Steerpike doesn’t browse Novara Media much these days. The Corbynista website has ceased to have much in the way of news value since the Magic Grandpa stood down as Labour leader early last year. Nowadays the unholy trinity of literal communist Ash Sarkar, under-employed YouTuber Michael Walker and David Brent tribute act Aaron Bastani spend most of their time moaning on Twitter about Keir Starmer’s beastliness to their comrades on the left.
But now Mr S has found an unlikely common cause with the Trotskyite trio. Novara has today announced that Google-owned YouTube has deleted their channel, supposedly without warning or explanation. This follows the news a fortnight ago that a speech by Tory stalwart to Big Brother Watch on vaccine passports had been unceremoniously purged from the same site – again with no prior warning.
While Novara might not have the clout it once did, it is still – just – among ‘the top 50 most watched news and politics channels in the UK’ and is already regulated by IMPRESS. Users trying to access the channel are now confronted with a message which claims the account has been ‘terminated’ due to ‘multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.’
Whatever else their differences, Mr S respects Novara’s right to preach their ossified brand of syndicalist clap-trap. Such an apparently egregious decision highlights once again the power of Silicon Valley behemoths over media companies – just at a time when the Online Safety Bill comes back before Parliament.
The episode moreover shows why those sheltering beneath the shield of free speech should perhaps be more vigilant about efforts to undermine it in the future. Gary McQuiggin, the head of Novara’s video, has been quick to tweet that ‘whether or not you agree with what we publish, it shouldn’t be the whim of giant tech companies to delete us overnight with no explanation.’