Aside from jazz…

Aside from jazz I have a deep-rooted interest in politics, society and media. I blame the British education system for this awareness, as it was the transition from Essex comprehensive, to Essex grammar and finally to a redbrick Uni that acted as a social slap-in-the-face, if you know what I mean, guv’nor?

However I’ve resisted from writing about the political as most amateur diatribes seem to range from Tory Boy impersonations to Citizen Smith caricatures. The freedom political blogging allows the writer consistently results in ad hominen attacks and bitter, cringe enducing conclusions. What can I say? I’m a well-balanced guy – I have a chip on both shoulders.

But here we go. For the benefit of full disclosure it’s only fair I lay my cards on the table. I class myself as a Socialist. I wholeheartedly believe in the NHS, free education, social housing, financial assistance for the poor, sick and needy, and a unified working-class movement. I find modern politics disillusioning and mere middle management, brimming with elevated accountants and showmen, whilst we the public go about our everyday lives as isolated individuals, aspiring to nothing.

I’m currently reading Bryan Appleyard’s Understanding The Present, an attack on scientific liberalism and the death of unifying social ideas. It’s fascinating stuff, and whilst I’ve only read two chapters my current highlight is Appleyard’s riff on the danger fundamental liberalism can create. He poetically describes my thoughts on modern western society, on how negative-liberty has reduced man to a state of passiveness and nonchalance when faced with power and corruption…

This leads us nicely to some current corruption with the Leveson Inquiry only last week quizzing controversial media-mogul, Rupert Murdoch. If you want a good background to Murdoch and his empire, particularly his place in British journalistic society, then read Adam Curtis’ blog here.

I dislike The Sun immensely. I believe it has been instrumental in supporting crimes against human rights, war mongering and promoting a dumbed-down nation. I also believe Murdoch uses his newspapers to push a politically driven agenda, one that suits the well-oiled few. Murdoch insists he does “not dictate an editorial stance” and the current editor of The Times, Tom Mockridge, has stated Murdoch “rarely called and had no influence over their decisions”. This wasn’t always the case, according to Murdochs first editorial appointment at The Times, Harold Evans…

If you want to read more then do buy Evans’ autobiography, My Paper Chase. As well as being the story of a fine journalist it’s also the story of 20th Century British society.

From my opening paragraphs it should come as no surprise that I hold Tony Benn, the greatest Labour leader the party never had, in great esteem. In his diaries are fascinating insights in to the Murdoch regime from the perspective of the left.

This first entry is from 7th April 1972. It isn’t clear whether this was Benn and Murdoch’s first meeting, however what’s interesting is Benn’s obvious admiration for Murdoch, albeit their differing opinion on Britain entering Europe. Benn must have admired Murdoch’s takedown of the old established families who originally run The Sun and the News Of The World, and his decision to print the memoirs of Christine Keeler

However just under ten years later, with Thatcher firmly in power and supported by the Murdoch newspaper clan, any such admiration Benn held for Murdoch had truly vanished. I like this entry from 2nd March 1982 as it also shows Benn’s dislike for the disloyal SDP. Murdoch still denies trying to influence Thatcher…

Should Robert Jay call for Norman Atkinson and Harold Evans? I hold out for the outcome of The Leveson Inquiry with baited breath.


About Will Rodway

what you hear, what you read...
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2 Responses to Aside from jazz…

  1. lurkinggherkin says:

    Superb stuff. I’d add to this, that the loss of unifying social ideas or confidence in an objective version of truth doesn’t shackle commercial interests (such as Murdoch) in the same manner as it does the individual citizen; whose education in tolerance and their adherence to aphorisms such as ‘everything’s relative’ and ‘who am I to say’ often renders them powerless to dispute the ‘rights’ of those commercial interests to push the agenda of their controlling individuals with an unwarranted sense of conviction and authority. I hope that makes sense…..and I hope it won’t be construed as an advocation of intolerance, as a general principle.

  2. Will Rodway says:

    It absolutely makes sense, and thank you for the comment. Your phrase “advocation of intolerance” is often thrown into the faces of principled men, which somewhat bullishly encourages me to stand firmer on subjects I believe passionately in. There is a passage in Orwell’s Notes On Nationalism that, to me, sums-up the dangers of “enforced neutrality”. Christopher Hitchens quotes it here in context of post 9/11. Enjoy…

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