Monday, 6 December 2010

Britain - and the Daily Mail's - class obsession (again) and what's Wikileaks up to now? Then there's the Guardian's singular brand of hypocrisy

And on it goes, Britain’s obsession with class and how – allegedly – all we all really want to be is ‘middle class’. Just days after I first posted about the Daily Mail’s own bee in its bonnet, on page 15 of the edition published on Monday, Dec 6, 2010 we get ‘(strapline) As it’s revealed 60 per cent of them went to public school . . . (main head) Why are today’s pop stars so posh?’ You can read it here.
Quite apart from the fact that the piece is crap anyway (the writer, David Thomas, who is called upon when the Mail want to publish a ‘humorous’ piece is to humour what McDonald’s is to cooking), it is rather difficult knowing from which direction it is coming. Is it ‘hooray, more of our rock stars are toffs’ or ‘boo, more of our rock stars are toffs’? And neither stance would sit comfortably with the Mail’s ‘we want to be middle class’ obsession.
As for the substance of the piece, it is full of bull. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones weren’t working class. Rock stars did not come ‘rampaging out of the back streets of industrial towns and the council estates of inner-city London.
Some might have, but most certainly not all. I would have thought that the parents of McCartney, Lennon and Mick Jagger would have been mortified – as only the middle class can be mortified – to be described as working class. Read the piece for yourself and decide whether you think it is bollocks or bullshit.

. . .

As for Wikileaks, the most recent revelations do rather question its motives. I have not yet read anywhere what it purports to be doing and what it hopes to achieve, but revealing the locations of vital installations ‘whose loss could critically affect US national security’ (according to the BBC) does strike at least me as rather odd. Is it in the public interest to do so. Wikileaks and its main man, Julian Assange, only seem to have access to confidential U.S. embassy cables, not any from, say, Russia or China. But it is fair to ask whether Wikileaks would be quite as industrious in publishing what had come its way were those cables to be Russian or Chinese, and also quite how long the chap would stay alive had he done so.
Say what you like about the Western world, but its security services aren’t quite as ruthless when it comes to ‘neutralising’ opposition as the SVR and, I suspect China. I think the only people who still claim to believe that the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was not murdered by the SVR in 2006 is, well, the SVR.
I’m not too sure what the Guardian is doing publishing every jot and tittle which comes its way courtesy of Wikileaks, including the list of ‘vital installations’. It like to portray itself as a journal of record which is on the side of the angels, but the truth is that however true that is or not, it is also a commercial enterprise jostling for position with other papers.
Technically, it is owned by a non-profitmaking trust, but quite how much that affects its commercial decisions is not clear. And I suspect that publishing all this stuff from Wikileaks will have got just as many cheers from the circulation manager, advertising staff and finance director as the assorted idealist who make up its editorial staff and readers. It is, after all, far easier to sell a half-page classified ad to a punter when you can assure him that because of rather spectacular editorial comment, a wide readership of that day’s issue is pretty much guaranteed.

. . .

I should like to point out here that I do not dislike the Guardian because I earn my daily crust beavering away as a sub on the Mail (whose editor is known to spit blood at the mere mention of that paper), but because that paper’s holier than thou stance does get right up my nose. For example, a standard ploy used by the saintly Guardian to publish prurient stories in all their salacious detail unearthed by the redtops (usally the Sun and the News of the Screws) is to do so under the pretext of ‘look at what those awful tabloids are printing now’. That allows its readers to get the full story as well as to maintain the condescending attitude to newspapers which they believe aren’t quite as ethical as the Guardian.
Fuck the Guardian. I do so dislike hypocrites.

. . .

Enough paragraphs, Barry?


  1. Thanks for the extra paras Patrick. What do my co-readers think?

    When it comes to breaches of etiquette, I expect Tom Driberg wrote a better gossip column for the Daily Express than Wikileaks could ever aspire to. [Did he ever file: ‘Waugh breaks out in Ethiopia’?] I suppose Julian Assange is also hoping to turn a cottage industry into a mass market by going global with his eavesdroppings. His only mistake is to be so earnest. Plus ca change…

    Enough comment, Patrick?

  2. Barry, you are the only reader I get feedback from, so the answer is I don't know.

  3. Correction, I comment as well but only on things relative to my life....k

  4. Sorry, Kate. I hope I am not offending you by my lack of admiration for certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy behaviour. It did cross my mind when I was writing, but you know what we hacks are like: if it's a toss up between integrity and a smart comment, the smart comment wins hands down every time.

  5. I was brought up with a very sarcastic father, hence I can handle most British wit,I can keep up with the best of them, so no as an American I am never offended. Only if it's personal about me as a women. Cheers.