In the 1873 play ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ (turned, in 1942, to an Orson Welles period drama of the same name), the author Booth Tarkington has one of his characters say ‘Politics is a dirty business, for a gentleman’.
This is a sentiment that I feel is more pertinent today than it was in the early half of the 20th Century, and applies, now, to people of all genders and all social platforms.
Less than one hundred years later, we have newspapers and news channels that openly lie about all shades of politics (and politicians) to their audiences.
In the UK every single news outlet is biased, from the outright purveyors of lies (The Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun, et al), to the unjustifiably biased BBC.
They’re all at it.
And that leaves us, the public, floundering for the truth.
Who (or what) are we supposed to believe, as we sift our way through the sewage discharge of filth?
Where do we put our bait of credence, in the hope that it will return a tiddler of truth, instead of a shark of a lie?
And isn’t this serious for me?
Well yes, it is, but there’s a reason, so please bear with me.
There can be no doubt that the political landscape across Europe and the US is changing.
Because of these changes, and because I have an interest in the world in which I live, I am closely following political news updates from across the world.
So when someone I know, someone I went to school with, someone who lived in the same tiny Welsh village as I, when this person is extensively reported on across international news outlets, and is reported on in front page and banner headline fashion, it makes me sit up and take great notice.
Actually, not only does it make me sit up and take great notice, the reportage makes me read not just the headlines, but the background stories.
And then I read the supporting ‘lifestyle’ interviews in newspapers and magazines.
As a result of reading those things I despair.
No piece of background reportage has achieved 100% accuracy.
Many of the features didn’t even come close to that lofty ideal.
So what chance does truth have, in the here and now reporting, if the outlets can’t even get the background stories right?
Really, what chance?
If I sound as if this has got me wound up, it hasn’t.
What all this has done is make me disbelieve everything that I read/or hear/or see, even more than I already do.
So to Penny Clarke (as was), formerly of Llanover, and late of King Henry VIII School, Abergavenny, I raise my mug of hot chocolate in solidarity.