Sometimes it’s not enough to simply report the news. If I say that 8% of the population are immigrants, most people will invariable think ‘oh right, that’s interesting’, then get on with their day. However, when this figure is presented under the headline ‘4.8 MILLION IMMIGRANTS FLOCK THROUGH BORDER TO STEAL JOBS’, then instantly you have large swaths of the country going ape-shit about trivial nonsense like their parents fighting in the war and something about how they’ve paid taxes and, erm, yeah.
It’s a winning formula; Richard Littlejohn is the highest paid UK journalist (well, actually he’s based in Florida, so quite how he can see Britain going to the dogs is beyond me, but there you go) and articles by him in March of this year included:
It’s unfiltered, prime-cut, rabble rousing bullshit. Just take his current article on David Cameron’s ill-advised and sexist comments in the House of Commons, which opens with this sentence;
Frankly, I don’t know who’s worse — those po-faced Leftie birds who go ballistic if you call them ‘luv’ or the pinny-whipped menfolk who leap to their defence.
But why is it that all these wind-up merchants tend to be right wing? The list of right-wing shock jocks is endless; James Delingpole, Melanie Phillips, Jeremy Clarkson etc, but why aren’t there sensationalists on the left? I’ve met some people with left-wing viewpoints in my time who were spectacularly dense, why is no-one tapping into this market?
Well someone has; step forward, Laurie Penny.
The majority of Penny’s output is reactionary bullshit for the left, which is almost identikit to Littlejohn’s work; They both believe the country is fucked, but just replace immigrants, homosexuals and political correctness for Tory MPs.
It’s got it all; hyperbole, hypocrisy; the works.
In the past, Laurie has received public scorn following articles she wrote on the March 26th protests which romanticised violence, and advertising for an intern that paid less than the national minimum wage. In her latest issue, Pennie has her sights on the Royal Wedding, which is just the fucking apocalypse, according to her. Not an innocuous wedding between two people with ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING POWER WHATSOEVER, who spend most of their time been photographed at village fetes.
This is England in 2011: as the country gears up for the Wedding of Mass Distraction, police up and down the country have been bursting into squatted social centres and private homes, arresting anyone whom they suspect of having connections with the anti-cuts movement, on the pretext of preventing disorder at the happy event – sometimes seizing known protestors on the street or from their cars.
This is the basic plot of most of her work; scare-mongering about the state and society based on weak facts and rumour whilst pontificating in such a romanticised way, that it seems like an excerpt from a George Orwell novel. Britain, in general, is a fucking boring country. Nothing happens, really. There are no revolutions, political corruption is not much more than a duck house and a few bags of ready salted crisps, and freedom of the press is used for such things as Page 3 and Sudoku. This isn’t Syria, this isn’t pre-revolutionary Russia. It’s Britain. We have Pimms. And Countryfile. And Celebrity Hole in The Wall. That’s about it. So anything slightly out of ordinary thing that happens has to be blown up to the nth degree.
She pissed off because;
Despite the British press devoting weeks of coverage to these ‘pre-arrests,’ and despite rampant speculation over the evil plots these dangerous radicals might be concocting to spoil the day, most actual anarchists in the UK couldn’t care less about one faceless aristocrat marrying another.
SO WHY ARE YOU WRITING AN ARTICLE ON IT THEN!
This is a nation and a people undergoing a profound disturbance of identity. A few streets away from the Brittania Day celebrations, as the power of flash dance was employed to celebrate the Empire, more squat raids were taking place in Brighton.
Now I consider myself a quite perceptive guy, but what in god’s name is the link between the two? Laurie explains;
The effect created is a narrative whereby the police are on one side, bravely protecting the royal family, the union jack, bunting, teacakes and traditional flag-waving deference, and on the other side is a mysterious army of dangerous yobs who deserve to be arrested for any crimes they might possibly be thinking about committing.
Reading between the lines, Penny is pissed off that squatters are being arrested instead of bunting and teacakes? Can you arrest bunting and teacakes?
She perhaps does have a point when she discusses the questionable nature of pre-arresting protesters linked to anti-cuts demos. But for her, it’s not just enough to say this, she has phrase the point in this dystopian POLICE TERRRA hyperbole of her’s, where the police are shills for the utterly feckless Royal family, and innocent people are being arrested for thought crimes! When someone bases their political rhetoric on the hit Tom Cruise film ‘Minority Report’, you have to worry slightly.
The assembled supporters scattered: I had seen enough, and got on a bus back through central London.
Penny, here, taking the ‘Bear Grylls’ approach to squatter support.
This whole article was basically a sensationalised account over how the police were just fucking tools of the state, when in reality they are, erm, employees of the state? It’s hard to actually gauge what Penny’s argument is. It’s the sort of hyper-active bullshit that easily convinced teenagers come out with after listening to Billy Bragg in dark rooms. There seems to be this concept that if anyone on the right exaggerates ANYTHING to do with crime, immigration etc then they are just the biggest bastards in the Western World, whereas Penny can generalise the motivates on the entire fucking police force, and she’s the voice of truth.
Stuff like this boils my piss far more than Littlejohn et al. I consider myself staunchly left-wing, so I feel like Penny is indirectly representing me, yet the hypocrisy she and her cronies come out with is beyond parody. She writes for the Guardian who are horrendous tax dodgers, then claims that tax evaders are everything that is wrong with western society. Hypocrisy on that unashamed scale is page 1 of the Littlejohn book of ‘how to be a columnist’!
Penny hates the Royal Wedding so much that she devotes an article solely to it, devoid of this piss-poor ‘squatters’ sub text. I should add, the ‘most actual anarchists in the UK couldn’t care less about one faceless aristocrat marrying another’ Royal Wedding.
Entitled ‘Royal wedding cheerleaders want to drag us back to the days of deference’, Penny explains the horrors of what these archaic, cheerleading bastards want to expose us to;
This bric-a-brac of old-fashioned Englishness does not include a polio float or imprisonment for homosexuals, but there will be a Chas-and-Dave tribute band.
So, erm, it’s not really dragging us back to the days of deference. Is it. It’s Sideboard Song and triangular flags. You’re just sort of, lying, and exaggerating, really.
It’s at this stage where Pennie takes two spoons full of crazy syrup and believes that an innocuous wedding that most actual anarchists in the UK couldn’t care less about will cause the downfall of all that is good about the UK.
Other street parties in the capital will be distributing T-shirts printed with the omnipresent “Keep Calm and Carry On” design, the “ironic” wartime propaganda poster that now infests the chinaware of the middle classes, reminding us that fortitude in the face of government-imposed austerity is just like fortitude in the face of Nazi invasion.
The Second World War is reserved for special reverence, because this is the last moment in recent British history where we can be sure that our country was unmitigatedly on the side of good. Most of us want to be able to feel proud of being British, but that desire is being ruthlessly exploited in the quest for public acquiescence to enforced austerity.
It’s a wedding. It’s tea cakes. It’s Chas & Dave. For your own health, Laurie, chill the fuck out.
Laurie writes with all the composure and balance of a jelly on a bouncy castle. She keeps claiming the wedding is irrelevant, and no-one gives a shit, yet at the same time claims that it’s one of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. It can’t be both!
She’s not to be stopped there, though! Just incase people haven’t read either of her dreary blog posts, she uses that nifty Twitter thing to spout her bullshit hyperbole – but in 140 characters or less!
It’s beyond belief.
I understand people disliking the idea of class, and how the Royals encapsulate this, but f**king hell, grow up. Charles spends his days making pretentious biscuits and talking to trees, Harry is in the army and William unveils lifeboats in Wales. Hardly like we need to smash these plums for DA REVALUUSHIN!!!
As has been discussed a thousand times, the money they make far outweighs the cost. I realise this doesn’t overcome the original issue, but fuck it, it’s not the 1500s. Look at the House of Lords, complied of hereditary peers and people with mates in high places, it’s just a mishmash of nepotism and back-handers and has an actual say in the legislative process. If you hate class, target this, ffs!
r.e the wedding; man wants to marry girl he met at uni. Man had no say in the family he was born into. People are interest because people like every branch of celeb culture in the UK. Let him have his day.
I have a theory that Laurie Penny is actually brilliant satire. When I read her work, I feel sorry for moderate Tory voters that I would often condemn due to me basing my own mental manifestation of a ‘tory voter’ on the Daily Mail. But actually, Laurie’s column could be a thinly veiled attempt to bring us all together, and show us that there are bullshit merchants all over the place, and we shouldn’t base our opinion of others on them. Probably not, though.
A time will come where these so called ‘opinion’ columns have to stop. Whether it’s Littlejohn on the right or Penny on the left, it’s sets a horrible example to young writers that ‘hey, if you write sensationalist, reactionary bullshit with the sole intention to stir up social strife, then you’ll go far!’ Yes, people can watch the many hours of rolling broadcasting for the ‘news’, but that doesn’t give you carte-blanche to write pure shit. We need to get to a stage where regardless of your opinion; the facts are presented in their entirety, regardless of your political persuasion. Or as this person put it;
Sorry, but journalism isn’t about painting a rosy picture. The British people deserve the truth, and real reasons for hope, not fairytales.
I totally agree.
Oh, and the author of this quote? Laurie fucking Penny.
The mind boggles.