For years, the refrain from those at Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago, was that they were mere contrarians and advocates for free speech. Theirs was, therefore, a noble cause, tempering the herd instinct of establishment and social media with the inconvenient but necessary other side of any given story. It has served them well in advancing their cause. And it is total bunk.
Behold yet another corporate shill chasing the money
That the likes of Brendan O’Neill and his hangers-on were not quite as non-partisan as they would have the more gullible across the media landscape believe was hinted at when O’Neill and his sidekick Fraser Myers were overheard in the Comedy Pub on London’s Oxenden Street talking about how “Libs would be triggered”, and thereby sounding as if they were inhabiting the same ground as the US hard right.
And there was a very good reason for that: Spiked is indeed inhabiting the same ground as the US hard right, because it has the same paymasters. By its own admission, Spiked has received $300,000 from the Koch Foundation. That’s the same people who bring us climate change denial and incessant bashing of anyone remotely left of centre.
By complete coincidence, you understand, Spiked has been bashing anyone connected to the current Labour leadership, but only in the name of free speech. The latest Charles Koch Foundation grant has funded live events for 2019, the first of which is titled “Should we be free to hate?” Karl Popper would have had fun with that one.
The whole modus operandi of Spiked is in lockstep with the US hard right, not least the gloating and glorying in anything that destabilises other EU member states. Hence “‘We should get behind the #GiletsJaunes. The people in #France who live on the peripheries of the cities no longer want to be peripheral to politics. Their voices matter and they deserve to be heard.’” But not those who live on the periphery of London, eh Fraser Myers?
Spiked feigns sympathy for the working class, but when push comes to shove, the corporate interest is excused every time, as with “#FOBTs are not the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ - they are no more addictive than dog racing. The government is banning these machines on the back of sob stories, not hard evidence”. More free speech, eh?
Bashing the left comes under, you guessed it, the pretence of free speech. Hence “Kate Osamor's moronic outburst is no great threat to press freedom. But the Labour Party is. It is demanding that newspapers be forced into state-backed regulation, and is being cheered by the great and good for doing so”. Spiked has been on board with the Leveson bashing from Day One. But those proposals do not impinge on anyone’s free speech.
The subtlety and nuance of the Spiked funding model is explained
They might, though, impact on corporate interests. Talking of which, O’Neill recently gave a speech in Australia under the aegis of the Institute of Public Affairs - the IPA. The group that denies climate change, shills for Big Tobacco, wants to abolish the minimum wage, trash welfare and sell off public assets. Bit like the Tufton Street band of Astroturf lobby groups all rolled into one. That is where O’Neill and Spiked are at right now.
Spiked is not a campaign for freedom of speech and contrarianism. It is yet another in the long line of corporatist shills, another appendage of the hard right. The freedom O’Neill champions is for the greedy rich to shit on everyone else. I’ll just leave that one there.
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