If you haven’t watched Emily Maitlis deliver her speech to the Edinburgh TV Festival here is the link to the full text. It is worth a few minutes of your time.
The lecture is noteworthy highlighting the battle to control the BBC by the Tories in recent years. ‘Things that would have once shocked us now seem commonplace” she says. And she is right. And it is not just the BBC.
This has all been happening in plain sight. It is one of the reasons from #Brexit onwards that I have found it harder to defend the BBC. Until recently I have been proud to defend the corporation even when I still think it had got things wrong. But it’s pandering to the pressure from No10 means I have lost respect. It has lost its way on impartiality and balance and equivalence. It seems scared to even mention #Brexit. About 70% of the time we now watch the news on ITV!
But this lecture paints a bigger picture of the nature of our politics – where nothing is normal anymore. I have felt this way post 2015 on a number of political issues. And this has accelerated since Brexit and the election of Johnson as Prime Minister. The Tory party has morphed into the Brexit/UKIP party and the right wing think tanks and pressure groups like the ERG seem to be running the country.
I know it’s only a fictional drama but watching the Undeclared War on Channel 4 this week was a timely reminder of the wider game being played here. Russian interface in the Brexit referendum, the Trump election and our domestic politics is part of a bigger effort to destroy faith in our leadership and mistrust of the establishment. It creates and confirms the sense of helplessness that nothing will change for the better in our politics. It makes people feel they can’t know what is the truth anymore or what to believe.
Putin has made sure he has wrenched the UK from the EU and sought to foster discontent across the continent. The Tory party is compromised by its Russian backers and party donors. But there are many on the Left like the Corbyn who are equally at fault and do the job of Russian apologists all too well. The lightbulb moment for many on the left realising Corbyn was more than a gentle pacifist fool, was the failure to condemn Russia over the Salisbury attack. He was at it again over Ukraine. Even the latest people’s hero Mick Lynch seems unable to condemn Russia.
Sadly non of this is new or a surprise. Remember the Report into Russian interference in our politics?
It concluded ‘Russian interference in UK politics was the new normal.
Even Raab concluded :-
‘Almost certain’ Russians sought to interfere in 2019 UK election – Raab https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53433523
As I post this I suspect the Russian Bots might react! Again it feels its all being done in plain sight. How often have you found yourself wasting time arguing with a Bot with 2 followers spouting their opinions over twitter to get us all angry?
This is just another of those big issues being ignored in the leadership elections and by much of our media. Do we not care enough to take on these bots, the Russians and the abuse of our democracy by the ERG and Johnson? It looks as though Truss will be equally as disdainful of our institutions as Johnson as she has already attacked the Bank Of England, the BBC, Channel 4 the OBR, Judges and much more.
I know during the cost of living crisis that’s about to hit us that these issues seems secondary but that’s when these people take advantage. They shift things so they create a shrug of the shoulder and we move on. But none of this normal. None of it.