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Shrugging off billions, while the press looks on

Link: Billions wasted and they just shrug it off - Telegraph.

I was pleased to read such a piece in the Daily Telegraph, albeit in the obscure "opinion" section. 90% of the article is comprised of hard facts, so presumably it's "opinion" because it calls for heads to roll? These facts don't surprise me (nor the opinion neither). I am a keen follower of the splendid blog Burning our Money, where the redoubtable Wat Tyler regales readers regularly with both. The surprise is to see such facts and opinions in such proximity in a mainstream newspaper.

With notable exceptions, British political blogs rant less against the "main stream media" or "MSM" than their American counterparts. This is odd because, while American bloggers on the right will tell you that their MSM are riddled with pinkoes, the average US journalist is sane compared to his British equivalent. Apart from the odd grumpy curmudgeon seemingly selected by the editors to discredit right wing thought, our political inky hacks live in a statist fantasy world where only government matters. Given the growing Socialist dominance of British academia since the 1930's, our journalists have been steeped in left thinking for so long that we have not even a folk memory of serious coverage of classical liberal or Conservative thought. We don't know what to complain about, because our journalism has been this way since our grandparents day.

01goldbar24kThe points in the linked article are as sad as they are true. How does Gordon Brown escape personal bankruptcy for having squandered other peoples money on such a monumental scale? He only had the use of the money as our  trustee. He used billions, not for the public good, but to advance his own political career and buy votes for his party. So why is our system so defective that there is no-one to send him the personal bill? It can be and is done to mere councillors, so why not to a Chancellor and Prime Minister?

Sadder yet, however, is that for so long as the people had cheap credit to buy holidays and cars and were thus content, the Fourth Estate in Britain failed to do its job. Only now, when unemployment (even after the numbers have been rigged by encouraging the hale and the hearty onto "the sick") is set to rise above two million again, are the facts even being reported in the MSM. Where were these media professionals with all their training and resources when the mistakes reported here were being made? Not reading Wat Tyler's writings, clearly. Nor attending the meetings of the Public Accounts Committee as he does. Though they are paid to, and he does so merely as a concerned citizen.

Thomas Jefferson's remark comes to mind;

...were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter...

I am afraid that for the whole of the New Labour era, functionally, we have had the former. The press must shoulder much of the blame for the parlous economic state of Britain today. They whistled Dixie while New Labour brought us to our knees.

I have never thought that blogging had much to do with the press (though the latter has tetchily seen us bloggers as amateur competition). We don't have the apparatus or the staff to do the proper job that Jefferson had in mind. We are mere observers, when real journalists can (and should) act. With honourable exceptions where the blogger has built his own insider sources, blogging is more like an incidentally public conversation at the local bar than a publication. It has revealed a popular desire to be heard and this has changed the MSM somewhat, leading to comments facilities on the web versions of their articles for example. Clearly "proppa bloggas" and the proper press influence each other, but we are not part of the same thing. I have to ask though. If the British media were not so poor, would political blogs be remotely as popular?