Who’s Press? Their Press!

April 14, 2009

We just came across a brilliant article by Infantile & Disorderly. It’s shows the mainstream press’ blatant and unapologetic bias towards the middle class and their  value system – a system that claims to be liberal and caring while it keeps so many of us in poverty. Porter shows that unless you fit their model of ‘normality’ then you don’t deserve their full respect…

Ian Tomlinson should not be the one on trial.

Hands up who hates Janet Steet Porter? Me, me, ME!

In today’s Independent, dearest Janet has an article called ‘Tomlinson was no saint, but he deserved better’, which looking at the content, could just have easily been titled ‘Tomlinson was a worthless working class alcoholic, but at least he wasn’t an anarchist’. I’ve reproduced it here, with a bit of commentary…

“The circumstances surrounding the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests on 1 April are only gradually becoming clearer. What has emerged, however, is that Mr Tomlinson was a troubled man with quite a few problems [so?] I am not trying to diminish his death, [yeah you are] and the sad loss felt by his family and friends, but before we put the police in the dock, it might be worth considering what Mr Tomlinson was doing that night, and what state of mind he might have been in. [If he wasn’t in the “right” state of mind as judged by Janet, his death apparently becomes that little bit more understandable…]

Mr Tomlinson was an alcoholic [so?] who lived in a bail hostel [so?] around the corner from me in the City of London. He’d tried and failed to stay away from booze [so?] but I make no judgement about that [then why the hell are you bring it up?] How many of us are just an inch from going down that path, where alcohol takes over your life to the point where your family don’t want you around? It’s all too common. There are dozens of people like Ian Tomlinson in the City every day, hanging around in churchyards, sitting on park benches, selling The Big Issue. [Dozens more waiting to be murdered by police, perhaps?] They turn up at the AA meetings held in the City every night of the week, where rich and poor talk freely about their struggle to stay sober. By the way, there are plenty of salaried alcoholics holding down good jobs in the City, disguising their addiction.

Mr Tomlinson did not have that opportunity, having started out as a scaffolder and shifting from job to job, to the point where he ended up in a hostel for the homeless in Smithfield. Mr Tomlinson probably sold me a newspaper when he had a pitch outside Blackfriars station for a while and I worked in Fleet Street. [Well that must have been one pleasant experience in his tragic life… Well done, Ms Porter.]

One columnist has said that the “steady drip” of information about his background is designed to denigrate an ordinary man. [Spot on] I disagree. [You bloody would] Knowing that he was an alcoholic is critical to understanding his sense of disorientation and his attitude towards the police, which might on first viewing of the video footage, seem a bit stroppy. [Hands in pockets walking away from police… Stroppy indeed.]

Mr Tomlinson was wearing a Millwall shirt smoking a cigarette, and he’d had a few drinks. [So?] He didn’t look anything like the people the police had corralled into a confined space around the Bank of England that night. They were mostly younger, middle class, and worlds apart from a working-class bloke whose face seemed older than his years after a life on the street. One perfunctory glance ought to have shown officers that he was completely harmless. Witnesses say Mr Tomlinson appeared to be drunk, he wasn’t coherent and couldn’t move very well. Over an hour later, footage shows a police officer wearing a balaclava aiming at his legs with a baton, and he falls to the ground. [Pushed to the ground, Janet. *Pushed*.]

It had been a long and trying day for the police. [Poor them. Hard work, this detaining innocent protesters without trial.] Mr Tomlinson wound them up when he didn’t get out of the way. But he wasn’t a 20-something anarchist with a placard. [20-something anarchists with placards deserve to be killed, don’t they, Janet?] The fact he didn’t swiftly jump to attention when ordered to do so should have been just a mild irritant, not something requiring physical manhandling. The police have been trained to deal with drunks, just as they are trained to deal with demonstrators. This man was not a threat to public order. His life story demonstrates that the only person he ever harmed was himself. I can understand how annoying he might have been, but I can’t understand why anyone would want to hit him, especially not an officer who is paid to protect ordinary citizens.

Ian Tomlinson deserved some respect and understanding, and he clearly didn’t get any that night.” [Maybe he also deserves to not have his private battle with alcoholism spashed across the media too, Janet. After all, he’s not the one who should be on trial here. He’s the unarmed man who was murdered by an armed cop. And those are the only details that matter.]

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