Mike Graham is probably best known beyond his small-time Republic radio show for claiming you can grow concrete, but such gaffs are part of the fleeting, episodic glimpses that people who don’t bother with his ilk would normally see, bored or repulsed by these people spewing across the airwaves and the Web, globally, 24/7, the mainstream world only finding out when devotees of such rubbish erupt in violence – or someone says ‘enough’.
TalkTV and Migrants Organise
So we see TalkTV paying out in damages and legal fees to the charity Migrants Organise, which helps refugees and asylum seekers affected by the UK government’s policies and actions towards them after Graham defamed the charity on his show. TalkTV as reported in the National newspaper said:
“They [Migrants Organise] have expressed concern it was suggested that they were ‘funded to help illegal migration’, were ‘human traffickers’, and that they facilitated fraud and terrorism by advising asylum seekers to falsify information to bolster their asylum claims.
“We are happy to clarify that it was not our or Mike’s intention to make those allegations and we accept there wasn’t a factual basis for doing so.”
Bit more than that, as Migrants Organise CEO Zrinka Bralo said in a own press release:
“We sought to protect our reputation and the safety of our people – migrants and refugees, our volunteers, staff, allies and supporters who work for dignity and justice.
“We were exposed to hate and threats of violence as a result of the mischaracterisation of our work and the dehumanisation of people in need, and we had to take a stand.”
Nigel Farage and the RNLI
Hate. Threats of violence. Dehumanisation. Fearing for the safety of our people, staff, volunteers. Hate driving lies driving hate.
Graham has previous for defaming Migrants Organise, having alleged that the mental health charity Mind’s funds for them went on legal fees, a “plain wrong” allegation Graham apologised for. But he had another go anyway. And TalkTV were happy to let him.
There can be justice of sorts. In July 2021 Nigel Farage’s foul attack on the RNLI in which he accused them of providing a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs” led to donations and support for the 200-year-old lifesaving organisation initially spiked by 3,000%, with online donations by the year’s end being up by 50%.
But his comments preceded assaults on the organisation, its volunteers often being serving emergency services personnel, ranging from its website being hacked to fishermen in Hastings trying to block a RNLI boat from launching to save asylum seekers in the Channel – where days later 27 people drowned.
Ripples of hate
Still the ripples of hate lap up to the hinterlands, with Neil Hamilton of UKIP just this February retweeting a GBNews story complaining about the organisation daring to save lives.
On land, that same month, protesters against refugees and migrants set a police van on fire in Knowsley. An outcome that didn’t stop Richard Tice going on the stoke when pretending to sympathetically interview a refugee outside a hotel housing asylum seekers, mocking him as this man dared suggest being billeted four to a room was unsavoury.
As an aside, as an ambulanceman in London I went to several such hotels, hostels, stowed out with unhappy human beings from Hells the world over, I never came away thinking their lives couped up in pokey, claustrophobic, hot rooms among hundreds of unhappy, traumatised people, families, wasting away awaiting decisions, were anything other than purgatory.
But today, 16 June, as I write this, I hear Farage quoted on GB News as a taster for his show railing about the government apparently funding organisations that enable illegal immigration, hammering home the great ‘illegal migrants’ lie, that doesn’t only lead to violence, but violently awful laws, led by ministers wielding the most reckless rhetoric that leads to lawyers being stabbed.
“Covid is a hoax”
Lies like those from the same sources that led to the New Year’s attack on St. Thomas’ hospital where hundreds of believers of conspiracy theories – many from the far-right – brought their New Year’s protest crossed the river from Parliament Square, yelling “Covid is a hoax” as they corralled outside a hospital heaving with the dead and dying from the pandemic.
(I had contacted St. Thomas to say it won’t be your usual New Year’s inebriates but angrier types being wheeled in – I’d no idea they’d invite themselves over). An attack that junior doctor Matthew Lee tweeted saying had left him ‘disgusted’ and ‘heartbroken’. He spoke for us all.
As a phalanx of health sector leaders wrote in the Nursing Times, abuse against nurses, doctors, all healthcare workers was growing all the time, not just from patients exploding out of lockdown, but from a “small but sinister tide has been rising of people who, at best, seek to undermine the important public health advice we give, and, at worst, incite abuse and violence against us”. And the people they lied to.
How many patients we picked up and filled out resus during Omicron, otherwise fit, young people clearly presenting with Covid yet almost proud of being unvaccinated because they don’t believe in the virus, or the vaccine, or ‘did their own research’.
And in the US
We see these diseased minds at work in the US, too. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed for years that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut in 2012 in which 26 people were shot dead, including 20 children aged between six and seven, was a hoax, set up by the government to ‘take our guns’. A mind-blowingly vile claim that he stood by, even as the grieving parents of the dead received death threats and abuse for their supposed role in this heinous plot spawned in Jones’ head and poisoning the minds of those he broadcasts to. Ultimately they sued him and he faces bankruptcy against a bill of $1.5 billion in damages.
Similarly Fox News settled for nearly $790 million in a case brought by Dominion Voting Systems for false claims – among many concerning the 2020 presidential election – that the company’s voting machines switched votes from Donald Trump (like Johnson, a media celebrity before defecating in public office) to Joe Biden. Even as the case loomed, anchorman Tucker Carlson continued his claims about the election being stolen – the kind of claims that led to the Capitol being stormed, people being killed, Trump supporters being jailed for years (where Trump may yet join them).
After the event
But you’re sued, found out, done down after the event, after the damage. Boris Johnson’s career before Parliament was a litany of jokey racism and outright lies about the EU, that all ultimately helped deliver him No. 10 on the promise of a Brexit buttressed by his own bullsh**, a staggeringly destructive Brexit that – as prewarned – left the government badly prepared for the pandemic – while Johnson distracted himself with parties.
He was sacked from the Telegraph for lying (and ultimately from the Commons, although in the end he fired himself), but that’s a one-off. Remember when Andrew Neil absolutely eviscerated the journalist James Delingpole over his ignorance of the damage a WTO-Brexit would unleash, or Mary Wakefield’s write-up of her husband Dominic Cummings succumbing to Covid omitted everything about the family’s 500-mile round trip to Durham during lockdown. Both still write for the Spectator … edited by Andrew Neil.
Mike Graham’s still at TalkTV, spewing forth. Johnson, having joined Trump in poisoning our democracies with their relentless, remorseless lies, flounces off into the arms of the Daily Mail. Jones still broadcasts from InfoWars. Carlson left Fox, yes, but is happily housed on Elon Musk’s Twitter.
As junior doctor Lee said, “Their ignorance is hurting others”. Ignorance being manufactured and spread on an industrial scale that literally makes us sick.