Democracy is Fragile and Needs Your Help

It’s an odd thing, but if you make up qualifications, cheat in exams, lie under oath in court, fiddle the evidence to suit your premise in a science experiment, take drugs to enhance your sporting prowess, when the truth is discovered, you will quickly be stripped of your qualifications, awards and medals, your professional reputation will be in tatters and you will be held up as an example of how cheating and lying does not pay.
I say it’s an odd thing, because the same rules do not seem to apply to our unesteemed Prime Minister, who I am starting to suspect is a pathological liar, by which I mean he really can’t help himself. To Johnson, lies seem to be so much more attractive than truth. He cheats too, wearing a discreet ear piece in a debate so he could be fed li(n)es, rather than rely, as Corbyn had to, on wit and memory. This last deception has had scant coverage in the news. Many of our newspaper editors almost equalling Johnson by writing about hm as though he is a political colossus.
He is also aided by the BBC news team which sees to have decided that a global reputation for fair reporting, professionalism and impartiality can be dispensed with. There are too many instances to list here, but a few stand out ones are the wreath laying ceremony at the cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday. The leaders of the political parties lined up holding their red wreaths. Johnson looked as though he had slept in his clothes after a thick night and had forgotten to brush his hair. He was seen stepping forward at the wrong time,laying the wreath upside down, shambling. The other party leaders performed the wreath laying with respect and reverence. The BBC radio news reported the leaders as bowing their heads, apart from Corbyn who inclined his head. Now bowing your head and inclining your head are the same thing, but a Twitter storm was unleashed accusing Corbyn of lack of respect and patriotism. Corbyn, having associated with some pretty unsavoury characters down the years, gets these accusations all the time. Bizarrely, Johnson, who is pally with an equal number of unsavoury characters now, does not. Anyway, the next day BBC news broadcast footage of Remembrance Sunday and included Johnson neatly dressed, hair brushed, laying a green wreath. That is footage from three years ago, which when it was spotted by viewers, was claimed by the BBC when it later apologised, to have been in the production room, and a mistake. Hmm. Maybe.
Last week Johnson was in front of a studio audience and spoke about trust. The audience burst into laughter, trust and Johnson being strangers. When footage from this event was rebroadcast by the BBC it had been edited. Instead of laughter there was applause, creating a wholly different impression for anyone who hadn’t seen the original. This, as Simon Schama has said with enormous understatement, is not good. The BBC has again apologised, and again said it was a mistake and there was no intention to mislead. So just incompetent then?
Fiona Bruce presents Question Time so she should know what she’s talking about. However, some weeks ago she ‘corrected’ a member of the audience member of the audience who said that Vote Leave “is accused of breaking electoral law”, giving the impression that this is not correct. But it is. Vote Leave was fined £61,000 by the Electoral Commission and a police investigation into its activities during the EU referendum campaign is still active. The BBC claimed Bruce had misheard, and thought the audience member was talking about Leave.EU. As Leave.EU was also fined for electoral offences though is not facing further criminal investigation, Bruce was wrong whatever she thought she’d heard.
When the leaders of the two main parties had their debate (the one where Johnson wore the secret earpiece, though not secret enough for some cameras), CCHQ, the Conservative election machine, came up with the idea of changing its twitter account and calling it factcheckUK. Strange to relate, the only facts it checked were ones by Corbyn. Johnson’s its flowed freely. Maybe there were just too many to cope with. CCHQ has previous. It had already doctored an interview with Keir Starmer to make it look as though Starmer was unable to answer a question ans sat floundering with his mouth open whereas if you see the undoctored interview he has no difficulties at all.
Dominic Raab and the like say this is all fine; it’s obvious it’s CCHQ, a jolly jape in the general election to see who is going to be in charge of the country from mid December. Who could possibly object. But a voxpop showed viewers and twitter users believed they were getting impartial information. This threatens democracy. Tonight we hear that if elected Johnson intends to curb the power of people to mount legal challenges after historic defeats over the triggering of Article 50 and the unlawful shutdown of parliament.
This is what dictators do. It’s straight from their playbook. You attack the institutions that underpin democracy, withdraw rights, claim power. Don’t for a moment think it couldn’t happen here. Democracy is something that needs to be defended every day, it is fragile and walks a knife edge. Complacency, bigotry populism are its enemies. Register to vote now.spek up, ask questions, check facts.
The BBC has become complicit in this by misreporting and not reporting. I’ll leave you with an extraordinary letter which the respected journalist John Sweeney, a BBC man for seventeen years, wrote earlier this expressing his concerns about the corporation. Here it is.

8 thoughts on “Democracy is Fragile and Needs Your Help

  1. Liars, cheaters, thieves, thugs what an excellent parade of leaders we have today. Though, if I really want to squint and look, isn’t that what we’ve always had?

    I share your concerns. So awful to see “independent” news media begin to swing with the prevailing winds. Seeing it here.

    Also saw “6001” Snow Geese yesterday fly up in response to a Bald Eagle just passing by. Odd as it sounds, this is what keeps me grounded. (6001 was not my count, I was too agog to count)

    • Fortunately there are still many politicians who strive to keep our democracy afloat, who work to improve things for everyone. But the current Prime Minister and his cabinet are not among them.
      The BBC news has been in decline for some time. It seems mix of fear of government and appointees who are happy to sit down for lunch with Steve Bannon, Dominic Cummings and others whose mission in life is to disrupt and undermine our democratic institutions.
      Who did count the birds?

      • The citizen scientists (aka tickers) – which will never be us – count the birds. I appreciated the “6001” geese and 24 tundra swans. To us it was just a blur o’ birds sounding like loud applause as they flew up.

  2. Thank you Isobel for bringing me up to date on all the groceries and lies that are going on. I’m fortunately democracy is not only fragile but in many cases an enemy to itself. We live in times where it is so easy and simple to digitally persuade people that black is white,or if course paint it on the side of a bus. When I see the ghastly results of austerity measures in a country that ,unlike Greece, had no need to introduce them, I can’t believe that the vast majority would not think twice about rejecting these people. Democracy these days is a test of how good,subtle and efficient your propaganda machine is.

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