Sunday 20 May 2018

Language Emily!

While I'm still catching up and remembering things I meant to blog about earlier, the latest edition of Newsnight used some interesting language in its main Brexit report. Emily Maitlis and Nick Watt variously use the terms "a hard Brexit", "a moderate Brexit" and "Brexit hardliners in [Mrs May's] Cabinet" in their piece about Justine Greening, Amber Rudd and Damian Green's apparent plan to beat off Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

I raised my eyebrows at that. 

And then Emily moved on to the Italian political scene and the possible Five Star Movement-Lega-led new 'populist' government coalition there. 

Our Emily was straight in there with "The party started by a clown is about to govern Italy with a party of the far right". 

And - to the consternation of people other than just me - she later compared the coming-together of what she called "the alt-left and the firm right" to the idea of Momentum and UKIP forming a governing coalition in the UK. 

She also cited the horseshoe view of politics to claim that the extremes of right and left were converging, united by their Euroscepticism and pro-Russian sentiment. 

Now, I'm not a high profile BBC presenter (lest you thought I was) but even I know that the Five Star Movement isn't particularly close to the ideological place where Momentum sits - though an imputation that they're both rather cult-like might have held if she'd thought of explicitly pushing it. (Did she implicitly push it?) 

The Five Star Movement declare themselves to be neither left nor right, and surveys (of the kind I avidly read) show that their supporters range widely from those who also refuse to except traditional political labels (by some way the largest group) to smaller numbers of (in decreasing order) left-leaners, centrists, and right-leaners. 

To call them "alt-left" is peculiar. (Is it original to Newsnight? Or did they lift it from somewhere else?)

And I recall that, until recently, the Five Star Movement shared the same EU grouping as UKIP and that Nigel Farage and Beppe Grillo got on well, and that the Five Star Movement hasn't (at times) been too far from the Lega on the immigration issue. 

So when Emily described these 'populists' as "chalk and cheese" she seemed to be forgetting the slices, or maybe chunks even, of Gorgonzola that they seem to have in common.

And I've read enough about the Lega to know that simply branding it "far right" is too simplistic. 

Italian politics is confusing and not, I think, readily amenable to simplistic BBC groupthink, such as Emily displayed throughout here.

This was all very 'BBC', shoehorning all of these Eurosceptic populists into a maelstrom of prejudiced BBC labelling. 

And then came the two experts, both broadly pro-EU, neither sympathetic to the populists seeking to rule Italy.

Yes, all very 'BBC'.


  1. BBC labelling is simply propoganda by other means.

  2. Emily seems to have taken the quaint notion that the BBC speaks for the nation over board too.


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