Sunday, June 23, 2019


Back in the bad old days of the 1980s, when incidents like the one involving Johnson were dismissed as 'domestics,' two female friends of mine were murdered by their partners. If you hear something frightening coming from a neighbouring flat or house, call the police. Please call the police. It could save lives or stop violent behaviour.

But the response of the Mail, the Sun, the Telegraph, and the rest of the right wing press is to respond to Johnson's neighbours actions by destroying their lives. In doing so, they have entered the sewer.

It's an old trick to deflect attention from wrong doing by defaming and discrediting the people who have drawn attention to the offence. Everyone then ends up either defending or denigrating them, rather than talking about the original action. However, in this case there is more. Because Johnson is poised to become Prime Minister as the candidate of the right, the press are not just protecting their man, they are sending out a warning. Attack him and we will wreck your lives.

This is the contempt that the powerful have for ordinary people. Their lives are disposable. These are the depths that the press will sink to. It stinks. They disgust me.


Listen to this clip. A more temperate and expert response.


Simon Wren-Lewis agrees, pointing out something that should surprise nobody:
Mr. Penn and his partner have left their flat after receiving a large number of death threats as a result of this newspaper coverage.
Ah yes, "power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages." (Stanley Baldwin quoting Rudyard Kipling)


Anonymous said...

No offence was committed, and I don't think anyone has ever argued against them calling the police. But their concern was not, I think, genuine. The whole point of the exercise, so it would appear, was to get a good story against Boris Johnson and give it to the press, in this case - surprise! surprise! - the Guardian. On the subject of wrecking lives, it seems that Boris's partner has for some time been subjected to a campaign of harassment intended to make her move out of her flat and away from the neighbourhood. What's the leftist position on that? Oh, and I see that Ryley describes Boris's neighbours as "ordinary people." Well, according to another newspaper "Ms Leigh was raised in a £15 million New York home and her father was American composer Mitch Leigh who wrote the 1965 Broadway musical Man Of La Mancha, which included the huge hit The Impossible Dream." Her partner, Tom Penn, is a playwright. They live in a flat in Camberwell priced at £720,000. Ordinary people? I haven't laughed so much since Sadik Khan was described as "much admired."

Jazzlover said...

Main stench comes from the neighbours who were determined to smear Boris Johnson. All your blarney doesn't overcome that.

The Plump said...

Both commenters have missed the point.

This post is about an argument from bad faith, a classic logical fallacy. Neither of you know the motivations of the people involved. I don't know the motivations of the people involved. The press don't know. Their motivations are irrelevant. As is their politics. As is their wealth or otherwise.

This is exactly the same as the way Corbynistas deal with people who complain about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party by describing people with precisely the same language - saying that they are trying to smear Corbyn. This deflects attention from the real issue. There is no difference.

(They also play the 'what about' game, another bad argument - one bad act does not negate the other)

There was an incident. The police confirmed it. Other neighbours confirmed it. This is all that matters. Johnson is standing for Prime Minister.

It frustrates the hell out of me, because the whole approach is blind partisanship - to BOTH Johnson and Corbyn. The position people take is determined entirely by where they stand politically - not on the facts. I have spent hours in fruitless arguments about sections of the left's admiration for odious regimes solely on the basis that they oppose the US. I loathe the willingness of some of the left to support far-right Islamist organisations purely because they are anti-Israel. People pile in to defend the indefensible because it is their side that is under attack, not because of the facts or otherwise of the case. They have prejudged and always will do so.

This time this partisanship has a powerful ally, the popular press. They play the same game but with far more reach and greater consequences for people's lives. They have slaughtered the complainants to minimise any attention paid to the incident. They have a long track record in doing things like this. And they are ruthless. This is what the post is about.

The Plump said...

A sane and informed comment. Listen - only five minutes