An Orweillian dystopia is coming to Britain, and the British people are being manipulated into welcoming it. ‘Orwellian’ is a term that is sure to be thrown about with reckless abandon in the coming months, often by people who don’t know what the term alludes to, so let’s coin a new phrase, one that is more relevant and demonstrative – we’ll call it Borisian, because that is what the United Kingdom is going to become – a Bejeing-lite Borisian dystopia where the undermining of free speech will be supported, encouraged and policed by his supporters who will fail to see their actions threaten to cause seismic damage to the free will of every western nation on the globe. Sounds pretty wacky and far out doesn’t it? Sounds like something our old friend Orson Wells might insert into a thumping good story. Something Rod Sterling would use in his Twilight Zone. Except it isn’t.
Three days into his administration Boris Johnson started a Trump-like war on left-leaning or impartial media outlets. During the election campaign it emerged a Johnson government would seek to undermine the British Broadcasting Corporation by decriminilise the paying of the licence fee which funs the corporations; output of drama, comedy, radio, sport and impartial news. The BBC has been criticised from both sides of the election campaign, by the Labour party for editing out audience laughter directed at Johnson, and from his Tory party for the heavy grilling received on reputable programmes like the Today show, the most listened to current affairs and news programme in the country. That the BBC has been lambasted by people with sympathies both sides of the debate is probably a better indicator of its impartiality than any. Especially, as the Labour manifesto guaranteed a bolstered existence.
Broadcaster Channel Four has also been threatened with an overhaul to its mandate, apparently for daring to featuring a melting ice sculpture of Johnson and his Brexit party cohort Nigel Farage when both decided to boycott the leader’s climate emergency debate during the election campaign. The most moderate, and perhaps left-leaning, tabloid The Mirror has also been threatened.
It seems the Johnson administration is emulating that of Trump – by attacking news outlets that refuse to follow his party line, in short for reporting what they see as the truth. Trump has routinely declared the output of CNN as fake news, the same channel which was once praised in Washington for it’s on-the-ground reporting the Afghanistan war.
The only left-leaning media outlet that has so far not been targeted is The Guardian, which unlike other online newspapers, does not put any published content behind a paywall and, rarely, allows individuals to comment on opinion pieces without idealogical scrutiny from moderators. The upshot of course is that The Guardian will be seen and discussed by right wingers as a kind of metropolitan cult. The output of the Guardian is centrist to leftist without doubt yet despite this is the most trusted of any UK news peddler. It’s funding model is fuelling the survival, and this seems unthreatened, in fact it could become more tenable if the readership is driven underground and the ‘cult’ bubble it will be forced to sit in becomes the only source of reliable news for the remaining fee that even think to seek out such a thing.
A frightening statistic emerged during the UK election campaign – a shocking amount of people receive their dose of daily news from social media sites like Facebook. Anyone reading this is probably choking on air right now to think that so many people in the UK could be as niave as to trust a profit driven platform which makes no secret of its own unreliability in this regard as it’s main source of ‘news’. The algorithm and profile driven approach ensures Facebookers receive their dose of daily news via articles, sensationlist headlines and outright lies that has been directly targeted at them, to push their buttons, push on and enhance any personal narrative ascribed to. In short, world views are not being challenged by sampling ‘news’ in this way. When you watch or read the news reported presented by an impartial broadcaster, website or newspaper it should challenge your world view – not reinforce or entrench negative ones. Only by sampling the ‘flip side’, the other side of the coin can views open. Sampling news that’s been tailor-made to fit your existing views, without any filter or argument from the other side, is going to lead to entrenched opinions based not on fact, but spin. S
ee Brexit for an unequivocal example of this in practise.
In Trump’s case, and possibly Johnson’s too, they’re dislike of news that disagrees with them or points out the flaws or outrageous lies prevalent in the announcements and speeches of both, stems not from a dislike pffree speech, per’se, rather a childish inability to deal with critcisms or conflicting opinions. In the case of Trump, childish behavior is very much evident throughout every discourse, challenging the way in which we use the world ‘chilidish’ (if it’s so common in adults, can it really be called ‘childish’?). In the case of Johnson his ‘born to rule’ Etonian swagger and his hatred of news and views that don’t echo his own is bourne o
from his own insecurity perceived class superiority.
Even though Donald Trump did not go down as the third President in US history to be impeeched, a less cocksure bunch like Johnson, Cummings and his inexperienced cabinet would see that as proof the Trumpian model is doomed to high profile failure but, alas, any hope you may to cling to from Trump is a false one. Johnson has won his post of Prime Minister on an absolute landslide, his confidence and bravado have never ridden the crest of a wave quite like this. He’s been bolstered by a victory even he seems to be slightly astounded by. As his uncharacteristic humbleness recedes, his confidence will grow. He, his advisors and cabinet won’t see Trump’s failures as proof of the insecurity his model of governance brings, they will simply take it as an object lesson in what not to do. Trump’s bullish ways will simply be moderated and toned down, but they’ll still be there, just better disguised to hide its insidious rollback of scrutiny and free speech.
During Johnson’s five year tenure artificial intelligence will become an even bigger presence in our lives. Smart electricity meters and the NHS 111 service will give way to a single beacon in every home; Alexa (or it’s five year equivalents of which there will certainly be). With this in mind and the government’s ambivalence toward the encroaching use of facial recognition software, Britain’ own surveillance state is just a few short years away. Depressingly, the masses will not just walk into it – they’ll be manipulated by tabloids and trashy journos like Piers Morgan and his ilk into welcoming it, and believing it to be the one thing that will save, enhance and eternally preserve the right way, against the chaos, lies and other-wolrdliness of the left.
Make no mistake – the Conservative party have won themselves another decade long stranglehold on the United Kingdom. The union will split under Johnson, Scotland will rise up against Westminster and ferment political discord over the issue of a second referendum until such time as one is granted. When, not if, Storemont reassembles to continue their infernal bickering, the political establishment of Nothern Ireland will be populated by Tory hangers on, and propped up by sterling sums of cash awarded for good party-line behaviour. The blatant bribery of the DUP in the May years points to the way forward.
What of the Welsh valleys, those once proud mining towns brought to their knees by the Conservatives in the 1980’s? Those towns and villages have now spawned a generation that has forgotten how the party decimated the future of their parents, and now turned a disturbing shade of blue – proving once and for all that there is not a single mind that cannot be manipulated, if it is done correctly. The Labour dominated Welsh Assembly, now apparently sits at odds with the conservative values
There are some who believe the Tories have ridden into the biggest victory of recent history on the back of the Brexit horse (or should that be bus) but personally, I fear the truth is much, much worse. The one thing the Tories have always been good at is hanging on to power, no matter what. Millions of people who have never benefited from Tory policies and never will has voted in the most duplicitous and dishonest politician perhaps ever. The cause is lost, the future is theirs and the fight has been soundly knocked out of everyone, myself included. When the people shout nonsense this loudly what good are the comparative whispers of reason from the back of the room?
The fledgling moderate socialist movement is over in the UK. Probably forever. There are those that will say that is a good thing but I move that those who say that have been manipulated by targeted social media ads, brainwashed by rags like the Sun and The Mail and those who still, incredibly, believe promises from politicians who have proven themselves to blatant, blatant liars. The weeping of the morning after the election which descended into heavy drinking is now passed and we must now steel ourselves against a future of which we have no control. Some have a dogged determination to fight on, to campaign and highlight the lies of the Tories but when the people have spoken this loudly, what is the point? The moderates, the socialists, the centrists have lost to the shouty, lying extreme right. It’s over. I’m just writing this so I can point to in a few years time and say “I told you so”. It’s petty and small I know, but being as the dispoian, Borisian daze ahead , it’s the only thing I can look forward to.
Copyright Martin Gregory. 2019