Who's left? The new liberal establishment have one rule for themselves, and others for everyone else.

Polly Toynbee, Mehdi Hasan, Laurie Penny and their comrades all Murdoch bash but can't take it in return.

Laurie Penny
Frank Manning
On 14 July 2011 14:34

With the phone-hacking saga coming so soon after the allegations of plagiarism concerning Johann Hari, the exceedingly partisan nature of liberal-left commentators has been astounding.

While they attempted to excuse or ignore Hari’s actions, they now call for the total annihilation of News International, along with thousands of jobs, on the basis of accusations of criminal behaviour by an as-yet unknown group of individuals.

Commentators who regularly lambast dictatorships are happy to throw away presumption of innocence and a principle. Instead, all at NI are guilty by association, and the opportunity to destroy the majority of the right-wing press is too good to miss.

Freedom of speech and the press is only acceptable to them when it is suits their narrative. If the inquiry determines who has acted improperly and caused so much pain for the families involved then they should suffer the consequences, but the political point scoring over tragic events from years ago is appalling to watch.

The line is always the same, the Murdoch Empire is evil and their newspapers spout reprehensible bilge. This portrayal is in spite of the fact that over seven million people read it every week before it closed, compared to the two-hundred and seventy thousand ‘progressive majority’ that buy the Guardian.

Rumours are now circulating that to facilitate the future takeover of BSkyB, News Corp may sell off the assets of News International – primarily the newspapers.

Considering the ongoing inevitable decline of print media, this seems like a relatively sensible tactic. Newspapers seem like such an intrinsic part of British society it is hard to imagine a future without them. Without diverse journalism, we would be poorer as a nation. So why do the liberal-left rejoice at the potential demise of the most successful company in British print media, along with all the employment and tax it provides?

Double standards are not new to left-wing commentators though. A reasoned debate on how to deal with the financial crisis is avoided at all costs by those who would attempt to cling to the belief that all public services are perfect and no tax is too high. If any aspect of the public sector is failing, they reason, it is purely because enough money hasn’t been thrown at it.

Polly Toynbee went to £9,000 a year independent school before sending two of her three children to private schools, while she now regularly chastises the Conservative Party for being elitist and out of touch with normal society. Twitter is known for its brevity, but during the Johann Hari scandal she tweeted:

“Johann Hari, one the best, is no plagiarist. Save your wrath for the abominartions [sic] and harassments [sic] by the Murdoch/Mail press.”

Aside from the hypocritical vitriol against right-wing press, the standard of spelling implies Toynbee must have some weary sub-editors at the Guardian.

Owen Jones, who received a presumably excellent education at Oxford University, recently called for both Oxford and Cambridge to be broken up, stopping all future generations from enjoying the quality level of tuition he has already had.

He had previously called for a 100% inheritance tax to punitively punish anyone with the temerity to be successful through entrepreneurship. The supposedly left-wing Diane Abbott MP was rightly ridiculed when she used the excuse of her son’s race as her justification for sending him to private school. Make sure to watch the clip.

New Statesman’s political editor Mehdi Hasan denounces anything right of socialism from his pulpit, but he was more than happy to take the undoubtedly fat check the Mail on Sunday offered him and his sidekick James Macintyre when they wanted to serialise their book on Ed Miliband.

The articles about gypsies and benefit cheats didn’t seem to pique the interest of his moral compass as much when remuneration was involved.

Mehdi’s mini-revolutionary, the Toynbee-in-waiting Laurie Penny delights in seeing sexism, chauvinism, class warfare and police brutality everywhere she looks. Her scorn for conservatives knows no bounds as she regularly accuses them of enjoying the suffering of the working class as if they were cartoon villains. Her escapades are often caricatures in themselves.

Believing herself to be the saviour of the downtrodden, her style of prose can often evoke a mixture of the school playground and a political thesaurus. Discussing planned tax breaks for married couples, she once claimed:

“…that kind of logic is cargo-cultism, and it’s lazy, and it’s stupid, and it won’t work because it’s stupid.”

Yet she is held up by some elements as the ‘voice of a generation’. She certainly isn’t the voice of mine.

Her response on Twitter to the ribbing Johann Hari received proved her true hypocrisy: “He’s a human being. Treat him as one.”

This appears like a nice enough comment, but it doesn’t sit particularly well next to a message she sent to Damian Thompson, Editor of Telegraph Blogs: “@holysmoke: oh fuck off and die, you hopeless inadequate.” Once again, her complete inability to see anyone more right-wing than herself as human reveals itself.

But of course, the liberal-left can never find fault amongst themselves. It must all be Rupert Murdoch’s fault. A self-made business man with a net worth of $7.6billion who has created over fifty-thousand jobs must have personally asked for Milly Dowler’s phone to be hacked. Ed Miliband may consider this to be the best fortnight in his brief career as leader, but he would be wise to remember who the real victims are in this saga, and whether they enjoy being dragged through the press again. 

Frank Manning is a researcher at Big Brother Watch and writes in a personal capacity. He tweets at @BillyManning

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