Good Evans?



More BBC balance and impartiality on display this morning on Radio 4. In an interview with the solicitor representing residents of a London block of flats seeking a court order to stop the MOD placing missiles on the roof of their building, Evans demonstrated that typical stock BBC response to the rights of ‘little people.’

His general tone was one of contempt and scorn for these residents and his line of questioning was contemptuous throughout. The MOD with great fanfare, announced these supposed Olympic ‘anti-terror’ procedures months ago yet Davies never once questioned the so-called military expert ‘and former infrantryman’ (ooh get you soldier boy) guest about proof of any plot to hijack a plane during the Olympics  and if this wasn’t just yet another piece of hysterical political posturing’  by the ‘keep em scared’ brigade.

No, Evans was far more interested in whether the residents had any right to complain seeing as the council owned the flats and could therefore do what it wanted with its own building. When the solicitor made his point about residents not being consulted and the infringement upon their daily lives, having armed police and soldiers in the building as well as living and sleeping in a building that housed heavy weaponry, Evans became almost angry ‘are you saying these people can’t go about their lives just because there are surface to air missiles on their roof?’ or words to that effect. Er, yes! How you would you like to kip in your fancy metrosexual mews house with a fucking exocet in the loft Evo?

Evans then asked soldier boy if shooting down a plane over London was in any way better than allowing it to reach its target? The ‘former infrantryman’ explained that ofcourse this would be a catastrophe but better killing Hackney scumbags than members of the political elite eh? No, he didn’t say this outright but that’s the general idea.

Evans then returned to the solicitor, ‘surely you can’t be questioning the MOD’s strategy?’ he asked as if such a thing was unthinkable. Amazingly he replied that he wasn’t yet asked why the missiles couldn’t be housed in another building. ‘Ah so it’s OK for other people to have these missiles?’ Evans went into sneery NIMBY mode. The solicitor replied that he meant army engineers could surely construct their own tower or maybe the MOD could house their SAMs in say an empty building rather than one housing hundreds of families, adding maybe they could be re-housed.

At this Evans exploded. “re-housed for 2 weeks?” the very thought it of it. Why couldn’t they just get on with it,  after all what’s a few weeks living with the fear of explosion and certain death when our brave athletes are taking on the cream of the world’s drugs cheats in a few weeks time? Have some Blitz spirit you moaning minnies! The solicitor explained that it wasn’t only 2 weeks but that they’d be there for 3 months and Evans seemed cowed for a split second ‘ah so longer than 2 weeks then.’

I don’t know whether we should expect any better from this over-rated ‘business’ reporter, the type of ‘diverse’ employee the BBC can parade as a token example of their inclusivity. Gay or not, Evans displays exactly the same kind of prejudice most BBC reporters of any racial, regional or sexual background display against the working class and the undercurrent of this report was evident. Many of these residents will be ‘blacks’ and they should be lucky to have a flat in what’s fast becoming one of the hottest gentrification areas in the capital. The olympics has done wonders for their shithole of a community and many of Evans’s mates in the BBC have even settled there which is why there are far more vegan delis in the area these days.

Then, it was back to Andy Murray, the REAL news with more regurgitated press headlines about Braveheart, Princess Teardrop, Posh & Becks and ‘our’ new national hero masquerading as ‘news’.




John Harris, Owen Jones & The Dinner Partisans

Have you ever cringed when some Radio 4 ponce has declaimed on behalf on behalf of the ‘working clars’? Despite their posh accents they will claim that their parents were definately ‘blue collar’ but worked hard to ‘improve’ themselves. They will say that that their parents really struggled, holding down three or four jobs to provide them with an opportunity to ‘better’ themselves via private education They will no doubt absolve themselves by claiming they ‘won’ a scholarship and that they found themselves adrift at Oxford or Cambridge amongst toffs who regarded them as prole scum.

John Harris is the Guardian’s token ‘soft leftie’, the son of a nuclear engineering lecturer and a nuclear chemist brought up in the very posh Cheshire town of Wilmslow. He went to a comprehensive, allbeit one in Wilmslow and then went on to Oxford. John went on to be a well known music hack during the 90s, wrote the book ‘The Last Party; Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock’  and now writes for The Guardian.

Owen Jones is the Independent’s token soft leftie’, the son of a local authority worker and an IT lectuter. He was educated at Cheadle and Marple sixth form college, one of Cheshire’s wealthiest areas and went on to Oxford. He then went onto write the book ‘Chavs; the demonisation of the working class’ and now writes for The Independent.

The parallels between both writers, a generation removed, are obvious and yet illuminating. Neither seem to have ever had a ‘proper job’ other than journalism or political aparatchikery (sic). Owen Jones describes his ‘career’ as ‘a former dogsbody for Labour MPs and trade unions’ before moving onto writing books and becoming a broadsheet columnist. Harris’s career is just a series of titles he’s been published by, books he’s written and the odd spot of TV punditry.  They had it tuff!

I shared a panel with Jones as part of a Liverpool literary festival in May that explored attitudes towards working class culture and politics. He was a brilliant orator, a confident and inspiring speaker who articulated many of the familiar gripes that we all had about how working class voices are marginalised and ignored or patronised and misrepresented by the middle class media elite.

Yet, there seemed to be something a bit too rehearsed about Jones’s speil, as if he was proving that all those years spent studying Labour and Trade Union history had been well spent. He knew election percentages dating back 50 years, he channeled into concerns about media distortion and prejudice and he won a cynical audience, who’d heard it all many times before, over. People spoke of him as a future Labour Party leader as if this was something to be excited by. Compared to Miliband’s brand of middle-class patriotic Neo-New Labour posturing, Jones looks like Eric Heffer but really he’s just another product of ‘the system.’

Harris and Jones share many traits; they regard themselves as ‘radicals’ as voicing the opinions of ‘the working class’ and want to be seen as troublesome thorns in the establishment’s side but really they are pretty tame pet Jack Russells, snapping at the squire’s ankles and are patted on the head for displaying spunk and spirit. They have a career path mapped out and seem to desire acceptance by the very people they pretend to despise.

They are typical Guardianista/Indie dinner party partisans, claiming to speak on behalf of the marginalised, the downtrodden, the oppressed and whilst Jones places this in a wider cultural and economic context than Harris, they both seem to accept that work in itself is some kind of panacea, that all the working class want are jobs and houses to keep them happy. Their no doubt genuine concern for the lives of ordinary people at the receiving end of Austerity Britain is welcome and both writers touch on some very important issues but still, they are outsiders looking in. Harris lives in that exclusive literary ghetto, Hay On Wye whereas Jones lives in ‘London,’ no doubt one of the gentrified former ghettoes now popular with bike riding, Independent columnists.

Both Harris and Jones seem to resent the attitudes of their fellow Oxonians towards their middle class credentials and this has resulted in a desire to piss off the toffs who inhabit the upper echelons of both the political and media establishment. Yet their brand of mild left rhetoric only exists in a narrow and self-contained spectrum where such views are regarded as ‘extreme’ or ‘militant.’ The real voices of protest and dissent will never be heard whilst the likes of Harris and Jones act as mediators for the soft left media.

Well maybe we don’t need mediators or translators, maybe we don’t need people to speak on our behalf or articulate our  views to make them understood or contextualised. The media simply reinforces its own prejudices and stereotypes and by refusing even to admit that ‘the proles’ can speak for themselves, allows those who claim to speak on ‘our’ behalf to construct yet another layer of myth and misrepresentation.

As a wise man once said ‘socialism is born from the guts of experience not from the pages of books.’