Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Between the Lines: Much ado about nothing (1987)

The Between the Lines Column from the June 1987 issue of the Socialist Standard

There now follows . . . 
Am I just getting more fed up or are party political broadcasts getting worse? One has only yo hear those words, "There now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of . . . (Don't try turning over because we've stuck them on all channels)" to know that an insult to the public intelligence is about to be perpetrated. There was a time when these affairs were pretty simple efforts: Harold Wilson sitting behind a desk puffing lies in a fatherly sort of way or George Brown looking into the camera with the sincerity of a man who showed signs even then of ending up an SDP member of the House of Lords. In those days they would deliver their messages as abbreviated speeches and get off the screen. No we are in the age of hi-tech lying: video edited, maximum visual impact porky pies.

Take the Labour PPB of a few months ago where an actor stood next to a big globe and pointed at it with an imposing looking stick while talking about how the Tories are leaving the damned place undefended with their lack of expenditure on conventional bombs. This was drama, not politics, the medium was the message; vote for us if you like my shiny medals and big stick (This is the way to win the Harvey Proctor voters over). Then there was the Tory pre-local election PPB (5 May, all channels). This one had dire pictures of people in pain whom it was soon explained were in fact ratepayers in Ealing and Waltham Forest — of course, why didn't I guess? — whose rates had been put up by Labour councils. These rates, we were told with the aid of horrific graphics, were to support gay centres (there are simply hundreds of them in Ealing and Waltham Forest, don't you know) and anti-police campaigns.

Norman Tebbit came on at the end warning voters in hysterical terms that voting Labour would lead to suffering beyond conception. Perhaps my awareness of the inanity of it all was heightened by the fact I coincidentally watched the BBC2 version of the broadcast put out for the deaf with subtitles. You can watch TV politics and think it's twaddle and you can an article by a politician and think it's twaddle, but there is nothing quite like watching and reading it at the same time to confirm that it is pure, unadulterated twaddle.

Much ado about nothing
This Week, Next Week (3 May, 1pm, BBC1) had a bad dose of election fever. No election was announced, but that did not deter the producers of this little roll-in-the-mud from insisting upon a pre-election shove-around in the studio. So, in were brought Bryan Gould and Lord Young, two men whom few people had heard of a year ago, but who look like being the election faces of the year. It seems that, in the tradition of all jolly good public school pranks, Labour's Bryan Gould had written and had a published a Tory manifesto which looks just like the 1983 Tory Manifesto (Tee hee!) Lord Young was angry because Labour had nicked their design. Pushed to promise that the Tories would not do the alleged deeds Young wisely declined to commit his party to not doing anything. Also in the studio was an Alliance spokesman and a rubber plant.

Benn falls in love
With Peter Ustinov and Tony Benn as guests, Wogan looked worth watching. (29 April, 7pm, BBC1) After all, both are eloquent men who have been known to have more to say for themselves than Wogan's usual guests. In fact, the appearances were disappointing but that is not important: guests on chat shows quite frequently sell themselves short, simply because of the pressure placed by the format of such programmes to push your personality, as if the latter is something you slip into in the morning like your shirt.

What was striking from this programme and it has never been apparent (at least to this writer) in the past, was that Tony Benn had fallen in love with Russian state capitalism. Gorbachev's reforms are the greatest thing in 40 years . . . the Russians are a peace-loving people who are determined to avoid war . . .  the problem is that we have all these lies in the West about Russia. Benn sounded like a fellow traveller, pouring out all sorts of half-open hints of friendship in defence of one of the greatest tyrannies in the modern world.

Perhaps it was inevitable that an isolated Labour leftist, never really at home among the non-ideological void of Kinnockism, should finally drift towards the illusion of Stalinism. But it was sad to perceive. Benn said he was more optimistic now about the prospects of world peace than he had been in decades; the Gorbachev weapons reduction proposals were magnificent. If he believes that he'd believe . . . well, I suppose he does.

Right royal rubbish
Aren't Charlie and Di a fine couple? Isn't it lovely to see her changing her frock every fifteen minutes? Doesn't he do fine work to help the poor? Wasn't it pleasant to see him walking around the grounds of one of his palaces talking to the plants? No to all questions, and that is why I, like others of sound mind, switched the nauseating parasites off after twenty minutes and went up the pub. (4 May, 8pm, ITV, The Prince and Princess of Wales: In Public, In Private.)
Steve Coleman

Between the Lines: Space Shuttles, Spitting Image and the SWP show (1986)

The Between the Lines Column from the March 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

News priorities
On the day the Space Shuttle exploded, thousands of people — most of them under five — died of malnutrition. There was no report on the news. And how many lives were in ruins that day because mothers could not feed or clothe their children, families were living in overcrowded slums, or children were turning to drugs to escape the reality of a miserable system? Approximately eighty per cent of news broadcasts were devoted to the deaths of a group of people who had chosen to go on a dangerous mission, but was it really necessary for American TV networks to point cameras at the relatives of those killed, catching every twitch of their faces?

What is called "news" is determined by the perverse priorities of capitalism. We cannot help thinking that the America government was grieving rather more over the setback this even will have caused to the Star Wars military project than over the day's many other victims.

Spitting Image
The doubt in my mind about Spitting Image is the extent to which it fosters the belief that by ridiculing leaders — and in some cases their appearances rather than their ideas — one is being political. In fact, it can be argued that precisely this kind of comedy defuses whatever anger workers have against the system itself. And the politicians probably don't mind the publicity. Revolutions do not, after all, start as a result of watching TV puppet shows. The question worth pondering is, are they delayed because workers are sitting in their armchairs laughing at caricatures instead of the real TV comedy: the party political broadcasts?

The SWP show
Diverse Reports of 22 January (Channel 4) was virtually a party political broadcast on behalf of the Leninist Socialist Workers' Party. Its content was predictable, commencing with the absurd statement that the Labour Party has recently moved away from socialist policies. When has the Labour Party ever stood for anything but capitalism? The fact is that the SWP is just as confused about socialism as the Labour Party, and it was indeed strange for them to devote their programme to exposing the Labourites when they urged workers to vote for them in the last election and will do so in the next. Nevertheless, the Socialist Party is in favour of minority parties having access to TV slots, even if they have as little worth saying as is clearly the case with the SWP. Whenever the Socialist Party has approached TV companies (including the nominally radical C4) and asked for a slot of this kind, we have been told that it is against their regulations to give time to minority parties. Even when one of our prospective parliamentary candidates appeared on C4's Comment a few months ago, he was forbidden to mention the party's name. If that is the policy of the TV companies, why was it not applied in the case of the SWP? C4 has to come out in the open and state whether or not minority political parties are to be censored, leaving viewers with the impression that they have nothing to say. if their undemocratic policy has now been rejected, then the SWP has had its chance and we want ours. If the policy is to be upheld, then we accuse C4 of hypocrisy and call for an explanation. The matter will be raised with the TV controllers concerned and we will report fully their response — or lack of one.

Entering an institution
They say that marriage is not a word but a sentence, and if anyone needed any proof they had only to watch Desmond Wilcox's voyeuristic documentary series, The Marriage (Wednesdays, 9.30 pm, BBC1). The series followed the first year of married life of a couple of people who seemed pretty typical. The degeneration of their relationship from unlimited affection to evident strain was almost entirely caused by money. Almost every argument they had was about it — he spent more than she liked; she wanted money for their own home; he took on a new job so that he could earn more; he had to buy a new car but she wanted it to be a cheaper model. Here on our screens was a microcosm of what is going on in most working-class relationships. The souring effect of money is something we will probably never comprehend fully until it has been abolished.
Steve Coleman

Between the Lines: South Fork, Sinn Fein & Censorship (1985)

The Between the Lines Column from the September 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

Passing of a Texan Idiot
Wipe away those tears, fellow workers: mourning will not bring him back. Those of us who watched the BBC's final screening of Dallas (BBC1, 17 July) saw how Bobby Ewing, the not very bright Texan oil millionaire, planned to marry two rich women in one episode and, just as he'd decided which one to leave on the shelf, along comes another woman in a fast car and . . . bash! Next scene: Bobby lies dying in a posh Texan hospital surrounded by the whole cast and not a single doctor or nurse. After mumbling some soppy sentiments — "Don't let them sell you to the ITV, Pam" and "Don't forget the number of the Swiss bank account, J.R." — his eyes close and the contract runs out. The other characters stand around and weep, presumably because this is the last episode to be shown in Britain. If I was J.R. I'd sue the hospital for negligence, leaving the poor man unattended in his final moments, with nothing but a second-hand script of a death scene to keep him going. 

Millions of workers watched this sentimental garbage, pushing it into the top programmes in that week's ratings. While wage slaves mourn the fictitious of a privileged parasite there are millions of the wealth-producing class living in squalor — as shown on the very good portrait of the declining british welfare services, From The Cradle To The Grave (ITV, Mondays, 29 July-19 August). The choice is clear: do we treat into the fantasy worlds of Dallas and Dynasty or look at the less glamorous, less jolly, less simplistic world of social reality for the working-class majority? We know which choice the programme-controllers would like us to make.

News?
Talking of utter triviality, have you noticed how TV news often repots as issues of importance matters which inform us of nothing but the empty-headedness of the news editors? The recent story about Labour MPs dangling a topless woman over the River Thames (BBC News, 29 July) was about as important a contribution to human knowledge as the lengthy reports a few weeks earlier about a manifestly deranged ex-SAS man who spent several weeks living in a small rock — a British rock of course — somewhere to the north of Scotland. When one considers all the important happenings in the world which workers should be hearing about — the oppressive activities of governments, the mass murders and mutilations in wars, the millions dying of starvation in a world of food surpluses, the uncontrollable fluctuations of world trade — why is it that the important news is all too often left out to make room for insignificant trivia? Could it be that, like the producers of Dallas, the news editors prefer a good bit of diversionary escapism to a healthy dose of useful knowledge?

Socialists and Censorship
In the same week that the BBC listed its twenty-year ban on The War Game it obeyed government wishes and banned the Real Lives documentary which included an interview with Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein. Socialists aim to build a majority movement in favour of a totally democratic society; we have always emphasised that such an end can only be obtained by democratic means. Socialists are against government censorship whether it is by law, as in Russia and South Africa (where the recent emergency powers have seriously media censorship), or by hints and the use of political pressure, as in allegedly democratic Britain.

In this column last month we pointed out that, much as we deplore the anti-working-class aims and policies of Sinn Fein, we favour all opportunities for workers to be exposed to all political points of view. If the defenders of the IRA have a case to state we are in favour of it being heard, not censored, just as we want our own ideas to be given media exposure. The BBC has a long record of denying the Socialist Party of Great Britain TV time and it is worthy of note that the major capitalist parties, which do have access to TV, have not found such censorship in conflict with their professed democratic principles. In calling for the Real Lives documentary to be banned, the Home Secretary admitted that he had not even seen a recording of it. Perhaps he well urge the BBC to show it in twenty years' time.
Steve Coleman

Between the Lines: Sinn Fein, Game Shows and Live Aid (1985)

The Between the Lines Column from the August 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

Sinn Feigners
Beatrix Campbell, in Diverse Reports (C4, 3 July), sought to portray Sinn Fein as a progressive, caring, reforming party—an image it seeks to put across to electors. It should not be surprising that a programme showed Sinn Fein's policies without constant reference to the party's support for nationalist murderers; after all, the Tory and Labour parties support national armies committed to obscene acts of violence, but this is not mentioned every time there is a programme about their policies.

And having seen the uncensored picture, what are we to conclude? Quite simply, that Sinn Fein is just another party of reformist politicians who want to run capitalism. As the party's leader Gerry Adams, said, "All we can do is  . . . achieve those very small gains by working along with the people within the system". So much for Assembly member, Danny Morrison's throwaway comment that Sinn Fein is "a revolutionary party". From Adams we heard the usual vague claims of a reformist leader: first the nationalist movement must be built up to oppose British rule, and then after the British have withdrawn and Ireland is independent there will be "the beginnings of a socialist society". What does this mean? Uncensored Adams neglected to tell us. Campbell, who is a feminist, asked Adams what the position of women would be once Ireland had achieved Home/Rome Rule; she stated that "for women this happens to be one of the most repressive cultures you can think of." But Gerry told her that her question was based on "cultural imperialism" and she, being English, should learn that Irish people are different.

At the end of the programme one was left with the clear impression of a political party based on the twin confusions of nationalist illusion and reformist promise. If there ever is a united Ireland, presided over by Sinn Fein, it will be another capitalist state and the workers living under it will detest Adams and his fellow would-be rulers as much as they do their present representatives.

Even without the terrorist violence, which socialist unequivocally condemn, there was plenty shown about Sinn Fein to justify the unreserved hostility of socialists towards them.

Money sickness
It was D. H. Lawrence who referred to "the collective money-madness of mankind",  and where better to  observe that madness than in the gambling establishments of Las Vegas. Showdown at Glitter Gulch was a documentary about the world poker championship (BBC1, 3 July)  - an event where the winner gets a million dollars. It was an obscene spectacle, all these idlers throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars on to a table while millions of workers go without a decent supper and millions more die for lack of money for food. It was not "human nature" which led these men to indulge in an insane monetary ritual — it was a social system which elevates money into the god of life and trains those with more of it than sense to invest their energies in acquiring more. A mad system drives men mad and this programme was a peep through the window of one of the top-class asylums.

The price is indignity
The same "collective money-madness", but at a cheaper rate for the proles, is The Price is Right (don't know or care when it's on). The programme succeeds in being the ultimate in tasteless money fetishism. Crowds of impoverished workers scream and throw dignity to the wind as the prospect of guessing the price of an electric carving knife turns them into human cash registers. The aim of the game is to guess how much commodities are worth and if the guess is near enough to the price you win. Game shows generally portray capitalism as its most grotesque, and the trouble with watching them is that we are supposed to applaud contestants for doing well.

Live aid
Live Aid for Africa (BBC, 13 July) demonstrated several things that it did not intend, The purpose of the concert was to raise money to stop people starving to death in Africa. Yet its effect will be minimal, negligible, crumbs thrown into an ocean of despair. What then did the event show? First of all, that workers, even when motivated by immense goodwill and collective concern, cannot solve capitalism's problems. During the course of the sixteen-hour concert British workers donated a mere £4 million in telephone pledges, less than the British Government spends on the military machine every three hours every day; less than the richest woman in Britain (the Queen( receives as interest on her personal investments in one week. Workers were 'phoning up and saying that they would sell their cars and donate their precious savings to the worthy cause — but asking the impoverished in Britain to feed the starving of Africa solves precisely nothing.

Secondly, the show demonstrated just how superficial is the moralising self-righteousness of those who do not understand the capitalist system. Periodically we would be urged — by millionaires who became rich by dressing up in fancy costumes and singing about love through sore throats — to "feed the world". But why is food dumped while people starve? Why do some people have banquets while others do not? In short, the whole event was an invitation to weep at the symptoms, and to hell with any concern about the disease. Indeed, Bob Geldof (who may be sincere, but it certainly naive to a dangerous degree) was seen repeatedly throwing his arms in the air, like a man who feels something but does not know what, and declaring that governments should "do something". In fact, governments are doing something: running capitalism and feeding the capitalists' hunger for profits.

Thirdly, the show proved just how musicians have become incapable of performing without record producers to twiddle knobs and make them sound any good. Some of the sets from Wembley and Philadelphia, presented without the benefit of studio treatment, ranged from not very good to pathetic. Demonstrated above all, however, was the power of communication technology: fourteen international satellites beamed the show to 50 million TV sets, reaching an estimated audience of 1.5 billion people. But just as this technology can unite millions of workers for a lofty, if ultimately futile, moral cause, so too can it bind them together for more sinister propaganda messages, such as those demanded for example in the build-up to war. Left in the hands of the capitalist minority the means of mass communication are a potent weapon. But used for socialist purposes, think of how the worldwide unity forged by Live Aid could be turned into an instrument for making democracy work within the global village.

Watching the show until the final performance by Bob Dylan (not an occasion worthy of the wait, as it turned out), I was struck by an overwhelming sense of depression — not just at the thought that fellow human beings are starving to death, although that is good enough reason for a sleepless night, but because all the goodwill, energy, determination and technological know-how put into "doing something about it" will not feed the world. Despite Geldof's moral crusade the obscenity of mass human misery will go on and on and on until Elvis Costello stops singing "all you need is love" and the workers realise that the world os ours for the taking. And finally the national anthem came on, and by the time it got to "Long To Reign Over Us" I was fast asleep.
Steve Coleman 





Between the Lines: Orwell, Gorbachev and News from Oceania (1989)

The Between the Lines Column from the May 1989 issue of the Socialist Standard

News from Oceania
George Orwell's novel. Nineteen Eight Four, is about the most miserable social vision ever constructed. In 1984 there was much debate about how far society had gone down the road to Orwell's fascistic nightmare world. While "intellectuals" were weighing civil liberties on the Orwellian scales, picketing miners were feeling the truncheons of workers in uniform who were sent to break their resistance. What happened to the miners — the state brutality, government callousness and media vilification — was a stronger answer to the question of what kind of society 1984 was than any of the 19.50 hardback academics ever came up with.

Before 1984 there was much debate about quite what Orwell was attacking in his novel. Some said it was a critique of post-war England, bowed in spirit by the rationing and regimentation of the war years — that 1984 was really 1948 reversed and writ larger. Others suggested that Orwell was trying to attack socialism. Orwell was specific about the fact that his novel was not intended as an attack on the genuine principles of socialism (as he understood them). Writing to Francis Henson of the United Automobile Workers union in the USA, he explained that "My recent novel is NOT intended as an attack on socialism  . . . but as a show up of the perversions to which a centralised economy is liable and which have already been partly realised in Communism and Fascism." In short, the novel was aimed at the drift towards the corporate state which so-called radicals of both the Left and Right had celebrated as liberation from capitalism in the years that Orwell lived and wrote.

Last month Channel Four showed the recent film version of the novel. It is open to criticism in that its depiction of a mass society of submissive ideological slaves presented the deluded victims as caricatures of conformity. They looked too much like extras in a film, told to look like conditioned subjects. In reality, conditioned subjects are less caricatured; it is precisely that humans are not robots, and yet can be made to think like programmed machines, that is sinister and frightening about totalitarianism. The "masses" in this film looked and sounded like robotic machines, and this diminished the horror of what had been done to them. It is the whistling Nazi and the Stalinist who loves his wife and children who are the really frightening characters. That said, it was important that the film was made and shown because within it is a reminder of the dangers inherent in dogmatic belief.

Nineteen Eighty Four is essentially about the power to make people believe that is not true. O'Brien tells Winston Smith, while he is torturing him, that thinking is all bout learning to discipline your mind to accept reality. And "reality" is what those above you — Big Brother, The State, The Party, conventional opinion — dictates it to be. Smith attempted to resist the social reality of the ruling elite. Like the Romantics of the last century, who sought to be true to their own feelings before they would defer to the abstract Facts of the Industrial Order, Smith believed that his duty was to obey his own feelings, not those of his dogmatic rulers with  their ideology of Ingsoc. Smith tells his lover, Julia, that it is not survival which is most important, but remaining human. He pleads with her not to betray her humanity. She thinks that by betrayal he means she should never confess to the state — never get caught. But betrayal means more than that: it means acquiescence to dogma, to ideas which are unrelated to experience. In the end Smith is forced to betray himself in both senses. Not only does he confess to thought crimes — that is easy — but he also succumbs to the dogma. He is afraid to have doubts. He learns to say and do what is expected of submissive subjects.

The novel, and now the film are not about 1948 or 1984 or the merits of socialism of the demerits of Stalinism; they are about the power of dogma to extinguish the sense of doubt which is the basis of all reason and the necessary accompaniment of all intelligent political conviction. When you stop doubting you are politically dead. Regardless of what orwell meant by his novel, and regardless of the demerits of the film as a depiction of the ideologically conditioned crowd, there is still importance in the message which tells us that minds can be controlled, resistance nullified by the very forces against whom we need to resist, and that dogma, in whatever form, is a fearful enemy. To pre-empt critics, we would add that this applies no less to socialist dogma. As Orwell said of his own vision, "The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don't let it happen. It depends on you."

Our enemies are our friends
News At Ten (6 April) urged us to welcome our new-found friend, Mikhail Gorbachev. He is a communist, you see. A communist with whom Mrs. Thatcher is very pleased to do business. A communist who is proud to invite the Queen to come over and tread on a few of his subjects. The cult of Gorby is very big right now. It was the Newspeak writers on The Sun who christened him Gorby. Over in Washington the CIA tried to put a damper on the visit by leaking the information about Russian sales of fighter planes to Libya. All part of the propaganda war. This is the dogmatic assault upon us today: when our rulers want us to believe that Russia is "the Evil Empire" and we must prepare to die destroying it, then the newsreaders will tell us what a despicable police state the dictator Gorbachev presides over (as he does); when commerce and international militarism require closer relations between the two old superpowers — so that perhaps they can prepare to make war on the new, up and coming superpowers — then Gorby is our man and pictures of Raisa being shown the Tower of London are the order of the day. It all depends what they want us to think. To accept what the servants of capitalist propaganda tell us is to fall into the trap which leads to the kind of world Orwell was writing about. That millions have fallen into the trap cannot be denied, but it is not too late to climb out. In an essay written in 1940, called Inside The Whale, Orwell made a comment which is worth keeping in front of you while watching News At Ten: "To say 'I accept' in an age like our own is to say that you accept concentration camps, rubber truncheons, Hitler, Stalin, bombs, aeroplanes, tinned food, machine-guns, putsches, purges, slogans, Bedaux belts, gas-masks, submarines, spies, provocateurs, press censorship, secret prisons, aspirins, Hollywood films and political murders."
Steve Coleman


Between the Lines: Next Fraud, Charity and Homelessness (1989)

The Between the Lines Column from the April 1989 issue of the Socialist Standard

Next Fraud
Next Left (C4, 8 pm, Fridays) offered four programmes packed to the edge of the screen with undiluted nonsense. Purporting to be about the failure of socialism in years past and the need for socialists to adapt to the new age, the series offered the most facile account of current world politics and not even an attempt at explaining what socialism actually means. It seems to be the case that when documentary-makers produce films about socialism they feel quite free to accept the fallacy that anyone who calls himself a socialist is one. Neil Kinnock, Bryan Gould, François Mitterrand, Brandt, Rocard  . . . all of them advocates of state-run capitalism, and all of them called upon to discuss why the failure of their state-capitalist policies means that socialism has been tried and failed. The working class, we are told, is disappearing; the market is becoming more accountable to people's needs; planning has failed and "freedom" is the new buzz word. "Socialists" must adapt to these new conditions or become irrelevant. Instead of talking about social transformation socialists should be attending to more modest changes, we are informed, such as establishing workers' co-operatives and providing welfare services through the trade unions. The new "socialist" model is Sweden; "socialism" works there — even though Sweden is a capitalist country. No contradiction. No need to explain anything. The frauds who make these programmes are like the character in Alice in Wonderland who insists that words shall mean what they want them to mean. Channel Four's attempt to advise socialists to throw away our revolutionary principles and attend to making capitalism work was intellectually shallow, dishonest drivel.

Laughing all the way to the bank
Another bloody charity telethon. It is hard to switch on the telly these days without seeing either Kylie Minogue or a begging bowl. This time it was Comic Relief (BBC1, all evening, Friday, 10 March). No doubt there was plenty of sincerity there. So what? Since when has plenty of sincerity made the profit system run in our interest? This time we were treated to comedians making jokes to encourage workers to send in a few quid. In one night's nationwide collecting Comic Relief brought in about £10 million. About enough to buy a cheapish military fighter plane. The same night's Newsnight (BBC2, 10.30 pm) had a very brief report on the annual profit made by the clothing company, Viyella: £135 million — down on last year's figure. That's a year's profit for one medium-sized capitalist company. So, who is giving more to charity — the workers who collected ten million quid after a day of wearing silly plastic noses and bathing in custard for sponsorship, or the wage slaves at Viyella who donated all that profit to the capitalists in the biggest charity of all: The Wages System? The capitalist class are kept in the luxury to which they are accustomed because a majority of workers acquiesce to a system which puts the profits of the rich before the unmet needs of those crying out for help.

Free to beg
World In Action (ITV, 8 pm, Monday, 6 March) was a documentary depicting the miserable lives of kids who, having left home and come to London in search of work, find themselves in cardboard boxes on the Embankment by the River Thames. These youngsters — many of them under eighteen — are compelled to beg in order to live. Young girls are under great financial pressure to find a pimp and work for him. The programmes showed that the young beggars of London are a fast-growing population, products of a system geared not to encouraging the creativity of people, but to making them exploitable workers. If they are too young to be put to work and too poor to find shelter, then they are ignored as if they did not exist. This is the living reality of the great revival of Victorian values: the sight of homeless kids forced to beg for the price of some food — and probably for drugs once the culture of street frustration has finished with them. And these well-paid TV tricksters on Channel Four tells us that the socialist revolution from production for profit to production for human need is no longer relevant.
Steve Coleman