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Moral Panic

In 1984, a music group called The Apostles (in which I played a minor role) was interviewed by Garry Bushell, a journalist for a sordid little fashion magazine called Sounds. I had earlier made a wager with one of the other band members that I could have us interviewed by one of their journalists before the end of the year. I wrote letters to their letters page; I sent them a copy of one of our records with a letter designed to appeal what I believed to be the main obsessions of the main journalists who contributed to the paper. To cut a long story short, I won the wager, collected my £5 and we made complete fools of ourselves on page 7 of this paltry publication. After that, I realised I had committed one of the few major errors of my career and I promised myself that never again would I be interviewed by any commercial newspaper or media channel. If this seems an extreme, if not monastic attitude, consider how the press and media actually operate.

Older readers – those of my age – may remember that infamous photograph of Leah Betts on a hospital bed with plastic tubes up her nose in various newspapers during the early 1990s, small pictures of her parents underneath looking understandably distraught. Ms Betts was a teenage girl who allegedly died in hospital as a result of taking an ecstasy tablet at a rave party. The press vengefully fulminated against these drug peddling thugs who epitomised the rave scene. In reality, ‘these drug peddling thugs’ were usually other teenagers who were simply fortunate enough to obtain a decent supply of E’s on a certain night.

Your parents or grandparents may remember shock horror stories of a similar nature with regard to mods versus rockers, hippies versus skinheads and punks versus just about everyone. In each case various youth subcultures are subjected to a media campaign that virtually amounts to persecution, an attitude the media bag justifies by its alleged defence of the decency of the general public. (Note: this is the same decent general public who voted in Thatcher and then Blair for no less than three terms each with the result that in just 29 years, Great Britain has now become a virtual police state.) All this adheres to an organised and quite deliberate formula constructed by the media as a means by which to increase newspaper sales and maintain television viewer ratings. This disgusting apparatus of cynicism devoted purely to profit and prestige originated in the 1950s.

The 1950s – Teddy Boys

During the decade that followed the end of world war two, Great Britain endured many turbulent changes to its character, its industry and its people. Food rationing ended, petrol rationing ended and televisions became sufficiently affordable that most people could possess them by 1960. In fact it was the royal coronation in 1953 that consolidated the advent of television as a nationally accepted adjunct to the wireless and the cinema. (By the end of the next decade, it would reign with such supremacy that it would supplant both the radio and the cinema in importance, but that’s a later story.) Then in 1958 the Windrush travelled from the West Indies to dock in Liverpool and unload the first major wave of immigrants into the country.

Two further changes are important here. The abolition of conscription was supported by many military leaders since it implied that only those young men who really wanted to join the armed forces would apply and therefore the strength, quality and integrity of the army, navy and air force would be significantly improved as a result. As the nation gradually but steadfastly rebuilt its infrastructure after the devastating bomber raids of the war, there were plenty of jobs in the construction industry. A consequence of both these factors was that the nation witnessed teenagers with money to spend and time to fill. London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and most of all Coventry were pockmarked by bomb craters and wrecked buildings – an appropriately prescient landscape on which the first real youth subculture could display its rituals. Teddy Boys (the name derived from the long Edwardian coats favoured by the young men) swiftly made a reputation for themselves as violent louts who loitered around cafes, carried flick knives and ripped up the seats in cinemas. Their music was rock and roll, a harmless, insipid dilution of rhythm and blues, neutered and sanitised for the white market since the kind of music created by those black boys in Yankee-land was still too raw and strange for most British youths to comprehend. That said, they did accept the more popular elements like Little Richard, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry.

To the newspapers, the radio and the television editors and executives, this new youth trend was a marvel. Reports of the phenomenon, when printed accurately, provided a slight increase in sales and viewer ratings but when their behaviour was exaggerated and embellished, profits went through the roof. The media machine thus enjoyed its very first venture into the creation of a moral panic. Their methods were clumsy and naïve but since the population was still recovering from the war and trying to keep pace with all the other changes happening in the country, nobody realised this at the time. As the cold war between Russia and America developed and the commencement of the space age was heralded on October 14th 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1, the Teddy Boy phenomenon became old fashioned and irrelevant.

The 1960s – Mods & Rockers

The early 1960s witnessed an increase in financial security, a decrease in unemployment and a greater sophistication among the teenagers of Britain as they soaked up the latest trends and fashions imported from America, in particular the beatnik movement and the less commercial form of black rhythm and blues. After the initial excitement of the Liverpool beat music scene, heralded by The Beatles, British teenagers graduated to the London R&B scene epitomised by The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Small Faces, The Kinks, Manfred Man and The Graham Bond Organisation. The term ‘mod’ was derived from a fashion magazine of the period in which new trendy clothes were modelled by Cathy McGowan – and a new youth subculture was born. The emphasis was upon looking sharp and taking pride in your appearance. If Mods worshipped a character from Greek mythology, it would be Narcissus. In short, it was a movement with nothing to say but it looked well smart while doing so.

This period also marked the advent of another media invented term: the generation gap. Newspaper writers were encouraged to propagate the idea that teenagers and parents were inevitably alienated from each other by the generation gap, portrayed as an abyss over which no bridge could be built. Anyone who sat and used their brain for more than 3 minutes soon realised that the notion was quite preposterous, of course, but for a while the notion convinced many people among the lower orders that this mysterious generation gap did indeed exist and was another ‘sign of the times’ (another media concoction), like drugs, long hair and a lack of respect for authority.

The Rockers were motorcycle enthusiasts who can be regarded as the prototypes for what became the Hells Angels by the end of the decade. Their uniform was primarily black leather and their music harked back to the old days of rock and roll. They rode BSA and Triumph motorcycles, generally of well over 100cc engine capacity. The Mods disdained such brute power – they preferred Italian made Vespas and Lambrettas adorned with many badges and mirrors so that these 50cc scooters puttered along like so many metallic peacocks. Some of the more adventurous young men even took to wearing eye make-up. The response from the rockers was predictable: utter disdain and contempt. I can empathise entirely – had I been born 15 years earlier, I would definitely have been a rocker!

The 1970s – Hippies & Skinheads

The cold war appeared to grow decidedly hot as the war monger John Kennedy was assassinated, American troops invaded Vietnam and Mao Tse Tung declared a cultural revolution in 1966. There were riots in France in 1968. Violent demonstrations against the invasion of Vietnam spread across Europe. (As a poignant digression, we should note that virtually every demonstration against the invasion of Vietnam held in Europe voiced a protest in defence of the Vietnamese against the incursion of American militarism, such that rarely was any direct sympathy expressed for the American soldiers themselves; the mass rallies in America were held to demand the return of the American troops, not because they wished an end to the slaughter of innocent Vietnamese people but because they believed it was grossly unjust that so many American soldiers should be maimed and killed in a futile war.) Militant black rights activist Malcolm X had already been murdered at a public meeting in 1965; the pacifist Christian civil rights activist Martin Luther King was then assassinated in 1968. A group of militant socialist students called The Red Army Faction in Germany kidnapped and executed war criminal Aldo Moro. A similar group called The Angry Brigade set of bombs and machine gun attacks on the streets of Britain, their targets (in which nobody was ever killed) being police chiefs, the police computer, fashion boutiques and the Miss World competition, among others. Suddenly the world was no longer a safe place in which to live.

The advent of skinheads toward the end of the decade represents one of the more curious phenomena in British youth subculture. Unlike the teddy boys and hippies, the skinheads were not only of British invention but they could hardly have originated from any other country. The uniform – savagely short hair, union shirts, ill fitting trousers held up with braces and big boots – was such a dramatic change from the prevailing freak mode of dress that many parents initially welcomed its adherents. In fact, hippies and skinheads both owe their genesis to the evolution of mods. The more cerebral and generally middle class mods mutated into hippies while their intellectually challenged and primarily working class brethren devolved into skinheads. Note: that is a profoundly sweeping generalisation and there were plenty of exceptions. We must avoid the cliché that working class = dim, middle class = bright, after all.

The media were initially uncertain how to tackle skinheads. That they were a new youth subculture indicated a probable source of sales revenue for the newspapers but here were young people (mainly men) who were clean, smart, sported short hair, generally refused illicit drugs, claimed to be patriotic and they despised hippies. If you omit the words ‘clean’ and ‘smart’, what you have there is an accurate description of the majority of British men, then and now. The Daily Express and the Daily Mail (predictably) greeted skinheads with considerable approbation, primarily as a means to pursue further attacks against hippies.

Ben Sherman shirts, narrow cut two-tone suits and Chelsea boots were common appurtenances to mod attire. These clothes were always expensive and one advantage of the stripped down skinhead uniform is that it doesn’t demand such an excessive slice taken out of the wage packet at the end of the week. The hair was generally kept fairly short for mods until the mid sixties when everyone and their father started to acquire sideburns, moustaches and ears covered by hair. (Even some politicians, attempting to be trendy and fashionable, would grow their hair a little longer than was previously acceptable – although typically they only latched onto this idea during the early seventies, i.e. 5 years late.) In 1969 when the first skinheads appeared, Ben Sherman shirts were in evidence but the ‘smart skinhead’ look, complete with sheepskin coat, was not common until the end of the year, no doubt prompted by the girls who became impatient with their boys looking too much like escaped psychiatric patients for their tastes.

The adoption of music performed almost exclusively by black musicians remains a curious aspect of the cult. Mods were passionate about American soul, true, but only a small number of them had much time for blue beat, ska and its more famous progeny, reggae. For two or three years, reggae became the musical standard for skinheads, some of whom sported razor cuts (thin lines shaved along the scalp where a parting would normally be), a fashion directly stolen from West Indian youths known as rude boys. This is the prime difference between the first wave of skinheads (1969-1971) and the revival (1980-1985). In 1982 the band Skrewdriver released a 12” single called Back With A Bang, an anthem written to celebrate the skinhead revival in all its dubious glory. At this time, perhaps in response to the increasingly arcane sentiments expressed by punks, skinheads adopted their own form of fashion and music, known as ‘Oi’. This was ‘their’ cult – only, it wasn’t. The term ‘Oi’ was invented by a third rate, middle class music journalist called Garry Bushell who wrote for a second rate pop music magazine called Sounds which was to music magazines what The Sun is to national newspapers. By 1983 there was an impressive stable of white nationalist bands to provide the soundtrack to the skinhead pantomime: Brutal Attack, The Afflicted, Combat 84 and Skrewdriver being the most obvious examples. For the record, The 4 Skins and The Last Resort were never ‘white nationalist’ groups per se although most of the band members of both groups would express sympathy with such sentiments.

The mods’ use of the union flag (erroneously called the union jack by the press – actually our national flag is only called this when flying from a ship) was quickly discarded by the hippies who generally regarded any symbol of national pride with contempt. This decidedly unpatriotic attitude was completely logical for a nation of young people who lived in a country run by a government who regarded America as its older brother and that older brother was busy terrorising innocent farmers and peasants in Vietnam. However, the skinheads (also known as ‘bovver boys’ at this time) adopted the symbol in a more strident manner. For some, it was merely a shroud behind which stood a swastika. That said, it was not until the second wave of skinheads appeared during the early 1980s that the astringently fascist elements of the cult became de rigeuer. When I was at school, we were shown a recording of a BBC television ‘play for today’ starring Michael Robbins as the father of a teenager who becomes a skinhead. There is an excellent verbal exchange in which the father, after close scrutiny of his son dressed in his regalia for the first time, remarks ‘Look at the state of you. How much did all that clobber cost? Anyway, I don’t know why you bothered – you should’ve joined the army, son, they’d give you all that for free.’

This was a most perceptive statement by the writer since every aspect of the uniform is indicative of the old fashioned working class combined with signs of servitude: the shaved hair equates with prisoners, with mental asylums and the armed forces. The union shirt with its lack of a collar and the ill fitting trousers held up by braces are straight out of so many paintings by Lowry – when you went to work for your master in the fields or the factories, you didn’t wear your collar; that was reserved for your Sunday best when you went to church and offered prayers to God that you were still alive and able to eke out a wretched existence on whatever pittance you were paid for your labour each week. The steel toe capped boots were a further necessity for men who worked in fields and factories where heavy gear was shifted and damage to the feet was best avoided by such protective footwear. So to summarise, skinheads were a parody of the old fashioned British working class and further they were the epitome of right wing reactionary values advocated by people frightened of change and progress. For this reason, skinheads were far more acceptable to many ordinary people in Britain than hippies with their left wing, revolutionary beliefs and outlandish attire.

The hippies derive their name from a beatnik slang word – hip – as in ‘being hip to what’s going on’. However, the people the press called ‘hippies’ never used the term to describe themselves. Their chosen epithet was ‘freaks’. During the latter days of the mods, experimentation with drugs had become frequent. Their enthusiasm for amphetamines (such as blues and purple hearts) had gradually been supplanted by a new appreciation of hallucinogenic substances imported from America, the most ubiquitous being LSD. As this crazy substance acquired ever more consumers, mods began to mutate into freaks – the hair became longer, the trousers more flared, the clothes more colourful, the music more bizarre. However, LSD alone was only a contributor, not a prime mover. The treatment of Irish nationalists by the British state and the brutal horror inflicted on innocent Vietnamese people by the American military were regarded by students around the world as typical symptoms of capitalism. Capitalists were conservative, grey suited middle class middle aged supporters of military regimes and the oppression of minority groups – indeed these properties were essential in order for vast profits to be accrued by their exponents. You don’t become wealthy by being decent.

The second half of the decade witnessed the oil crisis and the collapse of the nation as a result of a weak government that allowed itself to be bullied by Marxist rat-bags who infested the unions. With a dramatic increase in both unemployment and homelessness, coupled with power cuts and the three-day working week, the star struck mysticism of the hippies quickly became not only irrelevant to the majority of working class youth but also actually rather offensive. The sudden eruption of punk rock in 1976 was inevitable since it was a vituperative response to a subculture that had long ceased to represent the issues that affected working class young people. The irony is that the hippie movement gradually evolved from the beatniks who were disaffected middle class intellectuals from bourgeois families; the culture was therefore organic and derived largely from the people it represented. However, punk rock was completely fabricated by fashion designers like Vivian Westwood and art school philistines like Malcolm McLaren whose cynical manipulation of public malcontent was clever but callous and utterly self serving. Such people had far more in common with Tories than terrorists. Therefore, punk could never seriously represent ordinary working class youth despite its pretence at doing just that – a pretence that was alarmingly successful for a couple of years.

The 1980s – Punks

For the media, the 1980s could have been very tedious if youth subcultures were their only source of horror stories. This is because there were no genuinely new subcultures available for them to create a foundation upon which to construct a new moral panic. Punks still existed but they had become serious, grim and boring; the skinhead revival offered nothing of much interest apart from their allegiance to neo-nazi political groups but even that was hardly new. An early newspaper editorial (from the Daily Express) spent three paragraphs fulminating against punks with a stream of sarcasm, verbal vitriol and outright bigotry; it then concluded that a small gang of football hooligans could ‘see off’ these punks any day of the week. The implication here was that football hooligans were more socially acceptable (at least to the editors of the Daily Express) than punks – a bizarre conceit when we read how the same newspaper called for every public sanction possible from conscription to permanent incarceration for these same football hooligans. When confronted with the media we soon learn that this years foes are next years friends and vice versa.

For anyone over 30 years of age, the 1980s will be associated indelibly with riots, civil disorder, the promotion of war, the protection of privilege and the brutal oppression of homeless people by draconian laws against the use of empty property. The unions were finally crushed. The miners were robbed of their right to protect their livelihood and the true face of parliament was revealed as the false veneer of democracy melted under the medusa glare of the tin pot lady. Since newspaper editors and media moguls accrued profits from the system of government that prevailed in Britain at this time, it was evidently in their interest to support it and therefore to attack any individual or group who voiced protest or criticism. Certain intelligent elements within the punk scene (despite the apparent contradiction in terms implied by that choice of words) combined with articulate representatives of the protest movement (such as Class War) offered a cogent critique to the bellicose warmongering of the Thatcher regime and increasing numbers of the public began to take notice. This was quite unacceptable to the government so where ever police truncheons failed, the printed word and the moving image were invoked – with considerable success.

This was achieved not by attacking the punks directly but by suggesting that whenever ordinary people instigated or participated in civil rebellion against the more disgusting examples of state violence, in reality the true instigators were anarchists and punks, that it was the participation of these criminal elements that were actually responsible for the burnt, smoking vehicles, looted chain stores and injured policemen. Before the end of the decade, the words ‘punk’, ‘anarchist’ and ‘criminal’ had become as interchangeable as ‘robber’, ‘thief’ and ‘bailiff’. Through newspapers, television and radio, the population were told that the ordinary British public would never riot and behave so dreadfully, that these incidents were merely provoked by punks, anarchists and other criminal elements. So the ‘problem’ was defined as anarchist punks set on causing trouble purely for the hell of it with people like Ian Bone as their spokesperson. Ian Bone was chastised in a banner headline by the Daily Mail as ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’.

This is interesting since a decade earlier, Tom O’Carroll (the leader of the Paedophile Information Exchange, a perfectly legal body set up to represent and provide a discussion forum for paedophiles) was greeted one morning with his photograph in the News Of The World over a banner headline that read ‘the most evil man in Britain’. I am unusually fortunate to have met both these gentlemen. Mr O’Carroll was neither a child molester nor an active paedophile – but those facts did not induce people to purchase newspapers so the News Of The World opted for a more engaging epithet with which to entice public interest. Mr Bone certainly hates inherited wealth and unbridled privilege, especially when people endowed with those qualities use their position to maintain the poverty of ordinary people – but then so do plenty of honest clergymen (and such people do exist, difficult though that be to believe).

The cause was simplified as greed and selfishness on behalf of these ‘criminal elements’ – this coming from people (newspaper editors and media moguls) who are themselves the epitome of greed and selfishness. Once again the key participants (Crass, Ian Bone, Class War, Ronan Bennett, Iris Mills and so on) were stigmatised. By this time many of the leader writers began to believe their own fairy tales and their calls for government action became perfectly hysterical. A response from the authorities was ultimately provoked when in the infamous ‘battle of the bean field’ near Stonehenge a large crowd of unarmed and peaceful freaks, punks and travellers were physically assaulted by heavily armed police thugs which resulted in dozens of innocent people being hospitalised while not one policeman was ever indicted. The socialists predictably blamed the government for this outrage – we blamed the true guilty party, namely the newspapers and the media.

The 1990s – Ravers

By the 1990s the media bag pattern had become so familiar that we, with the advent of the Internet to assist us, had become rather too knowledgeable and too sophisticated for the process to function quite so smoothly. Since the ravers did not seek enemies or confrontation with other subcults, the media were not able to fabricate the youth wars of previous decades. However, being bad losers, they resorted to another tried and tested means of assault upon our culture: fear and the family with drugs as the pivot upon which this ridiculous edifice teetered. The press and the police were often initially supportive or at least articulated mild commendation in their reports of early raves. They expressed an appreciation of the scarcity of alcohol, the absence of violence and the significant number of different ethnic minorities included among the clubbers. However, reports of this nature do not sell many newspapers or increase television viewer ratings. So, rather than tell the truth, the media searched for a scapegoat – and, thanks to our perennial desire to alter our state of consciousness, they found one and it was a beauty: ecstasy.

When Leah Betts took an ecstasy pill at a private party in the early 1990s, the media machine enjoyed a field day; they loved every moment of it. There was never any genuine sympathy for the poor parents. Each tear shed by her mother was another tick in a profit margin box for a newspaper and the newscasters of each channel drooled over the luxury of being able to express their meticulously contrived outrage. Richard Branson, the pathetic loser and failed human being who has relentlessly tried, without success, to convince us all that money is all you need in order to have a decent life, went public with his call for a ban on ‘acid parties’, not because he cared one iota about what young people actually did at raves but because he sought to identify himself as a respectable pillar of the establishment in order to encourage confidence among shareholders for Virgin Airlines and Virgin Railways, the two ailing, failing companies he desperately wished to save from extinction.

Would this media campaign have been so successful had Leah Betts not been female, young, pretty and white? Of course not – the media machine has always thrived upon the depiction of innocent pretty young white women as victims in its pages. This is not merely editorial laziness; it is an expression of the lurid perversion exhibited by typical editors and producers who tend to be white, male, fat, middle class, middle aged and unhappily married. Strong, independent women who refuse to be victims are not the kind of people the media machine ever finds particularly interesting unless there is a drug scandal or lesbian angle they can exploit. Meanwhile, the problem remained: the media machine has always found it expedient to nurture perceived differences between youth subcultures and actually invent differences should none originally exist. Thus the ravers, bereft of an opposing gang, were subjected to the only other means by which the media could attack it: direct assaults upon every aspect of their lifestyles, complete with fallacious ‘facts’ quite blatantly fabricated in order to incite public consternation and resentment.

The Public Order Act of 1994 presented us with the very first utterly blatant example of social control in the manner of national socialism, that is where no attempt was made to disguise the fact. This was a law that deliberately tried to prevent people from holding their own parties on their own premises with their own money. Even more impertinently, it actually tried to define a musical form in order then to criminalize it. Thus we had foisted upon us these strange Daily Mail definitions of rave music concocted by the State that were designed to provide boundaries beyond which our cultural expression was not allowed to stray. In Germany in the 1930s, jazz was outlawed as degenerate Negro music and banned; the 1990s British government of John Major tried to outlaw rave music in precisely the same manner. That it failed is a credit to our ability not only to merely break the law but to disregard it entirely. Besides, there was too much money to be made from it in the new clubs where diluted electronic sonic doodles often replaced the genuine article but by that time (i.e. the late 1990s) most younger clubbers either couldn’t tell the difference or no longer cared anyway.  

Moral Panic

So exactly how does this ‘disgusting apparatus’ function? It operates in accordance with 5 distinct stages.

1)   Identify A Problem. With mods and rockers, the problem was the extreme violence of inter-gang fights at seaside resorts. That this was vastly exaggerated (and occasionally even invented) was ignored at the time so it was able to became normal practise for all newspapers, radio and television news programmes. With skinheads the problem was defined as physical assaults on innocent spectators at football matches. With hippies the problems were drug abuse, unacceptable political activity and laziness. With ravers, the problem was almost exclusively drugs with occasional emphasis on noise and antisocial behaviour.

2)   Simplify The Causes. The media machine generally seeks to hide or at least disguise the real reasons behind antisocial behaviour, especially if these reasons provide any justification for it or are likely to induce public sympathy for the recipients of the media scrutiny. Therefore, any cause that may motivate a form of behaviour will be reduced to its most basic component, even if this process results in an account that is so inaccurate and unfair as to verge on fiction. This even applies to miscreants outside youth subcultures. For example in the recent industrial action taken by postmen, most newspapers reduced the cause of their strike to mere greed: they claimed the postal union demanded more money, when virtually every complaint by the postmen was actually based on gross ill treatment of ordinary workers by supervisors and managers with unfair work practises and draconian restrictions on what should be basic employee rights.

3)   Stigmatise The Key Participants. In any youth subculture a spokesperson is identified, even if that spokesman actually has only a tenuous connection with the tribe concerned. For example, when the Daily Mail (and other papers) chose to identify Ian Bone as the prime exponent of the riots and civil disorder that spread throughout Britain, he was portrayed as leading the punks who, being younger and gullible, followed him with blind obedience. Anyone who has ever met Mr Bone will soon realise that he has never been a punk, has never been directly involved in the punk movement and certainly has never set himself up as a leader of anything. Indeed, on the few occasions when people have attempted to follow him as an icon of anarchism, he has been rigorous in dissuading erstwhile fans from such behaviour – he is an anarchist, after all, and a highly intelligent and articulate one. The media soon dropped their interest in him once they realised he was too decent and sensible a person to serve their purpose. The American media managed to use Charles Manson as the epitome of the hippie movement in order to discredit it, even though Manson had never been a hippie – in Britain the press tried (ultimately in vain) to find a similar character with which to discredit the punk scene and the anarchist movement.

4)   Organise A Media Campaign For ‘Action’. Whether it be mods and rockers battling on the beaches, hippies and police trading truncheons and flowers on the streets or Class War punks hurling bricks at boaters in the Henley Regatta, the media never fails to find an excuse to call for government action on a problem that usually does not even exist except inside the imaginations of newspaper editors and television producers. Many media moguls entertain the notion that they possess sufficient power to persuade members of parliament to act on their behalf, irrespective of whether or not such an action would be beneficial to the general public. Occasionally, governments do indeed act, but we can be certain such actions are always for the benefit of the parliamentary members involved rather than to appease any mere media monkey.

5)   Provoke A Response From The Authorities. In the early 1990s the nation witnessed how it was possible for the media to induce the government to respond to a problem that did not actually exist – and the result was a crowd of hospitalised men, women and children whose only ‘crime’ was to travel around the country in caravans rather than live in tower blocks. For the newspapers, television and radio this was marvellous, of course, because after calling for action against these ‘ravers’ (who were also called ‘punks’, ‘hippies’ or ‘travellers’, depending on the mood or age of the writer), they could then claim the police had acted like nazi thugs and encourage public sympathy for these poor freaks etc.

The lesson here is simple: the media can never, ever be your ally. They cannot even be trusted to be loyal to their own supporters. This is the primary reason why we have always, but always, resisted any offer to be interviewed by the establishment press or media.

Andy Martin © 2009.



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