Bryan Appleyard has been running a series of posts on what I suppose you can call the Downing Street filth machine.
Shaking hands with McBride should be followed by a quick alcohol rub. So WTF was he doing in Downing Street? And why is this Draper still around? I dimly remember he once tried to have dinner with me. I just laughed. The answer is, of course, that they are both products of the dance of death between politicians and the press that began in the mid-nineties. So-called sleaze (I say ‘so-called’ because it wasn’t really worthy of the title, what we have now is much much worse) brought down John Major and Blair launched a control the press project using Mandelson and Campbell. It worked, the press acquiesced by allowing themselves to be convinced that the proper subject of political coverage was the Westminster soap opera and so, for almost fifteen years, we have had crap politics and crapper political journalism. We arrive at the point where a Brown strategist’s idea of strategy is to pump out dirty lies about the opposition, apparently safe in the knowledge that the mere fact that they are lies will not compromise their effectiveness one jot.’There’s no smoke without fire,’ people would say, but, these days, smoke is very seldom accompanied by fire. About Westminster, it is safe to assume nothing you read, see or hear is true. The Brown regime is decadent and depraved. It does Blair but badly. As a result , the idea of political wisdom or dignity is now laughable. It will take British politics a generation to haul itself out of this quagmire.
Read the whole thing here
This strikes me as exactly right. There is a dreadful tendency in Westminster journalism to pretend that the world twas ever thus and there is nothing new under the sun. In fact the spectacle of aides to a Prime Minister plotting to spread lies about the mental health of the wife of a political opponent IS a disgusting novelty – the end of a cumulative process of degradation. I say “the end”, but of course unless people make a stand it won’t be the end and we will carry on downwards.
Tom Paine said in Common Sense
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.
The key is to break the habit before it forms, think it wrong right away and say so loudly.