Three cheers for the authentic

by | Blog

It’s been a good week for truth – if you know where to find it.  That’s often quite hard in Britain where so much of what we learn about our world comes to us via those who only tell us what they want us to know.

It began for me when I finished a new book by journalist Peter Oborne. Not only did he tell me lots that was new about Islam and the treatment of Muslims in Western countries: he confirmed from his own experience the failure of most political journalists to reveal much behind the Westminster pantomime scenery.

One of the MPs he knew from his time in Parliament was Jeremy Corbyn. And if you knew where to look this week you’d see the Islington North MP speaking directly about his experience as leader of the Labour Party.

Thankfully you didn’t have to do much searching this week to come across Mick Lynch, the leader of the transport workers’ union, RMT. You heard someone there not only deeply knowledgeable about the rail industry, but who sounded authentic in representing his union members’ concerns to the British public. He spoke in language people understand and enjoy.

These three present different and largely untold aspects of our national story, ones essential to the telling if we are to move to a better future.

George Orwell, writing about England when it stood alone against Hitler in February 1941, saw it as “a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons”.  

For him it was “a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands or irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts”.

When we see Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister and political commentary is in the hands of those whose lies sent Britons and many thousands of others to their deaths in Iraq, we know, with Orwell, that our nation is “a family with the wrong members in control”.

It needn’t be this way as this week’s three challengers to the distorted and discouraging picture of ourselves we see every day on our screens so positively show.

We are better people than Rupert Murdoch and his minions in the media and Westminster want us to believe. But we don’t have a lot of time to prove the gnarled old manipulator and his wealthy mates wrong.

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