BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Thanks to modern technology even those of us who rise at five o’clock in the morning can have our social circles operating in the background at that time, while we set about our day’s work, thanks to services like Telegram and Signal. There’s one group I am a member of which has developed an entertaining Statler and Waldorf approach to the day’s incoming news stories. Lots of (mostly warranted) grumbling and chuntering occurs over the first tea of the morning. When the morning news radio programmes begin, between us we are tuned to Talk, Times, LBC and the Today Programme, so we tend to get a good grasp of the day’s early talking points, simultaneously rifling through the day’s newspapers and exchanging interesting or explosive links during breaks from working through emails. I quite often post Morning Star, Socialist Worker or Guardian links which always get this group’s piss boiling. “Why on earth do you read that crap?” I get asked. “TAC”, I hear a lot – short for they are all c****.
The thing is that, however much you disagree with others’ points of view, there is always value in seeing what others are thinking. Irrelevant has always been a risky word. These days of rising walls – the escalation of tribes, social media echo chambers and MSM infatuation with wokery – only become intelligible when you get to wear the shoes of all participants.
Aside from the aforementioned socialist lungs, I wholly recommend The National for SNP propaganda, Tribune Mag for the nasty Leftist/IRA nexus angle, CAABU and CAGE for the latest UK trends in Islamist lunacy, while Momentum’s website, The Canary and Skwawkbox are prime vantage points from which to enjoy a front-row seat for the ongoing implosion of the Labour Party.
Whatever you do, do not take these publications seriously. Still, if your head is screwed on properly you’ll have a good chuckle at a lot of what is published by them. It’s difficult not to laugh at the irony of Scottish Nationalists simultaneously demanding the closure of tax havens while deep-mourning the loss of ‘one of Scotland’s favourite sons’ – the Barbados-based tax exile, Sean Connery. Momentum sniping at Labour’s membership plunge under Starmer is a bit rich for a group which hit a membership ceiling three years ago when they ran out of wingnuts to sign up – a name change to ‘Stagnation’ would be more fitting. CAGE’s website contributors are on the usual khat and their output frequently puts one off one’s Weetabix – nonetheless its articles lead off down various rabbit holes where you get to chortle at brainwashed madmen fretting about ankle exposure and whether their cats have the requisite power to ward off jinn. Don’t miss Socialist Worker’s Breakfast in Red daily email for subscribers – usually ranting about Covid’s inherent racism or capitalist revanchist plots, while avoiding the subject of feminism in light of those crippling Comrade Delta rape accusations.
Dipping into all these sources may be too much for some. You may not have time – you may still be in bed dreaming of Linda Lusardi. Endlessly seeking new information like an information junkie can ultimately become a distraction.
Of course if you are worried about the veracity of a source or story you can always turn to the BBC’s Specialist Disinformation Unit who are now, courtesy of the public’s money, the “gold standard” for determining what is truth and what is fiction. Presumably, Martin Bashir was otherwise engaged as were all other impartial employees when BBC apparatchiks chose a chap to run the unit who has written a book called “Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House”. He and his deputy Marianna Spring try their very best from their broom cupboard to identify those dishing out dangerous Covid advice and other fake news, but they stand before a tsunami of miscreants and headbangers and are bound to drown. Fake news will long outlast the BBC and it seems unlikely their roles will ever find market value or be backed in the future by a state awash with fibbing politicians. One wonders how we ever lived without the BBC’s “Reality Check” service. After all the BBC has always been so generous letting us in on the truth: “Really? Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall were kiddy-fiddlers while Lord McAlpine was innocent?”, “That Bangladesh child labour footage was really faked?”, “Emily Maitlis is actually an activist?”. The reality is that the BBC is so notorious for specialist disinformation, one wonders why Carole Cadwalladr hasn’t been appointed as their go-to talking head on everything from politics to ballroom dancing.
Which brings us to the question, should there be censorship at all in our modern society, aside from the obvious victim-creating stuff like child porn and Isil propaganda?
It is a tragedy that there are gullibles out there and perhaps for their own good such vulnerables do need a helping hand. Still, we humans are a hardy lot and – on these islands at least – are endowed with impressive levels of common sense and perspicacity. We all survived the womb after all, where oxygen levels are similar to those at the top of Mount Everest.
Contrasts provided by an eclectic mix of sources do tend to bring out the inspiring against a dark backcloth of rot.
Dominic Wightman is the Editor of Country Squire Magazine.