Magazine article The Spectator

England Is a Fen of Stagnant Waters, Courtroom, Police and Pen

Magazine article The Spectator

England Is a Fen of Stagnant Waters, Courtroom, Police and Pen

Article excerpt

These are bad times for poor old England. It is hard not to feel despondent. There is corruption everywhere. There are no-go areas for the police. The press is an open sewer. Rich, unscrupulous men like Fayed and his loudspeaker, the AlGuardian, do as they please. The record of the authorities in bringing major criminals to book has been deplorable in recent years. No one of importance was convicted over the Lloyds scandal, the biggest in the history of insurance. None of the men who made it possible for Maxwell to steal hundreds of millions from the Mirror pension fund was ever punished - and one of the people closest to Maxwell now holds office in the government.

On the other hand, on the instructions of the Al-Guardian, the police pursued a vendetta costing millions against Jonathan Aitken, a man whose personal efforts as a minister won our country 9 billion of contracts and saved tens of thousands of jobs. Aitken's mistake was to take on not only Fayed but two of the richest media organisations in the country. He was made the victim of the most successful conspiracy to commit forgery of modern times - the police knew all about the conspirators but refused to prosecute them - and then forced into a cruel legal bargain which obliged him to plead guilty to save his teenage daughter from a courtroom crucifixion. There is the parallel case of Neil Hamilton, a man ruined by a charge which most people now agree is false, but who was up against forces so strong that they are, in effect, above the law. And what is this law we used to be so proud of? The Judge Gee scandal, which was made possible by the decision of the Attorney-General, makes it clear there is one law for wellconnected men in big wigs and quite another for the rest of us. To top it all, we have recently learned, thanks to the Judge Hoffman scandal, about the slapdash and unprofessional way in which the highest court in the land handles a case of the greatest importance.

Yet the truth about the state of our country is not getting through to the public. With the dumbing down of the quality press, it rarely reports the objective facts. It is obsessed with 'proving' the scripts it writes for itself, with their casts of goodies and baddies, who usually have nothing to do with the real ills of England. Once a newspaper identifies a baddie and has enough on him to make a successful libel action difficult, it is ready to publish halftruths and downright falsehoods in order to 'win its campaign'. Its motto is: `All the lies it's safe to print'. That is how public figures are demonised. Ask David Mellor or Robin Cook or Peter Mandelson and they will give examples of the countless lies nailed on them with impunity.

Another victim, on a huge, international scale, is General Pinochet, the last important target of the Soviet Big Lie agitprop machine before it went down in ruin. Its inventions about Pinochet have continued to circulate thanks to Castro's propaganda network, and have been unthinkingly reproduced in most of the British press. I knew from my own visits to Chile that Pinochet was a brave man who saved his country from the totalitarian horrors and abject poverty which Castro has imposed upon the wretched Cubans. But only recently have I discovered the enormity of the falsehoods invented about him and, alas, believed by countless well-meaning people. …

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