Tag Archives: media

Paddy: Clegg “has had 17 buckets of s**t dumped over his head by the right-wing press”

Paddy Ashdown talks on "The global power shift" in Brussels March 1st 2012 -  Some rights reserved by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE That’s the rather striking quote from Paddy Ashdown in an interview with Iain Dale on LBC radio. Here’s how the Herald reported it:

Speaking to LBC radio’s Iain Dale, Lord Ashdown insisted the party’s dismal poll ratings would recover as the “true Nick Clegg” was revealed to voters.

“The right-wing press in this country detest the coalition – detest it,” he said.

“If they want to destroy the coalition, what they do is

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 22 Comments

Opinion: An anti-Liberal Democrat press isn’t going to go any easier on any Liberal Democrat leader

Sun newspaper - License Some rights reserved by vapour trail Liberal Democrats 4 Change have a point about one thing. They are right to say that the Liberal Democrats do not get a fair hearing. However, they are mistaken to think that a leadership change would alter anything in this regard.

It is instructive to recall the moment Clegg began to get a bad rap from voters. At what point was this? The answer is not as obvious as you may think, It didn’t start with Secret Courts, Bedroom Tax or Tuition …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 103 Comments

The biggest urban myth: the Tories have a birthright to the Shires

Countryside Alliance web shotgunChampions of the Countryside Alliance boast that it is the voice of rural Britain. I disagree. It is just one voice within rural Britain. It’s like saying that the Tories are the voice of the Home Counties and Labour is the voice of the Industrial North. That’s just lousy stereotypical language. There are many different voices within rural England.

I am forever angry that the London press, especially the right leaning press, routinely trots out stereotypes about life in our rural areas. They seem to believe that “Escape to the Country” is something authentic. It’s a reality show, no more.

One reason why rural areas get such a bad deal in public policy is that London journalists rely on urban myths about the countryside rather than trying to understand rural reality. This reality game is not without victims. The media’s glib characterisations of country life distort discussions of pressing issues like rural funding, schooling and a working landscape. And most of all, the need for jobs and decent housing in rural areas.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

The lessons we must learn for Nick Clegg’s next holiday

Nick Clegg’s two spells of holiday this Summer have been characterised by the Home Office in particular getting above itself in his absence. Both the party and Nick’s Special Advisers should have learned from the furore over the “Go home” poster vans. The Home Office pulled a fast one by implementing this pilot without telling the Liberal Democrats. The response from the Party was the right one – that they were “disproportionate, distasteful and ineffective” and Vince Cable saying a few days later that they were stupid and offensive. The problem was that the response came out by …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 31 Comments

BBC bias? Yes, but not to the left researchers say

BBC not left biasedWriting at The Conversation, Cardiff University lecturer Mike Berry looks at whether the BBC is biased.

He concludes, despite the regular screams of left wing bias by the right wing press, that Tories get more airtime than Labour.

The BBC is not pro-EU, quite the reverse. But reportage “saw Europe almost exclusively through the prism of political infighting between Labour and the Conservatives so a rounded debate… was almost completely absent.” Voices arguing for the benefits of EU membership were, says Berry, very sparse.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Joan Edwards’ bequest: the dangers of 24/7 news and how we respond to it

Zhou EnlaiWhen asked about the impact of the French Revolution, Zhou Enlai was said to have suggested that it was “too early to tell”. Admittedly, he was apparently referring to the 1968 riots, rather than the original, but it was the response of someone who saw politics as a long game.
 
With 24/7 rolling news, it would seem that such a perspective is in danger of being lost forever. In just twenty-four hours, the Joan Edwards legacy story appears to have gone from curiosity to scandal and back.
 
Yesterday, news broke that a …

Posted in Op-eds | 121 Comments

Finally, the media pick up on Coalition split on offensive poster vans

There’s a big lesson to learn from the offensive poster van fiasco this week. Sometimes we Liberal Democrats, including me, can be quick to feel a dividing line between those inside the Whitehall Bubble and the rest of us. This week, we spoke with one voice. Liberal Democrats inside Government were every bit as livid as those of us outside at the presence of these vans on our streets. With their stark message “Go home or face arrest”, illustrated by handcuffs, they can only inflame tensions in communities.

We now know that the Tories have pulled a fast one on us. …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 23 Comments

How the papers viewed Nick Clegg’s comments on MPs’ pay

A snapshot of some of today’s headlines on Nick Clegg’s comments on MPs’ Pay is quite revealing. To refresh your memories, yesterday he told journalists at his new monthly press conference that he wouldn’t take the proposed rise himself, that he couldn’t control what other MPs so, but:

But I think all MPs, whatever status they hold, whatever position they hold, will know from their own constituents that there are millions of people in the United Kingdom at the moment who’ve had a remorseless squeeze on their living standards for some years now and that we’re asking millions of public sector

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

The Liberal Democrat perspective on welfare reform that needs to be heard

On Monday, I wrote about the good things Liberal Democrats are doing in Government and also expressed  concern that nobody was out there giving the Liberal Democrat perspective  in a way that would resonate with and encourage members and activists. I know that some of them felt a bit exposed. They were out there on a day when we were under  media pressure, and nobody was giving them any air cover. It’s a balance, of course. There have been times when we’ve complained that our ministers are out there defending things we  feel uncomfortable with. These things can be …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

Keep the faith: Liberal Democrats are doing good things in Government, not that you’d know it from today’s headlines

Liberal Democrats have taken a pounding across the Labour supporting media over the past few days. Article after soundbite condemns the welfare reforms which come into effect from now. It’s been a clever, co-ordinated onslaught which seems aimed at demoralising Liberal Democrat members and activists rather than opposing the changes themselves. After all, I haven’t heard Ed Miliband promise to repeal any of them. And we have to remember that it was the Labour Government who introduced Local Housing Allowance – the Bedroom Tax of the private sector.

Where have the Liberal Democrat MPs and key figures been?

That Labour would use …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 56 Comments

Nick Clegg writes… Press regulation: a liberal solution

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has written to party supporters tonight…

Having been in face to face negotiations till nearly midnight last night – followed by calls, texts and emails for many hours afterwards – I am delighted to have stood up this afternoon in the House of Commons to welcome the cross-party agreement on implementing the Leveson Report. It wasn’t easy but after a lot of hard work – led on our side by the tireless Jim Wallace, we have got there.

The Leveson Inquiry was established after public revulsion at the phone hacking scandal. So, when Lord Justice Leveson published

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

It’s not just the Lib Dem leadership trying to ignore the ‘secret courts’ row: the news media is too

I had an odd experience on Friday. I was doing a round of media interviews – 3 for TV, 3 for radio – previewing the Lib Dem conference. I’d been called by researchers in advance to ‘get my take’ on the key issues. Each time, I said there was a big issue on which the party leadership could expect to be defeated and which would see activists from across the broad spectrum of the Lib Dems united: opposition to secret courts. This received an “Uh-hum” response which I took for baffled boredom. And as expected, each interview in turn dwelt …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

As Leveson reports… Why I’m sticking up for ‘Press freedom with no buts’

Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal will report this week. His recommendations on the future of press regulation are the subject of intense speculation, with essentially three positions being staked-out:

What’s being proposed

‘Independent regulation backed up by statute’
Advocates, who include Evan Harris and the Hacked Off campaign group, argue that the only way to ensure the press does not abuse its position in the future is for it to be regulated. But, they insist, this should be independent both of government and the press, the two main …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 38 Comments

How not to do an interview: Grant Shapps demonstrates

1. Running away from Michael Crick rarely works.

2. Running away from Michael Crick whilst he has a camera crew in tow even more rarely works.

3. Running away from Michael Crick into the wrong room and then having to turn around and walk back past the camera even more rarely works.

4. Running away from Michael Crick into a wrong room for the second time takes the odds of success into the realms of the never never.

5. But if you are going to do that, remember not to turn round at the end and give a short answer sounding out of breath and without looking at camera or questioner. Because that always looks so convincing.

All of which means of course no-one would ever do 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Oh, hang on:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

The crisis of trust facing the news media

The Hansard Society this week published part two of its annual Audit of Political Engagement, focusing on the media and politics. Three graphs in particular stood out for me…

63% of public say tabloids “look for any excuse” to tarnish politicians

… tabloid newspapers are consistently identified by two-thirds of the public as displaying negative traits in their coverage of politics and politicians. … Tabloids are three times more likely to be perceived to be negative in their approach to the coverage of politics than are the other

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

LDVideo: Clegg – we don’t need Hunt inquiry. Hughes – we need Hunt inquiry

Here’s Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg saying that the Leveson Inquiry is the best place for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to give evidence about his role in the BSkyB takeover bid…

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Metro finally gets the point of Liberal Democrat tax policy

The front page of yesterday’s Metro made me laugh.

“The richest pay how much tax?” screamed their headline. “Multi millionaires hand over less than cleaners.”

Their outrage at the relatively low rates of tax paid by the super rich continued for three columns on the front page and a continuation on page 5.

I guess it’s good that they’re finally getting the message. But, might we have heard their millionaire and cleaner example somewhere before?

Let’s go back to January 2010 when I reported Nick Clegg’s appearance on the Andrew Marr show.

Also on tax, he talked about taking 4 million people out

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

“Hard to believe she’s just 16!” The headline that sums up the morality of the Daily Mail

Next time that esteemed family newspaper the Daily Mail screams at the permissive society for its outrages against decent family values it will be worth recalling this article and its beyond-parody headline:

Hard to believe she’s just 16! Kendall Jenner looks older than her years as she shows off her model shape in stunning bikini shoot

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

In other news… Richard Kemp for Liverpool, Kennedy on the UK, defection in Cambridge, Hughes at Leveson

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

Richard Kemp to represent Liberal Democrats in Liverpool mayor election in May (Liverpool Echo)

‘He said: “I am standing because I believe that only the Liberal Democrats have the long term strategies which will place this city in a leading position able to create the jobs and investment which this city so badly needs. Liverpool needs an encompassing vision and direction that everyone in the city, residents, business and friends can buy into and support.”

You can read Richard’s own account of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

LDVideo: Harris & Pugh on Murdoch’s new Sun on Sunday paper

The News of the World is dead, long live the Sun on Sunday… starting from this Sunday. Here’s how two Lib Dems have responded to the announcement by News International…

Evan Harris: I’ll buy SoS ‘to see what it’s like’

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

LibLink: Mark Pack – Nick Clegg turns media weakness into media strength

Over on his work blog, The Voice’s Mark Pack has a post looking at the extremely successful media coverage of Nick Clegg’s speech on tax policy, with the party using the fact that much of the media is still surprised by the idiosyncracies of coalition to our advantage.

Here’s a sample:

In a country used to coalitions, having the leader of one of the parties in government talk about their tax priorities a few months ahead of a budget would not be remarkable. With the British media habits, it had made today’s speech from Nick Clegg to banner news – lead story

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Telegraph apologises for false slurs on Huhne and offensive Cristina Odone article

The Daily Telegraph has been forced into a humiliating climbdown after making what it now admits were false claims about Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne.

The paper had splashed on allegations that it was Huhne who had leaked the letter from Michael Gove suggesting taxpayers might make a gift of a new royal yacht to the Queen in order to embarrass the education secretary. It’s unclear what evidence the paper had, if any, because Huhne’s involvement was swiftly denied by the Guardian journalist responsible for exposing Mr Gove’s, erm, politically courageous proposal. Perhaps, perish the thought, they just …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Our party is a choir of many voices – Let’s not single out the sopranos

Our party is becoming one of a few, select voices.

Many members, which I include myself alongside, are quickly cementing our position as liberal radicals – those that choose not to define ourselves in the centre, nor on the left, but merely as those who wish to seek to form policies that will aid many in society. We will let history decide which end of the political spectrum we allegedly sit on.

Along the way, we may be asked for more radio or TV appearances, or be asked to write articles for certain websites or newspapers. This is good for …

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments

Opinion: Will the Lib Dems stand up for creative industries?

A Labour friend of mine was smugly telling me about last week’s launch of the Labour Creative Industries Network. Much of this reminded me of their ‘Cool Britannia’ efforts circa 1997.

However, it also got me thinking about how the creative industries see us. We too have some nice words about creative businesses on our website – but do we really have a sense of how we want to support and promote this economically and culturally important sector? The DCMS is the only department where Lib Dems have no ministerial presence. There is a hair’s breadth in arts policy between …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: We need a general right of information

The call made by Mark Pack, amongst others, for suggestions for media reform is both timely and important. For the majority of the country, the media represents the most important source of information we access on a daily basis. As a result, it cannot help but shape our opinions and inform our democratic decision-making; it is a key part of our national discourse and must be seen as such.

And yet the phone hacking scandal has demonstrated that we cannot rely wholly on journalists to hold themselves and their colleagues to account for their own ethical transgressions. A press …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 10 Comments

News International tried to bully the Lib Dems, says Observer. It didn’t work.

News International ‘bullied Liberal Democrats over BSkyB bid’ is the headline in today’s Observer, with the paper reporting:

Rupert Murdoch’s News International launched a campaign of bullying against senior Liberal Democrats in an attempt to force through the company’s bid for BSkyB, high-level sources have told the Observer.

Lib Dem insiders say NI officials took their lobbying campaign well beyond acceptable limits and even threatened, last autumn, to persecute the party if Vince Cable, the business secretary, did not advance its case.

According to one account from a senior party figure, a cabinet minister was told that, if the government did not

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 12 Comments

News International’s William Lewis, BBC’s Robert Peston, and the alleged act of theft which aimed to bring down Vince Cable

Rewind to December 2010, and you will recall the furore which greeted the revelation by the BBC’s Robert Peston that Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable had been secretly taped by undercover Telegraph hacks “declaring war” on Rupert Murdoch and his bid for BSkyB.

Vince was almost forced to resign, responsibility for handling the bid was handed over to a Murdoch-friendly Tory, and the Telegraph was embarrassed by the implication that they had censored the story in order to avoid assisting media rival News International.

A report in today’s New York Times sheds a new and extraordinary light on that sequence of events, and suggests that:

  • The Telegraph was not sitting on the Cable/BSkyB scoop, but was all set to run it as a follow-up to the paper’s initial story focusing on Vince’s forthright views on the Coalition;
Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 13 Comments

In (partial) defence of Labour’s so-called ‘Lay Off Murdoch’ instruction to party’s MPs

‘Lay off Murdoch’ — that was the ever-so-quotable paraphrase that the New Statesman used to accompany this article by Dan Hodges, revealing how the Labour Party press team had issued a circular ‘to all shadow cabinet teams warns Labour spokespeople to avoid linking hacking with the BSkyB bid, to accept ministerial assurances that meetings with Rupert Murdoch are not influencing that process, and to ensure that complaints about tapping are made in a personal, not shadow ministerial, capacity.’

In reality, Labour’s communications chief Tom Baldwin — yes, himself a former Murdoch employee — did not use the phrase, ‘Lay off …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 13 Comments

The Lib Dems on ‘Hackgate’ and Murdoch: Ashdown, Huhne, Hughes, Farron, Oakeshott all join the fray

It’s been a frenzied week in British politics, with attention for once focused less on the mis-deeds of politicans than the criminality practised by many journalists, both at the News of the World and beyond. Here’s a brief round-up of what the Lib Dems have been saying…

BSkyB takeover: Lib Dems hint at backing Labour motion to delay deal (Guardian)

The Liberal Democrats have indicated they could back a Labour move in parliament to delay the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB until after the police investigations into phone hacking. …

Hughes told Sky News: “We have to be careful and I would

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

‘Yates of the Yard’ should have listened to Huhne on ‘Hackgate’

Today’s Telegraph carries an interview with the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner John Yates with a full mea culpa for his failure to get to grips with British journalism’s criminal free-for-all. As the paper notes:

Mr Yates had the opportunity to reopen the case in 2009 but chose not to do so after just eight hours’ consideration, including consultations with other senior detectives and Crown Prosecution lawyers. … In his interview, Mr Yates addresses last week’s revelation that Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator working for the News of the World, had allegedly hacked into teenage murder victim Milly Dowler’s mobile phone

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohnTilley 23rd Oct - 2:23am
    Caron wrote ---"Anyway, back to Donnachadh. There will be many figures from the establishment in the Ashdown and Kennedy Eras who will have felt the...
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 23rd Oct - 1:42am
    @Mark Valladares I really don't see what is possibly ad hominem about pointing out the fact that Tony Greaves has both said "This idea is...
  • User AvatarMark Argent 23rd Oct - 1:33am
    Perhaps unelected peers are no more scandalous than shoeing candidates into safe seats in the Commons — the fact that (for example) Boris Johnson is...
  • User AvatarDonnachadh McCarthy 23rd Oct - 1:07am
    Thanks Caron. Yes I agree using nearly 30 police in military formation to arrest someone for the "crime" of having a folded tarpaulin under my...
  • User AvatarRichard S 23rd Oct - 12:50am
    Wasn't part of the constitutional crisis that the Governor-General can dismiss the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister can also replace the Governor General, so...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 23rd Oct - 12:25am
    @ Tony Dawson, The Brightlingsea Division doesn't fall wholly within the Clacton constituency, only about half of it does.