Friday, July 06, 2007

Winning the Propaganda War

Last night i tuned into Question Time.

The programme was a special Schools Question Time with an audience comprised of 14-22 year-olds. I thought this would be a good opportunity to take the pulse of what are 'youth' are thinking about the world.

The Panel comprised Cabinet Office Minister Ed Miliband, Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion Sayeeda Warsi, Big Brother presenter Davina McCall, writer Douglas Murray and 18-year-old winner of the Schools Question Time panellist competition, Charlie Bell.

At the end of a stupifyingly depressing program, i realised the enormity of the battle those of us who value a small state and individual freedom have. For my sanity, i have to hope that the audience was unrepresentative of young people. If this is not the case, then we are losing the propaganda war.

Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, (what looks like a Civitas-funded organisation) was cast by the BBC as the 'Evil Rightwinger'. He spoke up for the Jews in Israel, he spoke against Hamas, for University tuition fees, against anthropogenic Global Warming and refused to cede that terrorism is 'all our fault' - unlike the panel's two women (Davina and Sayeeda - unbelievably a Conservative Shadow Cabinet Minister) who were so awful it was excrutiating to watch.

Douglas made numerous good points. However, the manner in which he made them was truly atrocious. He instantly alienated the entire audience, spoke in a Lord Snooty accent with real venom against his targets. It was almost as though the BBC had scoured the land for the 'person most like to sully classically liberal thinking'.

If libertarians and liberals are to win the arguments we must start recruiting decent spokespeople. Contrast Douglas' appalling delivery with the chatty and easy manner of Ed Miliband who won over an audience hostile to Iraq with consummate ease.

A wasted opportunity. We have to do better than this.

Other opinions at A Tangled Web