Con Coughlin had another of his surreal columns in the Telegraph earlier in the week, the most alarming phrase in which was ‘if the Kurds fail to defeat the Islamist insurgents, then we should be prepared to do what the French did in Mali last year, and send in a British battle group to rout the Islamic fighters once and for all’. Obviously nobody briefed Con on the defence cuts (he’s only the Telegraph’s Defence Correspondent anyway) but the key words in that extract are ‘rout the Islamic fighters once and for all’. Mr Coughlin is from the ‘one last heave’ school of military intervention, and has learned nothing from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, or even dare I say it, Vietnam.
To win a war, you have to be committed to victory, not an interventionist force. Britain no longer has the money, will or allies to wage war in the manner of a Churchill or Pitt. What’s more, none of the Middle East squabbling is any of our business. Con Coughlin should stop peddling this delusional drivel, and give more thought to Defence of the Realm….that is, Islamism within our own borders.
But while said Islamists cheerfully beheaded a distinguished journalist yesterday ‘in protest at Bush’s bombing of Iraq’, the Gaza ceasfire broke down again, and in the ensuing exchanges the Israelis killed a woman and a child. Almost every UK title continues to trot out this women-and-children propaganda, almost none of which is remotely subtle. “Israeli invaders massacred 400 one-legged nuns during an incursion into Palestinian homelands yesterday” surely cannot be far away.
War is nasty: they use real ammunition, and civilians get killed when missiles are fired from densely populated areas, despite most of Gaza being very lightly populated. Why is nobody in the media asking awkward questions of ISIS, Jihadists, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and countless other schisms trying to radicalise the region? Because they’re too busy toeing the standard line about imperialist Israeli barbarian Goths.
General idleness among the hacks is an ever-present feature. In today’s Telegraph, Mariella Frostrup and Bryony Gordon ‘debate the merits or otherwise of man-sharing for holiday purposes’; in the Guardian, Stuart Holmes, Keswick-based photographer and author of new book Photographing The Lake District, reveals his personal top 10 locations; the Mail, meanwhile, has been throoooo the keyhole and delved inside ‘the world’s most expensive apartment: Penthouse in Monaco’s new Odeon Tower complete with water slide, private chauffeur and caterer will set back potential owner £240MILLION’.
On and on it goes: zero genuine analysis, party tramlines, obsession with celebrity, and any other cheap features with which to fill the space without employing anyone of any talent. No wonder the Met alighted upon celebrity gropers as the chosen weapon of mass distraction.
The reasons aren’t hard to discern. Murdoch gave birth to modern tabloidism, thus proving that appeals to the lowest common denominator would beat analysis of The Truth hands down every time. Other proprietors followed suit. Then the internet arrived to destroy the business model (Fleet Street’s snail-like reaction to that had to be witnessed to be believed) and so ever since then, firing journalists, making stuff up and building paywalls have been the predictable outcomes.
Above all, this explains why the FT prides itself on protecting ‘world class journalism’ but is these days a pointless comic; and why the Mail has been the one gigantic success….because Dacre learned the tag tricks quickly, and every story uses bigotry, cruelty, celebrity, fantasy and lots of other words ending in ‘y’, especially hypocrisy.
Our media write shit because they have landed themselves in an infinite depth of shit.
We are, I’m afraid, a civilisation in accelerating decline. Only a return to craftsman values, equitable social opportunity and honour expressed through honesty can stop it. I’m not holding my breath.