UK journalists like Laura Kuenssberg have grown accustomed to reporting on politics as if it was a boring mix of sports and celebrity gossip. To them, the role of a politician isn’t to use politics to enact a political programme – the point is to fake a political programme for the sake of doing politics.
Of course, this is why the Jeremy Corbyn years were so insufferable to them. Corbyn had a vision for how the country should work, and for the most part he reacted to events in a way which enforced that – even when journalists thought the ‘smart’ political move would be to cave into their criticisms – especially when that was the case, in fact.
Compare this to Keir Starmer, who reacts to every event by moving further right in an effort to goad journalists into claiming he’s a clever lad for doing big boy politics – even when said events support his original position. Starmer is clearly a return to the vapid politics of Tony Blair and David Cameron, and journalists like Kuenssberg love it.
This love couldn’t be clearer than in her latest blog:
Damned if they dare, damned if they don't? One of the perils of opposition … https://t.co/OzCkIWu6K0
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) September 16, 2023
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‘It’s politics’ says Kuenssberg
This passage from Kuenssberg is the most illuminating in terms of her world view:
So if Starmer’s had screams from the right and squeals from the left, then surely something’s gone wrong?
Not so fast. It’s politics! Not normal life.
It’s a weird old business. You pick an issue, provoke a row. The row isn’t a damaging thing, as long as it stays as a controllable spat, not an overwhelming bunfight.
The row is, in fact, the point.
Get your rivals on the inside and the outside to argue, the argument kicks off, then get the public to notice you are taking a stand on issues they care about, and bingo.
The impression is created, whether it’s genuine or not, that the party understands voters’ worries and will actually do something about it.
The way she describes the blatant venality of British politics without questioning if things should be this way is really quite something. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but politicians just saying things to win votes is very bad – especially as these same politicians rarely enact what they promise (although that does sometimes work out for the best to be honest).
Starmer has broken the mould in many ways – in that he doesn’t even wait until he’s elected to go back on his word. I’m not sure what sort of election strategy that is, but I do feel like any article on his latest proposals should feature the following disclaimer:
WARNING! THIS MAN’S LATEST POLICY PROPOSAL MAY CONTAIN A HEAVY DOSE OF BULLSHIT IN ADDITION TO TRACE AMOUNTS OF HONEST INTENTIONS.
The tone of any article which deals with our dishonest political system should be ‘who do these treacherous, lying cunts think they’re kidding?‘. By not addressing the elephant in the room, our political classes are enacting the following chain of events – a chain which will end up wrapped around their necks if they’re not careful:
- Politicians behave dishonourably at best – and duplicitously more often than not.
- Journalists report on such behaviour as if it’s perfectly normal and actually quite clever.
- Trust in politicians and journalists nosedives.
Would you be surprised to learn that only around 20% of people trust UK political parties? Or that around half of all people do not trust the government or parliament? This is from the Office for National Statistics (ONS):
Would you be surprised to learn that trust in the UK press is actually somehow worse?
Journalists like Kuenssberg can act like the state of UK politics is normal; what they can’t do is convince the rest of us the same thing. Trust in our institutions is spiralling, and with good reason. These institutions don’t simply lie to us – they tell us 2 + 2 = 5 then act like we’re thick when we ask to see their working out.
Up is down – left is right
Honourable mention to this paragraph from Kuenssberg:
This week though, and this weekend at a left wing love-in in Canada with like minded leaders, Keir Starmer is very deliberately picking a subject and sticking to it, talking about border security and immigration.
None of the politicians she’s talking about (Starmer, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau) are even remotely left wing – they’re just slightly to the left of their respective opponents. If you’re struggling to understand the difference, look at the picture below. While the dog on the left is smaller than the one on the right, that doesn’t make it a cat:
If you’re a politician who espouses mostly right-wing policies, then you’re a right-wing politician – regardless of how braindead political commentators describe you. Kuenssberg should really know this as a former political editor, although – to be fair – she might literally have never met anyone who understands politics beyond the shallows in which she wallows. They don’t employ people like that at the BBC, and that’s the problem.
Kuenssberg: the spiral
UK politicians and journalists like Kuenssberg are in a death spiral, with each rushing towards 0% trust. They understand they’re acting in an untrustworthy fashion; they just don’t understand why that’s a problem. The truth is they probably won’t realise until worsening conditions and bottoming trust leads to some sort of extreme event – the way it always has in the past – something they’d be pointedly aware of if their political consciousness extend beyond the short-term servicing of themselves.Support us and go ad-free
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