Harrington: Mainstream message

Friday, 1st July

AFTER proving unable to ask any decent questions at the Covid press conferences each night, the MSM – as rebels like me are expected to call them – returned to have its collective behind handed back to it by RMT union leader Mick Lynch during the rail strikes.

Mr Lynch didn’t do anything so special – he just wouldn’t rise to the weary old cliches about unions that were being served up as the go-to stance for so many of our bignote journalists. “Ah, industrial action – that’s coal mines, beer and sandwiches and bully boys on the picket line,” the robotic TV and tabloid reporters seem to automatically think.

No wonder they have predicted nearly every election and referendum result wrongly in recent years. As with the Conservatives, the press should be wary of falling into the trap of thinking everyone is outraged by strike action.

This time around, nobody has any money and there is more sympathy and understanding for the movement than ever before. The message is getting through. I noticed even swish women’s magazine Grazia was willing to run a piece this week on why people should join a union written by Deeba Syed – who, by the way, you should look out for because she is among the millions of hopefuls who want to be picked as the parliamentary candidate in the Two Cities constituency for Labour.

Unions, collective action, standing up for your rights… it’s not some offbeat, abstract idea. No longer can it all be dismissed with caricatures and emotive questions and faux shock about what a delay to a train journey could cause. Viewers want better.

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