Walton Pantland

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Today is a good day to avoid the mainstream media. Here in the UK, we are being subject to another periodic episode of manufactured insanity. The papers, television and radio are filled with blanket coverage of one particular story. If you live outside the UK, you’ve probably see a fair bit of it too.

A rich and powerful couple, who live at the taxpayers’ expense, have had a baby. The media is fawning over them. Even the supposedly sensible press has jumped the shark: the BBC reporting about celebrations around the world, and the Guardian intoning our future king.

What is it about the Royal family that causes people in the UK to lose all perspective? It’s a reactionary atavism that is stirred, for the most part, by the media. It’s a circus designed to distract us from what is really going on.

When a child is born it is good news for the family involved. For most of us, it’s really not that important. I don’t care about the Royal baby. I am a republican, and I believe in democracy. To quote Dennis the Peasant from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

What about the babies we don’t care about? What about the 7,000 babies born into poverty in the UK on the same day? We are expected to forget about them.

So what is really going on? This country is being slowly but surely taken apart. It is being deconstructed, taken away from us, and given to corporations. This same project is happening everywhere in the world, and in every country there is a version of the media circus described above to keep people from noticing.

The European social model, for all it’s faults, is one of the most successful and humane societies we humans have managed to create. It emerged from the horror and ashes of World War Two. The welfare state, with free education, health care and cradle to grave support for all. A society where equality is a goal to strive for, and where the circumstances of your birth don’t determine your future.

Our ancestors fought and died for these things, for the right to live and work with dignity. And it is being slowly but surely taken away from us, by politicians acting on behalf of big corporations, with the collusion of the mainstream media.

The NHS – one of the best health systems in the world – is being dismantled and privatised before our eyes. Our blood supply has been sold off to US venture capitalists Bain capital. There is no democratic mandate for this. We didn’t vote for it. and yet it is happening, and the media isn’t reporting it. The BBC in particular is at fault: it’s a publicly funded institution with a mandate to inform us, and yet it is complicit in burying the story of the NHS privatisation, and in parroting the Government’s lies about austerity.

Journalism is important. For democracy to work, citizens need to be informed. And yet our media is failing to inform us of these attacks on our way of live.

Our Government spies on us. It monitors all our electronic communications, and shares this information with the NSA in the US.

In order to distract us from this, we have news of David Cameron planning to ban pornography.

We have corruption at the top of Government. The Tories’ chief election strategist is a name name Lynton Crosby. Crosby has been lobbying on behalf of big corporations, and has more effect on legislation than all of our votes. He has lobbied on behalf of big tobacco companies, who want to avoid having to sell their products in plain packaging. Recently, he advised private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived “failings” in the NHS.

Let’s ignore the media circus and focus on the real outrage.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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