As the 2016 EU referendum campaign got into its stride, there was one media outlet out there on the right which was unequivocal in its support for the Leave side, and equally enthusiastic about any and every dirty trick that side pulled, especially if it came from Vote Leave, fronted by the singularly dishonest Matthew Elliott, and the individual who is now chief polecat at 10 Downing Street, Dominic Cummings.
Alex Wickham - maybe not smiling now
To no surprise at all, that media outlet was the one run by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. As Staines is an unswerving supporter of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, backing him through two London Mayoral campaigns, and then excusing every act of ineptitude, waste and dishonesty when in office, that support naturally came with the territory.
The support for Bozo extended to Fawkes teaboy Alex “Billy Liar
” Wickham, whose ability to talk well, but lie badly, verged at time on the heroic. This included excusing Michael “Oiky
” Gove’s dislike of mere experts, which The Great Guido either backed, or claimed he didn’t really say. But that was then, and this is now: Wickham is now a supposedly respectable real journalist at BuzzFeed
News, and the UK is in the midst of a crisis.
So all of a sudden, we have to listen to experts. “Ahead of new PM statement - total fury across govt tonight at people flouting social distancing orders - in particular men and younger men - images of London parks packed with people over the weekend have shocked Whitehall - they believed people would behave more responsibly
” blustered Wickham yesterday afternoon. But this is the inevitable consequence of his own actions.
Politicians should be distrusted? Experts ignored? Brexit done, so lots of freedom and no need to pay attention to all that rotten bureaucracy? Wickham tried again. “Boris Johnson … Take this advice seriously. Follow it … Please follow the advice … Don’t feel that fresh air provides immunity … Stay 2 metres apart … We will bring forward further measures if we think that is necessary
”. Not working, is it? You don’t ask nicely, you tell people.
Meanwhile, seeing the FT publishing results from
a new study by the people at UCL, which contains the kinds of conclusions that Wickham and his pals might find less than totally palatable, the Observer’s
Carole Cadwalladr noted “Government’s latest strategy of partial suppression will lead to 35,000-70,000 additional deaths - UCL study claims. ‘The authors regard [this] as an unacceptably high number of excess deaths’
”. Well, quite.
The former Fawkes teaboy is yet another example of those pretend journalists who were more than happy to indulge in falsehood and misinformation when it suited them, but have serious trouble understanding why a public to which they fed so much of it remains sceptical of experts and their warnings. They were told it was “Project Fear
” in 2016, they were told the same about half the political establishment for years after that.
Now, people are behaving in ways that could lead to tens of thousands of them dying a slow and painful death from a rampant Coronavirus outbreak, the likes of Wickham are pivoting to tell the public it’s their own fault if they don’t listen.
That’s another of those unintended consequences. Stop blaming others, eh Alex
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I'd like to see a Venn diagram of Brexiters and those thronging the streets.
ps. At a time when we really do need accurate info, Richard Littlejohn is still claiming to live in the UK.
Would I be correct in thinking the term "nanny state" has been retired from the right wing press, for some reason?
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