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The Eyes Have It May 16, 2013

Posted by markswill in Cars and Bikes, Media, Politics, Schmolitics.

It’s been a good six weeks since I last spewed forth, or rather a pretty bad six weeks if you’re a miserable old doomsayer. Not that there haven’t been a fine moments, the highlight being a high-speed dash across Wales and the Midlands with my friend M aboard a new Honda CB1100 and the latest Triumph Bonneville. We swopped bikes enough both during and the day before to share the conclusion that by a small margin the Trumpet was in fact the better all-rounder, so for once British was best… well British built from numerous Chinese and Italian bits. But the joy of it was just being able to belt along hour after hour at improbably high speeds on lightly trafficked, sun-dappled roads… something I haven’t done in duet for many a year.

Since then I’ve yet again been struggling to come up with something fresh to blog about and yet again each time some news item or personal experience prompts the requisite degree of righteous indignation, before I can find time to sit down and scribble – which frankly is difficult enough at the moment – some further outrage emerges, and so on and so on. For the moment then, I’m stymied… which may come as a relief in certain quarters. But if anyone still needs to feel livid about the state we’re in, then I can do no better than commend you to Private Eye which six decades on is still, in fact probably now even better at muck-raking than when it began in the ‘60s .

Whether it be murky arms deals supporting murderous dictatorships, local government incompetence, ongoing banking malfeasance, officially sanctioned pollution, venal commercial interests on both a national and global scale and most of all the corruption and  gob-smacking stupidity that goes on at every level of politics, the Eye still delivers the goods in pithy, well researched gobbets which no longer seem to attract the libel writs and legal censure they once did… surely proving that most of what they print is true. (And it will be fascinating to see what the consequences are of the major report in the current issue on what “made Britain the capital of global corporate crime”… although see below).

The downside of this of course is that the perpetrators of what ultimately harms and impoverishes us no longer care much about getting caught – look at Chris Hune and his pathetic attempts to cover up a speeding offence. Neither do the Primarks and H & Ms of this world who pride themselves on flogging ultra-cheap, rubbishy clothing produced by near-slave labour in shoddily-built third world factories which, when they collapse and kill hundreds of their workers certainly don’t prompt boycotts on the High Street. We have, I believe, become so inured to the dishonesty and rampant self-interest displayed on a constant basis by those who should be setting the unimpeachable standards of morality and fair-play that we should aspire to – whether they be politicians, business leaders or so-called respected media figures – that we’ve become just as cynical as them.

And that is a cause of great despair and an overwhelming sense of powerlessness that in a somehow justifiable way encourages all but the very, very brave, and possibly Private Eye journalists to pursue the same hang-the-consequences solipsism as our so-called role models.  Meanwhile the national media is busily abandoning investigative reporting in favour of the mindless celebrity bollocks that they mistakenly think will save them from further ruin.

But despair doesn’t really make for good journalism, and certainly not good bloggery.

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1. Barry B - May 17, 2013

As an ex-capitalist swine yourself – as entertaining as your moto publications were – you seem to be verging on hypocrisy here. Also the whole hippy thing was one long holiday of self-indulgence that bit by bit managed to destroy the values that you now complain about being lacking in modern Britain. Not sure what any of that means, though, but I do agree that big business needs to be either cut down in size or heavy taxed to encourage its splitting up. Where’s there is a reasonable market things do work out eventually, but whole segments of post-nationalized industries need to have mandatory price cuts year on year because there simply isn’t a market. Mark, are you sure it’s not bitterness because you ended up with a mere couple of hundred thousand quid rather than a few million?

markswill - May 17, 2013

Coupla hundred thousand quid, Barry? Hahahahahahaha and indeed, ha! Can’t deny the element of self-indulgence inherent in the whole hippy thing, though. But conversely, it bred a social tolerance and creative openness that stuck with some of us to this day. I could also argue with your claim about hugely profitable (for their shareholders and fat-cat directors) post-nationalised industries not having markets for their so-called services… but I haven’t got all day and sitting here in my freezing cold, climate-changed ‘office’ I’m too mean to turn on the central heating, so I’m going back under the duvet with my bottle of Aldi vodka and copy of Das Kapital.

2. Paul Blezard - May 17, 2013

Couldn’t agree more about the Eye, Mark, apart from the fact that it was of course started in 1961, not the ’70s! So it had already been going ten years when you founded Bike! You obviously haven’t got the 50th anniversary celebration annual – someone should give it to you for your birthday or Christmas! I have been a subscriber for many years, and last year actually put it on direct debit; I can think of no higher award to indicate my support and enthusiasm for Carlisle Street’s finest publication!

markswill - May 17, 2013

Yeah, my memory’s playing tricks on me… again. Will now amend the copy to reflect the Eye’s true history.

3. andy tribble - May 20, 2013

The Eye is not as funny as it used to be. And I got a bit sour about them when they virtually canonised Paul Foot. Because for most of his years of investigative journalism his salary was being paid by one Robert Maxwell. Maxwell must have been absolutely delighted that lots of other crooks were being exposed by Foot while one of the biggest, vainest and most toad-like was standing right behind him in a position of complete safety. Maxwell was safe all his life: the exposure only came after he died. That was so much easier.

4. Jeremy Ainsworth - July 31, 2013

Liked your stuff for 40+ years. Glad you can still be difficult as can Dick Pountain in a quiet way in PC Pro

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