You only have to glance at the front pages of the British and the American press today and see that the headline of this article is true.
Carefully written news is dispatched to people who want to read the news based on facts, and reading requires time and concentration.
However, such good practices are under threat because many newspapers have decided to keep articles short and include big photos because they fear that readers will skip through or ignore longer ones. Shorter articles also allow space for advertising and fit better on to smaller screens!
Reading from paper is both faster and allows better concentration than from screens. Flickering adverts, ringing notifications and urgent emails distract us so easily.
In every country rubbish is being pumped out by newspapers owned by wealthy men who certainly never believe what their newspapers print. Their actions are premeditated to enrich themselves by supporting equally ruthless leaders who will grant them favours like lower taxes and other benefits.
Political parties and their leaders appear to have no hesitation in misleading voters – we see this with Trump and Johnson who openly and dishonestly break the law of the land and devalue long held and cherished democratic values.
The US Business Round Table made their carefully drafted announcement that business should not concentrate just on shareholder value – it announced:
“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.”
If business is willing to take that jump then the media and political parties should also be willing to make the same commitments!
The judgement of the UK’s Supreme Court on Johnson’s attempt to close Parliament for several weeks was based on three key principles:
- The UK Parliament has sovereign power to make laws, and
- The UK Government is accountability to Parliament.
In spite of this fine judgement, there remains a deeply distressing weakness in the UK which over-shadows the whole system of democracy, and that is that the country remains a nation based on class distinction.
Education and opportunities are largely graded by class and money. The media and the political system, to which the aristocratic families also belong, make sure that you know your place in society. Escaping a working class life and position is as hard as escaping from jail! It is especially difficult when most working class do not even realise that they are in fact “in jail”. Such a class system devalues and shames democratic values because it is not based on honesty or equality.
The Nordic countries have largely avoided such a class system with high quality free education for all. This solution has ensured that the dumbing down of broad swathes of the population has not occurred as in the United States and in the UK. Unfortunately the Sweden Democrats and the True Finns have decided to take their political policies from the worst parts of the far right xenophobic in the UK and the US to take some voters down this dangerous path.
It is easy to complain and criticise the government when sitting in opposition after any election, and far more demanding to behave in a responsible and coherent fashion.
In particular, the Conservative Party (Kokoomus) in Finland has already forgotten that when they held the keys to the government they increased taxation almost every year, increased public debt, sold off state-owned companies, cut education budgets and privatised large parts of the health sector. They also had extremely low targets for reducing unemployment which were easily surpassed when the European economies rebounded. Now, from their seats in the opposition they are criticising the present government for exactly the same policies!