Tag Archives: The Daily Mail

High Court Rulings and Tabloid Rage

The Daily Mail goes full FascistSo the High Court ruled that Parliament must have the final say on invoking Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the European Union.

The outrage from the tabloids implies that the High Court have decided to annul the referendum, when the judgement does nothing of the sort. It’s hard to imagine Parliament going further than delaying A50 notification or putting conditions on it. Though the referendum was advisory in a strictly legal sense, politically the only thing that could reverse the result is a second referendum. The apoplexy of the tabloids is very telling; it’s as if they know that the Brexit they’ve lusted after for years might be slipping from the grasp.

The Daily Mail front page today is chilling. The sovereignty of Parliament, the rule of law, and an independent judiciary are cornerstones of our democracy. The Mail rejects all of those in favour of what can only be described as mob rule, and does so using rhetoric indistinguishable from the far-right terrorist who murdered Jo Cox. They are putting lives at risk here.

When it comes to incitement to violence and incitement to racial hatred, both of which are against the law, the rightwing tabloids have been sailing very close to the line for years, and have been allowed to get away with it. Has the Daily Mail crossed the line? Will anyone in authority have the guts enforce the law?

And as I’m writing this comes the news that Tory MP Steven Phillips, who is pro-leave but believes Parliament needs to be involved in the process, has resigned his seat to force a by-election. A clear sign that Daily Mail does not speak for all Leave supporters, let along the country as a whole.

What the High Court ruling has probably done is made a so-called “Hard Brexit” that never had majority support in the country far less likely. And that is almost certainly the real reason the tabloids are throwing their toys out of the pram.

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Daily Mail Prog

A recent Guardian Music Blog post asked for examples of really bad lyrics about current affairs. I nominated Pendragon’s Green and Pleasant Land, and it predictably made some other Guardian commenters’ heads explode.

I knew the song was controversial, but until I googled for the lyrics I didn’t realise quite how vile they were, with their references to Sharia Law and far-right urban myths about not being allowed to mention Christmas. The whole thing reads like a parody Daily Mail bingo card set to music. Except it’s not supposed to be a parody.

I remember when I saw Pendragon live a couple of years back, a poor gig ruined by terrible sound. Nick Barratt was complaining about the reactions to the song, and seemed to take offence at being called a bigot. Nick, if you don’t like being called a bigot, you could always stop behaving like one.

I guess it’s easier to be critical of a band’s lyrics when you’re not a big fan of their music. I always thought Pendragon were one of the least interesting of the 80s crop of neo-prog bands. Like contemporaries Marillion and IQ they started out wearing some obvious influences on their sleeves. But unlike those bands, who merely used those influences as a starting point to develop their own musical identities, Pendragon seemed content to continue sounding like a derivative pastiche of their 70s heroes; indeed some of their songs contain whole sections lifted from Pink Floyd and Yes.

Anyway, here’s a link to the song itself, so you can make up your own mind about it.

Pendragon have been around a long time, and have gathered themselves a loyal fanbase. But for me there are more than enough great bands in the progressive rock scene nowadays to feel any need to bother with bands that write such “problematic” lyrics.

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