Along with many other TV viewers, I watched BBC Question Time last Thursday
[7th December] It's still available on iplayer if, dear reader, you would like to
check it out.
I usually watch #bbcqt. Sometimes I join in the 'discussion' by tweeting along
with it on hashtag #bbcqt. [See, I am down with the kids when it comes to
techie talk. Although I am having trouble formatting this blog today and on a
tight time schedule so bear with me and I hope you can read this in reasonable
comfort. And the colours maybe, well, interesting]
Russell Brand and Nigel Farage were billed amongst the panelists. Interesting, I
thought. And it was. Brand seemed to be trying to hold himself back and not
live up to his firework image. Farage seemed not to have the same
principles and - imo - was his usual patronising, truth-bending, mis-leading self.
However a couple of times his hail fellow well met act slipped and then the fire
in his eyes flashed and maybe his true self showed.
Yesterday there was, expectedly, quite a bit of discussion in the media about
which of the two 'won' the debate. I was unaware that the debate was between
the two and that there was a winner or loser. There were three others on the
and all were interesting and had some good points to make. Whether one
agreed or not. How annoying to make those points and then have the media
apparently ignore your presence. It was revealed by the media that some of the
audience may have been 'plants' by the panelists [Quelle Surprise] - the chappie
who challenged Brand to stand for Parliament is apparently the brother of a
UKIP MEP and may stand for office himself. Brand himself wrote a long piece on
facebook talking about his experience and his views and if, dear reader, you
care to google there are many media articles taking sides on the 'debate'.
But today the lovely poet Michael Rosen has put up a view on facebook which I
want to share beyond facebook participants. So here it is. He wrote:
"I keep thinking of the young working class bloke (or he said he was) in the
audience of Question Time who said that the working class had been hit hardest
by immigration. What a terrible success of the lie that his low wages have
been caused by immigrants. What's incredible is that he could believe this at a
time when it has been explicit - nay, boasted of - information coming from
government and everywhere else that they are sacking people and
keeping down wages as part of 'austerity'. So, in the usual run of things, the
government 'freezes' wages (that is, cuts them in real terms) and the private
sector uses that as a means to fix the rates too. That's what employers do. It's
their 'job' to do that. They're paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to
freeze wages. It's what they're doing.
And the bloke in the audience says that he's been hit by immigrants.
I hope a trade union organiser finds him at work on Monday and signs him up."
Wilfred Owen in WW1 wrote about the 'Old Lie' [Dulce et Decorum est] One hundred years later, another poet talks about another 'new' old lie.
Michael and I seemed to be watching the same programme. Thank goodness, as many of the commentators in the media yesterday didn't. We are entering the General Election propaganda period now, so look out for more 'new' Old Lies. Take the Politicians up on them all. Remember that if we let them get away with them, it is people like us that will suffer. Millions of us. Remember the man who said last time 'We are the party of the NHS'?* Did you believe him? Will you believe what he says this time? Just asking?
BTW I don't support Brand's views on not voting. I think that the only way we can change anything is through the ballot box. But also we should get involved by going to meetings, asking questions, lobbying MPs and candidates. We are part of the political processes. If we don't participate in however small a way, we cannot after the election complain. And as I and many others say on election days 'Many have died to get the vote so we shouldn't waste it'.
*Of course, David Cameron.
For the first time ever, no photo. Formatting and time have defeated me. I may return later and add something inappropriate!