Following a week when the Conservatives were publicly outed for institutional racism and systematic poverty peddling the cartoon doing the rounds on social media depicted crowds of people gawping at the royal family’s latest arrival as a homeless baby goes unnoticed on the street. With the political arena reaching fever pitch over the upcoming months it comes as a poignant reminder of how the big issues are easily buried in Britain, and for every piece of doomsday legislation that lies ahead of us there’s a big event for which to hide it behind.
The royal baby couldn’t have come at a better time for the beleaguered government. With blame for the Windrush fiasco placed directly at their doorstep it serves as a useful cover-up for the racist policies that have been rolled out over the last few years. Windrush risks becoming last week’s news in the eyes of the British public, and as the mainstream media splash photos of the royals and their besotted (if barmy) faithful at the gates of St Mary’s Hospital the tragic stories of people who face deportation because of a government cock-up turn into fish and chip paper wrapping.
It also seems to have buried today’s news that the roll out of universal credit has resulted in an unprecedented rise in demand for food banks in the UK. According to a report from the Trussell Trust more than 1.3 million emergency parcels were distributed across its 428 outlets over the last year, with food banks in areas where universal credit had been in place for a year or more experienced an average 52 per cent increase in demand for their services.
So poverty is rife and institutional racism exists in government, yet the evidence is getting leaked as the cameras are all turned the other way, which is a scary prospect given what lies ahead. With Brexit negotiations at a crucial point the Conservatives essentially have it in their hands to dictate how Britain will be ruled once the split from the European Union is delivered, with huge implications on the economy, human rights and the political make-up of Britain. With a thin majority in parliament the comms departments will be looking to the royal wedding, World Cup and other big events to push through the most controversial parts of the agreement, in much the same way as they have in the past.
And then, of course, they will all flock away on holiday initiating the annual “Take Out the Trash Day“, which is the political version of a drive-by shooting. Hundreds of documents get dumped by the government just hours before MPs toddle off for their summer break in an attempt to bury bad news in a mountain of paper. For fans of TV’s The West Wing, this will be a familiar concept.
As we reach an integral season for British politics we cannot afford to let unrelated events distract us from policies which will have wide-reaching implications. That’s why, as the MSM splash pictures of the royal baby, we ran with food banks story, and have been a vocal critic of the government throughout the Windrush scandal. We won’t have reporters in Windsor or in Russia, but we will have our ear to the ground to expose all the key political events across the summer, because in a season of distraction, we believe information is power.