As much as it amuses Guido and generates television producer pleasing social media buzz, hasn’t the rise of the TrotsApp generation of talking heads on our screens undermined the Labour Party more effectively than the “billionaire-owned media” could ever do? In the postmortems the effect of the continuous platforming by broadcasters of far-left types – just because they are extremely active on Twitter – by current affairs shows should be reflected on. It normalised people who would in the past have only been selling Trotskyite papers outside train stations.
The negative effect is two-fold, firstly the zealous Labour activist base become ever more radicalised as the self-defined Trotskyites and communists normalise policies that are far away from the views and values of traditional Labour voters. As we found out last week.
Secondly, it just encourages polarisation, pitting Katie Hopkins against a silly luxuriating communist might make a noisy and watchable bunfight, does it really inform the viewers much? Policy development is made in think tanks of the left, right and centre. It is made by single-issue campaigns with deep knowledge of their subjects. It is not made by people who scream about billionaires and want “to kick the Tories out of Labour” whilst describing the Prime Minister as a fascist and “alt-right”. Shouting slogans and their well rehearsed soundbites doesn’t add to the sum of political knowledge in any meaningful way.
This is not to say they should be no-platformed. When Paul Mason or Owen Jones has a book out, let’s hear from them. They are articulate voices of the left, that articulacy alone does not warrant giving them almost continuous airtime. Do we really need them on our screens every day? That hasn’t done the Labour Party any good. Producers and bookers may want to reflect and seek out more representative left-of-centre voices.