Radio 4 listening first thing in the morning, newspaper reading during the early evenings and bedtime TV news watching these days all give the impression of an outbreak of national hysteria if not hypocrisy about the behaviour of others. So far thankfully, behaviour of mine which is in the hypocritical category is of no interest to the media.
The 6am news on Radio 4 invariably starts with a headline hugely negative about the government or some institution under its supposed control. Of course governments make mistakes or worse and deserve to be criticised but not so long ago the BBC would have been alert to portray both sides of such criticism. Also there must sometimes be far more important matters to report than supposed governmental failings.
For example a recent story headlined "Social Cleansing", concerned moving people from London to Stoke on Trent following the introduction of a government cap on housing benefits of £400 weekly ie over £20,000 annually, plus possibly c. £6,000 pa in other benefits. Obviously no one wants people to be moved from homes where they are comfortably settled but to describe the efforts of the elected government in capping the total paid to a family out of the public purse to the same as the average wage earning income of c. £26,000, as causing "social cleansing", is quite unbalanced. That description also implies that the average wage earner should pay whatever it takes to enable those whose rents are paid out of the public purse to keep their existing high cost homes even where those whose taxes make up the public purse, cannot themselves afford such accommodation.
The Leveson enquiry headlines daily castigate politicians about Murdoch media yet that and the absurdly high wages paid to football stars are all part of the symptom that rarely receives a mention, namely the effects of individual behaviour in the UK by which people regularly pay large fees to Murdoch media despite its ills, many of which were surely suspected before the phone hacking scandal etc was broken by rivals. Such widespread support and individual cash payments, give the Murdoch media so much power and influence in the first place.
I never bought the News of the World other than for day job purposes for the very reason that its 'news' and methods of obtaining it seemed synonymous with the old 'gutter press' description. Yet for the millions who did, was there no thought that muck raking of that kind might be questionable? Similarly the fat cat pay of some footballers is so obviously funded in part at least out of the huge sums that millions pay Sky for the privilege of viewing them perform, that do not any of its subscribers question whether the £s they are paying Murdoch are maintaining if not adding to such problems?
Our politicians and Tony Blair's cronies on the red side seem as much tainted as David Cameron's lot on the blue, by cosying up to the same Murdoch Empire to which Joe Public pays so many £ms, are simply reflecting perhaps not the the will of the peoples but certainly their actions.
We get the politicians we deserve. The point is further illustrated by the reporting of the current election campaigns for the London mayor. The reporting appears to be geared to vilifying both the main candidates Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone. That neither of these gentleman is perfect goes without saying but the emphasis on whether Red Ken has (quite legally) saved a bit of income tax or Blue Boris is a bit of a toff, misses the point which is surely whether their respective proposed policies for London stack up?
If we continue to treat our politicians with such contempt and hypocrisy (who really wants to pay more tax than they are legally obliged to?) we will become saddled with second rate men and women and the quality of political leadership will suffer enormously - why bother putting oneself up for election if vilification is the likely outcome left, right or coalition?