It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster this week for a lot of people and the mainstream media has taken full advantage of the situations caused by the ‘interview’ and the horrific murder of Sarah Everard in London.
Social media, which presumably means Twitter these days, has, I’m told, been alive with the comments of thousands of people talking about both incidents as if they have first-hand knowledge of, in the first case the people involved and, in the second, all the answers to policing our streets in order to ‘reclaim’ and make them safe. Not for everyone as you may have reasonably expected in these days of equality and diversity, but for ‘women.’ Where that leaves the LBGT community, ethnic minorities, children and totally innocent men of any race, is interesting.
What rankles many people and, I admit, they may all well be of what we call ‘a certain age group’, is not what the characters in the interview were saying particularly, apparently without any challenge from Oprah, but the attempt to trash the good name of the Queen and our country by casting slurs and innuendo without evidence most of which have apparently, according to the same media, been disproved.
Those people who want to rid us of the Monarchy would do well to look at the various heads of state ‘voted’ in or ‘placed’ in power in various countries across the world since the end of the Second World War.The Monarchy, of which I am not a particular fan is, as Churchill said about democratic government, not the best system until you look at the others.
Just for a moment imagine some sort of ‘Peoples Prime Minister’ heading the nation but, unlike the Monarch, wielding real powers over the political direction and being Commander in Chief of all institutions and the Armed Forces. We came perilously close to that a few years ago and that is not something that I would wager many over the age of 40 would like to see again, despite what Twitter or various commentators in the predominantly left-wing, British bashing, print and broadcast media, still smarting over the vote to leave the EU, would have us believe
It’s obvious – or should be – that the traditional media as we know it is on its last legs. There are too many quality alternatives on the internet these days for them ever to have the power they assumed twenty-five years ago, when they last attempted a full-blown attack on the monarchy, aided and abetted by politicians who again wrongly thought that they could usurp its function.
It wasn’t an edifying spectacle then and it isn’t now, launched at a time when the UK needs somebody without the political claptrap and baggage that is so evident in most of our so-called leaders, unable to show some real leadership to lead the nation forward after the trying and distressing times that they have, in the main, along with their sponsored friends in ,media been responsible for.
The Queen with William and Kate and other Royals have, despite what you may think of the Institution, been a beacon of dignity and hope during the past year, which is more than one can say about the leaders of the ‘devolved’ mainland nations who have enjoyed the attention and have, in the opinion of many – me included – done their best to cause division and discord for their own political ends.
The media has also taken the opportunity this week to manipulate opinion over the horrific murder of Sarah Everard, reporting on events of which, because of how our police and justice system operates, they have little or no knowledge. Their reporting on the suspect, his alleged behaviour before and after the event for which he has been arrested and charged is ‘sailing very close to the wind’. The little matter of sub judice seems to have been forgotten and despite what people may think they know or what they believe they know, about this or any case however horrific, a person remains innocent until found guilty in a Court of Law.
We do not and hopefully never will have in this country ‘trial by the media or latterly social media,’ and witness the sort of scenes that we often see in the US when the defendant is often treated as guilty by much of the media as did happen in this country, in the case of another woman, Joanna Yeates, who was murdered in Bristol in 2010 and when a totally innocent man, Christopher Jefferies, was hounded by the media. What happened to Mr Jefferies while he was in custody and the way the national media reported on his life and his arrest, had long-term ramifications for the media and the police, and formed part of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into press conduct.
The nature of press reporting on aspects of the case led to legal proceedings against several UK newspapers. Libel action was brought by Jefferies against eight publications over their coverage of his arrest, resulting in the payment to him of substantial damages. The Daily Mirror and The Sun were found guilty of contempt of court for reporting information that could prejudice a trial.
The salacious details reported at length this week suggests that the media learned little since then and reports have at times resembled that media circus. Nothing very much appears to have changed since 2010 despite there being equally horrific murders carried out all over the UK and on the streets particularly in London, involving children, teenagers and many others in their 20s, both men and women.
The latest in London just over a month ago was Sven Badzak, aged 22 and a trainee lawyer, who popped out to the local shop on an errand for his mother and was killed on a London street. His mother has reported that following her son’s death comments were circulating and shared on Twitter which she said she ‘found offensive and hurtful.’ No mountains of flowers there or organised vigils for him or all the other little remembered murder victims, it seems.
Hands up if you remember seven-year-old Emily Jones who had her throat cut with a craft knife as she rode on her scooter past Eltiona Skana, 30, in a park in Bolton having been taken there by her mother and father on Mothers’ Day, 22nd March 2020, and died later in hospital due to her injuries. Skana had a history of violence and mental health problems and confessed to killing Emily. She was cleared of murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Manchester Crown Court.
The list of these horrific events is almost endless. Each is a tragedy in its own right. Yes, we need to reclaim the streets. Yes, we need, as a society, to decide how the police and criminal justice system should react. But one thing’s for sure:having witnessed the events and the attacks on our history that we have seen over the last twenty years and which have magnified during the last year, it’s hard to disagree with Douglas Murray, that there is a “great mass derangement.”