Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 07/04/19

Loose Movements

It is a well-established datum concerning how people read news articles that the vast majority of them don't read much further than the headline.

Hacks and editors know this very well, as it is so well recognised a phenomenon that it features early on in most journalism courses.

This is very handy for said scribblers and knucklers, as it enables them to present a story which - in terms of its actual factual content, should there be any - is not conducive to the lines they want to peddle on any given subject, in such a way as to make it appear as if it does; knowing as they do that the reality of the report can be buried five, six or more paragraphs deep where only a small percentage of the readers will ever encounter it, and where the majority of those will have already made up their minds in accordance with the impression given by the headline anyway.

(The estimable and acerbic Stu Campbell has gathered a myriad examples of this in relation to media coverage of politics in Scotland; the same principle does, however, apply universally and so is instructive in a wider context)

Take this example from the website of the abubindependentski this afternoon:

Screenshot: 'Labour's Jewish members declare party's leadership 'antisemitic''

Some of us who are up to speed on the ways in which language can be subverted - even if by accident - would have had that large, black '?' appear above our heads at this point, like a character in a cartoon.

Clicking through to the story itself brings us face-to-face with this headline:

Screenshot: 'Labour Jewish members declare party's leadership 'antisemitic' in damning vote'

At this point, the '?' has decended from the empyrean to carve a quizzical frown on the brow. It's the same line (shorn of the possessive but augmented by the editorialising), but it still seems a bit off. The implication thus far is clear if taking the thing at face value, which is where the question begins to ask itself: what? All of the Jewish members of the Labour Party? I mean, Jewish opinion is famously various on just about everything (hence the old saying, "Two Jews, three opinions"), so how did they all - even within such a comparatively small sample as those children of Avram who have paid their dues to the 'People's Party' - come to an agreement on this one point when it is widely enough known that such agreement is only infinitessimally possible?

The next line down does, at least, offer some degree of clarification:

Screenshot: 'Jewish Labour members have voted declare the Labour leadership 'antisemitic'

(The poor tappers and shunters at the Indy (sic) were in such a hurry to get this out that they missed the infinitival particle out, but then such things are known happen).

Ah! So now it's not "Labour's Jewish members", but "Jewish Labour members"! The same three words, but the change of order is telling. This isn't - as was previously implied - all the Jewish members of the Party, but only some members of the Party who are Jewish. Well, that at least makes a bit more sense, in that it maps a little more isomorphically to known reality.

But another question remains: which Jewish Labour members? A couple of lines further down (and at the point by which 90% of readers have already given up), we get more salient information:

Screenshot: 'The Jewish Labour Movement passed the damning motion at its annual general meeting.'

And here is where it hits us in the eye. The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has been affiliated to the Labour Party for over a century (even longer than the period of time in which the 'People's Party' has been promising to eradicate the non-elected house of the Mother****** Of Parliaments), going by its Hebrew title Poale Zion until as recently as fifteen years ago. It is as much of a piece in all this as the 'Labour Friends Of Israel' (and the 'Conservative Friends Of Israel', the 'Liberal Democrat Friends Of Israel' and - for all we know - the 'BNP Friends Of Israel', because ethnic nationalists with fascistic tendencies tend to flock together like shitehawks).

If you look at the history and aims of the JLM, you will see that it is closely affiliated with the nominally-left wing of the World Zionist Organisation, and that its intent is to "...promote [...] Socialist Zionism..." and - more significantly - to "...promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life...", before going on to a grotesque non-sequitur about "...social justice and equality for all its citizens" (which, at the moment at least, still includes the inconvenient Palestinian Arabs having to live within Eretz Yisra'el's ever-expanding borders). That it has close links with the Self-Righteous State's embassy in London and its attendant spies is, of course, a given, and a connection which has been demonstrated on many occasions.

And so is the truth - eventually - revealed. This was a motion passed by a group which, as the Grauniad's equally breathless report informed us, has 2000 members (i.e., 0.4% of the total party membership). A group which, moreover, along with its actions in support of the aims of a foreign (and, all too often, not particularly friendly) power, is not likely to be enamoured of a party leader who - in stark contrast to all his predecessors over the past seventy years - makes no secret of his support for the most fundamental rights of the Palestinian nation. The word - sent out from Tel Aviv and amplified in Westminster and in the media bubble therein - went out: This Man Must Be Stopped.

Which is why we have had for the last four years the confected shit-storm about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. I say 'confected' because it was seldom if ever mentioned in connection with the party until Jeremy Corbyn became leader (I recommend this Media Lens alert for a deeper analysis). As that piece discloses, the level of actual anti-Semitism amongst Labour Party members is roughly on a par with that to be found in the population of Greater Gammonia as a whole; nothing to be proud of as such, but certainly no cause for the conspicuous garment-rending which has been seen from the current leadership's enemies since 2015.

The Grundiad report also lets us know some of the speakers at the meeting which passed this peculiarly unanimous motion. There was Louise Ellman, long known as the Honorable Member For Hebron Riverside; there was Ruth Smeeth, whose defamation of the anti-racism activist Marc Wadsworth led to his expulsion from the party; and Margaret Hodge, who screamed "You're a fucking antisemite and racist!" at her party leader within earshot of the whole House of Commons. No place this year, alas, for Luciana Berger, yet another Liverpool MP who has left to join the small squad of political banditti currently calling itself 'The Independent Group' (no relation to the newspaper, although they have in common their funding by foriegn agents). Nor was there a place in this Sanhedrin of Snipers for Joan Ryan (another TIGgy), whose relationship with Israel might be described as rather more than 'friendly'.

So, in brief, we have a tiny group of Zionism's little helpers fulminating against the fact that they have lost much of the influence they have had over Labour Party policy with regards to Palestine which they had taken as their birthright, coupled with an eagerly complaisant corporate (and state) media corps who have between them weaponised anti-Semitism for utterly self-serving purposes (and doing great damage to the cause of the victims of actual anti-Semitism in the process, but then again you can't make a blintz without breaking a few eggs can you?), all to subvert the internal democractic processes of not only one political party, but of the political system in general, creating as it does an atmosphere in which there is one important subject Which Cannot Ever Be Discussed Properly.

And so it is that a man who - whatever his other faults - has been a stern foe of racism of every kind for several decades can be described as, if not anti-Semitic himself, an accomplice and enabler of it. And that the charge can be made to stick in the minds of enough of the electorate to damage him and his party because Most People Don't Read Beyond The Headline.

It goes much further, of course, as I mentioned back up there when discussing Wings Over Scotland's examination of Scotland's almost entirely pro-colonial media. Because it is absolutely clear that their contemporaries in London have been responsible more than any other single element for the whirlpool of shit that we find ourselves in today. For was it not almost the entirety of the press - and that sometimes included even the so-called 'liberal' faction within it - which published misinformation after distortion after outright lie about the EU over a period of thirty years or more, leading their readership to the conclusion that the "EuSSR Franco-German Superstate!!!" was intent on stealing the incandescent lightbulbs from their babies' mouths, polluting their sacred British bodily fluids (comprising one part pork fat to two parts Special Brew to three parts black bile) and turning their passports a discordant shade of puce, and thereby creating the conditions whereby a significant proportion of the population voted to machine-gun their children (or at least, their prospects of escape)?

(That is why I find the so-called 'People's Vote' campaign terminally risible, by the way: the People whose Vote would be canvassed by such a waste of time are no better informed than they were three years ago; indeed, the screaming and stranking of the hack-rags has only intensified in volume (in both senses of that word), and the atmosphere around such an event would be even more febrile and vicious than last time when, if you recall, an MP was actually murdered)

It is not surprising that the one element in all the hand-wringing tosh hurled at us by the corporate and state media on the lines of, "How on earth did we get to this?" which has never seriously been analysed by those same official outlets is their own rôle, be it the printing of acknowledged guff by Boris Johnson in the Toryglyph or the mainstreaming of the hard right by the BBC in having such as the Odious Farage on Question Time a dozen times a year when his party never had more than three MPs simultaneously.

But they know that they can get away with it ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

Because Most People Don't Read Beyond The Headline.