion ordinary members of the public joined Labour in an unprecedented surge. Why? Because, for the first time since John Smith, here was a figure who, when he spoke, spoke for people long discarded by the New Labour Project, discarded in favour of Tony and Peter’s new rich and powerful friends whom they considered capable of delivering more votes by editorial support than the committed Labourites could manage by persuasion.
But, as the subsequent events illustrated, these were shallow votes, votes that could disappear in an instant because while Labour might have won the votes it did not win the hearts. These were votes at a high moral price. These were votes at the editorial mercy of a man (Murdoch) who supported fully the illegal invasion of Iraq. And to those who complain that Iraq was over 12 years ago, I say, well, it’s not 12 years ago for the people of Iraq. They are still living every moment of every day with the consequences.
Many true Labour people left the party or ceased considering Labour a party worth voting for after that. Many of those who remained did so only because Labour was the least bad option. How inspiring, eh. Iraq however was just one factor. Remember the troubling scenes when an old party member was bodily lifted out of a Labour Party Conference for heckling the platform? The party members thrown out the party in the late 1990s purge? The support for Tory party policies and the surrendering of Labour party principles?
The doffing of the cap days were not only not fought against by the Blairites but actually sought after as somehow being the best protector of working people’s living standards. Let’s suspend judgement for a moment and suppose this was a misguided attempt to lessen the blows on the working class in the post-Thatcher world. Resistance was now unfashionable. Bowing to the supposedly inevitable was in.  Many who argued against this narrative were misrepresented, marginalised, excluded, maligned, defeated.
Then came Corbyn. A man who had never left the party and whose party credentials were impeccable. A man who opposed the war. A man who never ceased challenging all the weak and superficial narratives that were spun and now were unravelling. A man who garnered support from many of the people who had ceased voting years ago.
Russell Brand was castigated for daring to point out the obvious - that there was very little to choose from electorally between the main parties. In fact, there were ironically similarities with our new politics and Old-Style Soviet political system in that you could stand for election as long as you didn't challenge the status quo, the allusion suggesting that Labour and Tories were now just two wings of the same establishment party.
And now here came a man who offered an option. An opportunity for Labour to reach out to the millions it had considered unworthy of the party's attentions, to those it had forgotten, and to the millions who simply had not voted for decades. Here came a man who offered these people something that had been forbidden them for a long, long time. Hope. Hope that their environment, employment prospects, wages and conditions might be once again on the table. Hope that trillions wouldn’t be wasted on pointless weapons and wars and hope that mass murder would no longer be committed in their name. A man who is as we speak is inspiring thousands to go back out into the rain for Labour, to argue a case that has not been properly argued for a long time – the case for Labour.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Wearing of the Poppy

Militarism in all its forms is saddening. At best it is legalised barbarism, at worst it is pathetic machismo. It’s significant that some of the most sustainable progressive reforms have been influenced by fearsome opponents of militarism rather than military power. Suffragettes, Ghandi and Martin Luther King come to mind. War doesn’t achieve anything talking doesn’t. That’s why, after war, they always have to talk anyway. So why not fast forward to the talking bit?

I oppose para-militarism as well as so-called legal armies but I do not accept that any armies have moral superiority. All armies commit atrocities, whether by accident or design. All armies kill civilians, no matter what technological or moral safeguards our leaders claim are in place.

See, our leaders are not like you and me. They are playing geopolitical games where their own aims and reputations are far more important to them than mere human life.  In this military-political moral twilight, politicians become psychopaths in that they suspend all empathy with mothers of babies, of children with parents, brothers with sisters as they prepare to force a path through human life in pursuit of their sacred aims which usually are presented as “saving civilisation”, the same civilisation they are reducing to rubble and grief.

This gives some understandably a problem when it comes to the poppy. For many, especially victims of militarism, the seeming worshiping of the poppy is alienating as those telling us to wear poppies are often (though not always) unconditional supporters of British militarism. If your family or community has been abused, maimed or killed by an army supported by poppy wearers then naturally you’d feel that you were not part of the same society that has institutionalised support of the poppy.

But it depends on what the poppy means to the wearers, of which I am one. The thought that my wearing the poppy signifies support for an increasingly jingoistic war machine disgusts me. It is also obscene for a poppy to be used as a weapon by ultra-British nationalists as a weapon to beat everyone else into fealty to “our boys” and “our country”.  This was a feature of British nationalism in Ireland for many years and sadly it seems to be seeping “over the water” as Bullingdon-led Britain seeks to ensure that near worship of the Union Jack becomes a prerequisite to being considered a ‘good citizen’.

I don’t wear my poppy for those cynical hypocrites most of whom, tellingly, have never seen battle in their lives.  To me the poppy symbolises not just remembrance of loved ones passed but also of wanton waste of life, the folly of war and the need to never again let a generation of the world’s youth be buried in mud in another land far from home in pursuit of imperial aims. When I wear my poppy I am thinking of poor terrified young men being forced over the top to near certain death at the behest of a class who seemed to glory in war like it was a game.  

I’ve no beef with being British. Several close relatives of mine, generations in fact, have served in British forces. Those I was fortunate to know personally were thoroughly decent men who believed they were making the world better. They would not be approving of this co-opting of a symbol of remembrance for comrades and family being tainted as it is now when it is used as pseudo-moralistic battering ram against people reluctant to worship slaughter. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Another ill-founded attack on writer Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

Gordon Dinnie's retort to Phil Mac Giolla Bháin's OpEd piece in the Belfast Telegraph contains several disingenuous remarks.
Regarding full disclosure I have published Phil’s last two books; ‘Downfall; How Rangers FC self-destructed’ (2012) and ‘Minority Reporter. Modern Scotland’s bad attitude towards her own Irish’ (2013).
That people of all colours and creeds are welcome at Ibrox is a welcome development - and a development it is, for it was not always so. Pointing out facts such as Rangers having previously operated a sectarian signing policy (admirably dispensed with in the 1980s - thus it existed for mere decades) is rarely welcomed.  Rangers (1872-2012) were also unique in not having a Republic of Ireland international in their first team in modern times. At this point, their fans were singing the racist ‘Famine Song’. Phil pointed out this inconvenient truth many times. Certainly, let the past be the past and not obsess about it.. And absolutely we must recognise the pretty dramatic improvements on the Ibrox terraces. But also, let's not forget the past completely either.
Forgetting that historical, racist and sectarian ethos is often difficult when one is around some fans of Rangers. By 'some' I don't mean a few stragglers from the past, but a sizable rump of Rangers supporters who sing racist and sectarian songs, hurl bigoted abuse, and whose default retort when annoyed by anything is citing the ethnicity or religion (real or imagined) of the object of their displeasure.
It’s in the DNA of a 'subsection' of Rangers people. This is obvious to everyone in Scotland and Northern Ireland unless they are among those who consider themselves some kind of self-appointed Praetorian Guard for what they see as "Rangers values". My decent law-abiding Glaswegian grandfather was a proud Rangers season ticket holder all his life and I know he never related to the sectarian bloodlust at all.
'Subsection' brings us to another of Mr Dinnie's disingenuous remarks, namely, Mac Giolla Bháin regularly describes these normal, law-abiding football fans as "the klan", "Herrenvolk" and "a fascist underclass".
This is not true. Mr Mac Giolla Bháin is clear that his target, when using such admittedly pejorative terms, is not the Rangers support as a whole. Indeed, he has made this point explicitly several times. He is, as he has often stated, referring to the unreconstructed bigots who rarely, if ever, admit to previous wrongdoing by their club, whether it be a racist/sectarian signing policy or arguably dodgy dealings from various high heid yins in the Ibrox boardroom. 
When some claim that Mr Mac Giolla Bháin is demeaning normal, law-abiding football fans it’s as if they are seeking to co-opt the decent Rangers support into a charge towards not just Mac Giolla Bháin but also towards anyone who dare utter obvious truths. Mac Giolla Bháin's target has never been normal decent law abiding people no matter who they support. His target, which is clear in any objective reading, is the nutty rump. Every club has a nutty rump. Celtic has a moronic, unreconstructed subsection too. Most big football clubs do. My own club Aberdeen has an atavistic element too. The difference with the old Rangers was that for decades this rump's views were encouraged - indeed institutionalised - by a signing policy and an all-pervading ethos. Happily, that changed and credit must be accorded appropriately.
Mr Mac Giolla Bháin was a lone pioneer in openly discussing the likely fate of the then Rangers, which other so-called 'proper journalists' refused to say out loud or to think even, for whatever reasons. It's ironic that many Rangers supporters groups belatedly hold Craig Whyte and Charles Green in bad esteem years after being warned by Mr Mac Giolla Bháin that they were not at all what they seemed.
Mr Mac Giolla Bháin represents the modern age and as such is held in disdain by some who long for the time before independent thought could reach the minds of thousands every day without being filtered. Reporters in many fields can become too cosy with their subjects and they do not want to jeopardise "access" or the "scoops" that promises.  Online journalists are independent and not beholden to vested interest. This is refreshing and it is why millions read such journalists every day all over the world.
It is worth noting that award-winning journalist Alex Thomson, of Channel 4 News, wrote the foreword to ‘Downfall’ in which he stated that the book was “a tale of our times brilliantly told”.
Mr Dinnie seems disdainful of the fact many well-read online journalists seek donations in order to sustain their work. In fact, he calls requests for donations begging. Every newspaper has a price and every newspaper is begging to be bought from a newsstand. So, what exactly is Mr Dinnie's point? Being paid by readers for your work directly is a bad thing?
Mr Dinnie talks of wild claims. Well, many would prefer to trust the judgement of the one journalist who got it right last time around.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Good and Bad Collateral Damage in Syria

Innocent readers who look at the UK news may experience child-like confusion. On one hand ISIS is so very naughty that we simply have to bomb them in order to save civilisation, no matter how many civilians may suffer Collateral Damage. Collateral Damage is an expression with two very big words in it. It’s often employed to describe people our government kinda killed, maybe, and even then only by accident. So it’s not like there’s real death, grief or murder. It’s so hard to prove these things after all...
Then again, it’s not true to say Western media doesn't recognise civilians are being killed in Syria. Just look at the grave concern expressed regarding Russia’s outrageous bombing of civilians in Syria. And who can forget the fortuitous alliteration of barrel bombs, fortuitous in that it’s a wonderful, anti-Assad soundbite, easily repeatable for idiot media - and memorable for idiot consumers. Obviously barrel bombs do what the murderous Assad intended them to do, i.e. kill innocents - unlike Western bombs, which carefully avoid civilians and guide little old ladies across the street before landing only on bad guys – except in kinda accidents, of course.
Western moral authority is such that when we tragically cause some people to … err … cease to be, we consider it tragic, regrettable, yet never a deterrent to doing it over and over again. Our leaders’ crusading work for humanity must not be interrupted by the tears of weaklings who’d hand our country and way of life over to the barbarians in a jiffy. Sure, of course our media’s job is to question authority, but not in time of war! Surely people understand that? It’s not our leaders' or our media's fault that we’re at war perpetually, is it?

Best not to think about the term Collateral Damage too much because if we did, then all sorts of upsetting visions may give us nightmares. And who apart from sick-minded, discontented extremists, for goodness sake, would ever wish to draw attention to visions of decapitated and obliterated remnants of innocents? What would be the benefit of that? It would be irresponsible and would only be using such dreadful pictures for the purpose of garnering opposition to the Western activity in Syria. That would be immoral. And might cause terrorism. After all, our government’s devastating actions are only in the cause of eliminating terrorism. Such sacrifice ...

However, we in the West are allowed to employ images of innocents, either being burned alive or decapitated,  legitimately. How else would our governments and their media convey the true horror of ISIS, Russian Interventionism, and old Barrel Bomb himself, Assad, to our unwitting, child-like populace? They have so many distractions that the media have a moral duty to shock them into supporting potentially unpopular actions that our government undertakes with only the greatest reluctance and for everyone’s own good.  

So, it’s perfectly simple. The media must show horrific images of horrors committed by our enemies, but must never show the same horrors as committed by our elected leaders’ in our name, for our own good. What is so confusing about that?  

Monday, 14 September 2015

Political Policing Returns to Northern Ireland

Political policing returned to Northern Ireland with a vengeance with the arrest of Bobby Storey

The push against “republican criminality” is a perennial feature of the landscape in post-ceasefire Northern Ireland, normally popping up at times when the Northern “Deep State” (a tiny, pathetic, yet disproportionately powerful version of the British Deep State who planted it in Ulster) scents a possibility of victory, even if that victory is at the expense of peace.

Peace, while the proclaimed objective of Unionist and British politicians during The Troubles was never the goal  of their establishments in the first place. The goal was victory. That is why the leader of the ‘moderate’ Ulster Unionist Party, James Molyneaux, stated in response to the IRA Ceasefire of 1994 that the ceasefire was “the greatest threat to the Union in 60 years”.

See, although peace was achieved, the UUP leader expressed terror that "peace without winning the war" was upon them. (I should state that I have no sympathy for any militarist organisations, from the British Army to the IRA. As a pacifist I believe all war is wanton waste).

UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt, says “the IRA needs to go away and stop terrorising its own communities”. Certainly he also stated he wanted the Loyalists to go away too. If only the Unionist mainstream politicians had taken as tough a line with the UDA/UFF (who they used to bring down the previous Power Sharing government) or with the UVF (which some of their members encouraged set up in 1966) or the LVF (which MI5 helped set up as a "cutting edge" against post-ceasefire republicanism).

The Republican Movement has been pursuing its aim peacefully for 20 years and while a United Ireland isn’t imminent, it’s arguably closer than prior to the ceasefire. This is what has spooked the spooks of the Unionist and British Establishments.

In 2005, the Robert McCartney murder and the Northern Bank Robbery were cited as reasons why Unionists could not sit in a power sharing executive with Sinn Fein, despite a ceasefire being in operation. (Of course, they had no problem sitting down and talking to Loyalist serial killer and British agent Billy Wright, leader of the LVF). No proof that the IRA authorised or participated in either was ever proven.  A man ‘close to MI6 thinking’ I interviewed for a book at that time stated that events on the ground (such as McCartney murder and Northern Bank Robbery) should be moulded to discredit Sinn Fein because, should Sinn Fein be in government North and South, and a Sinn Fein member be president, ‘an unstoppable momentum’ might be created for a United Ireland. 20 years ago that was unimaginable for most. Not now.
Earlier, in 2002, we had Stormontgate , the Stormont spy scandal (citing the existence of a supposed IRA spy ring in Stormont) that was used by Unionists and their unreconstructed “Deep Staters” in Special Branch, MI5 and elsewhere. It transpired that one of those threatened with prosecution, Sinn Fein’s Chief Administrator, Denis Donaldson, had in fact been working for over 20 years for MI5. The affair collapsed the Northern Ireland Executive. In the end no charges were brought.

The inner circle of the Unionist establishment, encouraged if not instructed by the real daddy, British Intelligence (without who's support they simply could not be effective) are seeking to interrupt what is being seen as a worrying momentum. Some of these people felt safer when the aspirations of Irish Republicans and Nationalists were corralled into the cul de sac of political violence.  Republicans and Nationalists – and to be fair, many, many Unionists and Loyalists – moved forward. Time moved forward. But somethings stayed the same.

The deep state is not actually affected greatly by transient elements, like democratically elected politicians, who come and go. Events that we see on the surface, like the latest waves in the Northern Irish political system, are more affected by constant and eternal deep undercurrents than we might realise.

Remember, these deep, dark forces do not ever, ever, seek peace. Only victory will do. No matter the cost.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Blair Mutiny

Not content with having ‘modernised’ Labour by infiltrating the word ‘New’ in front of ‘Labour’, The Blairites are now insisting that new members joining adhere to their ‘values’ (see @mrmarksteel on Twitter). How very Stalinist of them.
Now they are saying that even if the Labour Party, the party with the largest membership in the UK and thus potentially the most democratic in the UK with it’s OMOV (one member one vote), the Blairites will refuse to serve under Jeremy Corbyn. And that’s even if he wins a highly impressive 60% of the vote of the party. So, what the Blairites are saying is that even if the Party votes overwhelmingly for Corbyn, it’s the 60%+ who should leave Labour, not the minority who are likely to lose. How very feudal of them. Doubtless they will leave and form a new SDP and accuse the left of "splitting the party" when it is them who would have...err...split the party, thus proving it's not the mythically "rebellious left" that Labour should fear but actually the proven rebellious right.
Of course, the current campaign by Blairites states that Corbyn is a "divisive" candidate while they...err...divide the party. How very Kafkaesque of them.
Tony Blair has even stated that he’d never want power were it won by standing on a “left wing” platform. That’d be an admirable principle were he a member of the Tories or even of what is left of the Lib Dems rather than a nominal member of The People’s Party.
The thrust of the Blairite argument is that Labour cannot win if it alienates the middle class “centre ground”. Curiously, Mr Corbyn appears to have managed it for decades. This so-called centre ground is very much to the right of the centre ground many of us remember pre-Blair. And the Blairites never seemed to care about alienating the working class, upon whose backs many of them climbed into safe Labour seats. (What really could a friend of George Bush have in common with the hard working people of Sedgefield for instance?) Blair famously once said that Labour could afford to move to this new “centre ground” without losing its core working class support because, as he put it, “they have nowhere else to go”. That was either a disingenuous comment or a Fundily Mundily misjudgement.
Of course they had somewhere to go. They could go home. Or more accurately, stay home. And they did. They chose to stay home not only on polling day but also throughout whole campaigns. It was as if activists decided that they didn’t want to get pissed on by the British weather while electioneering and get pissed on by their own party ‘elite’ at the same time. And of course, in Scotland, ‘New Labour’ was actually annihilated when voters and activists found somewhere to go – to a relatively tame and only vaguely social democratic SNP. But then again, even the old ‘Tory Wets’ would have been left of New Labour.
So, OMOV which ironically the Blairtes introduced in the first place as a device to neuter the Trade Union “Barons” will be the death of them. Because now the people the Blairites left behind do indeed have somewhere to go – back to centre stage in the Labour Party. Or, to put it more accurately - to come back in from the cold of the Blairite winter, all fired up by hope, and ready to chase away the Blairite infiltrators forcing them to take their Henry Jackson Society and Progress Group values with them.
And if they don’t like it? Well, they can leave the country along with all the over-paid greedy bankers and tax dodgers who are threatening to leave should Corbyn win. Put all the ugly mutineers together in the same boat. Strange Boat-fellows indeed.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Fit and Proper Journalism - The Antodote to Ibrox PR

Goodness me. It turns out SMSM CAN see The Invisible Journalist after all, albeit a week later than the rest of us. Not only can they see @pmacgiollabhain but they can adapt their stenography skills to copy what Phil already wrote last week.  

It would be called catch up if any of them acknowledged the original source of the story, which of course they simply cannot afford to do. It would confound the already creaking, convoluted narrative they have constructed over years, namely that they are the journalists, not some renegade independent who, despite being on several elected bodies in the NUJ, and despite being lauded by UK wide journalists (the Guardian’s Professor Roy Greenslade and Channel 4’s Alex Thomson) is never mentioned by name in the Scottish sports press.

It’s one thing not to acknowledge the expert in the subject of Rangers and Newco’s recent financial troubles. It’s another to pass off Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s stories as their own.

Look at today’s back pages and see the “King did meet Ashley” scoop. It was indeed a scoop – last week. This week it is a reworking of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s ground-breaking work from 17th June. What is most striking is the shamelessness of it all. Don’t these guys realise that we all read this last week? Do they think we’d ‘forgotten it? Did they think no one would mention the glaring fact that this was already reported without any denial from the club/operating company/entity?

What is interesting is Phil’s site gets over 1,000,000 (that's ONE MILLION) monthly views from folks looking for real news about Rangers/Sevco. Why? Because they know that stenography is not news. Congratulations lads, you’ve preserved your precious access to…well…what exactly? At best it’s PR for the latest incumbents at Ibrox.

Now, consider how many people read the stenographers, and then compare that to the numbers reading Phil’s site. What this shows is that there’s a real story here and a real need for journalism to report it. You’d have thought journalists would be fighting over each other to get leads on scoops. So, what is stopping them…

Monday, 22 June 2015

Two In A Row

Well, there you go. You’d have thought it impossible for SMSM not to learn the lessons of its collective failure in 2012, when the real journalism on Rangers going bust was left to an independent journalist, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. You’d have thought that the bloody nose SMSM media received back then would have rudely woken it up. But instead the shock seems to have sent it into a coma.
A quick look at the back pages of most papers in Scotland recently has seen articles in awe of the new regime at the new club. After a brief, post-liquidation Govan Spring, where journalists considered it momentarily fashionable to hold power to account at Ibrox, stenography has once more returned. And it’s as if it’s never been away.
We’d be wrong to think SMSM is uniquely servile to the interests of power. Most corporate journalism due to pressure from owners, sponsors, advertisers shy away from uncomfortable truths when conflicts of interest appear (The Sunday Herald is an exception). Hence the welcome development of social media and the new wave of independent writing, writing often despised by the MSM as they watch it fill vacuums created by their own timidity.
But what is unique about the SMSM’s treatment of The "Rangers" Story is that despite being called out on their dereliction of duty less than three years ago, and despite knowing that it’s is being examined by readers and media alike, SMSM almost defiantly and loudly proclaim the return of stenography. It’s as if some are proud to return to “the good old days” when dodgy money ruled the league, and power was worshipped by those pretending to question it.
There’s something shameless and glib about all these “we’re back!” proclamations. It’s as if the writers of the story and the subject of the story have colluded to produce this toxic concoction. After all, the sale of season tickets and of the newspapers is often to the same clientele. The only reference to The Criminal Conviction That Dare Not Speak Its Name is disingenuous babble such as “Now that Mr King has resolved his differences with the South African Tax Authorities”. Perhaps that’s true but only in the same sense that Ronnie Biggs “resolved his differences” with the UK legal system regarding the Great Train Robbery. The only thing “off the radar” it seems is Mr King’s fit and proper criminal conviction.
So, Ibrox fans, prepare yourself once more for being led by woolly writing from stenographers who should know better and who will lead you on a wild ride before their mint-sauce train comes crashing into hard truth. And prepare for all the nonsense of “we never saw it coming.”
Thankfully there is truth out there. The Invisible Journalist, invisible that is to all who write and who swallow the fairytales of “minted Dave”, is once again ahead of the pack. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain would, in any other environment, be recognised as such. As for those newshounds who appear to be out to lunch, isn’t it embarrassing to be found wanting twice in such rapid succession?

Monday, 16 February 2015

Geopolitics - The Elephant In The Room

It’s a mystery to some why so many Western MSM journalists, who one imagines once saw their job as challenging power, have now reduced themselves to meekly serving it.

When we look at the conflicts in the world today that affect Western interests we see them routinely reported on without much, if any, objectivity. Doesn’t it strike you as a coincidence that every state opposing our interests is referred to as a fairytale-like ‘baddie’? “The Russians are coming”, The Iranians are coming”, “The Libyans are coming”, “The Venezuelans are coming”, “The Syrians are coming”, “The Chinese are coming”, “The Serbians are coming”. Really? Simple geography and recent history show that we are coming to them, not the other way around, unless I’ve misread my maps and Ukraine is on the US’s border rather than Russia’s, for example. 

“Saddam has got WMD”, “Assad has used Chemical Weapons”, “Iran wants a nuclear arsenal”. Really? Haven’t we got WMD (when Saddam had not). Haven’t we used Chemical Weapons (when there’s evidence that Assad did not). Haven’t we got a nuclear arsenal? These are contradictions that in a really healthy democracy would be rapidly exposed by a functioning Fourth Estate.

“Putin, the new Hitler” “Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler” “Miloscovic, the new Hitler” “Assad, the new Hitler” and so on. Really? What have these leaders done what we have not done? Putin is no angel. His murderous campaign in Chechnya alone should have him in from of the ICC. But we peace-loving, morally pure humanitarians turned a blind eye to his slaughter in Chechnya as we wanted to, at that time, be his friend in order to induce Russia into our sphere of influence, imaging that we could control what might otherwise develop into a rival power. Geopolitics, you see. Not that you ever hear much about geopolitics in the West’s MSM. That would be to explain, to put in context, to rationalise, to educate. While mere news-consumers like you and me may wish to have daily events explained and contextualised, those we entrust with this mission, reporters, seem either unwilling or unable to carry out this most basic function of democracy.

Geopolitics is not a bizarre conspiracy theory. It is an obvious historical fact. The most powerful nations throughout history have always built empires. It would be irrational almost if they did not use their status as most powerful people on earth to protect, enhance and indeed develop that position. By their own terms of reference it would be irresponsible not to. The Romans right through to the Americans believed with all their hearts that they had been expedited by fate, or by the gods, to the front of an evolutionary queue. While their accumulation of earth’s resources was the primary propellant of their actions, by happy coincidence they spread “civilisation” in the process, allowing them to self-justify, paradoxically, brutal actions.

What great nation has ever voluntarily given up its control of its empire? If you think the British empire was given up voluntarily then you’re underestimating the power of the new empire at that time, the US, as it gently showed the UK where it’s future interest lay in the new world. And if its not giving up its power, what do you imagine it’s doing? Sitting in neutral? That’d be to invite decline. No. It moves forward, instinctively, automatically.

Consider the current US empire (yes, it’s actually OK to call the most powerful nation on earth, and the satellite states it has accumulated around it, an ‘empire’). There’s no point in calling it evil, or uniquely carnivorous. Seeking to control the resources of the planet is just what all empires have done throughout history. It’s the essence of geopolitics.

Western reporters are not blind to geopolitics, only to the West’s active and aggressive participation in them. Western reporters do not seem at all impeded in applying geopolitical motivations to their analysis of, for example, Russia, often suggesting that Putin has nefarious geopolitical designs in Ukraine or Georgia. Russian action is presented as aggressive, expansionist. This is pathetically alarmist. It is certainly not objective, as a whole serious of contrary facts could be discussed but are ignored because they confound a seemingly prepared and unchallenged narrative.

People, we are being taken for children not only by the powers that be (we expect that) but by the pompous poodles who have wasted their education, their training and their position to investigate.

So, what is it that retards the Fourth Estate’s will to “hold power to account”? Is it fear? Fear of upsetting people in power who have a direct line to their editors? Fear of losing their jobs? Fear of losing position in the career rat race? Fear for their lives? Fear of being ostracised by colleagues? Fear of being silenced by being tarred with the “conspiracy nut” brush? Fear of upsetting official sources on whom they may have become dependent on for stories, quotes?

There are elements of all that. But fear cannot be the sole answer. After all, look at the crusading and downright daring work done by The Daily Telegraph journalists in the MP’s expenses scandal. That was something of a revolutionary act by an unlikely revolutionary agent in the way the scandal threatened so many MPs, and indeed the whole parliamentary class. There may or may not have been an agenda to the Expenses Investigation but regardless of that, it required courage and real investigative journalism to break that story. No, it seems any fear of confronting power can be overcome when it suits someone.

Is it lack of knowledge then? Lack of familiarity of history? Lack of awareness of the elephant in the room - geopolitics? Unlikely, when one considers the education of the majority of MSM senior reporters, an education one imagines that helps them connect the dots, to test historical templates against modern events. 

Talking of their education, perhaps we’ve struck something here...

If you look at the education of many UK MSM senior reporters there’s a similarity with the education of many senior UK political people, across all parties. Could it be then that the reason senior UK MSM reporters appear to be nothing more than conduits for UK power (especially in foreign policy) is because they actually see the world the same way? They don’t need to be fearful or ignorant. They are simply naturally inclined to believe “Power” rather than being naturally inclined to challenge its view.

There’s also the great notion that it’s okay to criticise Power domestically, but it’s something approaching treachery to challenge Power’s position in foreign policy. It’s almost as if Power is perpetually on something of a “war footing” and to challenge your leaders during war is “not done”. Of course there are many courageous exceptions - but they are the exceptions.

Many Scottish people were genuinely shocked by the BBC’s and other UK media’s obvious lack of objectivity during the Indy Referendum. Worse than that, there were glaring examples of supposedly neutral UK MSM manipulating news events to sync into the UK government’s anti-Scottish Independence position. Who can forget the notorious example provided by the BBC’s Nick Robinson. “Salmond wouldn’t answer my question,” said Robinson in a now infamous news broadcast before Youtubers provided footage of Salmond giving him one of the most comprehensive answers given in that election. 

Robinson is an interesting example. One could never contend he was “under pressure” to toe a government line. He didn’t need to be because due his an upbringing and formative education in close proximity to those in power he’d formed, perhaps, much the same views on “Big UK” issues, such as the potential break-up of the UK, as those in power. And even if he did try to reign in what may well have been a subconscious prejudice he could not contain his natural affinity with Power’s position or stop it seeping through into his reporting on something that was akin in importance to UK foreign policy.

I’m not a journalist. I admire however the true journalistic ethos of “holding power to account”. I admire and am inspired by welcome exceptions in MSM who clearly answer to no one. These exceptions hold up a standard that we should expect from all but the laziest, most self-serving frauds who pretend to aspire to objectivity, investigation, truth.

I have no idea what the truth behind geopolitical events is. But I want to find out. I am not beholden to any world view despite my inclination to the liberal left.  I’m just searching for truth. Therefore I am dependent on journalism, on reporting, to tell me what’s going on. But if a pretty uninformed news consumer of average intelligence like me can see that we are being effectively lied to daily,  then surely journalists much smarter than me can get their shit together and start reporting daringly, insightfully, objectively. Tell us more about geopolitics - the elephant in the room. We can all see it. And if you can’t? You’re in the wrong job, pal.