UK Election: How Propaganda Props Up Britain’s “Particularly Extreme Form of Capitalism”

Photograph Source: Mайкл Гиммельфарб (Mike Gimelfarb) – Public Domain

The establishment British media, be it the BBC or the privately-owned Sky News, have marginalized ordinary Britons who are critical of the neoliberalism, known as “capitalism.” They and their allies in the right-wing print media have done so, in large part, by slandering the political representatives of the poor as “Marxist lunatics” and so on. But now, even elements of the establishment are beginning to recognize that the neoliberal system is collapsing itself.

The government-funded British Academy, a research institute for humanities and social sciences, reports that Britain has “a particularly extreme form of capitalism,” in the words of Professor Colin Mayer. In the age of Orwell, the BBC can report this with one hand and with the other continue to its pro-government propaganda. In this context, it is little wonder that British culture and public services are utterly dire. Given the relentless media and political assaults on Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the only political party (Labour) that can and will change some of this system, Britain’s “extreme capitalism” is primed to get a whole lot worse if the Tories win this coming election.


Professor Mayer of the British Academy says that the neoliberal—or “capitalist” system, as he and his colleagues call it—“has failed to deliver benefit beyond shareholders, to its stakeholders and its wider community.” Failed is the wrong word. The system was designed by the ruling classes for the ruling classes. Mayer adds: “Most ownership in the UK is in the hands of a large number of institutional investors, none of which have a significant controlling shareholding in our largest companies.” He concludes: “That is quite unlike virtually any other country in the world, including the United States,” where even small-time employers and employees can at least pretend to be market players by owning stocks and shares.

With an election campaign underway, the ruling Tory party has published its manifesto. The shadow of “extreme capitalism” looms over the manifesto. The manifesto promises more of the same. It is notable for its lack of social care policy for the elderly. Nigel Edwards, the Chief Executive of the UK’s semi-privatized health service, the Nuffield Trust, issued a statement in response: “I was bitterly disappointed to see yet more unnecessary delay on social care, without even a policy proposal as a starting point for serious reform.” Edwards concludes that “There is already a cross party consensus that action must be taken, and we don’t need more contemplation of options that are perfectly clear: we need action.” But unless privatized, social care doesn’t serve “extreme capitalism,” quite the contrary.

The shadow of Britain’s “extreme form of capitalism” darkens the future of the bottom quarter. The Resolution Foundation is a think-tank set up to tackle middle- and lower-class poverty and relative poverty. In response to the manifesto, it estimated that by the time the Tories call another general election in 2024 (god forbid they win this one), child poverty will hit a 60-year high of 34 percent if trends persist, affecting an additional 1.3 million children (approx.).

Despite hysterical denials by the US and British governments, that the UK’s free-to-use National Health Service, will not be part of any post-Brexit, US-UK “free trade” deal, the Labour Party obtained 451 pages of un-redacted, secret trade talks. The shadow of Britain’s “extreme form of capitalism” keeps the public in the dark about the fate of its last, major publicly-owned service. (Back in 2017, I filed a FOIA request with the British Department for International Trade, demanding copies of Brexit-related trade talk documents. Bureaucrats responded by claiming that there are no such documents because such talks can only take place after Brexit. The giant Labour NHS leak proves that they lied to me. Release the hounds.)

It is an indictment of British media that Labour, not journalists, obtained and released the NHS documents. (Pitifully, the hard-right Guido Fawkes website uploaded the documents to Scribd, in a pathetic attempt to take credit for Labour’s findings.) Labour did the job that the public is conditioned to believe that the media should do: hold power to account. But mass media are the establishment. The BBC is run primarily by wealthy and privileged people, not by unions or the working classes. Private print and broadcast media are corporations and part of the “capitalist extremism” defined by the British Academy.


The establishment is propping up PM Boris Johnson (BoJo the Racist Clown) with a carefully stage-managed election campaign. The BBC does not consistently call out BoJo’s lies. In a Trumpian moment, reminiscent of The Donald’s fantasies about the attendees of his inauguration being larger in number than Obama’s, BoJo’s election launch was held in a hangar, which long-shot photos revealed to be nearly empty. With zero accountability and penalty, the BBC even edited out the laughter of a TV audience in response to BoJo’s lie that he is trustworthy. The BBC said that it had made as a “mistake”; as you do when accidentally re-editing a laughter track. As if to reinforce how seriously the BBC takes the exposure of its lies, it posted the article on the entertainment pages of its website.

The BBC also twice broadcast old footage of BoJo laying a wreath on Remembrance Sunday, implying that it was contemporary footage. This was because during the recent ceremony, BoJo laid the wreath upside down, as one would expect from a buffoon. Again, the BBC claimed that it had “accidentally” used old footage, as you do. Again, there was no accountability or penalty and again the “apology” for the “mistake” was confined to the entertainment pages.

Alex Wickham is a sleaze-monger masquerading as a journalist. In 2014, he was caught trying to trap politicians in a “sexting” sting. He worked for the hard-right, pro-Tory Guido Fawkes website, which specializes in the personal abuse of progressive politicians and pundits. Like most other British journalists and so-called journalists, Wickham ignored the Tories’ support for anti-Semites in the European Union, including Orbán’s government in Hungary and Poland’s Law and Justice Party. Instead, he and his BuzzFeed publisher lied and slandered Labour’s MP Dan Carden, by claiming that in March 2018 Wickham heard Carden singing “Hey, Jews,” instead of “Hey, Jude.” Wickham chose to make these claims a year after they supposedly happened, at a politically expedient moment. I asked Wickham for evidence in the form of audio recordings. He failed to respond, let alone provide evidence. The real problem is not that Wickham spread lies, but that so-called respectable, “liberal” media (e.g., Guardian, Independent) repeated his lies with no evidence and absent any context as to Wickham’s background and credibility.


Following a political intervention by Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis (an anti-Palestinian supporter of BoJo the Racist Clown), claiming without evidence that Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic, Corbyn suffered through a shouting interrogation by the BBC’s Andrew Neil—a member of the Tory party and, as then-editor of the Sunday Times, an apologist for and enabler of a real anti-Semite, namely David Irving. Since anti-Semitism became an issue because of the threat of a Corbyn government, Neil has since backpedaled, denying as “fake news” any enabling of Irving.

The right-wing print media spun Neil’s assault as a “car crash interview” for Corbyn. The Daily Mail’s John Stevens even appeared to invent (which he denies) anonymous pro-Corbyn text messages. The fake texts appear to show Corbyn activists “admitting” that the interview was a catastrophe. Why anyone would grab a screenshot of their own incriminating messages remains a mystery, as does the image of the hand-tool cursor captured on the text message screenshot, implying that Stevens or another person had fabricated the text messages with design software.

The next morning (27 Nov.), BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme lied, claiming that Corbyn did not answer Neil’s budgeting questionings, which he did. (Corbyn said that pension compensations would be paid for both by borrowing and by using emergency funds.) Then, in their “papers” section, the BBC uncritically echoed the “car crash interview” mantra by citing and quoting right-wing headlines, as if tabloids are authoritative or even remotely credible. The supposed media neutrality for general election campaigns is a complete hoax.


By relentlessly hammering Jeremy Corbyn and by blotting out Labour’s socialistic policies with the endless coverage of “anti-Semitism,” BoJo the Racist Clown, political opponents, the mainstream media (both state and private), so-called liberal journalists and presenters, and individuals like Rabbi Mirvis, are personally and institutionally ensuring that under the inevitable consequences of its “particularly extreme form of capitalism” (British Academy), Britain will get worse and worse for ordinary people.

We expect the few who benefit from Britain’s “extreme form of capitalism” to vote in their own interests. But the biggest tragedy is that enough reactionary elements of the working-classes will swallow the anti-Corbyn bile, believe that BoJo will “Get Brexit Done,” and vote against not only their own interests but, even worse, use their voting power against the interests of the wider society.

T. J. Coles is director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research and the author of several books, including Voices for Peace (with Noam Chomsky and others) and  Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (both Clairview Books).