Everything That’s Wrong With Politics in a Single Headline

Decent, competent, cautious, but Starmer still has to prove he can inspire victory

Well there you go, a Guardian UK headline about Keir Starmer, who happens to be the leader of the Labour Party in Britain. He’s up against Boris Johnson, head of Tory Party and current occupant of #10 Downing as British Prime Minister. Johnson has proven himself over a breathtakingly short period of time to be staggeringly incompetent, indecent in all the current definitions of the term and incautious in both word and deed.

One can but wonder what is meant by inspiring victory? Being less handsome? Not a very high bar in the Boris/Keir competition. Perhaps being somewhat less competent in facing-down either Boris or whatever sweating co-conspirator the great man deems qualified at weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament. PMQ’s are a standard in British politics. The man’s caution is obvious, as he refutes blather with both consideration and a more than considerable acquaintance with the facts of most matters.

How refreshing an addition Presidential Questions might be when the American Congress was in session to bring our president in to answer inquiries from the opposition.

How possibly can the press, its journalists and writers justify themselves under such circumstances?

Preening themselves over never taking a position, they boldly take one. Not only that, they sneakily take one by innuendo. Just exactly how does one prove he can inspire victory? Presumably by winning, by sending the opposition scuttling off in shame under the glare of reasoned debate. If the British voting public are too fucking dim to recognize the proofs when set before them on a weekly basis, then they deserve the rancid BREXIT stew Boris has prepared for them.

But it is not helpful in these times of the political hysteria on social media and rampant conspiracy theories to further obfuscate the debate by muddying the lines further in the public mind.

The public mind is already under considerable stress

It certainly is (or was) the work of the press to bring clarification. Politicians already have obfuscation and plain old lying adequately covered. It’s a fraud on either the British or American public to claim fairness in coverage in a time when fairness itself is inadequately defined. The job of those newspapers and media channels that favor the conservative view to state that clearly and fly their flag bravely into battle.

Liberals once had a case to make for the under-privileged before they lost their way and tried to win votes instead of hearts and minds. The more liberal papers such as the Guardian once supported them, when they made a case worth supporting. To my mind, suggesting that Starmer still has to prove he can inspire victory is a clear message to drop all pretense and make the case for the poor, the homeless, jobless and the institutions that once supported them such as the schools, beleaguered NHS, public transport and whatever other borderline criminalities that have ‘trickled down’ from growing income inequality. That too unclear for you, Keir? Get your shit together, you will never win by trying to emulate a more sensitive and helpful version of the self-centered Tories.

It’s simply not done that way and kick Jeremy out while you’re at it, he simply carries too much baggage.

Media cross-dressing is rampant in America as well as Britain

I don’t know a more accurate term for it and if the print and visual media take offense, perhaps they should pay more attention to who they are. When I was young, Chicago had three newspapers; the Chicago Tribune, the Daily News and the Sun-Times. My father used to joke he read the Trib for the right-wing, the Sun-Times for the left and the Daily News for the truth. That was fifty years ago, but when you read the Chicago Tribune you knew what you were getting.

Truth in advertising is a great thing. Today, truth is very much under attack.

I understand Trump supporters and in my mind they have many logical and moral complaints that require further conversation. Same with liberals, upon whose side I feel somewhat more comfortable. But the unsubstantiated name-calling across media venues serves little purpose and merely aggravates claims of fake news. For god’s sake let’s stop this nonsense and identify our armies before we send them into battle.

The raised eyebrow as a slur that cannot be shaken

Bernie Sanders has unmatched support from young voters and small-donors, but of course the polls show he cannot win the nomiination. That’s the raised eyebrow in action and it cost Sanders in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Bernie can’t win. What does that do to support?

Elizabeth Warren had well-defined, well thought-out plans for nearly every ailment afflicting America and kept serving up solutions instead of running for the safety of platitudes. Banks and Wall Street will never allow Warren to win. The raised eyebrow. Not only a raised eyebrow, but a flagrant admission of whose payroll both sides of media caved to. Try to ever get back control of capitalism gone rogue under those circumstances.

I long for the days of William F. Buckley’s National Review, a magazine as well as a TV program that simply bathed itself in conservatism

By god when Buckley let loose his high-toned vocalizations, always looking slightly down his nose at guest as well as audience, you bloody knew where he stood. When Buckley died, the conservative voice died with him and we are beggared today with such thin-soup as Fox News. Because both media and nature abhor a vacuum, logical and well-prepared political punditry turned shrill and, worse than shrill, knowingly with a raised eyebrow.

Actually knowing can’t bear the time requirement for research in a 24-hour news cycle played to an audience with a 5-second memory span.


Photo credit: GuardianUK

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