Being our brothers' keepers: Benefits Street and Middle England
Much has been written about how determined the government is to set the working poor against the workless poor. But less attention has been paid to the skill with which Conservative politicians are pushing the buttons of Middle England.
The World War I centenary, Lord Kitchener and a Cumbrian shepherd boy
It is an instantly recognised and powerful image which has endured for over a century. The foreshortened pointing finger, extravagant moustaches and braided military cap of Lord Kitchener have been utilised across a wide range of advertising since they were first employed to tell young men that their country needed them.
The babies in the river and a stain on our national conscience
It's a good day for a story about babies. The parable of the babies in the river tells of a settlement on a riverbank whose inhabitants began to notice infants floating downstream. As each one came by, someone would jump in and rescue it. As the days went by, more and more babies were pulled from the water, fed, clothed and taken care of to the best of the villagers' ability.
Raise your voices, because it really 'shouldn't be like this'
Jenny (not her real name) describes herself as “a medicated production”. In preparation for our meeting, she had recourse to a morphine patch. She explained that she always tried to “dress nicely and take care with my hair and make up when I go out or meet people.”
Yesterday I received an email from John Lewis inviting me to “be the perfect host this Christmas”. This would apparently be facilitated by the purchase of “cookware” and “serveware" which would enable me to “cook with ease from morning to night.”
The fright wig and jester's mask slipped last Wednesday. Boris Johnson, delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, showed the ugly reality behind the motley as he made his bid for the support of the Tory right and attempted to position himself as successor to David Cameron.
A new political discourse: difference without mendacity and incivility?
During last week's Prime Minister's Questions, Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, asked the Prime Minister an entirely reasonable (and, it has to be said, foreseeable) question about inadequate levels of business investment. The reply was a disgrace.
Difference and misrepresentation: a reply to Nick Cohen
Consider these two excerpts: “Writing for the religious website Ekklesia, Jill Segger explained why good people must not show solidarity with ex-servicemen and women.” and “The brutalising experiences of combat lead many to harm themselves and others when they return to civilian life. These people deserve our compassion and support.”
Propaganda could be described as persuasion without morals. It has been a tool of power for centuries and in our own time, its use in inculcating a state of belief which is not in proportion to evidence, is most clearly seen in politicians' choice and use of slogans.