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Tiffs for Toffs at the BBC.

IF YOU’VE HAD no access to the world of real news except the mainstream British media recently you‘d have learnt little apart from the fact that the country is run by a bunch of top hat-wearing toffs straight out of the novels of PG Wodehouse and that the BBC has been Paedophile Central for the last fifty years.

For weeks the media hounded the MP Andrew Mitchell for trying to push his bike past a bolshy copper who wouldn’t open the door for him, and then calling the cop a pleb. This counted as punishable toffness for the hacks. I think it was the “pleb” that did for him. If he’d used the full “plebeian”, the media and assorted political amoebas would have demanded his decapitation. Mitchell finally gave up reading about what a pillock he was and handed the media the justice they demanded in the form of his resignation. Quite what this ridiculous spectacle achieved for democracy and good governance I do not know.

Having nailed one toff, the press then tried a similar trick with the Chancellor, George Osborne, gleefully drawing attention to the fact that he went and sat in a first class train carriage when he only had a second class ticket – which he then upgraded and paid for. First class = rich toff what hates the oiks; second class = ordinary oiks what can’t afford the full ticket. Class war, you see?

Both of these stories illustrate the media’s current obsession with out-of-date images of the class system: toffs and their mates up there and us poor plebs down here, knowing our place. It’s the lefties’ wet dream, of course. They’re obsessed with the past, with the old certainties of a clearly defined and rather rigid class system. It appeals to the revolutionary strain in their mentality, the Us and Them, comrades-to-the-barricades, ninety-nine-percent-against-the-one-percent fantasy. Fantasy it clearly is. The class divide most definitely exists, but it’s not that one.

The Establishment, that is, the political and social class, is now constituted of a generally left of centre, social-democratic elite drawn more from the middle classes than the upper, with a cohort of working class bumpkins admitted on some arcane quota system in the interests of equality and diversity. The commissars of the media are part of this elite and yet they still have a residual envy of those born into the upper echelons, especially if they’re Conservatives. What they’re presenting to us then is not a real class conflict, it’s their own internecine civil war. The rest of us are still the Us, and we don’t count, however we vote. That’s the real class division.

What Schadenfreude, therefore, in watching the primary bastion of Establishment media power, the state’s Broadcaster In Chief and smug representative of Them, the hallowed BBC, being thoroughly besmirched with the stain of paedophilia. For decades, the BBC profited from the nauseous celebrity of Jimmy Savile while turning a blind eye to his vileness. Only when he was securely dead did they turn their much-vaunted investigative journalism upon him – and even then tried to cover it up.

Having spent so long being in the forefront of the hunt against the free-market-profit-making Murdoch and his phone-hacking journos, it’s now the BBC’s turn to feel the sharp end of the stick prodding them where they don’t like it. Such is their insufferable arrogance, however, that they’re already patting themselves on the back for broadcasting one programme that criticises another. That exemplifies their sense of fairness, or justice, or something – anything, as long as it justifies the licence fee.

What a pity the scandal emanates from a working class villain, feted by the bourgeoisie and honoured by the Toff of Toffs. I bet someone in the BBC is wishing Savile had been an old Etonian. Then they could have implied his criminality was coded into his class DNA. They could have salvaged some political points out of that. Still, it’s not all bad: they now have another topic to fill broadcast time with instead of the real news – themselves.

Michael Blackburn.

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