THE TIMES each morning reprints a piece from exactly a century ago when Britain and France were punishing Germany for losing a warunleashed by themselves after years of careful planning. While most of the guns had fallen silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, German men, women and children were being starved to death deliberately by the blockade enforced by Britain’s Royal Navy. (Turkey moved its capital from Constantinople to Ankara shortly afterwards, to be out of range of British guns, and in discussion with C P Scott of THE MANCHESTER GUARDIAN, David Lloyd George spoke of razing Athens if the Greeks didn’t do as Britain wished. The Greeks, who were anti-Turkish, had been bullied outrageously by Britain when Britain was at War with the Ottoman Empire.) THE TIMES coverage of THE GREAT WAR , its origins, conduct and conclusion, was and still remains dishonest, hypocritical and self-righteous and designed to inspire hatred of the victims of British aggression.
Britain, already ruling the world’s largest Empire in 1914, ended 1918 with territory one third again bigger.
On 27 June 2019 THE TIMES carried three Editorials. The first “Fair Care” takes NHS Doctorsto task for prioritising care of foreign patients over making them pay for their treatment.It uses the term “Health Tourists.” The NHS has staff at all levels born outside Britain, many of whom were educated up Graduate level in their countries of origin at no charge to the British taxpayer (or to the immigrant paying British taxes). .I’ve yet to see an Editorial in THE TIMES making this point.
The third Editorial in THE TIMES is headed “SELLING OUT” with the sub-heading “Europe’s Human Rights Watchdog is Turning a Blind Eye to Russia’s Crimes.”
It starts thus-
“The Council of Europe, 70 years old this year, was once hailed by Winston Churchill as a way to bring the continent’s human rights abuses “to the judgement of the civilised world. “
As Oscar Wilde said of Dickens’s “Death of Little Nell” – “One would need a heart of stone not to laugh” Churchill, chief begetter of the Black and Tans and arms supplier to the “B” Specials, architect of the Bengal Famine, and other human rights abuses, claiming kinship with the civilised world. The incontinent scoundrel apparently thought it right that his own island’s abuses should escape judgement. THE TIMES, when under the, since Knighted, Harold Evans, carried a glowing Obituary of the now officially discredited Lord Widgery, and has even yet to acquire any concern for human rights.
Recently it got apoplectic over cruelty to pigs in slaughter houses within days of publishing a very sympathetic obituary of Lord Carrington whom it acknowledged had given prior approval to the torture of prisoners in the North of Ireland on the introduction of internment without trial.
The second TIMES Editorial of 27 June was headed “Press Gang” and claims that “Politically motivated campaigners are trying to smear fine reporting.”
It reports that one of their journalists, Andrew Norfolk,had been attacked in a 72 page pamphlet, by a campaign group “Hacked Off” for writing articles that tended to encourage fear of Muslims.” In fact Norfolk was awarded the Paul Foot award for his exposure of the sexual abuse of white teenagers by men of Pakistani origin and the complicity of social workers, police and local councillors in the Northof England, lest they be accused of racism.
I’m impressed by the Paul Foot award, for Foot was an honest and fearless journalist, frankly politically motivated and an admirer of Leon Trotsky. Foot was also a nephew of Michael Foot, a distinguished journalist and later leader of Britain’s Labour Party, now safely dead so that THE TIMES can peddle the lie that he was a traitor in the pay of The Soviet Union.
Norfolk also won the Orwell Prize. As I said in a recent Blog, Orwell, once a Socialist, was described by Conor Cruise O’Brien as a conservative. I suspect he was like Senator Joe McCarthy, or even Cruise O’Brien in his later years. Norfolk also won the Journalist of the Year Award. Which reminds methat Harold Evans was presented with the Editor of the Year Award in February 1982. I watched that ceremony with great interest, noting Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien in the gathering. For on that very morning THE PRESS COUNCIL had released its condemnation of THE TIMES for an untrue report on its front page the day following the funeral of Bobby Sands. The PRESS COUNCIL’S grudging condemnation was laboriously extracted from them by myself.
The Press Council changed its name and its rules shortly afterwards.
The TIMES report complained of had asserted that Republicans had killed over 2,000 Protestants between 1969 and May 1981. In fact total fatalities numbed over 2,000. They included Protestants, Catholics and others. They included non-involved civilians, British Crown Forces, Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries. British Crown Forces and Loyalist Paramilitaries had occasionally killed eachother but more often had collaborated in the killing of non militant Catholics and armed or unarmed Republican paramilitaries.
When the Press Council changed its name to the Press Complaints Commission I became ineligible to make a complaint like the one upheld by its predecessor. It changed the rules. As I was never a member of the IRA I could not complain of a lie written about them. If I was a member I could be interned or shot. Some joker had read Catch-22 . I felt like Yossarian.
But the Press Complaints Commission was superseded and today there’s a body described as the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). Whether it is Ipso Facto independent is moot.
THE TIMES is happy to be a member of it. I won’t test whether it would exclude me as a witness.
I’ll take my cue from the late Sam Goldwyn – “INCLUDE ME OUT”.