The GAH!dian

According to The Guardian “The new citizenship test for aspiring Britons, intended to place more emphasis on British history and achievements than previous versions comes into force this week”

It’s the Life In The UK test. Passing it doesn’t give you the right to citizenship, just the right to live in the UK. You have to wait another year, and pay a significant sum of money, to become a citizen. My wife passed the test five years ago and isn’t a citizen yet (because we’ve never had a spare £851).

And incidentally, when I started writing this, the article was even less accurate, starting “The coalition government has announced a new citizenship test for aspiring Britons”. They’ve changed it while I was typing, with no acknowledgment on the page that it’s changed (though the original is, for now, in Google’s cache).

For all that a lot of my friends (rightly) attack papers like the Daily Mail, I’ve had to stop reading the Guardian over the last few years because they do stuff like this, getting the most basic facts wrong. And it’s not always in such a benign manner. I’ve had actual *death threats* from Guardian readers over things they *think* the Lib Dems have done in government — in every case they’ve been things that were brought in under Labour that they’ve only just found out about.

The reason I’m mentioning this now, though (apart from the fact that this particular wrongness is one that irritates me out of all proportion, and is so very easily fixed) is because for the last few days I’ve seen a lot of people linking to an article on the website Angry Mob that, completely correctly, excoriates Richard Littlejohn for a transphobic article he wrote that seems to have led to a woman being hounded to the point of suicide.

Where I part company with that article, though is in the final paragraph:

anger should be rightfully directed at the Daily Mail and its editor, Paul Dacre, along with Richard Littlejohn for writing the piece. It should also be directed at the other newspapers who sent photograpers and journalists to harass Lucy Meadows and the people around her. However, it should also be directed at the people buying these newspapers – buying the Daily Mail et al is an anti-social act and should be looked upon as such by any decent citizen.


What Littlejohn wrote was no worse than what is regularly written by people like Julie Bindel, Julie Burchill and the rest of the Guardian and Observer’s group of ‘radical’ ‘feminist’ transphobes (there is nothing radical or feminist about hating the most discriminated-against minority in the country). Yet no-one suggests that buying the Guardian is some sort of hate crime.

There is a crisis in journalism in this country, as anyone who’s paying attention knows. That crisis is not limited to the mid-market tabloids, to papers bought by poor people or Tory voters, much though a lot of people would love to believe it. Not *one* media outlet has reported this story correctly, *all* of them referring to it as a citizenship test.

If every single media outlet misreports the most basic facts on a simple story like this (and I’m picking this story simply because it’s one that has had personal impact on me and so I know how wrong it is — if this is wrong then I would assume many stories I *don’t* know about are equally wrong), there is something very, very wrong that goes far beyond just the Daily Mail — and even the Guardian, because despite everything I still think the Guardian is probably one of the more accurate newspapers.

It’s just, unfortunately, still not even accurate enough that it can be believed.

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