May’s Conference Speech – Taking In The Spin
One of the central themes transmitted across the establishment media from Theresa May’s speech to party conference, when they were not taken up with a distractionary dance spectacle, was that austerity is coming to an end.
The speech was also hailed as a pitch towards the political centre, and not just by her most vocal sympathisers in the billionaire press.
Here’s the rub: Words are not deeds, and we have seen this movie before. The Tories, knowing how damaging and unpopular austerity has been, are well versed in saying the end is just around the corner. Above is just one example of a few in recent years when such signals have gone out, printed by Murdoch’s Times last year to the left of when they ran the same thing last week.
It’s standard stuff for government to pump out disinformation, but a responsible media wouldn’t just amplify it, hanging on every crafted word.
In any case, austerity will not end for millions while their wages remain stagnant, their stable jobs disappeared, or so many vulnerable people live on the edge of destitution as a result of a huge attack on infrastructure and the living standards of the poor.
Austerity is about to get a whole lot worse as the disastrous Universal Credit system continues to be rolled out (UC is not officially an austerity thing, but certainly is in practice and intent.)
Austerity will never be over for the loved ones of those who took their own lives as a result of penury and despair which the government fully knew about.
This “ends of austerity” meme isn’t the only spin that so many were happy to pump out without proper analysis. The speech was described as pitching towards the centre, but there is scant evidence that any deeds backing that up will manifest.
More likely, it is a ruse – partly to fill a seeming gap created by Labour’s drift from neo-liberalism towards social democracy while the Lib Dems still struggle to get double figures in the polls. The Tories have clearly borrowed some of Labour’s ideas for effect. Again, how many of these materialise remains to be seen, probably vanishingly few. Running flags up the pole to run them down again is very common practice. Any benefit from increased resources (starting from a now woeful base) will first go to privateers, subcontractors and other deregulated providers rather than end users – the mere citizens.
In practice, the Conservatives are a party of the hard right, economically and socially as far as they can get away with it. the most energised part of the modern right is taken in under a Bannon Project which openly engages with fascism (think of the rabid Plymouth students discussed below, as opposed to the laughable amount of empty seats in the Tory conference hall.)
The mood music on Brexit is focused on nationalism. Tories are the party of the “hostile environment”, nurses at food-banks and anyone earning less than £50,000 a year being labelled “unskilled.” But parties still need to at least be seen as giving regard to the centre under the First Past The Post system.
It’s most likely then that the centrist tone of the speech was a classic smokescreen.
May’s speech was greeted by the majority of the establishment media as a “success.” It’s biggest success was misleading them, which clearly isn’t hard to do.
There’s more on fawning BBC bias from The Skwawkbox here.
And this tweet from Media Lens.
The Media Fund is a co-operative of over 30 partners, which exists to raise vital funds for quality independent media in the UK.