I doubt that many made this association. I only did so because of a warped mind, and a preference for movies over deep philosophising (and didn’t my degree suffer as a result).
These last few days the Daily Mail has a new bone to gnaw. Having failed to nail Ed Miliband as “the enemy within” (or at least the son thereof), it needed easier meat.
Out of the blue (true, deep Tory Blue), the Mail discovered (or rather rediscovered — it is a serial slur) that Harriet Harman, her husband Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt were:
Apologists for paedophiles … all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children
The “link” is somewhat tangential. All three named “suspects” were active, many years ago, in the National Council for Civil Liberties. The NCCL was open to all willing supporters. The Paedophile Information Exchange was one of several hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliates. Therefore, in the definition of the Daily Mail, there has to be a direct dot-to-dot.
Harriet Harman has issued a powerful (and, to me, convincing) refutation of the Mail smears. Don’t take it from me: read it for yourself.
The NCCL is the British equivalent of the American Civil Liberties Union. Every denigration of the ACLU has already been rehearsed, honed and perfected by the American Right. The Mail is just buying into the play-book.
The American President was a more-than-decent 1995 Rob Reiner movie. The script was by Aaron Sorkin (it won him the Writers Guild of America award for best screenplay) and it was, in effect, his prototype for The West Wing:
Andrew Shepherd is approaching the end of his first term as President of the United States. He’s a widower with a young daughter and has proved to be popular with the public. His election seems assured. That is until he meets Sydney Ellen Wade, a paid political activist working for an environmental lobby group. He’s immediately smitten with her and after several amusing attempts, they finally manage to go on a date (which happens to be a State dinner for the visiting President of France). His relationship with Wade opens the door for his prime political opponent, Senator Bob Rumson, to launch an attack on the President’s character, something he could not do in the previous election as Shepherd’s wife had only recently died.
So to President Shepherd’s Big Speech:
There’s a continuation of that speech which precisely defines the Daily Mail smear-technique:
… interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who to blame for it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.
You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo …
See it for yourself:
I’m with President Shepherd, Deputy Leader Harman, and anyone of real decency here.