|HAVING A JOLLY GOOD TALK : THE BLACK ART OF ORCHESTRATING PUBLIC DEBATE
This article by Steve Ransom appeared in the special Sovereignty report "This Green and Unpleasant Land" distributed free with the April 2001 issue.
We like to think that here in the West, we engage in free and lively debate over the major contentious issues. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
Whether we like it or not, limitations as to the depth of a given debate are almost always put into place and controlled by those who feed us our 'news'. And for the majority of important topics, we are actually kept well within 'safe' debating boundaries. To the masses however, the debate appears deep and far-reaching.
The art of orchestrating and then assisting in the continuance of limited debate in a so-called free society is described by Noam Chomsky, US media and foreign policy critic. He states: "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is strictly to limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free-thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate."
And using the current "very lively" foot and mouth debate as an example, the debate so far has been relatively safe.
William Hague, leader of the Conservative Party, stands up in the House of Commons and insists that the Prime Minister calls in the army as soon as possible. A lively national debate on Tony Blair's overall competence to manage "a most necessary cull" ensues.
No-one in the Commons however robustly debates the very unsafe subject of whether the cull is necessary in the first place, given the errant science propping up the whole campaign, and the ample evidence demonstrating that animals recover quite easily.
Newspapers reveal that MAFF were enquiring about logs for funeral pyres two weeks before the outbreak was first reported. There are reports also of a phial of foot and mouth virus possibly stolen from Pirbright. Shock! Horror! Was the virus in the country before the first officially reported outbreak? Lively "cover-up" debates ensue, subliminally cementing into the public mind that there is a virus rampaging through the countryside.
No unsafe debate is engaged on the possibility that making those early enquiries about logs points also to the possibility of a premeditated campaign to cull cattle under the pretext of a foot and mouth "outbreak". No unsafe debate is heard either on the evidence shredding the MAFF "vicious virus" theory, thus calling the whole campaign into question.
Anxious animal breeders and related associations, some with considerable public influence, plea for an immediate vaccine campaign to try and halt the slaughter. Vaccine manufacturers wait comfortably in the wings as lively debate moves inexorably nearer to a full vaccination program. A very public charade as UK government waits for EU permission to vaccinate. This lends respectability and aura of wisdom to EU decision. UK government gets EU go-ahead, but stalls on vaccination decision. Nation now incensed and "safely" clamouring to implement EU decision.
All this political manoeuvring is premeditated in the first place, an age old trick to get the public to clamour for that which they want to give us in the first place - a move highly profitable to the vaccine industry and related puppet-masters. No unsafe debate on the true history of vaccination, on its detrimental effects to the human and animal physiology, on the proven successes without veterinary pharmaceutical administrations (Sir Albert Howard, Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease, published by Faber and Faber, London, 1945) or on the ties between top veterinary decision-makers and various pharmaceutical companies. Nothing of this is ever entered into.
We have been allowed to thoroughly explore only within what is "acceptable opinion".
And so it goes on. Every safe zone is explored in minute detail. But at no time is the unsafe zone even mildly debated. As per the Chomsky protocol, the belief wished upon us by the hierarchy, in this instance, that foot and mouth is highly contagious and must be eradicated, is perpetuated through corresponding dissident viewpoints flourishing only within pre-set boundaries.
An unsafe question could run as follows: UK FARMING v EU FEDERALISM - where does the independent farmer with his independent livestock fit in with the federalist interdependent ideals?
The appearance of lively debate masks any hidden agenda, and also ensures that a dictatorial form of leadership is not overtly recognisable to the masses. After all, this is a free society, isn't it?
The fact that we have only scratched the surface of the issues at hand, has been completely bypassed in the furore of the very lively, very "safe" and "far-reaching" debate.
But in the meantime, haven't we all had a jolly good talk!