1930s >> 1935 >> no-376-december-1935
The Press and the Election
The Beaverbrook and Rothermere Press played its usual game in this election. The formula is simple. Between elections Rothermere’s Daily Mail attacks the Conservative or National Government bitterly from one quarter while Beaverbrook’s Daily Express attacks it from another—right up to election time. This enables them to influence the policy of the Government and the party, and get measures through suitable to their ideas and the interests they represent. It also leaves them free to repudiate responsibility for unpopular Government policy and to take up every variety of stunt, from Fascism (Lord Rothermere) to nationalising the banks (Lord Beaverbrook). Then, when the election comes round, the joint Beaverbrook-Rothermere Press rallies round the Government candidates, still waving the flag of independence which has facilitated their duping of the readers.
Observant readers will at once notice that this policy of the Press Lords is very much the same as that of the I.L.P., the Communists, and the Socialist League. The I.L.P. and Communists helped build up the reputations of MacDonald, Snowden, and company, and helped them to power, but repudiated all responsibility for their actions. The same will happen again with any future Labour Government.
One curiosity of the campaign was the Sunday Referee. That journal, which boasted of its independence, its open forum, and its non-party policy, was much admired by “left-wingers,” because it was “different.” When the election came round the Referee announced that it “is the only national newspaper that is free of Party Politics,” and that it believes in the League of Nations,” “Pensions at 60,” “Nationalisation of the Mines,” and ” Cheaper Money.”
Mr. Isidore Ostrer explained in the Referee (November 10th) that by “cheaper money” he means the abolition of usury, and that on this question, which he regards as fundamental, “there is no difference between the parties.” Then, with a logic all its own, the Referee plumped for the National Government, which, it will be noticed, is not in favour of pensions at 60, nationalisation of the mines, or the abolition of usury. To cover its open support of capitalism, the Referee threw up a smoke-screen in the form of an attack on the Daily Herald, because it, too, is alleged to be lukewarm about the useless proposal of nationalising the mines.