The propaganda of the class war

June 20, 2013 9:18 am

I have become fascinated by Made in Chelsea. Not by the storylines or characters. I honest couldn’t care less if Binky is going out with Proudlock, or whether Ollie is gay or straight (or if the concept of bisexuality ever makes it to SW3), though I was surprised to find that Fran and Cheska were two separate people. Given that this is supposed to be reality TV, the most extraordinary thing is how bad the acting is. If you were to watch without the sound (and yes I have done this) it looks like an interminable drama where a group of largely blond and wholly bland looking people try to convince each other they weren’t the one who farted. In truth, the dramatic moments in these people’s lives are considerably less interesting than that.

So far, so reality (or the rather more Orwellian term for this kind of show “scripted reality”) TV. It doesn’t mean anything – it doesn’t have to. It’s an entertainment not a news show. But this uncommented on celebration of the wealthy and fatuous is a part of the normalisation of “the rich and the rest” world in which we are rapidly sinking. These people do nothing but move from tea shop to cocktail bar to exclusive party. Even when you see them in a place of work, they aren’t actually doing anything productive – but messing around with their Feng Shui. But instead of judging this fatuousness, the whole thing is presented in celebration of it.

This is a London far removed from the city I know, love and have lived in all my life. It’s a London of rich, white privileged people who neither know nor understand the realities of modern life for the seven million people they share their home city with. This isn’t their fault entirely. They have clearly lived cossetted lives and have never had their curiosity developed or their social conscience piqued. They are no more to blame for the circumstances of their birth than the poor people who walk invisibly by them every time they step out of their mansions.

But by presenting these people’s lives as entertainment for the masses, it normalises their difference. Instead of questioning the circumstances which have led these random groups of chromosomes to privilege while their fellow Londoners suffer, we are instead led to assume the normality of their circumstances and concern ourselves instead with the triviality of their lives.

And that’s what bothers me. I’m being presented with a fait acompli, and when I complain or point out the lack of perspective and reality of the reality show I am being presented with, I am told this is just entertainment and that I shouldn’t be po-faced. Because of the nature of the presentation, I am expected to narrow my criticism. Propaganda doesn’t get more effective than that.

As Warren Buffet once said “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning”. This is a war that is won through money and power and through the normalisation of the conditions of combat.

We aren’t supposed to talk about the war. To do so makes us somehow the ones in the wrong, the spoilsports. But nobody on Made in Chelsea has got to the pampered station in life through hard work and in a world where Inheritance Tax is a bitterly fought issue and where your life chances are far too determined by the wealth of our parents, we should not normalise the cast of Made in Chelsea. We should be asking ourselves why we are being told to aspire to their lifestyle and what makes them more entitled to their wealth and privilege than anyone else in the UK and elsewhere.

These people aren’t Made in Chelsea. The protection of their lifestyle is made in Westminster. It’s made in Fleet Street. It’s made through the normalisation and acceptance of ridiculous levels of inequality that allow these playboys to have lives so exotically different from the rest of ours that they can be paraded as gilded entertainment. And we should question that, because they won’t.

  • FionaUK

    The clips I have seen of this series appeared to invite us to see the protagonists as ‘sad.’ I guess that makes them appear less threatening.

  • DanielNSmith

    I agree. ITV shouldn’t pander to stereotypes.

  • JoeDM

    I have better things to do than watch TV.

  • End Game

    I have chosen not to watch or have a TV. I encourage other to do the same. Most of the news and the tv in general is propaganda. Think of the money and the precious time you will gain not plonked on the sofa like the “Royal Family”

Latest

  • News I was “never ever complicit” in illegal rendition or torture, says Jack Straw

    I was “never ever complicit” in illegal rendition or torture, says Jack Straw

    Jack Straw has condemned the use of torture and denied being complicit in the torture of suspected terrorists, following the publication of a report in America concerning the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs). Straw was Labour’s Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006, during the foremost years of the “War on Terror” and the UK’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Questions have been raised concerning what members of the British government knew about the use of EITs, but […]

    Read more →
  • Comment How not to change the constitution

    How not to change the constitution

    In this Parliament AV was rejected, Lords reform stumbled and even the Tories attempt to ‘equalise’ constituencies fell. ‘The Implications of Devolution for England’ already looks unhealthily like these other failed constitutional reforms. Nonetheless, the issue holds real dangers for Labour. Hague’s partisan and divisive Commons statement showed the Tories’ more concerned to maximise difference than to bring people together for the good of England. Yet even this couldn’t disguise Conservative divisions. In three months his Cabinet Committee failed to […]

    Read more →
  • News “Our choice is the country’s choice” – Lisa Nandy’s LabourList Christmas Lecture

    “Our choice is the country’s choice” – Lisa Nandy’s LabourList Christmas Lecture

    On Monday evening Lisa Nandy MP gave the LabourList Christmas Lecture to launch her pamphlet “Our Labour Our Communities” – you can download the pamphlet here. Here’s the text of that lecture: We’ve got five months to go until the most important General Election in a generation. And over the last year, as I’ve spent time with Labour candidates meeting and listening to people in communities as diverse as Brighton, Norwich and Calder Valley it seems to me the overwhelming […]

    Read more →
  • News Polling New Ashcroft polls shows the point where the Labour gains stop coming

    New Ashcroft polls shows the point where the Labour gains stop coming

    The latest batch of marginals polling carried out by Lord Ashcroft has been published today, and it does not bring many glad tidings for Labour. The polling covers four Labour seats: Dudley North, Great Grimsby, Plymouth Moor View and Rother Valley; eight Conservative seats: Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Ealing Central & Acton, Elmet & Rothwell, Harrow East, Pendle, South Swindon, Stevenage, and Warwick & Leamington; and one Green Party seat: Brighton Pavilion. All of the Conservative held seats, bar Warwick & […]

    Read more →
  • News Ipsos-Mori poll puts Tories 3 points ahead – and Labour’s voteshare remains at 2010 level

    Ipsos-Mori poll puts Tories 3 points ahead – and Labour’s voteshare remains at 2010 level

    Yesterday there was some relatively good polling new for Labour, with a 5 point lead over the Tories with ICM. Today the polling news is bad, with the Tories 3 points ahead of Labour with Ipsos-Mori, and Labour’s vote looking squeezed by both the Green and the SNP: In reality these recent polls suggest that the two parties are very close together – effectively tied in the low thirties. However what’s particularly troubling for Labour from this Ipsos-Mori poll is […]

    Read more →