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The Telegraph has never been my favourite paper; still, I was alarmed to read Peter Oborn's article on why he left it (https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/peter-oborne/why-i-have-resigned-from-telegraph) The single most important rule for any quality paper is never to let editorial be influenced by advertising. Once that's known, who'll trust your financial analysis? There's a certain level of crappiness that's always been present in our papers, and the Telegraph certainly suffers from it - I'll never forget the TB infected seal that had magically made its way from Wales to Cornwall a year before it was headlined as some kind of fantasy defence for the badger cull - but changing/omitting news to fit your sponsors' agenda? Never good.

Nor did I realise what had happened to the online readership. Admittedly, the maxim 'Never read the comments,' probably holds true all across the internet, but the Telegraph's clicker bunch is special. They aren't sceptical informed conservatives, they are the swivel-eyed loons dismissed by Cameron, who make the Green Party sound like hard-headed middle grounders. Hysteria about sharia law, plenty of 'It's their own fault,' and most skin-crawling of all, an insane nazi inspired all the way Thing. I can't just call it 'The racist' because most of them were racists, so I guess the Thing will have to do. It spoke about 'White Peoples rights,' denounced the Telegraph moderators as being 'pro-marxist'(I quite enjoyed that bit) and explained that 'Non-whites, leftist whites and establishment whites' were anti-Life and anti-White and anti-English. It then revealed that being English was not about culture or a collection of behaviours. It was 'a descent group, a blood group, a kinship group.' I asked who this spectacular group was descended from, pointed out that the sovereign is of German descent and her children are of Greek descent, and mentioned that in terms of DNA, the racist originated in Africa, just like so many of those drowned people. This earned me silence, and the next morning, all the Thing's comments had been removed.

I faced some racism when I was a kid, but never this sort of total reality release, this real throwback to pillowcase-wearing white supremacy. You need poverty of mind and wealth of fear for this kind of stuff to grow, and here, I think is where the Telegraph and all the right wing press have gone so wrong. The culture of blame seems to be an important part of the culture of austerity, and people will never blame their own, so the result is this growing resentment of the Other. There might always have been a seed of it, but now it flags up in every discussion of what should be spent where. The bankers who instigated the crash were never dealt with appropriately and legally; the law was not seen to be done, and the resulting resentment against the rich is dangerous. So what happens? The right wing press start pointing the finger outward; don't look here, look here, and here and anywhere that isn't near us! Perhaps they have to, because after all who is funding them? And here we are back at Peter Oborne's concern. Meanwhile the resulting resentment against immigrants and others is, to my mind, more dangerous, and weirdly dissonant. The same people banging on about the dangers of immigration are getting their conservatories put up on the cheap by Polish builders.

We'll get through it, I'm sure. The barmies are in the minority, fingers crossed. I reckon it's OK to hold out hope for the General Election. But the Telegraph as was? I reckon it's doomed.



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