WHY YOU NEED ME: Johnson’s government is out of control and the mass media are his cheerleaders

It’s not just Vox Political that you need – any social media commentary site that actually criticises the government rather than acting as its stenographer will do.

Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has put the situation in a nutshell with his own latest blogpost on Mainly Macro.

He states that Boris Johnson’s dictatorship is beyond Parliamentary control, and he has the mainstream media in his pocket.

He uses the decision to cut aid funding to foreign countries from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent as an example:

A large number of Conservative MPs were unhappy with this, and wanted to use parliament to reverse this cut. The parliament’s speaker ruled their attempt invalid, but requested the government to allow a vote on the issue. The government refused.

The executive increasingly views parliament with contempt.

We knew this government thought little of parliamentary sovereignty when it closed it down, illegally, before the last election. The courts forced it to retract that measure, so now the government is intending to pass laws that would prevent the courts doing so again.

Of course, Parliament could pass a motion of “no confidence” in this dictatorship – but Prof Wren-Lewis rightly points out that “that is never going to happen while Johnson looks like winning the next election. As a result, parliament has no effective control over what this government does.”

Yes, it’s corrupt. But it’s the system we have.

Prof Wren-Lewis goes on to mention a series of scandals involving Johnson’s ministers: Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson, Priti Patel, and Robert Jenrick.

Did he sack any of those ministers for corruption and dishonesty? Of course not – and Prof Wren-Lewis puts his finger on the reason: “They are his people, and nothing bad is going to come from keeping the ministers he chose in the job… The key is that this government is totally unaccountable, and does just what it likes.”

And the reason it can do what it likes – more than any other – is the fact that Johnson controls the UK’s mass media. And that means he can control what you think about him:

For a large part of the press, Johnson is their Prime Minister. They became propaganda outlets to persuade people to vote for Brexit, and they have remained propaganda outlets supporting the government ever since.

The extent to which the right wing press has become the propaganda arm of the right in the Tory party has steadily increased over the last few decades.

Prof Wren-Lewis rightly narrows his focus down to the BBC. The corporation has a huge, 70 per cent, share of the current affairs information that gets into your home and into your head:

The big change, begun by Thatcher and Cameron and completed by Johnson, is to tame the BBC. This is hardly surprising, when party donors are appointed to key positions and the government keeps attacking the BBC’s outputs, income and even its existence.

The BBC does not push propaganda, but they do not take it on either, giving the press a largely open field for their propaganda to work.

They avoid the truth if it embarrasses the government, and when its reporters do tell things straight, they are put down by the BBC’s leadership.

Because of the way the BBC fails in its reporting, even things that do have a large impact on voters, like tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, will never be described in those terms.

That lack of media accountability allows Johnson to ignore his scientists, and put personal ‘freedom’ above saving lives and the economy. This is what happens when the government becomes unaccountable. It is allowed to make mistakes costing lives, and pays no price for these mistakes.

What does this mean for you – the news viewer/reader and voter?

See for yourself:

The only accountability that has any influence on this government is the electorate. But because of its natural advantage in the media, and unfortunately an opposition that seems pretty ineffective beyond PMQs, that influence on the government is partial and weak.

Issues most voters will not notice, because their only sight of them is a news item towards the end of a bulletin (like the government breaking the law on contracts), can be safely ignored by the government.

That means your attention is diverted away from criticism of the Johnson government’s many failings.

You are told that everything is running swimmingly by the government’s front man, whose upbeat turn of phrase and mop of deliberately-messy blond hair hides his “duper’s delight” smile that says he is lying to you.

You believe him when he tells you the vaccination programme is keeping you safe, even though cases of Delta Variant Covid-19 infections are skyrocketing.

You don’t believe he has screwed up the economy with his duff Brexit trade deals, or that he has jeopardised the peace in Northern Ireland, or any number of other idiocies for which he is responsible – because you simply don’t know about them.

That’s where I come in.

Vox Political has provided consistent criticism of the UK’s politicians for very nearly 10 years.

That means when Daniel Kawczynski apologised for bullying, I was able to put it in context and point out it is not a minor incident.

It means when Priti Patel supports football fans who boo protests against racism, I can point out all the incidents in her career that show she is a racist too.

It means I can highlight Tory corruption whenever it surfaces.

And that means the UK’s electorate should be reading Vox Political – right?

But only a tiny fraction of the politically-oriented public does – because the mass media ignore the work done here (for obvious reasons – they support the Tories and don’t want to publicise anybody who doesn’t) and the social media platforms push sites like this one down your newsfeeds so you don’t realise we’re here.

The ultimate aim is to starve us out of business so there’s nobody left to object when they spoonfeed you their Tory-approved falsehoods, anaesthetising you into supporting Johnson’s crowd while they strip you of all the hard-won freedoms your ancestors gained over the last hundred years and more.

As I say, Vox Political isn’t the only critical social media site available. But times have been hard over the year (and more) of Covid-19. Readerships have fallen and some of us are in danger.

So, please do yourself – and everybody you know – a favour.

Give us a boost, every chance you get.

Promote us to your friends and family members when we highlight the facts that contrast so strongly with the fairy stories you see on the BBC News.

The only way to change people’s minds is one at a time – but that can’t happen if everybody is ignoring the facts and turning down the chance to explain them.

Source: mainly macro: A government out of control