Tuesday 2 May 2017

Elections: Taking it Personally | A Prequel to What’s Auto/Biography (and history and society) Got to Do With It | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May

I have spent quite a bit of time this weekend writing a piece for this Blog entitled What's Auto/Biography (and history and society) Got To Do With It?  | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May.

It’s the second in a series: the first - What’s Propaganda Got to Do With It? | Turn LEFT and Make June the End of May – I posted on the 26th April. I intend to write more in the next few weeks leading up the General Election. So far I’ve got notes on the following:

-What have Women Got to Do With It? | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May
-What's Crime and Punishment Got to Do With it? | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May
-What's Age Got to Do With it? | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May
-What's Life (and Death) Got to Do With it? | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May 

And I’m planning more. This morning whilst putting the final touches to my piece I also dipped in and out of social media. Two particular issues upset me greatly both of which relate to my writing which focuses on how thinking sociologically about the relationship between people (in terms of their auto/biographies) and time and place is relevant to an argument for political change.

The first was the news about the Prime Minister’s visit to Helston in Cornwall. I live in Cornwall. My mum lived in Helston for many years. It’s a quiet market town famous for its Floral Dance. I wonder if twitter has ever given the town as much attention as it has today. Apparently, not only was Theresa May’s speech this morning, given to the faithful few, as has been the norm so far in this campaign, but local journalists were not allowed to speak to her or film her. There are even reports that some were locked in a room so as not to bother her. Read a report from the Falmouth Packet here: 

(As an autobiographical aside when my mum and dad and I moved to Falmouth in the early 1970's my mum got a job in the local newsagents (a five minute walk from where I live now). The first few times she was asked:  ‘I’d like a Packet please, she replied: ‘a packet of what?).

I rarely watch the BBC News anymore as the anti-Corbyn/Labour Party and pro-Tory bias has become for me, like many others I know, unbearable. BUT, this lunchtime given this local issue I thought I would – BIG MISTAKE. Although the main news and BBC Spotlight South West both mentioned the visit to Cornwall there was no mention of the unbelievable security and secrecy surrounding the stage-managed visit. Instead the lead story was Dianne Abbott’s verbal slip-up in her seventh interview of the morning. Insisting that this would overshadow Labour’s vow to employ 10,000 more police officers the BBC did just that, talking little about the policy and all about the radio interview. Distressing indeed and it’s likely that things will only get worse given that:

Journalists in the UK are less free to hold power to account than those working in South Africa, Chile or Lithuania, according to an index of press freedom around the world.

Laws permitting generalised surveillance, as well as a proposal for a new espionage act that could criminalise journalists and whistleblowers as spies, were cited by Reporters Without Borders as it knocked the UK down two places from last year, to 40th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index. 

In the past five years, the UK has slipped 12 places down the index.

As Jeremy Corbyn continues to challenge the ‘rigged system’ which includes the ownership and control of the mainstream media such bias is likely to continue. All respect to those that continue to challenge it: 






Whilst this first issue brought angry tears to my eyes the second cruelly prodded a constant sore spot in my personal autobiography. In an article about the French Election Martine Le Pen, is reported to have described her rival Emmanuel Macron as psychologically unstable, adding that he was in no position to talk of the future because he has no children.

I am an (involuntarily) childless women but through my work and in my personal life I have much contact with children and young adults. I care about children and young (and older) people. I care about the world. A very big part of my increased political activity (on ‘paper’, online and on the street) is because I am so concerned about the education, health, security and overall life experience of those that come after me. Today has made me even more determined to carry on doing my small bit.

TO FOLLOW SHORTLY: What's Auto/Biography (and history and society) Got To Do With It?  | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May.


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