Saturday, January 30, 2010

I maintain, the double standards are vile

When a crime is a crime and NOT an item for politicking. If only every family-related crime was reported in the same fashion, regardless of the perpetrator's income.

In the last few days I wrote two posts (see here and here) about the neurotic double standards adopted by the British media and politicians in relation to crime. When my remarks were republished (though heavily edited) on Liberal Conspiracy, certain commenters went simply apeshit.

"Pretty fucking poor taste" and "the piece reads as if Claude is sneering at these tragedies" remarked someone. "Moir-esque", quipped someone else. "How low can you go?" was another comment and so on.

I didn't have a chance to reply, so let's take a look.

How the fuck did I "sneer at these tragedies"? How dare you? If there's anything I'm sneering at that's the patronising tone that millions of people under a certain income have to endure each and every single time a crime or a tragedy takes place amongst the least affluent.

I'm raising an eyebrow at the relentless tabloid barrage about the usual roll call of "broken society", "scumbags", "evil social workers" and "Labour bankrolling the feckless". The opinion columns slamming "welfare layabouts" (see here) or calling for the state "to curtail the rights of everyone to have children" (see this or this). The condescending inches of columns spewing out that "[T]he working class of the past had enormous self-respect [because] men, however poor, wore suits and ties" (click here, if you don't believe it).

I'm sneering at the lectures from vulture-like politicians preying about for political pointscoring, like Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith when he dubbed a report from his own Centre for Social Cohesion "timely" because it came out straight after the Baby P scandal. Or when, only last week, David Cameron felt the need to relate the brutal Edlington tortures to "Labour's moral failure".

As for "Moir-esque", the chap who wrote the remark needs to look up the word "analogy" in the dictionary. Because he may as well have compared my post to an hamburger or a Gary Neville own goal.

Moir did a vile, homophobic hatchet job on an innocent dead man. On the converse, I demanded respect for the dead, regardless of their family background. The aim of my post was to express frustration at seeing the most tragic of circumstances used as a fig leaf for class snobbery of the lowest kind- the type of sniping where even a family tragedy or a brutal murder is used to sneer at an entire class of people or to promote social engineering and cuts on the welfare state.

If you can't grasp the humongous double standards from both media and politicians alike, then I feel sorry for you. The evidence is so obvious that it's ridiculous.

The case of Fiona Donnison, the wealthy City woman charged with asphyxiating her children to death, has been reported the way such a chilling case should be treated: like a crime. A cruel, irrational, devastating one, with aggravating factors or mitigating circumstances - but a crime nonetheless and not an item for politicking.

Simply, many wish every family-related crime was reported in the same fashion, regardless of the perpetrator's income.

To wrap it up, I quote the spot-on words of a commenter called Jim.
"Whatever happens [Fiona Donnison]’s lifestyle will never be put under the microscope they way, say, Shannon Mathews’ mother’s life was. The poor on sink estates are never ‘under pressure’ or their life never ‘falls apart’. There is never any mitigation for a ‘home alone’ family that crop up.

We will never see the forensic unpicking of the family life of this woman; we will never read in lurid detail how many lovers she had or any drug use she has indulged in, the motivation for having these kids or any trends established, because when the middle class go postal, nothing could have prevented it. There will be no ‘baby P’ column inches for these children, no vilification of social workers, no rows of photographers encamped outside the doors of this dysfunctional family


Anonymous said...

I've written a post in response to this:

Anita said...

You make some good points. As for LC, it seems that right wing trolls have hijacked most comment threads.

Selma said...

Right on Claude. I read those two posts of yours and agree 100% with your analysis. The double standarsds are vomit inducing!

Paul Sagar said...


I think you are right about media hypocrisy.

But as I said at the original LibCon article, it came across in a fairly harsh way, that made it look like you were sneering and taking advantage of the deaths of two young children for partisan ends.

I think you could have made a very good point very well, but the way the argument started off (post-Libcon edit) as making a dig at the Tories' tax plans and then slid into a comment on media hypocrisy made it look like Guido-level oportunism.


(I'm a fan of your articles normally, by the way - it's just I think this one went wrong; not entirely your fault though, due to editing etc).