Posts Tagged ‘UK Media’

This is (sh)it

September 28, 2009 1 comment

This is it?



As Britain dumbly meanders its way towards a change of government (, how exactly have the Tories come to be viewed as a credible, electable party?

With the current round of UK political party conferences, and in the run-up to next year’s general election, it is inevitable that slogans will be created, tv news channels will go into overdrive, and manifestos shall be set out. The new Tory slogan, at least according to BBC2’s Newsnight sometime-last-week, This is it, is rather apt for a party who remain seemingly vague on detail for the vast majority of issues that the UK public consider of greatest importance.

With the clear prominence of economic concerns amongst the UK public (“54% place it amongst the most important issues” – Ipsos Mori Poll, August 2009), it seems incredible to consider that the Tories are yet to lay out a full, ‘progressive’ string of economic policies, choosing to place their wholly negative approach towards opposing the globally-implemented fiscal stimulus packages (as Gordon Brown ventured in Pittsburgh) whilst retaining their evident fetish for cutting away a politically-threatening public sector.

The Conservative Party, already isolated within the EU, will find few friends in the international community with what could be kindly termed against-the-grain economic reforms. The fiscal stimulus is working: much of the world is moving out of an unexpectedly short-lived recession. The global consensus is moving away from favouring the unfettered market, calling instead for far stricter market regulation and a stronger role for the state.

The Tories remain at odds with such principles and, operating within a culture of greater international cooperation and national economic success dependent upon coordinating with global economic trends, the Conservatives are likely to leave Britain diplomatically isolated with a weak economy characterised by high unemployment and crippling interest rates besides a lack of overseas investment and little available personal credit to encourage spending (critical in a nation heavily reliant on its service industries). Admittedly, the national debt will undoubtedly be reduced, yet the likely benefit of this as a short-term plan is open to criticism, in addition to being unpopular with the UK public.

And what of their other plans for the UK? We can assume that the demonisation of single mothers, an increasingly privatised education system and the disgraceful removal of the Human Rights Act will happen. Perhaps most disconcerting is their proposed reform for the House of Commons, which will reduce the number of overall MPs, and will, surprise surprise, prove most beneficial to the Tories themselves. The implications are serious – a Conservative government will unfairly reduce the level of political influence for regions which are traditionally unlikely to support their party (and, insultingly, at the expense of the political void that is the South of England outside of London). This is a threat to future political plurality in the UK and those who support democratic choice (as many undoubtedly should in a culture that misguidedly prides itself on a sense of fair play which is rarely evident) should be strongly opposed. Although providing a broad outline, the current Conservative Party manifesto appears short on detail. Policies are stated with little reference to how exactly these can be implemented.

Perhaps Tory policy appears weakly conceived due to the failure to communicate with the British public. This is quite possibly not the problem it appears however. The party’s current popularity suggests that the UK public are disconcertingly undiscerning when it comes to their media consumption. Inextricably linked to the Conservative Party’s undeniable popularity, is the uncritical nature of the UK media towards them, as Alastair Campbell notes in last week’s  (21 September) edition of the New Statesman:

Journalists, particularly after so-called Labour spin, like to pride themselves on their refusal to be spun. They are being spun big style: what they write is informed by their view that Cameron has won. Anything that points in that direction is news. Anything that doesn’t, isn’t. If he does win, he will do so as the most underexamined, under-scrutinised, untested and policy-lite leader in history…

It’s looking bleak.