A quick round up.
Journalists should not look down from too great a height on Karen Matthews, convicted last week of the Shannon Matthews scrimmage. I agreed with a pal who works on a famously loathed tabloid when she said: ‘One thing nobody is saying is how this bunch of public school-educated mockneys,’ – the reporters on said organ – ‘were taken for a ride by two chavs in the middle of nowhere, addled on drugs and with barely two brain cells to rub together’. Journalists, immensely self-regarding and often possessed of low intelligence and imagination as they are, have trouble facing up to things like that. Only Liddle in the Sunday Times mentioned it. Having said that, scamming Fleet Street, albeit on a more morally acceptable level than the Matthews is easy enough if you know what to do and have a few contacts. Tabloids, especially these days, manned as they are by the dozy, credulous, Princess Diana-fied Facebook generation, will always be prey to this kind of bullshit.
I say they ‘always’ will be, but Andrew Sullivan says newspapers will be gone very soon now. I think the same, basically. Like so many other things, the internet will kill them without adequately replacing them. Democracy and the exposure of abuses of power are at stake here and in the wake of the newspaper decline the tin pot gods of internet comment, where conspiracy theories and juvenile sarcasm rule the day, will gain influence. This will suit the postmodernists just dandy, because ‘there will be no truth’ - but theirs. To the Chomsky and Michael Moore-gobbling student-minded there are no truths – except theirs. Aside from seeing less of Simon Cowell and Kate Moss and others of their type, no good can come from the death of newspapers, rubbishy as they mostly now are.
Reading of newspapers, and the interest and attention needed to stimulate literacy generally, will also be sapped by Sir Jim Rose’s education proposals. Backed by Ed Balls and, I would imagine, the majority of Labour, they will be remembered as a flashbulb moment in the history of British political and educational folly. History, geography and religious studies will be moved into a ‘human, social and environmental studies programmes’. Oh dear.
This is, of course, a modern leftist’s ideal: Abolish the past and control the present. Indoctrinate children with the new religions – climate change and a spurious internationalism, which, as we saw with Germany and will see with America, when the going gets tough is a rather meaningless Islington dinner party fancy. ‘Politicians back it,’ said a BBC news reporter last night, ‘and teachers want it.’ I bet they do. I’ve met quite a few young, new ‘teachers’ in the last few years (they have expanded as a class – no pun intended – since Labour poured millions into the education system, with only a decline in literacy and a rise in anti-social behaviour to show for it) and as a rule I have found them to have been unintelligent, politically, culturally and morally empty – except for eco-platitudes, multiculturalism and a ragbag of the hand-me-down shibboleths of 1968 learned at ‘university’. They were also, almost to a man and a woman, immensely hypocritical about how they referred to the white working class and Asian/Black ethnic working class. The latter referred to in the careful, utopian language of Cultural Marxism; the former as ‘chavs’. I wouldn’t mind betting that these education reforms will be seen, by those with the nous to recollect and work it out, as one of the larger death knells of literature, democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law in Britain.