May Day – May Day! By William Bowles

25 March 2004

So apparently the Anarchists and the BBC have joined forces and cancelled May Day at least according to BBC TV News London (24/03/04). The nightly ‘news’ show carried a report that shifted the goalposts on May Day by presenting it as something that ‘belonged’ only to the Anarchists, and to compound this outrageous reordering of reality, showed us videos of the various and sundry scuffles that have occasionally broken out, but nothing else of this historic celebration of workers’ rights.

The report then went on to tell us that people viewed May Day with alarm perhaps because that’s the way the media presented it to them and then excused their entire twisted interpretation of reality because, ‘that’s the way the media reports it’.

The report admitted that although only a tiny number of the people who attend May Day rallies actually gets into agro, ‘we’ve decided to present it like this, so that’s the way reality is from now on’.

Then the BBC showed us an Anarchist Website that tells us that May Day has been cancelled due to ‘lack of interest’, which reminded me of a banner I saw on a march once, also carried by an Anarchist (of course) that read “Tomorrow has been cancelled due to lack of interest”. And apparently that’s how the BBC would like us to think about events if this report is anything to go by.

Why did the BBC choose to use the Anarchists (who must number a couple of thousand in toto, nationwide) as the ‘benchmark’ for what May Day is all about?

Well for one, it reinforces the stereotype of May Day as a day when we can expect ‘violence’ and, what else – ‘anarchy’.

Second, selecting one political minority as representing the whole of the left, belittles the occasion and the great majority who (peacefully) take part. To this must also be added the reporter’s snidy voice and patronising attitude (that unfortunately, I can’t reproduce here).

The entire report was so blatantly a piece of state-sponsored propaganda that I’m surprised it didn’t carry a Ministry of Information logo (or whatever the government propaganda department calls itself now) at the end of it all.

Finally, to add insult to injury, the (snidy) reporter tells us that, “of course, it might all be a hoax” to which I’m tempted to add, what the ‘news’ report or the Anarchist claim?

Amazing that for most of the 365 days of the year, the left never gets a mention on the state-sponsored news outlet and when it does, it’s this kind of outrageous rewrite of history.

Straw Dog Wears Emperor’s New Clothes

And as I’m on a roll with the craven BBC, this morning on BBC Radio 4 News (25/03/04), we had the unpalatable Jack ‘The lights are on but nobody’s home’ Straw, trying to defend an illusion, namely how does the government justify calling Ghaddafi “courageous’ when it’s spent the last twenty years demonising him?

Ah – what tangled webs we weave. Straw had his work cut out wriggling through the minefield of his own government’s making. Coming under intensive (if shallow) scrutiny from the BBC journo, Straw sought to justify why Blair was meeting with the man who was behind “the biggest terrorist attack in Europe” (Lockerbie), let alone the police woman who was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in 1984 by, it is assumed, a Libyan (Brit cops are on their way to Tripoli to find out).

So what is going with Libya? Is it ‘all about oil’? (Shell signs exploration deal, BAE systems sign weapons deal, all in all, £1 billion in business.) Or perhaps it’s the non-existent WMD they’ve agreed to get rid of (not difficult if you don’t have any)? Then again, maybe it’s their “hatred of Al-Qu-eda”? Maybe it’s that they ‘saw the light’ after the imperium trashed Iraq?

And of course, it is a bit of stretch from terrorist to courageous but nothing that our duplicitous leaders can’t wriggle their way out of. The one question the media won’t ask is, if they could do it for Ghaddafi, why not all the other ‘terrorists’. Blair justified the visit by saying that Libya had renounced terrorism (have they ever publicly stated their support for it?) and had “agreed to join the UK in the fight against terrorism”.

All in all, it’s smoke and mirrors and reveals the two-faced nature of Blair’s policies. One is tempted to speculate that on the one hand, Blair made Ghaddafi ‘an offer he couldn’t refuse’ (unleash the US on them) and on the other, Ghaddafi was prepared to eat crow just so he could do business. After all, the ‘slip’ made the other week by Libya’s foreign minister (that they only accepted responsibility for Lockerbie so they could get the sanctions removed), is much closer to the truth than any of the propaganda being put out by the British government. The jury is still out over who really planted the Lockerbie bomb, with many of the relatives of the survivors still not satisfied with the ‘answers’ they’ve received.

A more plausible explanation is the fact that after the Middle East, Africa is the next major source of oil and establishing a bridgehead in North Africa is the next logical next step and damn the bad press. If they can go to war over the objections of the vast majority of the population, they can surely justify doing business with the former public enemy #2 (or is it #3?) given Blair’s slick and slippery tongue.

Above all else, it demonstrates the hypocrisy of our government that can one minute claim to be occupying the ‘moral high ground’ in the fight against terrorism and the next play real politik. And for those who still bother to look and listen to our duplicitous leaders, it’s just another exposure of the ‘double-standard’ of Brit politics.

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