Monday, 12 January 2009

I got those 'trying to parody an Express headline' blues

I've seen you, you know. I've seen you sitting there watching your big telly, thinking that the Nazis didn't win and you live in some kind of free society where you can watch Hollyoaks on it without jackbooted stormtroopers kicking down your door to confiscate it, and let me tell you that your naivety disgusts me. Have you not been paying attention to the slow, creeping power grab by the EU-SSR? Idiot! The papers have been telling you for ages. You didn't stand up when they came for your baffling imperial measurements, you didn't stand up when they came for your grossly inefficient lightbulbs, and now they're coming for your massive home theatre system, there's no-one left to speak up for you. Allow the Daily Express to drop a TRUTH BOMB on your house of ignorance: NOW THE EU WANTS TO BAN YOUR PLASMA TELEVISION.

It's tempting to try and seriously go through this story and try and find out the real truth, but the Mail's marginally less rabid Energy-guzzling plasma TVs will be banned in Brussels eco blitz gives the 'well...not quite' game away with this eighth-paragraph admission:

A spokesman for the Department-for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the plasma TV would not be banned completely, with eco-friendly sets remaining on the market.

So, obviously they're not going to banned, they're just possibly going to gradually be phased out in favour of less ridiculous models that don't consume more than double the energy of an equivalent LCD, if the EU can agree on its energy ratings system. In keeping with its longstanding image as the breathless, outlandish, idiotic Scrappy Doo to the Mail's Scooby, the Express' coverage goes with that preposterous headline, and doesn't have time for tedious, tokenistic attempts at 'balance' like the Mail. The Mail's approach to balancing out their stories with the obligatory single quote from the other viewpoint is in a way even more inexcusable, since it proves that they've done enough research to know they're talking shit, whereas the Express just give the impression they don't give a fuck.

Perhaps the Express lost their Blackberry with all their contact details in it or something. I mean, who would you ring to get an informed, relevant quote on a potential issue like this? A scientist? Someone with some kind of electronics background? Someone from the EU? Defra? A climate change expert, if that's the contention you're making? Ha! The Express decide to call one of their own columnists, the inimitable right-wing word-generator Ann Widdecombe, who's one of that happy breed of political geniuses whose primary skill, such as it is, lies in being able to have an opinion about anything without having to cheat by doing wimpy, cop-out things like 'research'. It can't be easy to be a rent-a-gob on every topic, so Widdecombe deserves praise for managing to ramble on at a tangent, 'Just A Minute' style, with this kind of finesse:

The move has been blasted by civil rights campaigner and Daily Express columnist Ann Widdecombe. The Tory MP condemned the plans as “outrageous interference” in people’s personal lives.

She said: “We have already got the situation of being compelled to have ‘green’ light bulbs with poisonous mercury in them. First it was the light bulbs and now they are after plasma screen TVs.

“There is no climate change, hasn’t anybody looked out of their window recently?

“Our Government intervenes too much in people’s personal lives. When you can’t decide what you plug in at home it has really come to something.”

I must admit, first of all, to my surprise at seeing Ann Widdecombe described as a 'civil rights campaigner'. Perhaps that's because I think of her as the woman who had an ITV1 series which involved literally yelling at prostitutes and the unemployed as part of a weird 'Did I really see that?' telly freakshow. Or perhaps it's the phrase's association with the likes of Martin Luther King, who probably wouldn't have become so fondly remembered if he'd merely had a dream that one day the European Union wouldn't be allowed to allegedly propose gradually phasing out/putting energy ratings on unnecessarily power-sapping TVs so he could watch Holly Willoughby's tits in massive hi-def 56" plasma-vision instead of on a similarly-sized LCD screen.

Perhaps I'm troubled by the idea of Widdecombe as some kind of crusader for ultimate freedom because the last time I saw her name, she was busy telling the BBC who they should or shouldn't be interviewing for a lightweight end-of-year list show about celebrities. But that would be churlish of me, I'm sure. I mean, the right to be able to buy one particular kind of telly in a few years probably is more important than the right to be able to watch it without over-exposed Tory firebrands yelping self-righteously about whether or not we should be allowed to see Ron Jeremy say something a bit rude about Lindsay Lohan on it. At least under a Widdecombe-led utopia we'd be able to watch programming that stays strictly "within the limits of decency" on an enormous plasma.

But you know, okay, I've had some time to think about it and I take some of that back about her. Earlier I may have suggested that Widdecombe is something of a gobshite who wouldn't know or read research if she wallpapered her toilet with it, but reading that quote again I realise I was deeply unfair. It's just that there are different types of research. There's the meticulous, measurement-taking, number-crunching, data-analysing, peer-reviewed research that, say, the IPCC do on climate change, and then there's looking out of a fucking window, which pretty much anyone who's not blind or in solitary confinement can do. I think you'll agree with Ann, looking out of the window and seeing it a bit cold and wet in England in mid-January, that the 'climate change' hypothesis which all these girlfriendless science boffins have been researching for several decades is clearly dead. It's this kind of clear, uncluttered-by-evidence kind of thinking that makes the Tories so delightfully electable, don't you think?


  1. You know something, I'm really annoyed with myself, that even when reading quotes from the Daily Express, which is one of few remaining places I'd still expect to hear this kind of shit, I am still surprised each and every time when I hear someone say things like "There is no climate change, look out the window".

    I mean... for fuck's sake.

    Anyway I'm really loving all these in-depth analyses of Daily Tabloid's sensational headlines. Ok it's no news that they put false stories into headlines, the truth into the nth paragraph, and they can do it because probably only about 5% of their readers will actually read anything past the headline.
    But I don't know anyone who dissects it better than you. :)

  2. Yeah, it's always depressing when you see a reasonably senior politician with a big public profile just coming out with same kind of moronic drivel you'd get from a pissed-up bloke down the pub.

  3. You owe me a packet of screenwipes for getting the coffee off the screen - superb laugh out loud stuff

  4. Bit of a Johnny-come-lately to your blog. Tabloid headlines invariable remind me of this.