Tag Archives: atheist

Sack the spads, finish the focus groups and stick to your guns, Jeremy!

One focus group member said Mr Corbyn’s appearance would make the UK a laughing-stock abroad. Does he look bad to you?

He is a man who has just won an election – overwhelmingly – with no tie and with his vest showing. Putting on a suit is the last thing Jeremy Corbyn needs to do.

But already, only two weeks into his leadership of the Labour Party, people are trying to change him. They voiced concern about his unwillingness to sing the National Anthem or bend the knee to the Queen, for example.

He’s a Republican and an Atheist, so these things are against his principles. We all knew this before he was elected, and he was elected anyway. It’s a little late to complain about them now!

His attitude to terrorist organisations has also been called into question, even though it is the same attitude that brought peace to Northern Ireland when Tony Blair tried it out.

And then there’s the question of his dress sense. The Graun had a go in an article today: “‘I find him exciting in some ways but then I have other thoughts on the national anthem and not dressing appropriately. There is a time and a place to fight those fights,’ said a woman, not the only one to link notions of being ‘scruffy’ with credibility (‘We’d be a laughing stock abroad,’ said another).”

Is Yanis Varoufakis a laughing stock around here? Of course not. But his dress sense is far from conventional.

Yanis Varoufakis (left) with George Osborne. The trustworthy one isn't wearing a tie.

Yanis Varoufakis (left) with George Osborne. The trustworthy one isn’t wearing a tie.

What we’re seeing is the typical hypocrisy of the Middle Class, which can be summed up as: “He can do the job but we don’t want him if he won’t keep up appearances.” These are the people who want Hyacinth Bucket (remember her?) running the country.

But what people in these focus groups say isn’t nearly as influential as what is said by those who organise them and interpret their comments – usually in line with the wishes of whoever is paying.

So Deborah Mattinson of Britain Thinks, the organiser of the focus groups quoted in the Graun, tells us: “They already know quite a bit about him and they are worried about what they regard as ‘extreme’ policies.

“They’re worried, for example, that he does not speak to their concerns about the economy and immigration, that he won’t unite the Labour party and that under his leadership it will become divided and weak.”

That is not what the people themselves said. You can feel the influence of the paymasters bleeding through – or so it seems to This Writer.

Mrs Mike feels the same way. A few days ago, she asked me to write an article supporting Mr Corbyn’s position on clothing, the economy (anti-austerity), foreign affairs (negotiation rather than aggression), and – very strongly – his own personal beliefs.

Her belief – and I agree with it – is that it is these unique qualities that lifted Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party.

The voters who put him there will be angry if he lets the spads and focus groups mould him into something they don’t support – and rightly so.

The message could not be clearer: Sack the spads, Jeremy. Put away the focus groups. They’re not focusing on anything you need to worry about.

Don’t you go changing.

Source: Focus groups give Jeremy Corbyn catch-22: stick to his guns but change his values | Politics | The Guardian

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An hour of honesty at the Daily Mail

Image: Crowdwish.

Image: Crowdwish.

Have a good look at the picture above. If you click on it, you should get a larger version.

The sign it depicts was erected on the wall of the Daily Mail offices in London yesterday by an organisation calling itself Crowdwish (@crowdwish – “The most popular wish of the day actioned. Today, tomorrow and forever.”) and the tweet accompanying this picture stated: “For one – very satisfying – hour the sign below adorned The Daily Mail offices this afternoon.”

The blogpost accompanying the picture explained that it was in response to a wish that the media would focus more on the good things that happen in the world.

“The fact is that bad news sells; negative events cause spikes in TV ratings, sales of papers to rise and increases in traffic online,” the article continued – and this is fair comment; Vox Political‘s own highest reader figures have been generated by disasters like the passing of the Gagging Law.

The article explained: “Man’s (and women’s) most primeval survival skill is to stay out of harms way; to be alert to threats or danger, and our brains are therefore hardwired to be highly responsive to negative stimuli. Bad is stronger than good because bad is inherently more threatening.

“As a result the media cater very directly to that powerful physiological reaction, giving us more of that which we fixate on and respond to, resulting in a slant towards negative news.”

The article went on to quote a specific example: “a very comprehensive list of all things that the Daily Mail have claimed ‘may’ cause cancer. The list includes water, soup, wearing flip flops and switching on the bathroom light at night.

“It’s more hilarious than offensive but led us to want to have a cheap laugh at the Mail’s expense this afternoon, it being Friday and all.

“So we made a faux-marble sign that we thought displayed a more accurate depiction of the Mail’s true editorial values, and sent someone – dressed as a workman in hard had and Hi Vis vest – to fix it to the side of their building in Kensington.

“Amazingly, it was a full hour before somebody noticed and removed it.

“Yes, we know the Daily Mail is an obvious target, and no, we don’t think it was very grown-up.”

It must have felt good, though.

Anyone wishing to keep an eye on Crowdwish’s future activities – or who wants to make a request – can do so via the address above.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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