Tag Archives: frame

Israel and Gaza: a tale of two ‘frames’

Debate on the Israel/Gaza conflict seems to have polarised into two sides:

  • People who want you to think the October 7 attack on Israel happened for no reason and Hamas are entirely responsible for the slaughter of the innocents happening in Gaza as a result; and
  • People who want you to think it was an avoidable result of decades of occupation and oppression, by Israel, of Palestinian lands and people. Gaza itself was not occupied, but Israel was able to exert huge pressure on its people by walling it off and controlling its supplies of food, water and power – as we have seen from the results of those necessities being cut off.

Those sides are more aptly described as “frames”; your understanding of the nature of the conflict will vary, depending on which frame you use.

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This was evident in a debate on the conflict between unaffiliated UK peer Claire Fox and i columnist Andrew Fisher on the BBC’s Politics Live, which I have saved for posterity. Here it is:

Which frame do you think is right?


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The frame game: how Grant Shapps LIED about the need for new anti-strike law

Business secretary Grant Shapps explained the need for a new law demanding “minimum service levels” during strikes – with a pack of lies.

The trick was in the way he framed the situation.

He claimed that the aim was to protect lives and livelihoods – that the right for nurses and ambulance workers (for example) to strike should not come at the expense of the lives of people across the UK.

And he said the wave of strikes sweeping the UK had been caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and by the Covid-19 crisis that created huge backlogs in NHS healthcare procedures.

See for yourself:

In fact, as Labour’s Angela Rayner pointed out, the strikes were caused by the government’s own policy of running the NHS (to use the same example) into the ground, starving it of resources and forcing employees to seek alternative jobs, simply to make ends meet.

She said people had been dying while waiting for ambulances long before ambulance workers took the decision to go on strike – because of delays caused by Tory defunding and de-resourcing.

In fact, ambulance workers had continued to work, coming off the picket lines in order to respond to emergency calls. Shapps’s legislation was jeopardising that.

Excess deaths were at their highest level since the Covid crisis, she said – because of staffing shortages caused by the Tory government.

Livelihoods and lives were already being lost, she said. Everybody wanted minimum service standards – but it was the government’s job to provide it (implying that the government had deliberately chosen not to).

Again, see for yourself:

Rayner was correct; Shapps had been telling untruths.

This Site has been reporting on failures in ambulance responses for years – since long before the Covid crisis or the invasion of Ukraine. Likewise with the shortage of nursing staff due to low pay.

Take a look at some of the articles from previous years – firstly on nursing:

‘The man who cut the NHS, not the deficit’

‘Compassion bypass’ as Coalition puts the squeeze on benefits and wages

Greatest Coalition Failures: National Health Service

Squirm, Cameron – we want answers about the NHS!

May surfaces to deny existence of NHS crisis. Total winter deaths are up by 50,000

Tory voters: Here is your government’s National Health Service – in graphs

Hunt trolls NHS staff by praising rota showing dangerous staff shortages

NHS vacancies are a national emergency BECAUSE THE TORIES MADE IT ONE

London hospital drops chemotherapy due to Tory-caused nursing shortage

Then on ambulance cover:

‘The man who cut the NHS, not the deficit’

A&E fears fall on deaf ears

Government accused of trying to ‘cover up’ scale of looming NHS winter crisis

NHS England records worst ever performance figures under Tory mismanagement

#NHSCrisis: Keep reminding May the misery is her fault

Tory-engineered NHS crisis is causing unnecessary deaths – and Theresa May boasts 

NHS privatisation: paying profiteers means there’s no money for healthcare and patients are harmed

Point made?

The Tories have been demolishing public sector pay since they came into government in 2010. They know a low wage bill is appetising to private firms when public services are privatised. And that’s the end goal of Tory policy – certainly on the NHS.

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Labour must turn and fight now – or give up its electoral hopes altogether

Struggling to make an impact: Ed Miliband must reject the Tory Party's narrative about the need for austerity and bring forward a vision for the future that really does make us 'One Nation' again, rather than hanging on David Cameron's neoliberal coat-tails, as many former Labour voters believe.

Struggling to make an impact: Ed Miliband must reject the Tory Party’s narrative about the need for austerity and bring forward a vision for the future that really does make us ‘One Nation’ again, rather than hanging on David Cameron’s neoliberal coat-tails, as many former Labour voters believe.

The political debate is all about the Labour Party again today – as it has been since the Budget.

The newspapers and websites are full of advice for the party, which is now clearly seen to be struggling to gain any kind of a foothold with electors who have become disillusioned at what might best be called the Party of Very Little Opposition.

Labour “must adopt new principles” according to an alliance of thinktanks and party intellectuals who have written to The Guardian; Ed Miliband has been told “don’t play safe” with the party’s manifesto according to an article on the same paper’s site.

The BBC News site has words from left-wing MP John Mann, calling on his party leader to stop trying to be “too clever” and be “much clearer” in setting out his policies.

We can probably discount the Telegraph article by Dan Hodges, claiming that Labour is “closed for business”. It plays to right-wing readers’ prejudices just a little too much.

Will Ed pay any attention to these pleas? Evidence suggests he will not.

I should clarify from the outset that, as a Labour member, I want the Party to win in 2015 (and also to gain the lion’s share of the vote in May’s European elections).

But Miliband seems to be living in a world of his own, insulated from the rest of the Labour Party – not to mention supporters of Labour ideals who are not members – by a small group of (not-so-special) advisers who, it’s claimed, intercept any decent ideas before they get to the party leader and spin them until they turn to drivel. Whether this is true or not seems immaterial as this is the perception of the general public.

And perception is everything.

As I write this article I have just received a comment stating that “Miliband’s strategy for the next election seems to be a) to accept the Tory frame of reference for any given argument and b) to then concede the field of battle on that issue, whatever it is, without a shot being fired.” This is a common complaint, and Labour has no answer to it.

Why do Miliband, Balls, Tristram Hunt (notably), Rachel Reeves (lamentably) and all the other Labour frontbenchers blithely accept the Coalition’s terms of reference on any issue, against the wishes of their own backbenchers, their party as a whole and the public at large?

Are they really just a gang of greedy moneygrubbers, determined to screw the country for whatever they can get? That in itself would be a betrayal of Labour Party ideals and their constituency parties should deselect them if members believed that to be the case for one moment.

Are they a gang of neoliberals, their political philosophy so close to that of the Conservatives that you can’t get a credit card between them? This rings threateningly true in the cases of Oxford PPE graduats Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, ex-Bank of England employee Rachel Reeves and Tristram Hunt. But Ed Miliband is (famously) the son of a Marxist. He, above all, should know better.

The trouble is, David Miliband is the son of the same Marxist and he was as much a part of the neoliberal New Labour Red Tory deception as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Oh look – another comment has just arrived. “More people don’t bother to vote because they feel that we as a people have moved on and all we really want is people who will represent us honestly, by majority and with no hidden agendas, backhanders or lobbyists pulling the strings. I don’t see any evidence that the present government or the Labour Party are capable or willing to do just that… They should have the courage to change and become the voice of the people.”

Become the voice of the people. The meaning is clear – Labour is not currently representing anybody at all.

Is this true? Let’s look at some of the other comments on my (left-leaning, let’s not forget) blog. These are from people who are generally sympathetic to Socialism and who should, therefore, see Labour as the natural home of their vote. What do they say?

“[Is it] any wonder [that] 1. People don’t vote because they are seen as “all the bloody same”? and 2. The perceived differences have become so minuscule?”

“Until Labour wakes up and realises it is the welfare cuts that are a major concern to most of us and to anyone who has a conscience, they will lose the next election due to apathy.”

“Labour have to do something different to what they have up to now but they don’t seem to want to. Are they scared of being in government over a country in the state it is?”

“Labour have had four years to do something – anything – to fight against the welfare cuts, and to help the people they are supposed to be the party for! They’ve really done nothing when all is said and done.”

If Ed Miliband was reading this, I would be asking if he was getting the message yet (are you, Ed?) and what he proposes to do about it. You think not? Let’s have some more comments from people who should be supporting Labour – I’ve got plenty of them!

“There has been absolutely no fight in this opposition and I am ashamed of them.”

“People need a reason to apply their votes to Labour and Miliband-Balls are not providing them with one. They are sleepwalking into another hung Parliament and a very real risk of the Tories teaming up with UKIP. Then we’ll really see Nazism grip this country.”

“The would-be voters demand change and need bold new policies to blunt the Tory cutters. If the Labour Party cannot come up with policies which are radical then they don’t deserve to be in power at the next election, or ever.”

“Ed Balls worries me because he seems intent on copycatting Osborne. For example Osborne says he will run a surplus by the end of the next Parliament and Balls promises the same. Osborne say he will be introducing a Benefit Cap on social security spending on working age benefits (which could have devastating effects and lead to real terms cuts in benefits for years on end) and Balls says that Labour will vote with the Coalition to introduce it.”

“Surely we need some clear red water between Labour and the Tories? Surely Labour needs to differentiate itself more from the policies of the Coalition?”

“I sent an email to the Labour Party asking for its policy on TTIP (the rightly-feared Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will force employment standards down to third-world levels, or below), amongst other things. They were decidedly equivocal and I felt no reassurance at all. I think it’s about we faced facts, Labour aren’t being coy in a pre-election year to avoid frightening the horses, they really are just another pack of neoliberals.”

This is how left-wing voters (and the squeezed-middle waverers to whom Ed Miliband keeps trying to pander) see the modern Labour Party: Carbon-copy Tories with no fresh ideas who aren’t worth the effort of voting.

If any of Ed’s shadow cabinet is okay with that description, he needs to sack them and bring in someone with a clue. And he needed to do it last year.

If the Conservatives win in 2015, it seems clear that responsibility will lie as much with Labour’s failure to provide any clearly-visible alternative.

We have already seen carnage inflicted on the poor, the sick and disabled, and a Conservative-only government (or in collaboration withUKIP) would increase that bloodshed tenfold (senior citizens take note: the bribe you were given last week was a trick and if you vote Conservative, many of you will not live to rectify your error at another election).

Unless Ed Miliband sorts out his party – pronto – that blood will be on his hands as well, and the people will not forgive him.

Note that I did not say they won’t forgive Labour. I said they won’t forgive Ed Miliband.

Words cannot describe the way people feel at what has been done to them by the Coalition. If Labour reveals even the slightest element of complicity, I wouldn’t give a farthing for Miliband’s safety.

That goes for the rest of the shadow cabinet too.

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