New Labour moved ‘Left’ politics rightward from 1997, dragging the centre ground of British politics rightward with them. David Cameron settled into this new Rightward centre ground, dipping into the xenophobia and exclusion of ‘other’ in his pursuit to squash Scottish desire for independence in 2014 and again to shore up Conservative votes during the 2015 general election. Cameron indulged in the language of hate with comments about ‘bunch of migrants’, during a House of Commons debate on the plight of refugees. His party again indulged in anti-other talk through their EU referendum campaign for Leave and Zac Goldsmith ran the most shockingly bigoted campaign for London Mayor. The Tory Party conference in 2016 will long be remembered for May’s continuance of such rhetoric and Amber Rudd’s inflammatory anti-migrant speech.
The BBC look on now in shock at the march rightward with Trump, Marine Le Pen and UKIP and ask whether the idea of winning elections from the centre ground has been shattered. The BBC were complicit in indulging New Labour’s shift of Left politics rightward from 1997. The BBC, even now, still refer to Labour’s right leaning MPs as ‘moderates’ and ‘centrists’ and it is remarkable just how often the BBC indulge Labour’s Right when they attack the current leadership. If people want to know where the rise of the Far Right has come from then they need look no further than the ‘liberal’ media and broadcasters like the BBC who have reframed British politics centre ground rightward.
The politics of the current Labour leadership is often framed within a narrative of it representing Hard Left Labour but nothing could be further from the truth. Look at Labour’s actual current proposals and they would not look out of place in most people’s living rooms.
The BBC has played a key role in confusing the electorate over what exactly is centre ground politics; the likes of Trump, Marine Le Pen and UKIP stop looking extreme Right when people look at what politics the BBC claims is centrist but is actually Right. Normalising the Right has always been a habit of the media.