Wednesday 9 April 2014

Millergate: A failure of media

Miller: Got away lightly
The resignation this morning by Maria Miller this tells you quite a lot about the state of modern politics and media.  This was a media show-trial in which the BBC have been completely negligent.

In an interview with Jeremy Paxman, Andrew Lansley explains quite well the nuances and complications that precede this debacle.  There is a lot that is plausible in what he says.  If you look at the rules, or indeed any set of laws and procedures from that house, they are opaque. 

I've had a hell of a time trying to work out what these new bailiff laws mean. The amendments aren't coherent sentences. They say things like Section 76B: replace "and" with "or" and in para 2 remove comma and add "with a cheesegrater". Even full sentences have to be read upside-down and facing a mirror to make any sense of them.

MP's can be forgiven for misreading rules, and as Lansley said, even the committee had long debates as to what the rules meant. So the issue here is whether our law-making process is any longer fit for purpose now that it is of labyrinthine complexity.

The second issue is whether the committee scrutiny system works and lastly whether she abused her position in hindering that process. We don't know for a fact that she did, and much of what has been said about that is hearsay, but that was the critical issue here and it required more than whipping up a Twitter mob to get to the heart of the matter.

In the face of that, our inept media refocused on what it can understand - and instead of a proper investigation, did what they could to provoke a populist reaction. So now that she has resigned, it will be because of an evidence-free Twitter mob rather than a detailed analysis of what she actually did. She will now not face any reprimand or scrutiny because of it - and she is off the hook. She has resigned, but not been sacked, and all for the wrong reasons. A trial by media that convicted her for the mugging but not the murder.
We are now in a state where ministers can be hounded out of their jobs not because of evidence, but because of the "smell-test". That's fine for us if we want to get rid of toxic and unpleasant people like Miller, but being a toxic piece of shit like her should not be the lone grounds for their removal. If we applaud this in this instance, then we cannot complain when the left do it to, say, Owen Paterson for some obscure irregularity. We have just witnessed a kangeroo court that totally missed the main concern. But why should they care? The BBC claims another ministerial scalp, Paxman gets his hand-job, and the media caravan moves on. Depressing.

Meanwhile, all this Westminster Village expenses guff is a decoy. It is merely the media entertaining itself, for its own sake, rather than acting in the public interest. We then get a week's airtime filler from the main media circus, completely distracting everyone inside the M25, while stuff like this goes on every other week and nobody bats a fucking eyelid - and I spend a night in the cells for calling 'em cunts.

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