My Wire fan-status already took a knock when the Guardian started running a Wire-fan reading group and most of the posters seemed to be prats. But to find the Tories using the Wire, just to steal its perceived credibility for a soundbite, is making me gag.
The BBC website headline says
Parts of Britain ‘like The Wire’
I assumed that was a subject-verb-object construction, meaning “There are parts of Britain where people like the Wire.” Which is bound to be true but a bit of a strange news headline.
But it turned out they meant:
Parts of Britain (are) ‘like The Wire’
Even that is fair enough. After all, it’s a drama that’s deliberately meant to suspend disbelief through “realism” ffs. Bits of it feel “true” to me, “true” in terms of my experience of the world and of the ways people act. I don’t assume that makes it literally “true,” in a documentary sense. No one who’s ever watched a tv series before would assume it’s a literally “true” representation of life in Baltimore, let alone any UK city.
The Conservatives have compared parts of the UK to The Wire, a US television show which portrays inner-city drugs and violence.
In a speech, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling argued that the UK was suffering the same culture of gangs and street violence found in the US.
He said Labour had failed to ensure law and order was preserved in the poorest parts of the country. ..
Mr Grayling repeated his charge that poorer communities in the UK have been let down by Labour, saying: “The Wire has become a byword for urban deprivation and societal breakdown in modern America.”
He said: “When The Wire comes to Britain’s streets, it is the poor who suffer most. It is the poor who are the ones who have borne the brunt of the surge in violence under this government.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Chris Grayling hasn’t really ever watched the Wire.
Because, if he had, he’d have noticed that the crimes aren’t just at street level.The economy, the political world and the media don’t exactly emerge unscathed.
Crocodile tears for the “poor” seem to be the Tories’ new election strategy. For instance, they claim that the poor are being let down.
Oh yes, “let down by rising crime” is the claim. I think that misinterpreting & manipulating crime figures is called “juking the stats” in the Wire. So you’d think that a Wire-o-phile like the shadow Tory Home secretary would have the grace to blush when he does it. (Seeing as all crime figures show falling rates)
OK, the Tories aren’t the BNP – which is also trying to corner the market in populist concern for the class-formerly-known-as-working (before the last Tory governments hammered it into the ground.) But they bear a pretty monstrous responsibility for the disaffection and poverty of so many neighbourhoods, where many people never found work since the 1980s. (Don’t make me repeat the list of Tory crimes against “no-such-thing-as-society”, because I will rant for hours.)
So it’s doubly sickening to see them both using the consequences of their own actions as a stick with which to beat the government and dragging the good name of the Wire into it.
Still, it’s all in the game, I suppose…..