When the Daily Express and the Daily Mail tried to control
The Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, back in the thirties,
He commented in his masculine way:
‘What the proprietorship of these newspapers is aiming at is power,
But power without responsibility,
The prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.’
In the 2016 referendum,
We had Arron Banks:
‘Facts don’t work, and that’s it …
It just doesn’t work.
You have to connect with the people emotionally.
It’s the Trump success.’
And the General Elections of 2017 and 2019?
The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express,
With their slew of headlines,
Make it difficult not to think of John Heartfield,
And his Weimar agit-prop:
Big business pulling Hitler’s puppet strings;
Big business lavishing its money on Boris Johnson,
The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express
Splashing their similar views all over their front pages;
The BBC doctoring Johnson’s footage and appearances.
A prime minister who holds parliament in contempt.
A leader who speaks of ‘the will of the people’.
A leader who has held the people in contempt.
A leader who has been economical with the truth.
A leader who will redraw constituency boundaries,
Who will lead, in effect, a one-party state,
In an alliance of ‘Elite and Mob’,
A re-run of William Pitt’s repressive policies,
And sponsored attacks on democrats in the 1790s.
I think this means that we now have a new category
Of political system for the text book:
A liberal-democratic 21 st century variant of Fascism:
Not an oxymoron or a union of opposites,
But a subtle totalitarianism,
Authoritarianism in a suit.
Nearly two centuries ago,
Five thousand Chartist supporters met on Selsley Common,
Affirming their support for working class political power,
Through the Six Points,
Five of which have become law:
Secret Ballot (1872); Equal Constituencies (1885); Universal Franchise (1928);
Abolition of Property Qualification to stand as an MP (1858);
Payment of MPs (1911);
It was thought that this would usher in democracy,
But the transgressions of our so-called free press
(Remember the Zinoviev Letter forgery in the Daily Mail at the 1924 election?
The Daly Mail has got a long history and a lot of previous),
Mean that those points have been nullified:
The ballot is no longer secret – voters’ heads are full of lies
(Or ‘cultural hegemony’ as Gramsci put it,
Or ‘false consciousness’, as Marx put it);
A future constituency redrawing will favour the Conservatives
In their bid to establish a one-party state;
Many people have forgotten the struggles of men and women:
Imprisonment, hunger strikes, death, transportation,
Or they’ve not been taught about it, or listened,
And abstain on principle,
Or forget to vote …
MPs are unrepresentative of the population …
The Chartists could not imagine a world where money talks so persuasively:
They thought votes for all would mean equality of power,
Where one vote is worth the same as another,
And where the voter was free from coercion, intimidation and control:
But what we have today is not democracy,
It is a liberal-democratic variant of fascism,
A stepping-stone towards a one-party state,
Where Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit,
But the new wave of young activists in the Labour Party
Are the new Chartists:
The Chartists of the twenty first century,
People who remind us that we can control history,
We can fight back against the lies of the press,
We can prevent a liberal-democratic fascism,
We can establish socialism,
We can fight back,
‘For the many, not the few”,
Carrying the mantle of Shelley’ rage against Peterloo:
‘Ye are many – they are few!’