The rehabilitation of Matt Hancock

The story of Matt Hancock is illustrative of the state of modern British public life.

He played a central role in the “totally avoidable” (Amnesty International) deaths of thousands of elderly people in care homes by taking the reckless decision to release untested patients (of whom some were necessarily infected with Covid) into care homes in the early stages of the pandemic. However – because the media automatically covers up for these people however grotesque their mistakes are he didn’t have to resign for that. He eventually had to resign after someone leaked a video of him in a crude clinch with someone he was having an affair with in the office (at a time when social distancing regulations/guidelines were in place). Killing thousands of poor elderly folk through recklessness is fine; but a sexual scandal is hot news so he had to go.

He then spent a very short time in the wilderness before the media conspired to rehabilitate him. He gave an interview saying he understood he had “blown up his career”. He professed support for a feel-good social cause (in fact mass screening for ‘dyslexia’ is hardly a social good but in today’s climate people will understand it as such) and hey presto – now he is acceptable again – for example he joins the chorus condemning “anti-vax” protestors as reported in the Guardian here. This enables him to present himself as responsible. The media facilitates all this.

This little story illustrates the way the media operates in the UK. They totally fail to ask any serious questions e.g. about the decision-making which led to the “totally avoidable” deaths in care homes, but they still love a good sex scandal. Even in this case though they are more than willing to act as Hancock’s PR team and quickly reset him in the public eye and reintroduce him as a credible politician within just a few months.

The media is just the PR arm of the self-serving political class. They operate as one. There is no critical distance.

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer