Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 29/04/10

Joe The Plumber's Granny?

For possibly the first time ever, I find myself somewhat on Gordon Brown's side.

The illiterates who pass for journalists in this happy land have already named it 'Bigotgate', but Brown's opinion of an old bag who assailed him in the street in Rochdale yesterday must surely be said to fall under the heading of 'fair comment'?

After all, what did Gillian Duffy (for it was she) actually say?

"You can't say anything about the immigrants because you're saying that you're..."

You're what, dearie? The 'R' word, perhaps?

We are constantly being told that "You can't talk about immigration in this country...!". And yet, this is a malevolent meme promoted by the Murdoch press (and their twisted sisters under the skin in the Mail and Express camps) and further promoted by their political soulmates in 'Migrationwatch', UKIP and the BNP. Yes, the very same people who can talk about nothing other than immigration in their newspapers and manifestos (see here inter alia).

If any blame is to be apportioned on the political side of this, it should go in two directions. Firstly, to Brown himself, a) for his grovelling apology and for being a hypocrite (Justin McKeating nails this one), and b) to his spin doctors. It is on this latter point that things get a little sinister.

It should come as no surprise that the Murdoch media empire, having changed sides a few months back, are stick-shittingly eager to see that shiny Etonian gobshite Cameron walking in through the front door of Number Ten on May 7. The air of desperation which has come over them as the polls seem to suggest that he won't be able to do that - at least, not without being carried over the threshold by another public schoolboy (Clegg of the Lower Third) - has manifested itself in lurid, screaming headlines aimed against the resurgent Liberal Democrats in general and Clegg in particular. Notably piquant was the Mail's oh-so-subtle insinuation that Clegg was suspect because his mother was Dutch, his father half-Russian and his wife is Spanish (see Anton Vowl's takedown of such arsewipery).

So, when Sky News (motto: "We want to be Fox, but the law won't let us") offered to hook Gordon (or, as The Independent inadvertently - one assumes - called him the other day, 'Gorgon') up to a radio mic during a walkabout amongst the ambulatory consumer units yesterday, surely someone in the Brown entourage should have smelled a rat? One called Rupert?

Apparently not. So when Brown got back into his car and gave his real opinion of the Gorgon he'd just encountered, it was of course a mere accident that the Murdoch operatives had 'forgotten' to switch the mic off.

And how remarkably quickly the story spread! And how equally remarkable is the swiftness with which Ould Granny Duffy has ended up with a public relations company trying to sell her story to the press!

For the one thing that the Murdoch empire fears more than anything else - even more than having to pay taxes, or having to produce responsible journalism - is the possibility that, for the first time in over thirty years this country might have a government which, to some substantial degree, is not beholden to the empire's hackrags and their rapacious owners.

So it is that, not only is this election perhaps the best chance of reform of the political process in generations, but also the best chance we have ever had of ridding our governments of the need to bow and scrape to, and enthusiastically to fellate, the worst scum press in the western world.

That is why the last paragraph of my previous Rant still stands as my position. Or, as the great Beau Bo D'Or has put it more graphically (literally):

Image of multiple Rupert Murdochs