Modern Journalism for a Modern Society

 

A story in three photos –

In the issue of 12-17 April, the New Statesman published an article by George Eaton, joint deputy editor, on the Conservative philosopher Roger Scruton.

On April 10th, George Eaton tweeted what he called “a series of outrageous remarks” by Roger Scruton. The four tweets by George Eaton certainly had an immediate effect on social media – racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia: Roger Scruton was guilty of it all according to Eaton.

Only the supposed quotes from Roger Scruton seemed to be wholly out of context and appeared to have been manipulated. Did anybody try to find out whether Roger Scruton had actually said any of the things he was accused of saying? No. This is not how things work anymore.

There was a twitter storm and it raged for a while.

The Labour Party and several leading Conservative figures immediately demanded that ministers remove Scruton from his unpaid position as chairman of the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful commission.

A mere four hours after the article appeared, James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, dismissed Scruton. Without talking to him, without asking for his side of the story. James Brokenshire sacked Roger Scruton based on a series of inflammatory tweets, and nothing else.

Eaton posted on his personal Instagram account a picture of himself drinking champagne, clearly as way of celebration.

img_6185

If anybody was in any doubt that Roger Scruton had been the victim of a hit-job, this was proof, of sorts.

(George Eaton later deleted and apologised for the Instagram post.)

Luckily there are still people with honour and integrity in the journalism world. Douglas Murray (I adore him), a friend of Roger Scruton took up the fight to clear the philosopher’s name. He repeatedly called for the full transcript of the interview to be published, a call that was not answered. Meanwhile, George Eaton had suddenly gone very quiet on social media.

 

Eventually, Douglas Murray somehow got his hands on the transcript of the interview which revealed Roger Scruton had been smeared in the most appalling fashion. He had been deliberately misrepresented, his reputation tarnished by…a journalist… who works for a major magazine. Is it any wonder people don’t trust the mainstream media anymore?

img_6188-1

I can’t even begin to explain how angry this whole debacle made me. As a person who values truth, integrity – as a qualified journalist myself who was told every single day without fail when I was training that: “accuracy is everything” – I was disgusted by it all. I still am, actually.

I was ecstatic when Douglas Murray published his article clearing Roger Scruton. So much so I indulged in being petty and replicated the ‘George Eaton gloating champagne pic’ for Twitter – twice – with the caption: “The feeling when Douglas Murray exposes the duplicity of George Eaton in an excellent piece that should hopefully deter other ‘journalists’ from distorting, lying and trying to destroy the reputation of anyone, let alone one of our finest minds.”

Petty? Yes, but I couldn’t resist. incidentally, that second pic is the first drunk pic of me to ever make it on the internet (Facebook doesn’t count)

 

I had booked tickets to go and see Roger Scruton and Douglas Murray talk in London before George Eaton published his ‘article.’ I had been looking forward to it but the event took on a special importance after the scandal. The evening wasn’t just about listening to two highly interesting people anymore, it was about showing support for a man with a very fine mind who had been needlessly demonised.

And it was a delightful evening – I was (without exaggeration) glowing when I left. Roger Scruton came on and was given a standing ovation. The love and respect for the philosopher in the room was almost tangible. He touched on the whole scandalous story of course, without bitterness – he was actually wonderfully magnanimous considering he hasn’t received a proper apology from anyone who was so quick to condemn him based on nothing more substantial than a few tweets. 

img_6194-1

I have to ask: what kind of a society have we become when journalists deliberately entrap others, when journalists are happy to lie, to smear, to demonise…and to gloat about the result of such despicable actions. When people in governments make decisions to sack someone without knowing the full story, without even bothering to speak to the person they employ, a person who has an outstanding reputation as a philosopher and writer.

I am so angry about the left’s methods which have gathered momentum in the last couple of years. No debate, but lies instead. No discussion but name-calling.

If they can do this to a respected philosopher, what chance do the rest of us have?

After a prolonged absence, George Eaton is back – he has apparently been demoted but the real scandal is the fact he wasn’t actually sacked. He is a disgrace to journalism and clearly an appalling human being. Journalists have always been guilty of bias, they’ve always been known to flirt with misrepresentation and even lies…but we’ve achieved a whole new level of deception that is just unacceptable.

img_6195-1

We are living in dark times, anybody who cares about truth and freedom of speech should be very worried – we have a duty to fight back against this tidal wave of sheer hysteria, self-righteousness and authoritarianism that has infected everything. 

Thwart Democracy at your peril

B84988FE-1631-4521-BE2D-CF1559DB58F0

This is going to be one of those posts: an unpopular one on WordPress. I don’t care, I’m hungover but I have a few jumbled thoughts I want to put on my blog – because I’ve had enough. I’ve had it up to here with the insults, the slurs, the bullying – I’ve had it up to here with the utter contempt for democracy.

A lot of people still seem to be unable to differentiate between Europe and the European Union.

Those same people decided more than two and a half years ago that Leave voters were racists and bigots and they haven’t at all tried in all that time to listen to the actual reasons why some wanted to leave the EU. The short, easy and simple answer – by the way – is sovereignty. But nobody wants to hear that. 

Leave voters have been abused, demonised, they’ve been threatened, they’ve been bullied – yes, bullied – and dismissed as the scum of the earth. 

It has also been made abundantly clear they are crude, uneducated, stupid. 

For two and a half years, the enlightened middle classes, artists, creatives, academia, politicians, the media have looked down on the people who could get it so wrong. 

I saw this yesterday: “You can’t be an art lover and be pro-Brexit!”

It might as well be set in stone.

Well, I’m an art lover, (and most of the Leavers I know are too) and I find it astonishing I should have to explain why I love art and culture in many shapes and forms and why I’m also opposed to a centralised power and homogenised society—it’s incredible I should have to explain I can’t & won’t subscribe to a fabricated identity.

And why should I explain it? Because the ‘enlightened’ don’t believe it. They can’t, they refuse to see further than: pro-Brexit means ignorant, stupid and evil. 

Remainers hate nationalism so much they make a point of constantly stating they are ashamed of their own country. Which is quite something when you think about it. There is nothing wrong with patriotism. I love France, I also love England, my adoptive country – I am proud of their collective heritage and yes, I want to protect that. There is nothing wrong with any of this. What is wrong is not having any pride in your own country, what is wrong is looking back on its history and finding fault with every bit of it, what is wrong is attempting to re-write history, what is wrong is embracing some made-up identity which makes no sense whatsoever. 

Someone said yesterday: “Remainers who are EU devotees don’t realise that, draped in their flags and their insignia and blind faith to a political structure, they’re showing all the hallmarks of extreme nationalists. Just because it is supranational it doesn’t make it any different.”

I couldn’t have put it better. This devotion to the EU is also akin to religious fanaticism. 

26E3F944-7589-4FB1-B391-9200C2E3A1DE

But the worse of it all is this self-righteousness: they will do everything to overturn the result of a democratic vote because they believe they are on the right side, and the good side of things. Apparently, leaving the EU would plunge the UK into chaos. We’ve had ‘project fear’ where nothing less than the apocalypse has been predicted if the UK actually leaves the EU. Of course there isn’t one shred of evidence this will happen but the propaganda has been relentless. The truth is: nobody knows for sure what the economic and political consequences of leaving the EU will be, how could they? Speculation is just that, but there is no actual reason to believe leaving will bring about Armageddon.

There is also the fact that leaving the EU apparently means turning your back on Europe – utter rot, of course. I don’t even want to keep addressing this “little Englanders” thing, the racism, etc… they keep talking about – it’s just too ridiculous. 

This self-righteousness which I find repellent has made people turn on their friends, sometimes even on their family. How does one even get to that point? To feel so utterly right, to be so incredibly sure you -are- and -know- better that you accuse and demonise and preach tolerance whilst displaying anything but?

Meanwhile, a government composed mainly of Remainers has sung to the EU’s tune and deliberately done everything it could to delay and stop the inevitable. 

E81F2340-61A6-44A3-822E-811ACFC95EA5

A petition to stop Brexit has just reached 5 million signatures – let’s be clear: this is a petition to cancel the result of a democratic vote – and Remainers rejoiced as if this was a success…in any way. I suggest they get back to us once they’ve reached 17 million…which they won’t, because rabid Remainers are part of the elite. And the elite by definition is small. Ah, but where the elite is, you find the power, obviously. Remainers are a small but very vocal minority because they are the academia, they are the media, they are the politicians. They are not the people and they despise the people – the great unwashed cannot be allowed to make decisions since they can’t be relied upon to know anything. How deliciously ironic that those who actually understand what the EU is, how it works and operates are ordinary people – they are also able to comprehend you can love Europe and loathe the EU. 

To be clear, I was a Remainer before the referendum, but I was of course also a believer in democracy. You lose a vote, you don’t get to vote again – that’s not how democracy works. I am convinced another vote would see Leave win by an even bigger margin but, I will erect barricades before I let this second vote happen as it would make a joke of the democratic process. People say: we need to stop Brexit because the government has made a total mess of negotiations and clearly can’t implement it. Well, that’s true, but only because it doesn’t want to implement it. Well, that’s tough because it has to. The consequences of not respecting a democratic vote will be much more dire for the UK than Brexit could ever be. 

Everything has been done to overturn a democratic vote and, yes, Democracy itself is at stake. You should never attempt to thwart democracy, there is no telling what chaos will ensue if you undermine it. I’m afraid this is something the ruling classes will learn the (very) hard way. 

CEA98798-2B3D-4DD6-99CC-A2EB880BB58D

Blog Update

726EA4A6-EB7B-402F-BEA5-6D9C24A587EA

I haven’t updated my blog in ages and I feel kind of bad about that, but I’ve been incredibly busy – I might write about it soon, when I get a little bit of time to do so. In the meantime, here’s me late last night, I’d just returned from a talk in London on “Freedom of Speech” – yes, I hear you, even you at the back. You’re rolling your eyes and mumbling: “does she talk about anything else these days?!”

Fair enough, but I do actually talk about plenty of other things (oh yes, I do) It’s just that this is something that matters greatly to me and if I’ve become a bit of a free speech warrior, it’s because those types of warriors are needed at this precise moment in time. Last night, in the heart of Westminster, people from my tribe, people from all over gathered for a principle, for a basic right – one that won’t be taken away from us if we can help it.

Aaaaand I’m done – see, that wasn’t so bad 😉

Get a life

2BC83077-DA63-484F-A4E2-24B0A0F95ADF

I had a busy day today, juggling all kind of stuff. I was getting a bit stressed with it all when I checked my email and some fuckwit had sent me a message about something I said on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, might even have been longer than that. In any case, my little tweet had enraged the fuckwit and he clearly NEEDED to tell me about it.

This is EXACTLY why I don’t let non-followers private message me on Twitter anymore. Between the guys who want to send you dick pics and the people who just HAVE to let you know how offensive your political opinions are, I couldn’t handle it anymore.

But, my blog link is on Twitter and if you find my blog, you find an email address. The fuckwit was kinda dedicated, I’ll give him that. I was talking to my tutor while reading his bullshit email which basically amounted to: I’m an ignorant stupid bitch, out of touch with reality, etc…the usual stuff.

Well, obviously I don’t reply to those kind of emails.
What could I say? Only this:

Fuck you, you fuckwit. Fuck right off and when you’ve fucked off as far away from me as possible, fuck off some more. I don’t give a fuck what you think of me because why would I worry about the opinion of a fucking toad? Also, take a fucking chill pill, we’re all allowed an opinion – even you – but you shouldn’t bloody harass people with it though. Seriously, get a fucking life.

You know? Some of us HAVE lives to get on with, I’ve been up since 6 and been working and studying all day, I don’t have time for some fuckwit’s meltdown. And now I’ve gotta go and workout.
You lovely people enjoy the rest of your day – as for the fuckwits: in case you SOMEHOW missed the message, I refer you to my pic, I’ve got nothing else to say to you, so keep the fuck away, thanks.

Enough!

image

I am so angry I am ready to take up arms and fight.

Fuck the left, fuck the liberals who have helped unleash this plague on us.

They stop us from really debating anything from politics to religion, they stop us from REALLY talking about ANYTHING at all.

They might as well hold the terrorists’ hands while they’re planning how many innocent lives they can take.

Anybody who retreats in the safety of “love wins”, “pray for —whichever city is being attacked”, changing their Facebook profile picture as “support”…they’re all complicit in the senseless murders.

We ARE at war. Terrorists are waging war on us in the most cowardly manner, and we do nothing but hold candlelight vigils.

I wonder how the families of the victims feel when they see somebody start singing “don’t look back in anger” – mere days after the attack, when the mangled bodies of children are barely cold.

We are sheep waiting for the slaughter, waiting with love and hope in our hearts – how fucking stupid.

It is time to take action – enough is enough! We need to take a hard line on terrorism and what breeds it. We need to start TALKING without fear of being branded “haters” and “racists”.

For every single person who preaches love in the face of cold-blooded murder, there are dozens of others getting angry and ready to act rashly, as in attacking innocent peaceful Muslims.

Do we want that? No, of course not. But we are letting it happen with our pathetic passivity and political correctness.

Every day we pray is another day towards the inevitable: more murders, more blood, more tears and pain, more bodies littering the streets and more devastated families. And more dangerous anger.

Malaise


This is me yesterday: bleary-eyed (hence the sunglasses) suffering from a bad case of ‘the morning after the night before’ as I spent Saturday evening in the pub. I was on my way out of the house to go and vote in the first round of the French presidential elections. I may not live in France anymore but I still love my country fiercely and I very much care what happens to it. There is no question that I should do my duty even from abroad and go cast my vote.

And yet, for the first time in my adult life, there wasn’t a single candidate I identified with. I had to make a tactical choice and vote for the person I thought had the best chance to keep Le Pen away from the presidency, because she is a real menace. It was predicted she would get to the second round of the elections but her chances depended on who would join her there.

Should she win, heaven forbid, I will slap (hard) the first idiot who comes up to me to inform me that the French are obviously a bunch of fascists. Because should she win, it would be thanks to a wave of protest votes against politicians and politics, just like it was with Trump in the US.

Liberals are dismissing people’s concerns, political correctness is breeding resentment, so people are turning to the one misfit who makes loud (false) claims to be different from other politicians – the one who actually addresses (seemingly sincerely) the issues they care about. I can understand that, I used to be a socialist in France until they started patronising the working class on a grand scale. It’s one thing being fucked by the conservatives if you’re working class, you expect it. But when it’s the party that is supposed to be championing your rights doing it, it is that much harder to take.

The problem is that people who vote for a Trump or a Le Pen don’t realise that those would-be leaders are actually insane. And you don’t put insane people in charge of a country. You just don’t, no matter how angry you are and how disenfranchised you feel.
And yet people are doing just that: voting for dangerous lunatics who should be under the constant care of a good psychiatrist.

Where is good old common sense? It’s lacking from our current society and nowhere is it more felt than in the political field. I, along with too many others, am disillusioned – I would rather stick pins in my eyes than vote for a Trump or a Le Pen though.

At the time of writing, the results in France have given us Macron and Le Pen in the second round. I think it’s safe to say she hasn’t got a hope in hell of winning now, everyone will rally round Macron. Still, I have no faith in him like I had no faith in any of the other candidates; this political malaise is real – even if we escape the dreaded Le Pen peril, there’s just nobody to believe in.
I can’t help but ask myself if this what the climate feels like when a revolution is brewing.