Our useless media – a series wearily continued

Posted in cars, journalism, Media, newspapers, The English by Deputy city editor on September 12, 2009

Doubtless the Phoenix Four are as repellant as Mandelson would have us believe. It takes one to know one.

That the government should issue a completely dishonest report into the crash of Britain’s last domestic mass-volume car company, a testament to the years of government industrial policies that pushed it to the brink, is not surprising.

That the media should swallow it whole is also not surprising.

The journalists are so lazy, they cannot even be bothered to read their own clippings, and remind us of what happened.

When BMW decided to get shot of Rover, there were two bids on the table. One was from the Phoenix Four, who pretended that Rover could be revived as a going concern, and the other from Alchemy, a company with a proven track record of restructuring failed business, which proposed that by discarding all the useless bits, and focusing on MG, that something might be salvaged from the wreckage.

Alchemy were too straightforward. they didn’t pretend that redundancies could be avoided. They constructed what might have been a viable business plan. The Phoenix boys, who never looked like anything other than asset strippers, offered the government an electorally-convenient fantasy. Phoenix were given the company for essentially nothing and the government kept its rust-belt marginals as the BBC broadcast Pravda-like bulletins from Longbridge announcing that the government had saved thousands of jobs..

Wind forward. Rover is gone. The millions are gone. More millions have now been spent on an investigation. Labour is still in charge. As usual, nothing criminal seems to have happened.

What we see is Lord Mandelson touting his report touring the studios pronouncing himself outraged – not at his own cynicism and dishonesty, but at the cynicism and dishonesty of the Phoenix Four.

Like the inspector in Casablanca, Mandelson is evidently shocked to have discovered what was going on.

Shameless Mandelson, guardian of public morals, millionaire public servant, who cheated on his own mortgage form, demands that the Phoenix Four apologise and threatens to ban them as company directors (although not to revieve them of the scores of millions which they made from the deal).

This is not just theatre it is demented. Will nobody say that the man on the telly is spouting a fountain of bollocks? Did any of the journalists interviewing Mandelson yesterday suggest that he might like to apologise?  But of course not. Our hacks are too polite or lazy or stupid or ignorant – or perhaps all of these.


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