The Between the Lines column from the November 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard
WHO FUNDS THE TORIES?
Here’s your starter for ten points. Fingers on buttons, now. Ready? Right: Which of the following give millions of pounds every year to the Conservative Party?
- Elderly pensioners who want to be kind to others.
- A secret group of freemasons based in Chingford.
- Millionaires and multi-millionaires who stand to gain by policies which they think will make them richer and more able to exploit their wage slaves?
Do I hear a buzzer? Yes, you are right, it's number 3. Now for five more points - big scores here: on which TV programme was the above answer given? Was it
- Neighbours - that everyday story of how millionaire capitalists are screwing the workers?
- All Creatures Great and Small? (No, that was the Liberal Party conference you are thinking of. Take your hand off your buzzer and try again. And we'll have no crude jokes about Cyril Smith and David Steel either, thanks very much.)
- Panorama - BBC1, 9.30pm, 1 October.
Yes it was 3 again. Now, for a bonus point, who can tell me which party has in it’s principles the statement that "all political parties are but the expression of class interests"? Is it
- The Labour Party (Take your hand away from that buzzer - it should be obvious to everyone by now that they have no principles).
- The Tory Party - (No, they claim, contrary to the clear evidence shown on Panorama that they are funded by big business, that they stand for everyone's interests.)
- The Socialist Party. And once again - surprise, surprise - bring on Cilia Black to sing Imagine - the third answer was correct.
Millionaires devote money to a political party that they think will uphold their interests. The Tories will probably seek ways to punish the BBC for allowing such an obvious truth from being exposed. But who can blame the bosses for putting their money into the Thatcher mob.
The pity is that the workers do not follow their exploiters’ example and put their time and money into the only party which stands for their class interests: The Socialist Party.
THE DETESTABLE LORD WYATT
Woodrow Wyatt is a detestable specimen of capitalist politics. He began life as a Labour faker. He is now a Tory Lord. He writes a weekly political column for the News of the World which is filled from end to end with crass, prejudiced, ill-informed, sickening bigotry.
Wyatt’s thoughts belong in the tabloid gutter where he is paid to pour out the kind of rubbish which leads workers to believe Thatcher's latest exercise in Orwellian speech: her promise at the Tory conference that the present government is committed to creating a "classless society".
Wyatt is a leading force behind a new law, currently going through parliament. The law professes to seek to eradicate bias in TV. In fact, it is the most powerful censorship law ever attempted by any government in relation to TV.
Even Lord Whitelaw has warned that the law would be a charter for the government to force documentary-makers to reflect its views. This new law, which will force the BBC and ITC to allow the government to reply to any adverse criticism of it (even from comedians or in factual news stories) will push TV further away from any claim to being an open and critical medium.
It will mean that while the likes of Wyatt can defame and attack bodies such as the trade unions in his weekly column with impunity, TV producers will be legally forbidden to attack the obnoxious ideas of the Wyatts of this world unless they are prepared to ask the government to have equal time to deny what has been said.
There is an irony - a bitter, tragic irony - in the fact that just as the Stalinism which gripped the media of one half of Europe is being de-clawed, here in Britain the neo-Stalinists of the Tory Party are sharpening their claws more than ever - all with more than a little help from their millionaire financial backers.