A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Vote with pride and read The Guardian with a peg on your nose.....

It often appears that The Guardian is full of young men who play silly games. The newspaper's reputation for unthinking ageism is well-known (oh so liberal!), while its infantile election pranks (remember Clark County, Ohio) are just about worthy of an undergraduate magazine. Today, however, it plumbs the depths: 'Time for Operation Nose Peg' (The Guardian, May 5, scroll to bottom):
"Time for Operation Nose Peg: hundreds of readers have requested Polly Toynbee's ingenious nose pegs to allow them to vote Labour today while holding their nose. If you are one of them, don't forget to take a picture of yourself at your polling station wearing the nose peg and G2 will publish them after the election. Email nosepegs@guardian.co.uk or send your pic to G2, The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER."

Well, let's first recall what happened following The Groaniad's ill-fated Ohio campaign:

The Presidential Results for Clark County, Ohio, 100% of precincts reporting:

Bush (Incumbent): 34,941 (51%)
Democratic, Kerry: 33,535 (49%)
Non-Partisan: Badnarik 185 (0%)
Non-Partisan: Peroutka 146 (0%)
Swing to Bush: 9%.

So that really worked, then, lads. Perhaps, at this election, we should launch a counter 'Operation Nose Peg'. We could all be seen reading The Guardian sporting an enormous Cyrano de Bergerac-sized honker clip. After all, the stench of the self-righteous dismissal of Mr. Blair, of the Iraq war, of the most effective Labour government for many years, of Christianity, of Israel, of America, of Bush (far cleverer than they know), of older folk like me, and of anybody who dares to challenge gilded metro-elite smugness - with everything wrapped up, of course, in re-cycled environmentalist (as distinct from environmental) garbage - is rank. No wonder print sales are plunging. It'll be matching the New Statesman next! Dog whistles all round.

Animal reading The Guardian with peg on its nose.Indeed, should we go so far as to submit photographs of ourselves holding The Gloomiad at arms length and putting Polly's nose pegs to genuine good use?

No. Much better - we should just go out and vote with pride, for Labour and for a prime minister who has bravely taken tough decisions in a naughty world. I disagree with Mr. Blair on a number of issues, but he is not a liar and he has led with conviction and with honour - just compare him to the rest of our European leaders! What a shady bunch! We do not know how lucky we are.

Thus, today: VOTE FOR LABOUR and for MR. BLAIR - and pegs on while you sniff the wailing Brownites who lard the greasy columns of the Groaniad's 'Opinion' Section. How they will go for Mr. Blair when he wins! I trust he hangs on in there for another three years at least.

But, more seriously: above all vote, if only to show how much we value the bravery of those who voted in the fledgling democracy of Iraq. To sneer about democracy, however fragile and imperfect, and about the hard-won right to vote is a self-indulgent luxury of a pampered people, of those who have never known the lash of the non-democratic world.

Vote Labour.

Philip, who has already appropriately voted at the The Veterans Club. And I bet more of us oldies vote too. Lunch, and a toast to Tony in a crisp sauvignon blanc from NZ. Cheers! Now where is that peg? "Yes, I have hung out the washing, dear!"

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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