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Friday, February 05, 2010 

Fits of morality (as well as hypocrisy and cant).

One of those wonderful quotes which will never lose its sparkle was the observation by Lord Macaulay that "[W]e know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality". These days, it's more accurate if corrected very slightly, exchanging public with media. It's difficult to feel any sympathy for John Terry, yet his deposition as England captain sets a truly ridiculous and regrettable precedent: a role which should be all about what occurs on the field and Terry's ability to lead his team, one which no one questions he would have been able to continue to do regardless of his antics off the pitch has suddenly become a question of morality rather than of who is best for the job. It's not even as if Terry would have been required to work with Wayne Bridge, the man caught in the middle of the faux-outrage: only if Ashley Cole is injured is it likely that his services will be required.

Terry though didn't have anything approaching a chance. As Tabloid Watch notes, Terry or a story connected with his alleged infidelity has appeared on the front page of the Mail every day since last Saturday, as compared to the number of times it featured the earthquake in Haiti (0). The decision was made not so much by Fabio Capello as by the nation's tabloid editors, who made it next to impossible for him to come to any decision other than stripping him of the captaincy. If he hadn't, you can bet that the issue would never have been dropped and would have overshadowed everything else in the build up to the World Cup in South Africa.

Still, at least we now have a captain with a truly spotless reputation. Rio Ferdinand has never been accused of being unfaithful; that he's been banned from driving on four separate occasions, including for being over the legal drink-drive limit, not to mention that time he "forgot" about his drug test and instead went shopping is clearly on a completely different moral plane to Terry's playing away from home (groan). It does though never cease to amaze just how powerful the press remains in this country, even as sales apparently inexorably decline. Those adding another notch to their bedposts tonight will not be footballers, but those other dashing, completely incorruptible and always faithful figures: journalists.

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It is indeed profoundly depressing that the tabloids' outrage appear to be the driving force between much of what goes on these days.

Personally, I don't give a toss what "celebrities" and politicians and the like do in their sex lives - it's not my business, and I'm not interested. But I do think that some of the allegations about Terry's apparently fondness for folding stuff, in doing tours of Chelsea, and renting out his Wembley box, are worthy of further investigation and possible consequence - those activities seem far more heinous to me, and a real breach of privelege.

I cannot conceive of what someone would want *more* money for when they earn such a wodge, but perhaps I have no imagination ...

This is a new low for the news media and it is the media in general, not just the tabloids. Every time I looked up at the tv screen this was on.
I don't know how significant this is but while BBC news were in overdrive covering this the much more important BAE scandal had a significant development. Where did I hear about it? Listening to the Kermode and Mayo film podcast this morning.

If the media really want to look into morality, how about questioning those massive great wodges of cash given to football players, TV presenters and other assorted "slebs" in return for their earth-shatteringly important "jobs". It seems as though the tabs particularly, and the mainstream media in general, think that morality extends only as far as what you do with your cock (or vagina)...

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